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School of Law

2018 Knowlton Lecture to be delivered by Yale Law School dean

UPDATE:  The 2018 Knowlton Lecture has been CANCELED due to the winter storm that has hit the Northeast and grounded Dean Gerken's flight to Columbia.

We will work to reschedule the lecture at a later date.

 On Thursday, March 8 at 5 p.m., Heather Gerken, dean of Yale Law School, will speak about the importance of the legal profession at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Her talk, “The Lessons of Lawyering: Why Ours Is an Honorable Profession,” is the subject of the 2018 Charles W. Knowlton Law & Liberal Arts Lecture and will begin with a simple question: 

Why is it that lawyers -- long condemned as “hired guns” -- stand up for the rule of law?

The reason, she will argue, is their training.  Law schools are one of the few remaining spaces where students are trained to question everything and yet still believe in something. She says this core value is more important than ever, especially in today’s politics. 

Gerken, who became dean of Yale Law in 2017, is one of the country’s foremost experts on constitutional law and election law. Her scholarship has been featured in The Atlantic, the Boston Globe, NPR, the New York Times, and Time. In 2017, Politico Magazine named Gerken one of The Politico 50, a list of idea makers in American politics. 

Her work on election reform has affected policy at a national level.  In 2013, her proposal for creating a “Democracy Index” – a national ranking of election systems — was adopted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which created the nation’s first Election Performance Index.   At Yale, she founded and runs an innovative clinic focusing on local government law, the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project. 

She was also one of 26 law professors from across the nation selected to be included in the book, “What the Best Law Teachers Do.” 

The Knowlton Visiting Scholar program brings together faculty and students from various departments to promote interdisciplinary discussion and scholarship. The marquee event is the Charles W. Knowlton Law & Liberal Arts Lecture, which is also open to the public and features internationally known scholars from a variety of disciplines. 

The lecture is made possible by generous support from the Knowlton Family, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., and the many friends and associates of Charles Knowlton who admired his outstanding contributions to the legal profession.