Leonard M. Baynes

J.D., Columbia University
M.B.A., Columbia University
B.S., New York University

Leonard M. Baynes is Professor of Law and the inaugural Director of The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development  at St. John's University School of Law. On January 25, 2007, at the Vincentian Convocation, St. John’s University recognized Professor Baynes’s service and accomplishments with the prestigious President’s Medal.

Professor Baynes received his B.S. from New York University and J.D. - M.B.A. from Columbia University. At Columbia, Professor Baynes was awarded the Earl Warren Scholarship, the COGME Fellowship and was associate editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. He is also a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Economic Honors Society. Immediately after law school, Professor Baynes served as a Law Clerk to Federal District Court Judge Clifford Scott Green in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Professor Baynes teaches Business Organizations, Communications Law, Regulated Industries, Race and the Law and Law and Perspectives on Justice, a course exclusively offered to second year staff members of the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development in which the students write a note, blog and op-ed. Professor Baynes is a nationally recognized communications law scholar, specializing in race and media issues. While on leave of absence and sabbatical, from 1997 to 2001, Professor Baynes worked for then-FCC Chairman William E. Kennard as a Scholar-in-Residence at the Federal Communications Commission, where he served as a member of the Opportunity Team and worked on minority access and ownership issues. In 1999, Professor Baynes lectured in international continuing legal education programs on telecommunications issues in Bogotá, Columbia and Panama City, Panama.

In 2004, Professor Baynes served as an expert witness at the Federal Communications Commission Federal Advisory Committee for Diversity in broadcast ownership. Also in 2006, the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council (“MMTC”) inducted Professor Baynes into its Hall of Fame. In presenting the award, Former FCC Commissioner and MMTC Chair Henry Rivera described Professor Baynes as “a champion for diversity.” Past inductees include former FCC Chairman William Kennard, Congressman John Conyers, Johnnie Cochran (posthumously), former Congressman William Gray, and Inner City Broadcaster founder and former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton.

Also in 2006, Professor Baynes signed a contract with Aspen Publishers to co-author (with Professors Allen Hammond IV and Catherine Sandoval) a case book entitled: “Telecommunications Law: Convergence and Competition.” Professor Baynes has written over twenty-five law review articles on Race/Racism and the Law, Corporate Law, Communications Law, or the intersection of the three. 

Professor Baynes has also won numerous other awards. In April 2004, the SBA presented Professor Baynes with an award for his service to the law school community. In September 2004, Dean Mary Daly presented Professor Baynes with an award for his teaching of his Race and the Law course. In October 2004, Professor Baynes was presented The Extraordinary Service Award for his teaching, scholarship, and service by the Second National People of Color Conference. In 2005 and 2006, Professor Baynes received an award from the John Jay College of Criminal Law Puerto Rican/Latin American Studies Department for his involvement in the creation of The Ronald H. Brown Summer Prep Program for College Students. In fact, in a memo to the law school community, Dean Daly cited Professor Baynes as the “driving force” for the creation of the Summer Prep Program. In 2010, Professor Baynes also was awarded the Diversity Trailblazer Award by the New York Bar Association, and in 2011, Professor Baynes accepted the American Bar Association Alexander Award on behalf of the Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program for College Students, which was the first Law School-based pipeline program to win this prestigious award.

Professor Baynes is also very active in academic circles and is especially concerned about diversity issues. He is the past Chair of the AALS Minority Law Section, and served as Chair of the Planning Committee for the AALS Workshop on Racial Justice in A New Millennium; From Brown to Grutter: Methods to Achieve Non-Discrimination and Comparable Racial Equality. As Chair of the AALS standing Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Minority Faculty, Professor Baynes co-authored the committee commentary to a report entitled “The Racial Gap in the Promotion to Tenure of Law Professors.” The committee commentary and AALS report were the first of their kind commissioned by the AALS and showed a clear disparity in tenure rates between professors of color and white professors.

On January 18, 2007, Professor Baynes testified at a forum entitled “A Public Forum: A Lasting Blueprint for Judicial Diversity. The forum was sponsored by then-New York State Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith. In his testimony, Professor Baynes examined the underrepresentation of people of color in the New York State judiciary and in New York State law schools.

Professor Baynes is one of the founding members of Northeastern People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference. This Conference provides opportunities for junior faculty to present works-in-progress in which they receive feedback in safe environments. These annual conferences have been held at the law schools throughout the Northeast and the Caribbean. 

Lastly, Professor Baynes is admitted to practice in both New York State and Massachusetts.