April 2023

Face to Face with Law Dean Renée Hutchins

April 14, 2023    |  

It will hit you the moment you walk through the doors of the Nathan Patz Law Center at the corner of Baltimore and Paca streets that something exciting is happening at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. And the source of much of that energy is certainly the self-described chief cheerleader, Dean Renée McDonald Hutchins, JD.

Last April, Hutchins returned to Maryland Carey Law to address faculty as a candidate to replace then-Dean Donald Tobin, JD. It was a happy and energetic homecoming for the former faculty member of 14 years and co-director of the Maryland Carey Law Clinical Law Program. In 2019, Hutchins left to head the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) David A. Clarke School of Law. Employing her Maryland Carey Law experience, Hutchins boosted the ranking of UDC’s clinical law program from 15 to 5 in a short time.

But as much as she enjoyed her work there, Hutchins told University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, coming home to UMB was an easy decision.

“I have loved this institution for a very, very, very, very, very long time,” Hutchins told Jarrell during the April 13, 2023, edition of the online program Virtual Face to Face. “And I have felt deeply connected to my colleagues here on the faculty, to the staff, to the students here since the early 2000s. And so, for me, there was nothing hard about coming back to this place. It was hard for me to leave UDC. But there was nothing hard about returning here.”

During their conversation, Hutchins described her goals for the school, changes in legal education, significant developments in the law, the story of how the math major at Spelman College made a last-minute decision to take the LSAT and launch a successful career in the law, her family’s history with the struggle for civil rights in the South, and her passion for the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment and teaching criminal procedure.

“I could go on and on for days about the Fourth Amendment, about criminal procedure. Generally, I find that it is a place where students coming into law school can suddenly see the connections between what can feel like a very sterile and, and unrelatable body of rules in a way that actually connects up to their real life,” Hutchins explained. “What I used to tell my students all the time is once you see the connections between the law and your life, you will never be able to unsee them. And, suddenly, you will see the law everywhere all the time.”

Watch the entire discussion, including questions from the audience, by accessing the link at the top of the page.