NIU Law Names Cassandra L. Hill as its New Dean

Cassandra Hill has been named the next dean of the Northern Illinois University College of Law.  Hill will begin her role on July 1, pending approval by the NIU Board of Trustees, and she will be the first African-American woman to lead the law school.

Hill currently serves as the ​associate dean for academic affairs at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.  She also was appointed by the then-university president to serve on a three-member leadership team with the law school’s acting dean.  In addition, her impressive background includes previous positions as associate dean for research and faculty development and director of legal writing.

“Cassandra is an experienced leader who demonstrated a deep affinity for NIU’s mission and vision.  I believe she will provide excellent leadership and be a collaborative force on campus for the College of Law,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Beth Ingram.

Hill received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law and graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics and Spanish from the University of Virginia, where she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.  After graduating from law school, Hill served as a federal law clerk for the Honorable Vanessa D. Gilmore, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and she practiced with the law firm of Baker Botts L.L.P. in the Tax/Employee Benefits section. Hill then began her teaching career at UCLA School of Law.

“I am honored to join this remarkable community and institution as the next dean,” said Hill.  “NIU Law’s mission, which is rooted in access, diversity, and teaching excellence, resonated with me. Its brilliant faculty, talented student body, hard-working staff, and accomplished alumni make this opportunity an extraordinary one.”

Hill’s scholarship focuses on pedagogy, learning theory, and assessment in legal education.  She has presented and written extensively on these areas. Her co-authored book, Legal Analysis: 100 Exercises for Mastery, is now in its second edition and has been adopted at more than 25 law schools nationwide.

Hill’s demonstrated leadership is also exemplified at the local and national levels through her membership in bar associations and other legal organizations and as a community leader.  She is chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Conferences and Programming Committee and has experience as a site-team evaluator with the ABA.  Hill is the first elected African-American member on the Board of Directors for the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and she was a former Managing Editor of the LWI Monograph Series.  Active in her community, Hill is on the Houston Texans YMCA Board of Managers; she is a past member of the Wesley Foundation Community Center Board of Directors and the Houston READ Commission, to which she was appointed by the mayor.  She is also a member of the State Bar of Texas, the District of Columbia Bar, and the New York State Bar.

Hill will replace Laurel Rigertas, who has served as interim dean of the College of Law since July 2019.  During the next few months, Rigertas and Hill will work closely together in order to ensure a smooth transition.

“I look forward to working with all the constituents of the law school, the campus and university, and the legal communities in DeKalb, Chicago, and the surrounding areas as we embark on NIU Law’s next chapter,” said Hill.

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