Nell Jessup Newton
Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law
Nell Jessup Newton is the Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School.
She became the Law School’s 10th dean in July 2009. She has been a leader in legal education for more than 20 years, having served on a number of committees examining legal education issues for the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and the Law School Admission Council. She was a member of the Board of Trustees for the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education from 2006 to 2018 and served as chair from 2014 to 2016. She is a prominent scholar of Indian Law and the editor in chief of Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law, the only treatise on the subject.
Under her direction, Notre Dame increased the size of the Law School faculty through lateral and entry-level hires and built curricular strengths in business and international law as well as intellectual property. The Law School also launched a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, a Community Development Clinic, and an Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic that has been certified by the U.S.P.T.O. for patent and trademark cases, and eight new programs of study that allow students to develop an expertise in special areas of law and policy.
Dean Newton oversaw the development of a three-year J.D./MBA dual degree and four new interdisciplinary programs that enrich the study of law by incorporating insights from other disciplines. During her tenure the Law School also expanded its LLM program to include foreign lawyers who wish to study in South Bend as well as in London.
Internationally, Dean Newton worked with the Law School’s London Law Centre to open the school’s London program to students interested in spending a single semester in the UK as well as to those who are able to participate in full-year and summer programs. As part of an expansion of the international curriculum that includes a program of study in global law, the law school has also entered into student exchange programs in partnership with the Peking and Tsinghua University law schools in China, the Pontifical University of Chile, Bocconi University in Italy, Trinity School of Law in Dublin, and the University of Lucerne School of Law in Switzerland.
During her tenure, the Law School doubled externship offerings and developed externship programs based in the Law School’s facilities in Chicago and Washington, D.C. The programs enable Notre Dame students to live, work, and study in either Chicago or the nation’s capital. On the administrative side, Dean Newton has worked to expand the Career Development Office to help students better plan and achieve their career goals, and worked with the school’s Law Advisory Council to increase the school’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program by more than 500 percent while also increasing student fellowship awards.
An experienced professor of law, Dean Newton continues to teach first-year contracts whenever her schedule allows.
LAW73761, Notre Dame Law in D.C. Seminar
LAW75761, Notre Dame Law in D.C. – Field Placement
COHEN’S HANDBOOK OF FEDERAL INDIAN LAW (Nell Jessup Newton, editor-in-chief) (2005, 2012 eds. & Supp. 2015)
R. CLINTON, N. NEWTON, & M. PRICE, AMERICAN INDIAN LAW (3d ed. the Michie Company 1991 & Supp. 1994, 1996)
Selected Articles & Book Chapters
“Indian Claims for Reparations, Compensation, & Restitution in the United States Legal System,” in WHEN SORRY ISN’T ENOUGH (Roy Brooks ed., 1999)
Tribal Court Praxis: One Year in the Life of Twenty Tribal Courts, 22 AM. IND. L. REV. 285 (1998)
Memory & Misrepresentation: Representing Crazy Horse in Tribal Court, 27 CONN. L. REV. 1003 (1995)
Compensation, Reparations & Restitution: Indian Property Claims in the United States, 28 GA. L. REV. 453 (1994)
Let a Thousand Policy-Flowers Bloom, 46 ARK. L. REV. 25 (1993)
Indian Claims in the Courts of the Conqueror, 41 AM. U. L. REV. 753 (1992)
Status of Native American Tribal Indians Under United States Law, 1 YEARBOOK ON LAW & ANTHROPOLOGY 40 (Vienna 1986)
Federal Power over Indians: Its Sources, Scope, and Limitations, 132 U. PA. L. REV. 195 (1984)
Enforcing the Federal-Indian Trust Relationship After Mitchell, 31 CATH. U.L. REV. 635 (1982)
The Judicial Role in Fifth Amendment Takings of Indian Lands: An Analysis of the Sioux Nation Rule, 61 ORE. L. REV. 245 (1982)
At the Whim of the Sovereign: Aboriginal Title Reconsidered, 31 HASTINGS L.J. 1215 (1980)
Indian Tribal Trust Funds, 27 HASTINGS L.J. 519 (1975)
Areas of Expertise
- American Indian law
In the News
- In Memoriam: Professor Thomas L. Shaffer '61 J.D. (February 27, 2019)
- The Dean’s 2018 Year-End Letter to Alumni (December 10, 2018)
- Dean Newton's fall 2018 welcome letter to students (August 30, 2018)
- Dean Nell Jessup Newton to step down in 2019 (August 9, 2018)
- In Memoriam: Anne Christine Hamilton (August 29, 2018)
- In Memoriam: Robert “Bob” Winfred Cox (March 15, 2018)
- The Dean’s 2017 Year-End Letter to Alumni (December 11, 2017)
- In Memoriam: Robert F. Biolchini (November 10, 2017)
- In Memoriam: Professor Regis William Campfield (November 7, 2017)
- Newton: NDLS meets legal market challenges with specialized programs (November 1, 2017)
- Dean Newton’s fall 2017 welcome letter to students (September 6, 2017)
- In Memoriam: Tom Singer (March 9, 2017)
- The Dean’s 2016 Year-End Letter to Alumni (December 15, 2016)
- In Memoriam: Judge Thomas William (“Tom”) O’Toole (October 19, 2016)
- The Dean’s Fall 2016 Welcome Letter to Students (August 31, 2016)
- The Law Deans: Nell Jessup Newton, The Oklahoma Legal Group Blog (May 27, 2016)
- Dean’s Desk: Anatomy of a decision to start a tax clinic, The Indiana Lawyer (May 18, 2016)
- Notre Dame Law School Mourns the Loss of Professor Emeritus Conrad Kellenberg (April 14, 2016)