Renée McDonald Hutchins
Dean and Professor of Law
Renée McDonald Hutchins is Dean and Professor of Law of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC Law). Dean Hutchins joined UDC Law as dean in April 2019 after fourteen years on the faculty at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, including as Jacob A. France Professor of Public Interest Law, co-director of the school’s Clinical Law Program, and founding director of the Appellate and Post-Conviction Advocacy Clinic.
Dean Hutchins is widely recognized as a leading expert on the Fourth Amendment and criminal appellate practice. Her legal scholarship, which sits at the intersection of criminal procedure and social science, has been published in high-impact journals like the UCLA Law Review and NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, among others. Her scholarship has been cited by numerous U.S. Courts of Appeals and state appellate courts on issues-of-the-day ranging from Fourth Amendment protections for location data to the intricacies of credibility assessments by trial juries.
She has authored two casebooks: Learning Criminal Procedure (2d ed. West Academic 2019, with Ric Simmons) and Developing Professional Skills: Criminal Procedure (West Academic 2017). She has written on the law of racial profiling and stop and frisk, most recently as a contributing author to the anthology Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution and Imprisonment (Penguin 2017), edited Angela J. Davis, as well as David Tanenhaus’ Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States (Macmillan 2008). In addition, Dean Hutchins has a long record of supporting faculty scholarship, including as a founding member of the Mid-Atlantic Criminal Law Research Collective in 2006.
In 2017, Dean Hutchins was elected to serve as a member of the prestigious American Law Institute, a national association of distinguished lawyers, judges, and academics that works to clarify and improve the law through the publication of Restatements of the Law and Model Codes. She remains highly engaged in practice due to her extensive experience spanning federal and state courts across the nation, including the high courts of Maryland and New York. Dean Hutchins is currently serving her third four-year term on Maryland’s Appellate Courts Judicial Nominating Commission and is a former board member for the Judicial Institute of Maryland.
Dean Hutchins joined the faculty of Maryland Carey Law following a decade-long career in trial and appellate litigation. Her passion for exposing students to the “invigorating, intellectually challenging, rich, and textured” field of government and public interest practice motivated her transition to academia. In addition to teaching on the faculty at Maryland Carey Law, Dean Hutchins has taught in the Lawyering Program at the New York University School of Law and, most recently, as Visiting Professor of Law and Acting Director of the Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Services Clinic at The George Washington University Law School.
In addition to her clinical teaching, Dean Hutchins has taught traditional doctrinal courses such as Criminal Procedure as well as legal seminars on topics including Criminal Appeals, Fourth Circuit Decisions, and Comparative Criminal Procedure. In the wake of Freddie Gray’s death while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department in April 2015, Dean Hutchins worked with colleagues to create “Freddie Gray’s Baltimore,” an innovative eight-week practicum that brought law school professors, elected officials, and civic leaders together with law students to explore the broader historic context that created the West Baltimore community where Gray lived and died.
She is an active member of the Association of American Law Schools Standing Committee on Clinical Legal Education and a past board member of the Clinical Legal Education Association, Dean Hutchins has advanced standards for clinical legal excellence and promoted the importance of the clinical model to achieving access to justice.
Throughout her academic career, Dean Hutchins has served as an officer and board member for a variety of nonprofit organizations engaged in public interest practice. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, as well as a former member of the ACLU of Maryland’s Committee on Litigation and Legal Priorities.
A frequent commentator in both local and national media on issues ranging from post-conviction relief to the constitutional dimensions of criminal procedure, Dean Hutchins has provided legal analysis and insight for outlets including MSNBC, “Voice of America,” and CSPAN-TV’s “Landmark Cases” series. She is a regular contributor to local media as a strong believer in the importance of community legal education. While a faculty member at Maryland Carey Law, Hutchins was often featured in the Baltimore Sun and made appearances on Baltimore’s public radio station WYPR.
Dean Hutchins graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Mathematics from Spelman College, America’s oldest historically black liberal arts college for women. She went on to receive her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was Chair of the Moot Court Board of Directors. Shortly after graduating, Dean Hutchins clerked for the Hon. Nathaniel R. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, a distinguished jurist who directed litigation for the NAACP as its General Counsel from 1969 to 1979 prior to his appointment to the federal bench.