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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 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.


  • J.D., Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
  • B.S., Moravian University

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  • 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]
  • AALS Annual Conference, Leadership Education as a Component of Anti‐Racist Education in Law Schools (January 2022).
  • Seattle University School of Law in partnership with Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, Promoting Diversity in Law School Leadership, Villanova (October 2021).
  • Santa Clara Law Review, Lawyers, Leadership, & Change: Addressing Challenges and Opportunities in Unprecedented Times, Leadership Issues in Higher Education (February 2021).
  • AALS Annual Conference, Post COVID-19 Online & Hybrid Learning Pedagogy; Best Practices and Standards Development (January 2021).
  • Baylor Law Review, 2020: Vision for Leadership Conference, Law School Deans Panel: Leadership Programming in Law Schools (September 2020).
  • SEALS Annual Conference, Online & Hybrid Learning Pedagogy and Standard Development in Post-COVID World (July 2020).
  • ABA CLE Reducing Stress and Avoiding Mistakes in the Post-COVID Era (June 2020).
  • AALS Annual Conference, Online & Hybrid Learning Pedagogy; Best Practices and Standards Development (January 2020).
  • Leadership for Lawyers: Defining Leadership & Core Values, Navigating Conflict and Crisis, CLE Program, (February 2020).
  • Allegheny County Bar Association, Women in the Law Division, Opening Remarks, Leadership in Law (February 2020).
  • Seattle University School of Law in partnership with Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, Promoting Diversity in Law School Leadership, Villanova (August 2019).
  • Distance Learning in Legal Education Working Group, Harvard Law School, Cambridge (May 2013).
  • Gruter Institute, Conference, Innovation, Economic Growth, and Human Behavior, Olympic Valley, Innovations in Law School Teaching (May 2012).
  • Distance Learning in Legal Education Working Group, University of Dayton Law School, Classrooms of the Future, Dayton (April 2012).
  • Bricks, Bytes, and Continuous Renovation, Best Practices for Building a High-Tech Law School, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego (March 2012).
  • Distance Learning in Legal Education, An invitation-only workshop for leaders in law school distance learning, Harvard Law School, Cambridge (November 2011).
  • Social Media Summit, Harrisburg University, 3D Simulations in Education, Harrisburg (September 2011)
  • Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, Engaging and Assessing Our Students, New York Law School, Classrooms of the Future, New York (June 2011).
  • The Delaware Valley and Pennsylvania Women Law Professors, Villanova University School of Law, High-Tech Educational Spaces for the (Near) Future, Villanova (February 2011).
  • Conference for Law School Computing: Reboot Legal Education, Best Practices for Building a High-Tech Law School, Camden (June 2010).
  • Bricks, Bytes, and Continuous Renovation: Law School Facilities Conference, Advanced Teaching Spaces, Philadelphia (March 2010).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Tech Law Forum, Ethics and Client Confidentiality Issues Associated with Attorneys Using Online Storage and Backup Services, Philadelphia (July 2007).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, E-discovery Program, Professional Responsibility Issues that Arise When Lawyers use Embedded Information in Electronic Documents, Philadelphia (November 2007).
  • Villanova University School of Law, 50th Anniversary Symposium, The Next 50 Years in the Law, The Future of Law and Information Technology, Villanova, PA (September 2003).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Internet Update, Professional Responsibility and Attorney Ethics, Philadelphia (April 2003).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Internet Update, Social and Legal Ramifications of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Technologies, Philadelphia (April 2002).
  • Institute for the Study of Information Technology and Society, Legal and Technological Change in E-commerce, Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University (February 2002).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Legal Issues in Advertising, Internet Advertising and FTC Regulations, Philadelphia (March 2002).
  • American Society for Information Science and Technology, UCITA and the Information Professional, Washington, D.C. (November 2001).
  • National Association for College and University Attorneys, Universities, UCITA and Information Access and Control, Washington, D.C. (November 2001).
  • Federal Trade Commission, ESIGN Public Workshop, moderator, Washington, D.C. (April 2001).
  • Federal Trade Commission, Warranty Protection for High-Tech Products and Services, moderator, Washington, D.C. (October 2000).
  • Practicing Law Institute, E-Commerce: Strategies for Success in the Digital Economy, Advertising on the Internet, Local and Global Issues, New York City, Boston (September 2000).
  • Federal Trade Commission, Internet Investigations Training, Internet Overview, Jurisdiction, Privacy-Related Legal Issues, Spam, Web Site Cramming, International Modem Dialing, Washington, D.C. (June 2000), Austin (August 2000), Rockville (March 2001), Harrisburg (May 2001), Tallahassee (May 2001), Boston (June 2001).
  • Association for Telecommunications Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA), Cramming and the FTC's Pay-Per-Call Rule, Washington, D.C. (July 2000).
  • Congressional Commission on Online Child Protection, Children's Online Protection Act (COPA) Testimony, The Creation of a New Top-Level Domain for Adult Content, Washington, D.C. (June 2000).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Internet Update, Domain Names and Cybersquatting, Philadelphia (April 2000).
  • The Global Democracy Project, Cyberterrorism: The World Held Hostage in the Digital Age, opening remarks, Villanova (March 2000).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Technology Institute, Domain Names and Cybersquatting, Philadelphia (February 2000).
  • The Delaware Valley and Pennsylvania Women Law Professors, Social Norm Theory and Internet Regulation, Temple University (February 2000).
  • University of Maryland School of Law, Legal Theory Workshop, Norm Origin and Development in Cyberspace: Models of Cybernorm Evolution, Baltimore (September 1999).
  • Villanova Sports and Entertainment Law Journal Annual Symposium, Place Your Bets: Who Will Hold the Cards in Internet Gambling, moderator and panelist, Villanova (Spring 1999).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, CLE, Internet Law Update, Jurisdiction and Dispute Resolution, Philadelphia (Spring 1999).
  • The Global Democracy Project and Villanova International Law & Policy Compendium, NATO Troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Implications of a Sustained Involvement, opening remarks, Villanova (Spring 1998).
  • National Association of Attorneys General and Appellate Chiefs, The Future of the Internet and Other Important Trends in Technology, Washington, D.C. (May 1998).
  • The Delaware Valley and Pennsylvania Women Law Teachers, Information Technology as a Catalyst for Democratization, Temple University (February 1998).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, CLE, The Internet for PA Lawyers, Philadelphia, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburgh, (February 1998).
  • United States Institute for Peace, Strategic Plan to Rebuild Legal Information Infrastructure of Rwanda (presentation to and discussion with the Rwandan Ministry of Justice and U.S. State Dept.) Washington, D.C. (December 1997).
  • Villanova University Professional Day, Implications of the Communications Decency Act, Villanova (November 1997).
  • European Commission for Democracy through Law, Venice Commission, The Importance of Open Access to Court Opinions through the Internet, Central and Eastern European Legal Network, Brussels (October 1997).
  • Delaware Council of 13, Computer Law Issues for Corporate Attorneys, Delaware (October 1997).
  • Berks County Bar Association, Bench Bar Conference, Law and the Internet, (September 1997).
  • Computer Aided Legal Instruction (CALI) 1997 Conference: The Democratization of Computer Assisted Legal Instruction, plenary speaker, Chicago (June 1997).
  • United States Tax Court, Integrated Systems for Legal Institutions, Washington. D.C. (April 1997).
  • University of Buffalo Law Review Symposium: Information Access Rights Based on International Human Rights Law, Buffalo (March 1997).
  • Sarajevo Office of Management and Information Technologies Center, Soros Foundations - Open Society Fund Bosnia-Herzegovina, Networked Systems for Legal Institutions, Sarajevo (February 1997).
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, CLE, The Internet for Attorneys, Technical Overview, Ethics and the Internet, Philadelphia (May 1995, August 1996, April 1997, November 1998), Pittsburgh (August 1996).
    Villanova University School of Law Alumni, Law and the Internet, Philadelphia, Delaware, New York (1995, 1996).
  • Benefit Program for Project Bosnia, The Internet for Professionals, Philadelphia (October 1996).
  • CEO Roundtable, The Internet for CEOs, Philadelphia (1996).
  • Philadelphia Bar Association CLE Presentation, Intellectual Property and the Information Superhighway, Philadelphia (October 1996).
  • 7 State Presidents of American Association of University Women (AAUW), Project Bosnia, Washington, D.C. (September 1996).
  • Private Law Firm presentations, Cyberspace and Attorneys with an Emphasis on Intellectual Property, Philadelphia (August 1996).
  • Lancaster Bar Association, Internet Applications for Lawyers (February 1996).
  • The University of Sarajevo, ABA CEELI hosted presentation, Technology Uses in Law Schools, Villanova (January 1996).