Notre Dame Law School has selected Michael K. Addo to be director of the London Law Program. He will start July 1.
Addo comes to Notre Dame from the University of Exeter as an international law and human rights specialist with more than 25 years of experience in research, teaching, and policy advice.
Addo has also had management and administrative responsibilities at Exeter as associate dean of the faculty of postgraduate studies – a position that involved the development and negotiation of policy strategies, the coordination of teaching standards, the accreditation of programs across the university, and overseeing the examination and award of doctoral degrees.
His work outside the university has included holding several leadership positions with the United Nations. The UN Human Rights Council appointed him in 2011 to join its Working Group on Business and Human Rights, a body he currently chairs. He has also served as chairperson of the Co-ordination Committee of United Nations Special Procedure Mandate Holders from 2015 to 2016.
“The United Nations Mandate on Business and Human Rights has provided interesting opportunities to meet with high-level government representatives, business leaders, and civil society advocates,” Addo said.
“This is especially rewarding when one can see the difference that one’s advice can make in the daily lives of some of the most vulnerable people,” he said. “This resonates well, in my view, with the Notre Dame mission of educating a different kind of lawyer – a lawyer that you educate in the mind and in the heart. I’ve always looked out for that concept of education.”
Addo said his experience working for the United Nations with Douglass Cassel, a professor of law and Notre Dame Presidential Fellow at Notre Dame Law School, and his interactions with other faculty and staff have further cemented his opinion of the University.
“There is a collegiality and care. I think there is something about the nature of Notre Dame that brings out the best in everyone,” he said. “Notre Dame is trying to educate a different kind of lawyer, and people actually live that.”
Addo said there are several reasons why it will be valuable for law students to study in London. The program provides students with experience living in another culture, exposes them to how the law operates in another country, and deepens their understanding of American law.
“When trying to understand the origins and foundations of American law, it’s helpful if you can understand the common law of England,” he said.
Originally from Ghana, Addo earned a bachelor of laws degree with honours at the University of Ghana and a graduate diploma in legal practice at Ghana Law School. He holds a diploma in international human rights law from the International Institute of Human Rights at the University of Strasbourg, France, and obtained master of law and doctoral degrees at the University of Essex in England.
“We are thrilled to welcome Michael Addo to Notre Dame,” said Professor Roger Alford, associate dean for international and graduate programs at Notre Dame Law School. “The search was incredibly competitive, and there were many wonderful candidates. But Michael Addo’s background provided the ideal combination of academic, administrative, and practical experience to serve as the new London law director.”
Nell Jessup Newton, Joseph A. Matson Dean and professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, noted that the Law School knew it had big shoes to fill after the retirement of Geoffrey Bennett, who had guided the London program for more than two decades. Addo, however, “not only had the experience and skills for the job, but impressed everyone he met with his energy, his vision for the London program, and his commitment to the mission of the Law School,” she said. “Everyone at the Law School is excited to have him aboard.”