Tokarz Named Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law and Public Service

Karen Tokarz, professor of law, has been named the inaugural holder of Washington University Law’s first endowed professorship in public service. Prof. Tokarz was installed as the Charles Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law and Public Service on April 1, 2008.

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Professor Karen Tokarz

“I would like to congratulate Karen as the inaugural holder of this new public service chair and on her more than 25 years of directing our school’s award-winning Clinical Education Program,” Dean Kent Syverud said. “Karen has inspired countless students and colleagues through her teaching, her activism, her scholarship, her generosity in assisting others, and her unique ability to build institutions and coalitions within the law school, the University, and the community.”

The new professorship was made possible through the estate of Daniel Noyes Kirby, who received his bachelor’s degree in 1886 and his law degree in 1888, both from Washington University. He was a member of the Washington University Corporation (the predecessor to the Board of Trustees), lecturer in the University’s Law Department (the predecessor to the law school), and a prominent St. Louis lawyer during his 57 years in practice. Kirby’s estate also currently provides for two other professorships at the law school, the Charles Nagel Chair of Constitutional and Political Science, and the Charles Nagel Professor of International and Comparative Law.

The new public service professorship is named for Kirby’s law partner, Charles Nagel, LL.B. 1875. Nagel was a member of Washington University’s Board of Directors and part-time lecturer on constitutional law and medical jurisprudence. He was also known for his public service, including serving as United States Secretary of Commerce and Labor under President Taft and as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives.

At the end of the 2007-08 academic year, Tokarz will step down as executive director of clinical education to redirect her energies to helping further develop the school’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. She will also play a key leadership role in planning the school’s Africa Public Service Initiative. Tokarz, who also is a professor in the African & African American Studies Program, has worked in Africa for several years. In fall 2001, she assisted with clinical program development at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban, South Africa, and subsequently initiated a law student exchange program between Washington University and UKZN. She has coordinated placements for more than 50 Washington University law students in public interest law offices in Africa over the past six summers. She was recently named a Fulbright Senior Specialist and will return to UKZN in 2008 to assist in the development of the dispute resolution curriculum.

A recipient of Washington University’s 2005 Founders Day Distinguished Faculty Award, Tokarz serves on the Steering Committee for the University’s Gephardt Institute for Public Service and also is affiliated with the Women & Gender Studies Program and the Urban Studies Program. A recognized leader in clinical legal education on the national and international levels, she is past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Clinical Legal Education, a founder and past president of the Clinical Legal Education Association, a founding member of the Global Alliance for Justice Education, and a founding member of Mediators Without Borders. She chaired the American Bar Association Clinical & Skills Training Committee for four years, served on the ABA Standards Review Committee for three years, and served on the ABA Accreditation Committee for two years. A frequently called upon clinical consultant here and overseas, Tokarz has served on multiple ABA accreditation teams and assisted many new clinicians in their promotion and tenure reviews.

After a sabbatical in 2008-2009 in which she will study dispute resolution programs at United States and foreign universities, Tokarz will continue to teach the Civil Rights & Community Justice Clinic and dispute resolution courses; coordinate the school’s Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers Series; and assist with faculty advising for the Journal of Law & Policy.

The law school is undertaking a national search for a new associate dean for Clinical Education. The Lateral Faculty Appointments Committee, chaired by Vice Dean Daniel Keating, is taking the lead in the search.