Donald B. Tobin
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
When training the next generation of lawyers and leaders, Donald B. Tobin, dean and law professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, hopes to impart two core lessons to his students.
The main part of a lawyer’s job is to help people, he said, noting the law is one of the most effective tools for aiding others. Tobin is also passionate about legal professionalism.
“We don’t have to be aggressive and contrarian to be good lawyers,” he said. “There is a level of civility and passion that can be mixed together to be a great lawyer.”
Teaching was a natural choice for Tobin — his mother was a Johns Hopkins University professor and his father was a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health.
“There was a lot of learning and teaching going on in my house,” the Columbia native said. “I even feel like as a lawyer I was doing a lot of teaching. Your goal is to teach the court that your position was the right one.”
Previously, Tobin has worked as a staff member for former U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and as an appellate attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division. He also was an associate dean for faculty and a law professor at Ohio State University’s Mortiz College of Law.
He has served as dean of the University of Maryland law school since 2014.
“When the opportunity to come back (to Maryland) occurred, it was really something I couldn’t pass up,” he said. “I have the honor of leading a great institution. You want to keep it great and make it better.”
Tobin says his goal is for the institution to “expand our footprint in both the legal business community and the business community at large to provide more opportunities for our students.”
“I’ve made employment one of our top priorities here at the law school and working with our career services to create more opportunities for our students,” he said.