Jennifer Johnson, the Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Lewis & Clark Law School, will become the school's new dean this summer. She succeeds Robert Klonoff who will step down at the end of May. Johnson, who holds a JD from Yale, joined the Lewis and Clark faculty in 1980.
President and Dean Eugene Milhizer, who has led the Ave Maria School of Law since he was appointed acting dean in 2009, is stepping down at the end of the academic year. He supervised the re-creation of the law school in Naples, Florida. Milhizer will return to the faculty and, presumably, more fully enjoy the sunny climes of the Gulf Coast.
Two weeks after Wyoming Law dean Stephen Easton resigned due to conflict with the University's president, that president - Robert Sternberg - announced his resignation. The announcement followed a 9 hour Board of Trustees meeting. Sternberg had held the position for about four months. He had previously served as provost at Oklahoma State. One can't help but wonder whether we'll see Professor Easton reappointed in the very near future...
Dean Jim Rosenblatt, who has lead the Mississippi College of Law since 2003, will be stepping down in August 2014. He will return to the faculty. In addition to his day-to-day job leading a law school, he maintains a database of all law school deans here.
Update: As Sharona Hoffman notes in comments, my post incorrectly called them interim deans. The letter from the provost actually calls them acting deans. I mistakenly relied on the reporting of the student-run newspaper at CWRU Law.
Wayne State University School of Law Interim Dean Jocelyn Benson is considering a run for the House seat in Michigan's 11th Congressional District. Benson, a Democrat who joined the Wayne State faculty in 2005, is founder and executive director of the Michigan Center for Election Law. She ran unsuccessfully for Michigan Secretary of State in 2010, the same year she published her book State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process.
Valparaiso University Law School has named DePaul University Professor Andrea Lyon as its new dean. She will take over in June, 2014. Lyon, a clinical professor of law and associate dean of clinical programs, is director of DePaul's Center for Justice in Capital Cases. She is very well known in death penalty advocacy circles. Lyon holds a JD from Antioch School of Law.
Lyon succeeds Jay Conison, who (as chair of the accreditation committee) was a key participant in the ABA's efforts to update law school accreditation guidelines. Conison is now the dean of Charlotte Law School.
I've fallen behind a bit on this story. About two weeks ago, Wyoming Law Dean Stephen Easton resigned in protest, after the University convened a task force (over his objection, and without his consultation) to evaluate the law school. On Friday, Wyoming President Bob Sternberg held a town hall for law students, faculty and alums to explain his view of what was going on. But former Dean Easton stood up to make his case that university was mistreating the law school. Sounds like this meeting got a bit wild and wooly.
And all of this excitement in the midst of an ABA site inspection year!
I won't repeat all the allegations contained in the lawsuit against him, but sufice to say that matters in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas are proving to be a distraction for Dean Lawrence Mitchell and he has taken a paid leave of absence. Read more here.
Rutgers-Camden law dean Rayman Solomon has been named the new provost of Rutgers-Camden, effective January 1, 2014, for an eighteen month appointment. He will remain as law school dean until June 30, 2014. Solomon came to Rutgers from Northwestern University and has been dean since 1998.
Vice-dean John Oberdiek will become acting dean effective next July.
It's time for the new list. I'll start with what I know, and look forward to hearing of additional searches from our readers. Please email me the information at DMF55[at]DREXEL[dot]EDU. I will delete comments that are not purely informational in nature.
Last year's search list is here. (2011-12 is here, 2010-11 is here, 2009-10 is here, and 2008-09 is here.)
I just got an email from someone at Bloomberg Law today alerting me to a video chat with Brooklyn Law's dean, Nicholas Allard. What was most interesting to me is that Allard is identified as the school's dean - and a partner at Patton Boggs. On the Brooklyn Law site, he's described as the dean and a professor. And at the Patton Boggs website, he is still identified as a partner. Somehow, I thought that he was planning to leave Patton Boggs.
Here's my question. Is this permitted at an ABA accredited law school?
Standard 206(a) provides:
A law school shall have a full time dean
What does full-time mean? That's not explained for deans, but for faculty, Standard 402(b) provides:
A full-time faculty member is one who primary professional employment is with the law school and who devotes substantially all working time during the academic year to the responsiblities described in Standard 404(a), and whose outside professional activities, if any...do not unduly interfere with one's responsibility as a faculty member.
Interpretation 402-4 states:
Regularly engaging in law practice or having an ongoing relationship with a law firm...creates a presumption that a faculty member is not a full-time faculty member...
A few faculty members do maintain some affiliation with law firms. The rule of thumb seems to be that such faculty may work no more than a day a week at the firm. But I wonder whether this is, or ought to be, true of deans. The usual consideration might be whether he delivers the services students and faculty have a right to expect from the dean of an ABA law school. But I also wonder whether having a dean who is also a partner at a law firm creates either actual, or apparent, conflicts of interest for the law school.
I can see plenty of upside for the law school. It connects a wired lawyer with a large cohort of students. And by having a dean with a finger on the pulse of practice, the school might better align the academic program with the needs of the profession. Maybe this arrangement is entirely acceptable under the ABA rules. And perhaps, if it's not acceptable, it ought to be.
But I could also imagine that there are challenges here. My sense is that leading a big law school like Brooklyn is more than a full time job. Where does he find time to be a partner? And if Allard's values and priorities are wildly out of synch with the faculty - a fact about which I have no information at all - managing the law school might become quite difficult.
Whatever else it is, this is an interesting experiment.
Update: the PR blast was from Bloomberg. I have corrected the post.
Further update: The email I received was not an official press release from Bloomberg but rather a heads up from a content producer sharing a link to content - an interview - he had produced for the site.
For years I have enjoyed the honor, opportunity and responsibility to serve the profession through various leadership roles in the American Bar Association (ABA). Some of these have included service as a section chair, a member of standing committees appointed by the President, a member of the nominating committee and as a member of the House of Delegates, the policy making body of the ABA. It is disappointing that more law school faculty and administrators fail to take an active role in the Association, especially since this is the national voice for our profession. There are scarce few members of the Academy represented in the House of Delegates. Yet, this body substantively debates myriad legal and policy positions on uniform acts and proposed regulatory and legislative change that impact the legal landscape. It is perhaps understandable (though not excusable) that there are not more members of the Academy in the House of Delegates since election or appointment to the House is accomplished through either leadership positions in state and local bar associations, leadership in ABA Sections, or a small number of delegates elected by the membership running either at-large or representing certain constituencies.
The ABA membership structure benefits most law schools that opt for a law school-wide membership for faculty. There are many good reasons for law faculty to actively engage with the ABA through substantive sections and committees. For example, the sections have robust publishing programs that include books, magazines, sometimes law reviews/journals and newsletters. Not only is it a good way to stay current in a field, but faculty could have the opportunity to reach thousands of lawyers across the country by publishing with the ABA. The ABA also has an extensive CLE programming throughout the year and not just in conjunction with regularly scheduled meetings. The webinar and teleconference CLE formats not only allow you to listen in from your office, but you have the opportunity to participate as presenters. This involvement is great because in part, it lets practitioners know who you are and the kind of research and scholarship you are producing, and of course like publications it helps to brand you with the name of your school. Sections and committees also develop proposed resolutions to the ABA House of Delegates that may shape the future policy of the Association and lead the way for law reform. This can be another avenue to pursue reform initiatives individual faculty may be advocating through research and scholarship endeavors. Another great benefit is networking. By showing up in person at various ABA meetings, faculty get to meet exceptional lawyers from across the country who can both help when needed to answer questions about unique legal doctrines in a given state, and who also may be in a position to hire your students after graduation.
It is true that the ABA Section on Legal Education is a “natural” home for many academics/ administrators, and that is the place where accreditation and standards issues are debated and approved. I am not discussing the Section on Legal Education or those types of issues in this blog entry, since my purpose is different – it is to raise awareness of other important contributions we can make to the profession as a whole through the ABA and how active involvement benefits our roles as teachers and scholars. However, I will note that at the last meeting of the ABA House of Delegates in San Francisco in August, there was a spotlight program on the challenges facing legal education with two members of the academy presenting. Further, the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education is an initiative arising from the broader ABA and not from the Section on Legal Education.
In short, my anecdotal observation based on active ABA participation over the last two decades is that too many colleagues in the Academy are missing out on positive opportunities by accepting passive membership in the ABA and not taking a more active role.
From an email message that I received earlier today:
The UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT MERCY SCHOOL OF LAW invites
nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the School of
Law. A full description of the position and the application form
can be found at the School of Law’s website here. http://lawschool.udmercy.edu/index.php/2011-12-20-19-26-57