Retired Davis, Polk partner Harry Ballan has been named the new dean of Touro College Law. Ballan holds a JD from Columbia and a Ph.D in history and theory of music from Yale. He follows Patricia Salkin, who is now provost at Touro.
In March, the ABA Section of Legal Education's Council approved for notice and comment revisions to the ABA Standards 316 and 501 related to stricter bar passage rate requirements, admissions and attrition. Here are the key provisions:
Standard 316. BAR PASSAGE At least 75 percent of a law school’s graduates in a calendar year who sat for a bar examination must have passed a bar examination administered within two years of their date of graduation.
Standard 501. ADMISSION (a) A law school shall adopt, publish, and adhere to sound admission policies and practices consistent with the Standards, its mission, and the objectives of its program of legal education. (b) A law school shall admit only applicants who appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.
Interpretation 501-3. ATTRITION A law school having a non-transfer attrition rate above 20% percent bears the burden of demonstrating that it is in compliance with the Standard.
(For those wanting more detail, a marked up copy of the Standards (showing a comparison of the old rule and the proposed new rule) and the comments submitted regarding the proposal are available here.) Several thoughtful comments have been submitted related to these proposed standards, but this post is devoted to a comment submitted by Don LeDuc, the President and Dean of the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Mr. LeDuc has written to express his vociferous opposition to the proposed changes to ABA Standard 501 and 316.
It should not be at all surprising that Mr. LeDuc opposes any tightening of the rules regarding admissions given that he presides over the law school that admitted the statistically weakest law school entering class in history in 2015. What is surprising are his outlandish claims that it is an “unproven assertion” that bar results are tied to admission factors, and it is a “flawed premise” “that factors involved in law school admission decisions can be used to predict bar examination success.”
University of Akron Law Dean Matthew Wilson, who joined Akron in 2014, has been named interim president of the university. He will serve for 18 months as the school searches for a new leader. Akron Law Professors Sarah Cravens and Ryan Vacca have been appointed as interim co-deans.
Dean JoAnne Epps, who has led Temple Law since 2008, has been nominated to become the new provost of Temple University. The appointment awaits approval of the Temple's board of trustees. Gregory Mandel will serve as interim dean of the law school.
Professor Judith Daar, who joined the Whittier Law faculty in 1990, has been named the school's new dean. She is a graduate of Georgetown Law and focuses on health law and bioethics. She served as associate dean from 2008 to 2012.
Eric Mitnick, who has been serving as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, has been appointed Interim Dean at U.Mass. Law starting July 1. From the official announcement:
Professor Mitnick received his A.B. from Cornell University; his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan; and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in the fields of Public Law, Political Theory, and American Politics. He also practiced law from 1991-1995, a fact extremely important to the School of Law as it seeks to fulfill the goal of producing graduates who are ready for the practice of law. Professor Mitnick is an accomplished scholar in the areas of constitutional law, rights, socio-legal and multicultural theory and is author of the book, Rights, Groups, and Self-Invention: Group-Differentiated Rights in Liberal Theory (2006).
A Lounge reader reached out to let me know that Penn State Law’s dean search has been unsuccessful (announced to the faculty by the provost) and that at least some faculty have been unhappy with the search process and a perceived lack of faculty input. This seems to be a recurring theme these days -- see for example, this previous discussion regarding the Florida dean search, this one about the SLU interim dean appointment, and this item regarding DePaul law school.
In the case of Penn State, the complaints apparently include search committee composition, a lack of openness and communication during the search process, the way in which candidates were vetted, and whether (or the extent to which?) faculty are polled on their views of candidates. Some of the discontent may also stem from the law school’s recent rankings drop. As Above the Law reported in March:
Penn State, fresh off separating its campuses into two separate law schools, continues its downward descent into oblivion by losing another 15 spots in the rankings, following up on a 20-spot drop just last year. To think, Penn State was once so close to being ranked as a Top 50 school.
Of course, there have probably always been tensions and disagreements surrounding the level of faculty involvement in a dean search. But the enrollment crisis at many law schools and consequent budget tensions with the main university may have exacerbated the issue in recent years. I don’t have a personal knowledge of these events and am simply passing on the information as its been told to me. Readers who do have a personal knowledge of the situation at Penn State are, of course, invited to comment.
Professor Garry Jenkins, the associate dean of academic affairs at Ohio State Law has been named the new dean at the University of Minnesota Law School. Jenkins, who joined the Ohio State faculty in 2004, and holds a JD from Harvard, will take over in July.
Northern Illinois University College of Law announced, today, that Eric Dannenmaier will take over as its dean this summer. Dannenmaier is a Professor of Law at Indiana-Indianapolis Law with a focus on environmental law, He holds a JD from Boston University and a JSD from Columbia, and joined the Indiana faculty in 2007.
CUNY Law School has announced two of the four finalists in its dean search. They are Dr. Lolita Buckner Inniss (Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law) and Justice Fern Fisher (Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts). The bios for these two finalists are here. CUNY has not yet announced the other two finalists.
I've just heard that Roger Dennis, the founding dean of Drexel Law School -- and before that provost at Rutgers University and dean of Rutgers-Camden Law -- is retiring as dean of Drexel Law. This comes as surprising news to me because Roger has loomed large in my life for so long. Going back to my time in practice I remember some of the partners I worked for at Skadden, Arps talking about their friend Roger, who had been an associate in the antitrust department. When I went into teaching Roger was already dean at Rutgers-Camden and on his way to becoming Provost. Cribbing now a little from the Drexel press release:
Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD, announced that Roger Dennis, founding dean of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law, will retire next year. Dennis has agreed to stay on through the end of the 2016-17 academic year while the University undertakes a national search for his replacement.
Dennis joined the law school during its inaugural academic year, 2006-07. He led the school through the American Bar Association accreditation process in the shortest amount of time possible, resulting in full accreditation in 2011. Dennis also was instrumental in building connections with the Philadelphia legal community, including the relationship that led to noted trial attorney Thomas R. Kline making the largest gift in Drexel history to the school that now bears his name.
“Through one of the most tumultuous times in legal education, Roger has remained the driving force behind [this] innovative and successful institution,” wrote Blake. “As a new provost this year, I am fortunate to benefit from Roger’s expertise as a former provost himself, in addition to his many contributions to our scholarly programs in the Kline School of Law and across [Drexel].”
When Drexel was opening I heard about how fortunate they were to recruit Roger as their dean. In addition to being a friend of this blog and a fellow lover of monuments and courthouses, Roger is a person with immense energy and enthusiasm and talent as an educator, lawyer, and administrator. I had the pleasure of serving on an ABA inspection team he chaired a few years back and saw how masterfully he dealt with a variety of constituents, from the central administration to the faculty and students. I know the entire Drexel community has been lucky to have his talents. He has guided the construction of the school, literally and figuratively. Drexel had built an outstanding faculty (and hired many others who've gone on to great careers elsewhere), been a leader in experiential learning, renovated a beautiful building, and generated impressive fundraising. I'm sure there will be a lot of talk of Roger's legacy for Drexel and I know he'll be missed.
Syracuse University School of Law has announced that Dean Craig Boise of Cleveland-Marshall Law will become the New York school's new dean this summer. Boise, who holds a JD from the University of Chicago, and a tax LLM from NYU, joined Cleveland State in 2011.
University of Arizona Professor James Anaya has been named the new dean of the University of Colorado law school, effective this summer. Anaya, who holds a JD from Harvard, joined Arizona Law in 1999. He takes over from Dean Phil Weiser.
There's great news coming out of Loyola Law School - Los Angeles today. Professor Michael Waterstone, who joined the Loyola - LA faculty in 2006,, has been named the school's dean, effective this summer. Michael, who holds a JD from Harvard, got his start at the University of Mississippi (back when I was still at Alabama) and he's long been a wonderful colleague. Loyola will undoubtedly thrive under Michael's leadership.
Professor Bruce Smith, of the University of Illinois College of Law, has been named the new law dean at the University of Denver, effective this summer. Smith led Illinois Law as its dean from 2009-14, taking over after a tumultuous period at the law school. Smith, who holds a JD and Ph.D (in history) from Yale, replaces Dean Marty Katz who has led Denver for the past seven years.
Good news from Provo! Professor Gordon Smith has been named as the new law school dean at Brigham Young University, effective this May. Gordon, who holds a JD from the University of Chicago, previously served as the school's associate dean.
Most readers have probably heard about Sujit Choudhry's flame-out as Dean of Berkeley Law. The University of California has now filled the vacancy, naming Professor Melissa Murray as the school's Interim Dean. Murray, a Yale Law graduate, has been a member of the Berkeley faculty since 2006.