The Dean Scene

David Meyer, Tulane Law School

David Meyer, a leading scholar of constitutional and family law has been named the 22nd dean of Tulane Law School and Mitchell Franklin Professor of Law, effective July 1, 2010. He currently serves associate dean for academic affairs and law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. After his graduation from law school, Meyer clerked for Judge Harry T. Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Byron T. White on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meyer has been a visiting professor at George Washington University Law School and Brooklyn Law School and is a member of the American Law Institute. Prior to joining the Illinois faculty in 1996, he served as a Legal Advisor to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague and practiced law in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

“David Meyer's appointment is the result of a national search that brought us a scholar of international renown,” Tulane President Scott Cowen said.  “He also has vast experience working directly with students and external constituencies, something we feel is vital in shaping the future course of our nationally ranked law program.”

Meyer will replace Stephen M. Griffin, the Rutledge C. Clement Jr. Professor in Constitutional Law, who has served as interim dean at the Law School since July 2009.  

David A. Brennen, University of Kentucky College of Law

Brennen succeeds former dean Allan Vestal who is now dean at Drake University Law School. He comes to Kentucky from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he has been a professor since 2006, and from the Association of American Law School (AALS), where he is completing a two-year term as deputy director. He is considered an innovator in the field of nonprofit law, and is a co-founder and co-editor of Nonprofit Law Prof Blog, founding editor of Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Abstracts, co-founder of the AALS Section on Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law and a co-author of one of the first law school casebooks on taxation of nonprofit organizations.

Kellye Testy, University of Washington School of Law

Testy made the move across town from her post as dean at Seattle University, a job she held since 2005. Testy is the first female dean of the UW School of Law in the 110-year history of the school. She joined Seattle University in 1992 as a professor, and taught in a variety of legal disciplines. Under her leadership, Seattle University’s U.S. News & World Report rankings rose to 77th in the nation. UW began its dean search after former dean W.H “Joe” Knight Jr., announced in January 2007 he was returning to the teaching faculty after an internal feud over his management style.

Janet Koven Levit, 

University of Tulsa College of Law

Levit served as interim dean for several months before being appointed dean. She is the first female dean of the law school and is an internationally recognized scholar in international law, with extensive scholarship in the areas of international commercial law, international human rights and international trade and finance.

Penelope Bryan, Whittier Law School

Bryan, an expert in family law, child custody and dispute resolution, spent 20 years as a law professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law before coming to Whittier.

Davison M. Douglas, William & Mary Law School

Douglas was promoted from within the ranks after spending nearly two decades as a professor at the law school. He replaced former dean Taylor Reveley, who now serves as president of the university.

Drucilla Stender Ramey, Golden Gate University School of Law

Ramey previously served as executive director of the National Association of Women Judges in New York.

Victor J. Gold, 

Loyola Law School

Gold served as acting dean and senior vice president in 2008 before becoming the law school’s 16th dean. He earned an Excellence in Teaching Award from the graduating class of 2007, and while serving as associate dean of academic affairs at the law school from 2000 to 2005, he oversaw a drive to recruit top professors and create more emphasis on faculty research.

Phoebe Haddon, University of Maryland School of Law

Haddon is Maryland law’s first African American, female dean. She replaces former dean Karen H. Rothenberg, who is returning to the faculty.

Irma Russell, 

University of Montana School of Law

Russell is the law school’s first female dean, and replaces former dean E. Edward Eck, who is returning to the faculty. She was a professor for the Energy-Environment Law & Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Kevin Washburn, University of New Mexico School of Law

Washburn, an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, is the school’s first American Indian to serve as dean. He comes to UNM from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, where he served as the Rosenstiel Distinguished Professor of Law.

Nell Jessup Newton, Notre Dame Law School

Newton, who was most recently chancellor and dean of the Hastings College of the Law at the University of California, has also served as dean at the University of Connecticut and the University of Denver. She replaces former dean Patricia A. O’Hara, who will return to the faculty.

Michael A. Simons, St. John’s University School of Law

Simons is the ninth dean to head the law school. He replaces former dean Mary C. Daly, who passed away in November. Since that time, Simons has served as acting dean.

Lawrence Ponoroff, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Ponoroff comes to Arizona from Tulane University in New Orleans, where he was dean of the law school for eight years. He was lauded for strong leadership of faculty and students in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

John DiPippa, University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law

 a faculty member at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, was named dean in February. DiPippa had served as interim dean since July 2008, when former dean Charles Goldner returned to teaching at the Bowen School.

Cathy Silak, Concordia University

Silak, a former Idaho Supreme Court Justice, was named dean of Concordia University’s law school that is slated to open in Boise, Idaho, in 2010 (see story on page 14). Part of Silak’s job will be to attain the rest of the $7 million that Concordia needs before it can enroll students.

Allan Vestal, Drake University Law School

Vestal comes to Drake from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was dean for eight years. At the University of Kentucky, Vestal secured federal funding for a program he created to expose diverse middle school students to the practice of law, and for scholarships for diverse students at the College of Law.

Joan Howarth, Michigan State University College of Law

Howarth had worked as a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas since 2001 before coming to MSU. She will replace Cliff Thompson, who has served as acting dean since February 2007.

Chris Guthrie, Vanderbilt University Law School

Guthrie, who was a former associate dean of academic affairs, is an expert in dispute resolution, negotiation, judicial decision-making, and behavioral law and economics. He signed onto a five-year term to replace former dean Edward L. Rubin, who will return to the faculty.

R. Alexander Acosta, Florida International University College of Law

Acosta, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, is the second dean to lead the college. He replaces former dean Leonard P. Strickman who founded the school.

Patricia D. White, University of Miami School of Law

White comes to Miami from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where she served as dean for nine years. She is published widely in the areas of tax law, bioethics, philosophy of law, legal education and torts, and replaces acting dean Paul R. Verkuil.

Matthew Diller, Cardozo School of Law

Diller comes to Cardozo from his post the Cooper Family Chair in Urban Legal issues and as professor at Fordham law School. While at Fordham, he also served as associate dean for academic affairs.

John J. Farmer Jr., Rutgers School of Law-Newark

Farmer is the former New Jersey Attorney General and replaces former dean Stuart L. Deutsch, who had served as dean of the law school since 1999.

Robert Post, Yale Law School

Post served as the David Boies Professor of Law at Yale since 2003, and is considered one of the foremost authorities of constitutional law, with particular attention to First Amendment, equal protection and legal history. Post steps in for former dean Harold Hongju Koh, who now serves as Legal Adviser to the U.S. State Department.