Letter From the Dean
As I stated in my letter to President Glassner, the time is right for me to pass on the leadership of this school to someone else. At the end of this academic year I will have served as dean for seven years. This is a long time for any one person to lead an institution. (The median tenure for a law dean is 3.27 years, and the average tenure is 4.18 years.)
With the help and support of our law school community, we have achieved all of the major goals that I identified when I started here. We have enhanced our national reputation, hired extraordinary faculty, created innovative international programs, increased the diversity of the faculty and student body, ushered in reforms to elevate the status of our clinical and legal writing professors, and strengthened our already strong academic programs.
When I came to the law school, the most pressing fundraising need was for endowed faculty positions. We now have 12 endowed positions (compared to three positions when I arrived). The most recent one is the professorship to honor Ed Brunet. We have also established new endowed student scholarships, built a beautiful moot court facility, and raised funds for three new endowed annual lectures. Major gifts for animal law have enabled us to create the world’s top program in the field.
There is nothing more important than helping our students find jobs, and we have redoubled our efforts to help our students. We have implemented a host of employment-related initiatives. Moreover, our careful planning and budgeting will ensure the strength of the school over the long term, even as the profession continues to face challenges.
I am proud of the many extraordinary speakers we have attracted to the law school during my deanship, including four U.S. Supreme Court Justices, five former U.S. Solicitors General, and myriad renowned scholars, jurists, and civil rights leaders. An especially memorable moment occurred when Justice Kennedy formally established the Anthony Kennedy Annual Lecture on the Supreme Court and the Constitution.
Most of all, I am gratified that, as we have moved forward, we have preserved the culture and personality that make our school unique. Our students are talented and passionate, and our alumni are leaders of the bench and bar. Our professors have never been more effective as teachers or as scholars, and our dedicated staff enable our school to operate seamlessly.
I appreciate the strong support I have received from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the Board of Visitors. I look forward to completing my service as dean and then remaining actively involved as a professor in moving this great law school forward.
The school is in good hands with the selection of Professor Jennifer Johnson as dean. She will be a great leader. I am optimistic about the future of the school, and I look forward to working closely with Jennifer. I also look forward to staying in contact with the entire law school community, including our wonderful alumni and friends.
Dean and Jordan D. Schnitzer Professor of Law