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Dean of Hamline University School of Law Leaving for Private Practice
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The Dean of the Hamline University School of Law, Don Lewis is leaving the law school to return to full-time private practice at his law firm Nilan Johnson Lewis. Lewis had remained an ‘of counsel’ at the Minneapolis law firm he had helped to found, while carrying out his duties as Dean of the Hamline University School of Law.

Lewis issued a statement indicating that he would be stepping down from the position of dean at the law school by the end of this year. He said, “My work at Hamline has been both the most fulfilling and most challenging in my career … I’ve especially enjoyed helping students use their legal education to pursue a wide variety of professional dreams. I will miss being part of the Hamline family, but I’m very excited about returning to the practice of problem-solving for clients.”


Lewis, who had been dean at the law school from 2008, practices employment law, health care and white collar criminal defense.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported that Lewis had been extremely active in preparing students for the recently weak job market, and during his tenure, the law school jumped 25 spots on the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Law Schools” 2014 ranking. The school also launched the Business Law Institute under Lewis.

Hamline University reported that during Lewis’ tenure, the graduate employment rate for jobs requiring law degrees for its graduates was the best among law schools in the twin cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Last year, Hamline graduates had the second best employment rate among the twin cities law schools, coming behind the University of Minnesota Law School.

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Linda Hanson, the President of Hamline University expressed her appreciation for Lewis but said that she understood, “his passion to return to law practice.”

Recognizing his contribution to the law school Hanson said, “Our new programs, our graduates’ employment success, and our improved standing are testimony to his leadership.”


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