Yolanda M. King has been named the new Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the NIU College of Law. She replaces Professor Marc Falkoff, who served in the position for four years.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Associate Dean King step into this important role for the law school,” said Interim Dean Laurel Rigertas.
Associate Dean King teaches Property and various intellectual property-related courses, such as Copyright Law, Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property, and Trademark Law. Her scholarly interests include the copyrightability of tattoos, the enforcement of tattoo copyrights, right of publicity protection for dance movements and celebrities’ tattoos, and music licensing.
She continues to be a trailblazer in the legal profession, especially in her area of expertise, intellectual property, an area of the law where women of color are significantly underrepresented. After receiving her law degree from Harvard, she practiced IP at two prominent Chicago law firms before joining the NIU Law faculty in 2010. She continues to write extensively in this area and presents at legal conferences around the country, and she serves as Of Counsel at Chicago-based law firm Advitam IP.
“I am excited about this new opportunity to serve the College of Law,” said Associate Dean King. “I look forward to working with its faculty, staff, and students as well as participating in new initiatives across campus.”
In 2019, Associate Dean King was the driving force to creating and launching the Legal Education, Access, and Recognition (LEARN) Program at NIU, a unique and innovative program to help decrease barriers to law school for historically underrepresented students. During her role as chair of the law school admissions committee, she saw a number of historically underrepresented students’ applications that were denied admission largely due to a low Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score. This experience motivated her to work with Clinical Associate Professor Wendy Vaughn and secure a $125,000 grant from to AccessLex Institute in order to create the LEARN program. Twenty-five participants were chosen for the inaugural program which began in June 2019.
Associate Dean King has held numerous leadership roles during her tenure. At the College of Law, she had been the Interim Assistant Dean for Student Affairs since 2017. She has served as Director of Faculty Development and chair of the Admissions, Appointments, and Dean Review Committees as well as the Faculty Working Group on Diversity and Equity. She is faculty advisor to the American Bar Association Law Student Division’s Regional Client Counseling Competition, Black Law Students Association, and Sports and Entertainment Law Society. At the University, she has served on numerous committees, task forces, and as a board member of Athletics and Campus Child Care.
In addition, she is a member of several organizations including the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago, International Trademark Association, and The Association of American Law Schools – Intellectual Property Section.
For her dedication and leadership, Associate Dean King has been honored with the Deacon Davis Diversity Award from the NIU Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities (2017), Outstanding Professor of the Year Award from the NIU Law Alumni Council (2012), Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee from Pike High School (2012), and the Corporate Woman of Achievement Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners (2009).
Associate Dean King earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and B.A. in Journalism, with Highest Distinction, from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.