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 Duquesne University School of Law. Under her leadership, the Law School continues to excel in bar passage, outpacing state averages, and has achieved a three-point across the board increase in LSAT metrics in the past two years.

The Law School 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 Duquesne's innovation and path forward.

Dean Barton launched a number of initiatives in alignment with Duquesne's Mission and shared vision, including the Dean's Diversity Action Council, which was formed in 2019 to ensure that Duquesne Law is a welcoming and supportive environment for all and to create long-term, sustained progress toward justice, equity, and human dignity. On June 19, 2020, the Law School faculty unanimously adopted a Promise Statement on Race and Justice, an affirmative statement against racism and a commitment to lead positive change.

In addition, the Leadership Fellows Program, currently in its third year, emphasizes that lawyers have a duty to think about great leadership and understand that we are responsible for helping those who do not have a voice in our system of justice. The Law School also launched a Business Essentials Micro-Credential Program in cooperation with the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business, allowing law students to take four graduate business courses and providing graduates with a fluency in finance, business, and management in conjunction with their law degree.

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 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, law school 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)