LaShanda Taylor Adams
(202) 274-6228

LaShanda Taylor Adams
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs &
Professor of Law

Dean Adams is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Law. In her role as Associate Dean, she is responsible for ensuring that the academic program meets the standards of the American Bar Association. She plans the academic calendar and course schedules, advises students on academic requirements, and oversees the faculty development program.

Prior to taking on the role of Associate Dean, Dean Adams was the Director of the School of Law’s General Practice Clinic. In that capacity, she supervised student attorneys and LLM candidates representing DC residents in a variety of legal matters, including family law, small claims, public benefits, and estate planning, and conducts community outreach education. Her advocacy and research focuses on children and families in the child welfare system.

Prior to joining the faculty in 2009, Dean Adams was a staff attorney at the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, where she worked on a project aimed at improving the outcomes for children in foster care as well as former foster youth. From 2006 to 2009, she taught at American University Washington College of Law as a Practitioner-in-Residence with the General Practice Clinic and then as an adjunct associate professor teaching Juvenile Law: Children’s Legal Rights.

Dean Adams’ interest in the child welfare system began in 1997 when she interned at the Child Advocacy Unit of the DeKalb County Juvenile Court. In 1999, she was awarded a Skadden Fellowship to develop a kinship caregiver representation project at The Children’s Law Center in the District of Columbia. After the fellowship ended, she continued at the Center as an attorney and Director of the Family Permanency Project. She then worked as a Child Advocate in the New Jersey Office of the Child Advocate, where she contributed to numerous reports evaluating the performance of state agencies providing services to families and children.

Dean Adams received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Spelman College, and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. While in law school, she received several awards, including the Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholarship, the Derrick Bell Scholarship for Public Service, and the Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Fellowship. She also served on the editorial board of the Review of Law and Social Change and represented parents in New York Family Court as a student attorney in the Family Defense Clinic.

Dean Adams is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC), as well as the Maryland Citizens Review Board for Children, to which she was appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. In 2019, she was named a Fulbright Scholar by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission. She has been admitted to the bars of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Georgia.


  • Naming Rights: Birth Fathers, Babies and Birth Certificates (work-in-progress)
  • Backward Progress Toward Reinstating Parental Rights, 41 NYU Rev. L. Soc. Change 507 (2018)
  • Establishing Legal Permanency for Children, in Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases (2016)
  • (Re-)Grasping the Opportunity Interest: Lehr v. Robertson and the Terminated Parent, 25 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 31 (2015)
  • Avoiding Unintended Disclosure: Representing Clients with HIV and AIDS, 43 Cap. U. L. Rev. 227 (2015)
  • Legal Orphans Need Attorneys to Achieve Permanency, 33 ABA Child Law Practice 12 (2014)
  • Resurrecting Parents of Legal Orphans: Un-Terminating Parental Rights, 231 PLI/Crim 297 (2012)
  • Resurrecting Parents of Legal Orphans: Un-Terminating Parental Rights, 17 Va. J. Soc. Pol’y & L. 318 (2010)
  • A Lawyer for Every Child: Client-Directed Representation in Dependency Cases, 47 Fam. Ct. Rev. 605 (2009)
  • Creating a Causal Connection: From Prenatal Drug Use to Imminent Harm, 25 NYU Rev. L. Soc. Change 383 (1999)

Presentations & Media

  • Supporting Diversity in the Academic Support Profession: Building, Maintaining and Nurturing the Relationship between the Academic Success Professional and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Bi-Annual Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) Diversity Conference (2019)
  • 21st Century Permanency: Current Trends and New Ideas, 43rd National Child Welfare Law Conference, National Association of Counsel for Children (2019)
  • Foster Care Crisis Opens Doors to Second-Chance Parents, Pew Trust Stateline (July 2019) (quoted in)
  • Examining Statutes to Reinstate Parental Rights: The Good, The Bad and… Next Steps, 17th National Conference on Children & the Law (2017)
  • Future Challenges in Child Welfare, 25 Years of Family Defense: The Clinic, The Field, The Movement (2016)
  • Expanding Permanency Options for Youth in Foster Care, 12th Annual Wells Conference on Adoption Law (2016)
  • (Re-)Grasping the Opportunity Interest: Lehr v. Robertson and the Terminated Parent, Mid-Atlantic People of Color Conference (2016)
  • Service-Learning in the Law School Curriculum: Teaching and Learning Social Justice Through Humanitarian Action, Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) Teaching Conference (2014)
  • Naming Rights: Birth Fathers, Babies and Birth Certificates, Clinical Law Review Writers’ Conference (2014)
  • (Re-)Grasping the Opportunity Interest: Lehr v. Robertson and the Terminated Parent, Pre-tenured Clinical Faculty Scholarship Workshop
  • Mother and Child: Should Child Welfare Laws Be So Rigid About Ending Parental Rights?, Ms. Magazine (Summer 2014) (quoted in)
  • Post-Termination Reunification: Expanding Permanency Options for Legal Orphans, Mid-Atlantic People of Color Conference (2014)
  • Child Custody and Permanency Planning, Hope & a Home Speaker’s Series (2014)
  • UDC HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic, “Sound Advice” television show, UDC-TV (2013) (guest)
  • Parent Attorney Advocacy and Reinstatement of Parental Rights, PLI Adoption Law Institute (2012)
  • Life After TPR: New Laws Give Some Families a Second Chance, Rise Magazine (2012) (published interview)
  • Avoiding Unintended Disclosure: Representing Clients with HIV and AIDS, Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) Annual Meeting (New Scholars Workshop) (2011)
  • Reinstatement of Parental Rights: Overview of Statutes, Practical Impact, and Tips for Legislative Advocacy, ABA Center on Children and the Law 2nd National Parents’ Attorneys Conference (2011)
  • Legal Options for HIV Positive Mothers, Community Connections Isis Project (2011)
  • Teleconference/Webinar: Reinstating Parental Rights for Youth in Care, National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (2011)
  • Restoration of Parental Rights and Post-Termination Reunification, University of Dayton School of Law Gilvary Symposium (2011)
  • Child Custody and Permanency Planning, Hope & a Home Speaker’s Series (2010)
  • Constitutional Rights of Parents, Bar Association of the District of Columbia (BADC) Neglect & Delinquency Practice Institute (2010)
  • Representing Non-Resident Fathers in Child Welfare Proceedings, District of Columbia Superior Court (2009)
  • Important Legal Documents for People with HIV/AIDS, Miriam’s House (2009)
  • Representing Children in a Transformative Environment of Service Delivery and Resources: Tools for Engaging Youth in Their Court Proceedings, Virginia CLE (2009)
  • Evolving Role of the Child’s Counsel, 3rd Montana Leadership Summit on the Protection of Children (2009)
  • Advocating for Your Client’s Health From Birth Through Adolescence: Involving Court-Involved Children & Youth in Decisions about Their Health, ABA National Conference on Children & the Law (2009)
  • The Unfulfilled Promise: The Right to Counsel for Parents and Children in Child Welfare Proceedings, ABA National Conference on Children & the Law (2009)
  • Representing the Child Client: Defining Your Role and Responsibilities to the Client, Idaho CLE (2009)
  • APPLA and Permanency for Older Youth, Catalyst for CARE 9th Annual Child Placement Conference (2008)
  • Cross-Clinic Collaborations: Looking Forward and Reflecting Back, AALS Conference on Clinical Education (2008)
  • Understanding APPLA, The Children’s Law Center Annual Attorney Training (2008)
  • Advocating for your Foster Child in Court, Catholic Charities Foster Parent Training (2004)
  • Foster and Adoptive Parent Advocacy Coalition (FAPAC) Training (2002-2004)
  • An Overview of D.C. Custody Law and Practice, District of Columbia Bar Child Custody Training (2000-2006)
  • Nuts and Bolts of D.C. Adoption Law and Practice, The Children’s Law Center Adoption, Guardianship and Custody Training (1999-2004)