Professor Elliott Milstein
Professor Elliott Milstein

AUWCL Honors the Career of Professor Elliott Milstein


Milstein Served as Washington College of Law Dean from 1988-1995 and Built the WCL Clinical Program

updated Oct. 15, 2018

Dean Camille Nelson and American University Washington College of Law hosted "An Evening to Honor the Career of Professor Elliott Milstein" on Friday, Oct. 12 at the American University Katzen Arts Center. More than 150 of Milstein’s colleagues and friends, including AUWCL alumni, celebrated his 45-year career as a renowned clinical legal educator and revered law school leader. He was the architect of the WCL Clinical Program and former WCL Dean, AU Interim President, and AALS President.

Clinic faculty at the 2017 AALS Clinical Legal Education Conference, where Professor Milstein, middle, was honored with the CLEA Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers.
Clinic faculty at the 2017 AALS Clinical Legal Education Conference, where Professor Milstein, middle, was honored with the CLEA Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers.

Dean Nelson welcomed colleagues gathered to celebrate Professor Milstein, asking how can one know if their contributions have made a lasting impact on those around them. "Elliott only needs to look around the room filled with individuals who know that the legal field is better thanks to the remarkable contributions he has made over the course of a dynamic career."

American University President Sylvia M. Burwell penned a letter to Professor Milstein, which Dean Nelson read at the event. Burwell expressed her congratulations, stating "I am in awe of not just the length of Professor Milstein's service, but also it's depth...Decades of AU and WCL graduates have gone on to careers and lives touched by the gift of your teaching and your mentorship." 

Professor Milstein was president of the Association of American Law Schools in 2000, the first clinical teacher elected to that position. He was dean of the Washington College of Law from 1988 to 1995 and served one year as interim president of American University starting in 1993. He has been a clinical teacher for nearly his whole career, starting in 1969, and built the Clinical Program at Washington College of Law.

Milstein has been a leader in the development of the concepts and methods that are the basis for in-house clinical education in the United States and has trained or mentored a substantial number of clinical teachers. Over the years he taught in the Criminal Law Clinic, LAWCOR, the National Veterans Law Center Clinic, the Women and the Law Clinic, the International Human Rights Clinic and ended his career as co-director of the Civil Advocacy Clinic at the end of the 2017-18 academic year.

In 2017, Milstein was honored with the prestigious Clinical Legal Education Association Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers at the AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education. In 1992 he was awarded The William Pincus Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Legal Education by the Section on Clinical Legal Education of the AALS. He is also the recipient of two honorary degrees.

Photos from the event will be posted here the week of Oct. 15.