Mercer University Dean Gary Simson is moving on up. He has been named the university's Senior Vice-Provost for Scholarship. Simson came to Mercer from Case Law in 2010. Mercer's former dean, Daisy Floyd, will step in as interim dean as the school searches for a new leader.
Lawrence Mitchell, who came to Case Western Reserve Law as its new dean in 2011, has resigned. He has been on a leave of absence since November when fellow faculty member Raymond Ku sued, claiming that Mitchell had retaliated against him for reporting alleged sexual harassment. More details here.
Pace University School of Law has named David Yassky its new dean. Yassky, in addition to having lead New York's Taxi and Limo Commission and served as a city councilman, was once a member of the Brooklyn Law faculty. He has a JD from Yale.
Texas A&M Law, the school formerly known as Texas Wesleyan, has named four finalists in its dean search. They are Leonard Baynes (St. John's), Beto Juarez (Denver), Andy Morriss (Alabama) and Matt Parlow (Marquette).
The University of Detroit Mercy has appointed Phyllis Crocker its new law school dean, effective this summer. Crocker is currently a professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State. She previously served as both the associate dean and interim dean of the school. She holds a JD from Northeastern.
They are, apparently, Florida International University law dean Alex Acosta, Dean David Brennen of Kentucky Law, Professor Samuel Donaldson from Georgia State Law, and David Huebner, the former U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa.
Former NYU Law Dean Richard Revesz has been named the new director of the ALI. He replaces Lance Liebman who has led the organization for the past 15 years. Revesz is only the sixth person to head the organization over 90 plus years.
Professor Jeffrey Harrison is in the news again on the subject of the University of Florida law school dean search. Saturday he published an op/ed, UF Administration is Tone Deaf in Search for Law Dean, in the Gainesville Sun. The central thrust of his piece is the administration's marginalization of law faculty in the search process. Perhaps of more interest to Lounge readers, however, he argues that the school's search firm "bungled" a crucial part of the search:
It is increasingly clear that the firm did not fully advise the candidates about Florida's open records policy: All materials and names associated with the search are public. Exacerbating this was the firm's decision to announce all 24 candidates at once. This led to a massive data dump. In the past, although public as the law requires, the process allowed publicity-shy dean candidates to have their names trickled out over several months and allowed them ample time to drop out if the competition looked stiff.
He also comments on the utility of using a search firm in law dean searches generally:
The law teaching world...is a small one, and hiring a search firm to find a law dean candidate is like hiring one to find a football stadium in Gainesville. This means for what was likely tens of thousands of dollars the search firm appears to have made phone calls and forwarded curricula vitae (CV). At most it did what a first-year professor could have done.
Harrison is troubled by the lack of faculty involvement in paring the list from 24 to 10, and then from 10 to a small on-campus interview cohort. He may be right that the committee is unusually thin on law faculty. But how common it is for dean search committees to solicit faculty input on candidates prior to the selection of finalists? I had thought that most dean search committees, operating in the absence of open record laws, kept the identity of candidates under wraps until they'd made their final cut.
Roger Williams University School of Law announced that Michael Yelnosky, who was a founding member of the RWU joining the school in 1993, will replace the outgoing Dean, David Logan, this summer. Yelnosky holds a JD from Penn Law.
RWU Law also announced yesterday that it is lowering its sticker tuition price effective next year. For the 2014-15 academic year, the School of Law will reduce tuition from $41,400 to $33,792. The reduction will apply to both future and current students.
The University of Florida is searching for a new law dean. Like every dean search committee, this one prefers to maintain confidentiality for as long as possible in the process. It makes sense: there are lots of potential candidates who don't want to aggravate a current employer if there's no possibility of getting the new gig. Unfortunately for those candidates, and the committee, Florida has an open meeting law. So Florida news outlets have been reporting on Professor Jeffrey Harrison's efforts to learn the list of candidates being considered at this Friday's dean search committee meeting. After a bit of work, he got the list. More on this story here.
The 24 candidates are listed here. Some interesting names!
I missed this story last month: Henry Strickland has been named the new dean of Samford University Cumberland School of Law, starting this summer. He takes over from John Carroll, who has been dean since 2001. Strickland joined the Cumberland faculty in 1988. He received his JD from Vanderbilt Law in 1983.
Indiana University - Bloomington has named Southwestern Law School Professor Austen Parrish as its new law dean. Over the past months, Parrish served as interim dean of Southwestern University - between the deaprture of Bryant Garth and arrival of Susan Prager. Parrish is a 1997 graduate of Columbia Law and joined Southwestern in 2002. He takes over in Bloomington on January 1, 2014.
As law dean search season is in full swing, I thought I'd raise some process questions which I'm sure we've discussed before at The Lounge, but some time has passed and I'm wondering if people's views have changed. Many schools, including ours, are in the process of seeking a new dean and many, if not most, are now utilizing search firms to assist them. (BTW, UH is still accepting nominations for our position if anyone is interested - info previously posted here. Please excuse the sponsored advertisement!)
So I wanted to raise the question about the benefits and detriments of using search firms in the law dean context. One obvious benefit is the maintenance of confidentiality at least at the early stages of the process - search consultants can probably gauge a potential candidate's interest more confidentially than law professors. (I may be wrong about that, but I don't know.) A search firm that is experienced at law dean searches may also have a strong sense of the field - who's available/interested and who would be a good fit for which school. One obvious downside is cost and perhaps a sense that the process is not fully in the hands of the school and its various stakeholders.
I'm interested in the thoughts of folks who have engaged in dean searches both with and without search firms as to whether the increasing use of these firms is a move in the right direction for law schools.