Kaminshine: So Much More Than Dean
It’s difficult to define the ways in which Steven J. Kaminshine leads. Colleagues, alumni and friends clamor to add something new:
• He’s a responsive listener.
• He delegates and puts trust in the people he leads.
• He truly cares about his students, faculty and staff and their many needs.
• He’s a big-picture thinker with an eagle eye for detail.
• He never shies away from hard work.
In his more than decade as dean at Georgia State Law, the influence of his leadership on the school has been incalculable. There are a few numbers we can point to — the 40-spot jump in national rankings, the $30 million raised, the five new clinics — but the true breadth of his influence will continue to have ripple effects for many more decades, and it stretches far beyond the walls of 85 Park Place (which, not surprisingly, was also his idea).
As good of a dean as he’s been for the law school, Kaminshine has been an equally valuable leader in the broader legal communities of Atlanta, Georgia and even the entire country. From serving as president of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools to chairing the Labor and Employment Section of the Atlanta Bar (twice), Kaminshine is everywhere you look.
As a prominent member of the Section of Legal Education of the American Bar Association, Kaminshine has provided testimony on many topics, including the importance of clinical experience in law schools.
“He is always willing to roll up his sleeves and do what needs to be done to benefit the greater legal community,” said Linda Klein, president of the American Bar Association, who appreciates Kaminshine’s hands-on involvement. “Steve understands the role of the bar in leadership for the profession. He sees how the bar and law schools can work together to help the public and strengthen the profession.”
With the creation of the Lawyers for Equal Justice (LEJ) program, Kaminshine has helped do exactly that. A nonprofit that encourages Georgia lawyers to provide affordable services to low- and moderate-income clients, LEJ was a collaborative effort between the Supreme Court of Georgia, the State Bar and the five Georgia law schools.
“It has been a tremendous success and a national model for training programs for young lawyers that also provides service to those in need,” said Patrise Perkins-Hooker, past president of the State Bar. “I think without Dean Kaminshine’s willingness to go the extra distance, the other law schools might not have been as engaged.”
Bucky Askew, visiting professor of law and chair of the LEJ Board of Directors, seconds that idea. “Steve really led that collaborative effort,” he said. “In bringing me to Georgia State to create an incubator program, Steve was the one dean that had already been thinking about how to make low bono work and trying to promote it.”
As a former director of the Office of Bar Admissions for the Supreme Court of Georgia, Askew has seen Kaminshine’s leadership from the other side of the bar.
“Steve is a leader among the deans in terms of bar admission activities,” he said. “In the years I served as director, he and the law school were always looking for ways to help the Supreme Court make the process work more smoothly and be more responsive to student needs.”
Despite the wide-ranging nature of Kaminshine’s involvement in the legal profession, his efforts have always circled back to improving the law school he loves.
“Dean Kaminshine has been an instrumental leader at a crucial point in the development of Georgia State’s College of Law, and he has done much to move the school toward a position of preeminence,” said Hugh Thompson, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. “He should be very proud of the position in which he’s leaving the law school.”