Prior to assuming the deanship of the University of South Carolina School of Law, Burnele Venable Powell served as Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Missouri--Kansas City School of Law (1995-2003). Prior to UMKC, he was Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill, where he taught legal ethics and administrative law. Before joining the North Carolina faculty in 1979, Powell was a Graduate Law Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School (1977-79), where he received his LL.M. degree (1979). Powell also holds a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School (1973) and B.A. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City (1970). Before entering Harvard, Powell was Associate Regional Counsel at the Department of Housing & Urban Development, Boston (1973-1977). He is a member of the Wisconsin and Massachusetts State Bars and has taught as a visiting professor of law at the University of Oregon and Washington University in St. Louis.
Powell's current professional activities include ex officio membership on the South Carolina Board of Governors and chairmanship of the ABA Consortium on the Delivery of Legal Services, in connection with which he recently chaired the ABA Commission on Access to Lawyers. Powell is also a member of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar's Admissions Committee. From 1998 through August 2002, Powell served as founding chair of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Coordinating Council, a position in which he worked to coordinate the activities of the Center's presidentially appointed standing committees and ABA-affiliated groups. As Chair, Powell also served, ex officio, as a member of the Commission on the Evaluation of the Rules for Professional Conduct (The Ethics 2000 Commission) and the Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice. He was an appointed member of he ABA's Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice (1998-2000) and the Commission on Public Financing of Judicial Campaigns (2000-2001).
Dean Powell is a member of the American Law Institute and an At-Large Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is also a member of the National Bar Association. Powell's civic activities include membership on the Board of Directors of Consumers Union (publishers of Consumer Reports Magazine) where he serves as Board Secretary and Chair of the Audit Committee.
Powell moderated the Missouri Bar 2002 Annual Meeting Plenary Session on Lawyer Independence, Post-Enron and the 2000 Missouri Bar Public Roundtable on Diversity of the Legal Profession. He also hosted the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility/ Fordham Law School Symposium on Multijurisdictional Practice of Law, chaired the Missouri Bar Association Special Commission on Forum Nonconvenience (1998-99), and was a member of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam Drafting Committee (1993-1995) for which he continues to serve as an outside reader.
Powell has served as chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline (1990-94); as a member of the North Carolina State Bar Ethics Committee (1990-92). He was awarded the Missouri Bar President's Award in 1999 and 2000; the UMKC School of Education Alumni Achievement Award in 2001, and the UMKC Law Foundation's President's Award in 2002.
Dean Powell's most recent article, "The Limits of Integrity or Why Cabinets Have Locks, 73 Fordham L. Rev. 311 (2003), explores the meaning of integrity in relation to morals, ethics and psychological insights gained through exploration of the fundamental attribution error. Other recent articles include: "What Clients Want and Why They Can't Have It," 52 Emory LJ 1135-1146 (2003); "The Lesson of Enron for the Future of MDPs: Out of the Shadows and into the Sunlight," 80 Wash. U. L.Q. 1291. (November 2002); "Looking Ahead to the Alpha Jurisdiction: Some Considerations that the First MDP Jurisdiction Will Want to Think About," 36 Wake Forest L. Rev. 101(Spring 2001); "Flight from the Center: Is It Just or Just About the Money?" 84 Minn. L. Rev. 1439 (June 2000); and "Risking the Terrible Question of Religion in the Life of the Lawyer," 66 Fordham L. Rev. 1321 (1998).