The highly prestigious award recognizes Hawkins’ commitment to diversity issues in scholarship and teaching, and her contributions to the community.
An employment law and constitutional law expert, Hawkins has taught, written, and spoken extensively about employment and diversity. As an attorney in private practice, she spent more than a decade advising clients in both the public and private sectors on the development and implementation of diversity policies and programs. She served as special diversity counsel to Holland & Knight, and was the first diversity director for Ballard Spahr. Hawkins has counseled and defended employers in a wide range of legal matters, including labor relations, employment discrimination, wage and hour compliance, and affirmative action planning.
“We at Rutgers Law School are delighted, but not at all surprised, that the AALS is recognizing Professor Hawkins,” says Michael Cahill, co-dean of Rutgers Law School. “This honor properly acknowledges the impact of her work, both as a scholar and as an institutional citizen and leader.”
Hawkins is a member of the Public Interest Law Center’s advisory board, and previously served as an inaugural member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Diversity Team and as a member of the board of the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group.
The Derrick A. Bell Award is named in honor of the first African-American tenured professor at Harvard Law School. The award honors a junior faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, colleagueship, teaching, and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice.
Hawkins says she is humbled and shocked that she is receiving the honor.
“To receive an award named in Derrick Bell’s honor is more than I could have imagined for myself as a junior scholar, says Hawkins. “The other recipients of this award are people whom I admire deeply and whose work has influenced my own. I do not count myself among them in terms of my scholarly impact or contributions to the field of critical race theory, but I am encouraged and inspired by this award to continue striving to prove myself worthy of it.”
Hawkins, of Elkins Park, Pa., earned her law degree in 1997 from Georgetown University Law Center and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1993.
She will receive the award during the AALS annual meeting in San Diego in January.