LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack M. Weiss announced today the appointment of Robert E. Lancaster as Director of the LSU Law Center’s Clinical Legal Education Program and Professor of Professional Practice. Chancellor Weiss recommended the appointment at yesterday’s meeting of the LSU Board of Supervisors in Shreveport. The appointment will be effective July 1, 2008, subject to Board approval.
Lancaster currently is a Clinical Professor of Law at Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. “Professor Lancaster has the vision, energy and experience to build a model clinical program at the LSU Law Center,” Weiss said. “He has supervised both live client clinics and externship programs during his outstanding career as a clinical legal educator. We are immensely excited about introducing Professor Lancaster to our students and to the Louisiana legal community.”
The clinical program will offer students the opportunity to represent live clients in dealing with actual court cases and other legal problems. It also will offer externship opportunities for students in federal, state, and other governmental agencies, as well as community organizations. “This is critical initiative for the Law Center,” said Weiss, “one that benefits our community and state while providing hands on opportunities for our students.”
In commenting on his appointment, Professor Lancaster said, “The opportunities at LSU Law are exciting because the doors are wide open for development of clinics. With the groundwork by the Chancellor and Clinics Committee . . . we have a good baseline to build on. The opportunities for students in a capital city like Baton Rouge are incredible. We will provide a multitude of quality placements, allowing students to do substantive work while benefiting the state with our live client clinics.”
In his letter supporting Lancaster’s appointment, Yale Law School Professor Stephen Wizner said, “Bob Lancaster is an excellent role model for law students. From reading student comments about his teaching and supervision, it is clear that he excels at leading and guiding law students into, and within, the world of practice, helping them to develop into competent, reflective, ethical and socially responsible practitioners.”
Lancaster was named Clinical Professor of Law at Indiana University School of Law/ Indianapolis in July 2007, having served as Clinical Associate Professor since 2001. He directed and co-directed the school’s Judicial Externship Program from 2002-2006. Lancaster taught a variety of externship courses, including Judicial Externship Program for Federal District Courts, the Indiana Supreme Court Externship, Indiana Court of Appeals Externship, and the Superior Court Externship. In addition, he has taught the school’s Civil Practice Clinic and Advanced Clinical Experience. While on the faculty at Indiana/Indianapolis, the professor served as Director of the Chinese Law Summer Program and Faculty Director of the China Trial Advocacy Institute in Beijing. He was recognized as a Dean’s Fellow for 2004-2005 and was awarded the Trustee’s Teaching Award in 2006.
Earlier in his career, Lancaster held a prestigious Robert M. Cover Clinical Teaching Fellowship at Yale Law School from 1997-2000 and was a Practitioner-in-Residence at Washington College of Law, American University in Washington, D.C. from July 2000-2001.
He holds honorary appointments to Renmin University of China School of Law in Beijing and serves as Adjunct Professor of Law at Qufu Normal University School of Law in Rizhao, China.
His professional experience includes serving as Special Assistant in the Indiana Public Defender’s Office where he provided direct representation to inmates on Indiana’s death row. He also served as a Public Defender in Indiana from 1993-1997.
As a law student, Professor Lancaster provided volunteer service to the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Capital Defense Division of the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, and the Mississippi Capital Defense Resource Center.
Professor Lancaster is a member of the Board of Governors of the Society of American Law Teachers. In 2004, the Indiana Supreme Court appointed Professor Lancaster to the Board of Directors of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission that oversees all pro bono efforts in the state. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Heartland Pro Bono Council that manages pro bono efforts in central Indiana.
His teaching and research interests include clinical teaching, skills training, poverty law, wrongful convictions, and community economic development. Lancaster graduated in 1993 cum laude from Tulane University Law School and received his B.A. magna cum laude with honors in English from Millsaps College.