Dean April M. Barton

April M. Barton, J.D.

Dean and Professor of Law
School of Law

Dean's Office, Hanley Hall
Phone: 412.396.6281


J.D., Villanova University
B.S., Moravian College

April M. Barton is Dean and Professor of Law at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University. Under her leadership, the Law School has steadily increased enrollment while simultaneously raising the academic profile of the entering class. The Duquesne Kline School of Law also continues to excel in bar passage and post-graduation employment rates.

Duquesne Kline School of Law remains grounded in its Catholic and Spiritan Mission while embracing a new shared vision for the future focused on three pillars of interdisciplinary learning, leadership development, and community well-being. These three pillars continue to guide the School's innovation and path forward and Dean Barton has launched a number of initiatives in alignment with Duquesne's Mission and shared vision.

Interdisciplinary Learning: The Duquesne Kline School of Law has launched a Business Essentials Micro-Credential Program in cooperation with Duquesne's Palumbo-Donahue School of Business, allowing law students to take four graduate business courses to complement their J.D. and providing graduates with a fluency in finance, business, and management.

Leadership Development: Understanding that leadership development is a critical part of professional development and a lawyer's greater duty to advance justice and preserve democracy in our society, she established the School's distinctive Leadership Fellows Program in 2019, the Leadership Honors Program in 2021, co-teaches the first course in Law and Leadership, and has worked collaboratively with faculty to ensure that leadership development is introduced in all Professional Responsibility courses taught at Duquesne.

Community Well-Being: Focused on creating a culture of belonging for all, Dean Barton formed the Dean's Diversity Action Council in 2019, to ensure that the Duquesne Kline School of Law is focused on creating long-term, sustained progress toward justice, equity, and human dignity. On June 19, 2020, the School faculty unanimously adopted a Promise Statement on Race and Justice, an affirmative statement against racism and a commitment to lead positive change.

She serves on the AALS Deans' Steering Committee, is Chair-Elect to the AALS Leadership Section, and is a Board Member of the Pittsburgh Legal Diversity and Inclusion Coalition.

She previously held various positions at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, most recently as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Barton successfully launched initiatives on leadership development, including a student Lawyers as Leaders program and a new course, Leadership and Management Skills for Lawyers. At Villanova, Barton taught courses in administrative agency rulemaking, computer law, the First Amendment and regulation in cyberspace, and digital law. She previously served as the director of the JD/MBA and JD/MPA joint degree programs.

In addition to authoring Best Practices for Building a High-Tech Law School: The Process of Designing Educational Spaces published by the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Barton's work has been published in law reviews including the Washington University Law Review, Baylor Law Review, and the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology. She is a frequent speaker and has presented and moderated discussions on teaching leadership in law school, promoting diversity, innovations in law school teaching, distance learning, technology, and classrooms of the future. Barton also has testified before the U.S. Congressional Commission on Online Child Protection and the European Commission for Democracy through Law, Venice Commission, in Brussels. Barton served as an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Division of Marketing Practices, where she worked on policy and law enforcement issues related to internet fraud and deception.



  • Teaching Lawyers to Think Like Leaders: The Next Big Shift in Legal Education, 73 Baylor Law Review 116 (2021)  [SSRN]
  • Application of Cascade Theory to Online Systems: A Study of Email and Google Cascades, 10 Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology, 473 (2009). [SSRN]
  • Norm Origin and Development in Cyberspace: Models of Cybernorm Evolution, 78 Washington University Law Quarterly, 59 (2000). [SSRN]
  • Copyright Law Tackles Yet Another Challenge: the Electronic Frontier of the World Wide Web, 24 Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal, 75 (1998). [SSRN]
  • Internet Red Light Districts? Domain Name Proposal for Regulatory Zoning of Obscene Content, 16 John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law, 21 (1997). [SSRN]



  • 2020 Vision for Leadership Conference, Baylor Law (September 2020)
  • SEALS Annual Conference, Online & Hybrid Learning Pedagogy and Standard Development in Post-COVID World (July 2020)
  • Reducing Stress and Avoiding Mistakes in the Post-COVID Era, Continuing Legal Education, American Bar Association (June 2020)
  • Leadership for Lawyers: Defining Leadership & Core Values, Navigating Conflict and Crisis, Continuing Legal Education, Duquesne University School of Law (February 2020)
  • AALS Annual Conference, Online & Hybrid Learning Pedagogy; Best Practices and Standards Development (January 2020)