Hamline News

Dean Lewis to investigate landslide


Hamline Law Dean Donald M. Lewis has been hired by the city of St. Paul to lead an independent investigation into a May 22 landslide at Lilydale Regional Park that killed two schoolchildren on a field trip and injured two others.

Lewis, co-founder of the Minneapolis law firm Nilan Johnson Lewis, will oversee an independent and wide-ranging review of internal city processes regarding the landslide, said Mayor Chris Coleman. Those specific processes could include a review of several city departments.

About Dean Lewis
Donald M. Lewis serves as the 10th dean of Hamline University School of Law. Located in St. Paul, the law school is part of Minnesota’s oldest university, and was recently designated by National Jurist as one of the nation’s 20 most innovative law schools. It is the home of nationally-ranked institutes in dispute resolution and health law, as well as an emerging business law institute.

Before joining Hamline as its law dean in July 2008, Dean Lewis was a trial lawyer for nearly 30 years. In 1996, he co-founded Nilan Johnson Lewis in Minneapolis, a 50-lawyer litigation firm where he represented major corporate clients in employment litigation, civil fraud matters, and white collar criminal defense. He remains of counsel at the law while he serves as dean. He previously was a shareholder at the Popham Haik law firm in Minneapolis. Prior to his career in private practice, Dean Lewis served for six years as an assistant U.S. attorney in Minneapolis, and was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in Washington.

Dean Lewis is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the American Law Institute, and a fellow of the American Bar Association Foundation. He is a co-founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and has served on the Board of Governors of the National Bar Association. Dean Lewis’ community work has included service as a trustee of William Mitchell College of Law, and he is currently vice chair of the board of directors of HealthPartners. He has taught as an adjunct faculty member at both Hamline and William Mitchell.

Dean Lewis earned Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University in 1975 and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1978.

Read more:
Pioneer Press: St. Paul hires law school dean to probe fatal Lilydale park landslide
Star Tribune: Hamline law school dean to lead inquiry into fatal Lilydale landslide