Jerry Dickinson

Vice Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Associate Professor of Law


Professor Dickinson serves as Vice Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As Vice Dean, he is responsible for the internal administration and operation of the School of Law's programs of legal education, including the management and long-term planning of Law School curriculum, supervision of adjunct faculty, member of leadership team drafting strategic plans for the Law School, coordination of promotion and tenure processes, budget and financial planning, and the primary representative of the Law School when the Dean is not available.

Professor Dickinson's teaching and scholarship specializes in constitutional law and constitutional property. His recent scholarship focuses on constitutional judicial federalism and the relationship between federal and state courts and the informal means that judicial sovereigns dialogue with each other in our system of judicial federalism. His scholarship has featured in numerous respected law reviews and has been cited by U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Sixth Circuits, amicus briefs filed by Former Members of Congress in federal courts, and by foreign and international courts, such as the High Court of South Africa. His work has also been featured in The Washington Post, The Hill, and The Atlantic.

Prior to joining the academy, Professor Dickinson served as a law clerk for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. He practiced at Reed Smith LLP in Pittsburgh, where he founded and coordinated the Housing Rights Project, a pro bono initiative advocating on behalf of indigent tenants in eviction proceedings in Allegheny County in collaboration with the Neighborhood Legal Services Association. Professor Dickinson is a former Fulbright Scholar to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he studied comparative constitutional law and housing with faculty at the University of Witswatersrand School of Law and worked as a human rights activist organizing and representing squatters in eviction proceedings with lawyers at the University’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies. 

Professor Dickinson has frequently appeared in national and international news outlets, such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, US Today, Rolling Stone, Roll Call, Boston Globe, Austin American-Statesman, Washington Examiner, Bloomberg, BBC-News, BBC-UK, The Hill, The Atlantic, and MSNBC. He also regularly appears on local television and radio stations, such as WTAE, KDKA, WPXI, and WESA, and in local print outlets such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and City Paper.

Professor Dickinson also has extensive litigation and transactional pro bono experience. He‘s represented indigent tenants in eviction proceedings and conducted fair housing civil rights litigation in state court. Professor Dickinson represented a non-profit organization to establish a community land trust in a predominantly Black neighborhood. He served as legal counsel for an activist organization pursuing a ballot referendum to overhaul a local police department. Professor Dickinson has also advised a local historic Black church in past discrimination claims. Professor regularly attends and speaks at protests and rallies throughout the region on issues related to racial justice and human rights. 

Professor Dickinson is a former congressional candidate. In 2020 and 2022, he ran for the Democratic nominations in two high-profile federal elections for Pennsylvania's 12th and 18th Congressional Districts on platforms involving racial justice, healthcare reform, climate change, gun control, criminal justice reform and affordable housing. Professor Dickinson raised over one million in campaign contributions from 100% individual donations. 

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