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Kevin Washburn, an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, will become the first American Indian to serve as dean of the UNM School of Law when he joins the school on June 30.
Washburn currently is the Rosenstiel Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law. A widely published scholar, he previously taught law at Harvard and the University of Minnesota.
Prior to entering academia, he was a federal prosecutor in New Mexico, a trial attorney with the U.S. Justice Department and later served as general counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission, an independent federal regulatory agency in Washington, D.C.
"The faculty and students are excited about having Professor Washburn as our next dean," said Interim Dean Leo Romero. "He will be an excellent leader for the law school."
Washburn earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 1993, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Following law school, he clerked for Judge William C. Canby Jr. of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then joined the Honors Program at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He has been a member of the New Mexico bar since 1994.
"The UNM School of Law has a talented and committed faculty, a diverse and dynamic student body and a deep and devoted alumni base. I will be honored to serve this community," said Washburn.
He began his legal education at UNM as a student at the American Indian Law Center’s Pre-law Summer Institute and later taught Indian law issues at the UNM School of Law as an adjunct professor. He is married to Libby Rodke Washburn ('98).
"Professor Washburn has deep roots in the New Mexico legal community and national experience in legal education. We are fortunate to have him return to the School of Law," said UNM Provost Suzanne Ortega, in announcing the appointment.