Teaching is a Life-Long Journey for Professor Margaret Drew
Margaret Drew wanted to be a lawyer as far back as she can remember. This goal was realized in 1980 when she graduated from Northeastern University College of Law. A lifelong resident of Massachusetts until moving to Cincinnati, Professor Drew received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts having studied History and English. Following law school, she obtained her LL.M. in Taxation from Boston University School of Law. After working for a small firm for one year, she started her own practice. Drew practiced for 25 years before accepting the offer from the College of Law to be the first director of the Domestic Violence Clinic.
A Focus on Domestic Violence
Professor Drew said that her introduction to domestic violence work came one day through a random telephone call from a prospective client who wanted divorce information. Drew quickly discovered that there was serious physical and emotional abuse during the marriage. She also discovered that she had a natural intuition for the work and a good rapport with survivors. A sole practitioner for most of her career, Drew learned the value of bar associations in staying connected with other practitioners, as well as remaining current in practice.
Professor Drew has been a member of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) tax and family law sections since the early days of her practice. Because of her expertise in domestic violence, she has been affiliated with the ABA’s Commission on Domestic Violence since its inception in 1994.
In the late nineties, Professor Drew decided that it was time for a change in her practice. Having developed her domestic violence expertise, she did not want to leave the field, but did want to limit her litigation practice. She considered training others to do the work to be the perfect use of her skills. Already having a rich history of training attorneys, Drew accepted a one-year appointment to Northeastern University’s School of Law Domestic Violence Institute, where she supervised students in the Domestic Violence Clinic. She continued on at Northeastern as an adjunct professor and eventually decided to pursue a full-time teaching career. Drew said that the position here at the College of Law was particularly attractive because the clinic was brand new. The clinic attracted her because of the opportunities to develop and shape a new student practice opportunity.
Life Satisfaction gained through Teaching
Professor Drew says she loves her work. She is most proud of two accomplishments, both involving teaching. First, each semester she takes pride in watching the development of students from academics to practitioners. “Training students to incorporate the intellectual pursuit of law into the practice is the ideal teaching environment,” Drew said. “Students must be willing to continue the intellectual component of practice to reach a sophisticated level of practice. Serving the client means developing not only practice skills, but clear analytical ones, as well.” She hopes that clinic students are taking away an appreciation of this combination of complimentary skills.
The second achievement of which Professor Drew is most proud is her receipt of the 2008 Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence. She is grateful to her students for nominating her. She loves teaching and is delighted to know that her students have benefited from her work. In fact, throughout her private practice Professor Drew hired law students and mentored them as part of Northeastern Law School’s cooperative education program.
Drew recalled that when she was in undergraduate school, her history department chair wanted to nominate her for a Danforth Fellowship. (The Danforth Foundation supports those in the teaching profession.) “While I declined the nomination, I realize that my well-loved professor, Thomas Brown, saw the teacher in me, at a time when I could not.”
She continued, “I love what I do and learn as much from my students and clients as they could ever learn from me.”
Professor Drew lives with her husband in the city’s West End. They love the arts and exploring the region. One of her favorite pastimes is reading. Professor Drew practices Reiki, which is an ancient Tibetan spiritual practice, as well as one of the healing arts.