2023 Blackshear Scholarship Gala features Harvard Law Professor David Wilkins

The University of Tennessee College of Law will host the annual Julian Blackshear, Jr. Scholarship Gala on March 25.

This signature event, honoring distinguished alumnus Julian Blackshear, Jr. as one of our first African American graduates, celebrates the College of Law’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

Besides being an important commemoration of Blackshear’s legacy and that of other trailblazing African American graduates, the gala also serves as a vehicle for raising critical scholarship dollars to recruit and attract a talented and diverse student body.

This year’s event will feature a keynote address by legal scholar and law professor David B. Wilkins, the Lester Kissel Professor of Law and faculty director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School. Wilkins is also Harvard Law School’s vice dean for global initiatives on the legal profession and a fellow of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics, as well as a senior research fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

His remarks will focus on trends in the legal profession with regard to diversity, as well as the potential effect that the U.S. Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision on affirmative action in higher education may have on legal education and the profession as a whole.

Wilkins graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in government. He earned a law degree in 1980 from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard Law, he served as the Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review and was also a member of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and the Harvard Black Law Students Association.

After graduating from law school, Wilkins clerked for Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He then clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall from 1981 to 1982. Following his clerkships, Wilkins became an associate with a specialization in civil litigation at the law firm of Nussbaum Owen & Webster in Washington, D.C. 

In 1986, Wilkins joined the faculty at Harvard Law School where his research focuses primarily on the legal profession. Wilkins has authored more than eighty articles on the legal profession in leading scholarly journals and the popular press, and is the co-author or editor of five books, including one of the leading casebooks in the field. He has also delivered over fifty endowed lectures at universities around the world and is a frequent speaker at professional conferences, law firms and corporate retreats.

This year’s Julian Blackshear, Jr. Scholarship Gala will take place Saturday, March 25 at the Crowne Plaza in Knoxville, located at 401 W. Summit Hill Drive.

Advance tickets are required and may be purchased here.