New deans at Harvard, Duquesne, Wayne State and Loyola Chicago, among others

Several new law school deans have been announced in the past few months, with most taking reins July 1. With a median tenure of less than five years for a dean, there is typically around 40 new deans each year, with a majority taking their post on July 1.

In addition to Erwin Chemerinsky and Paul Caron, John Manning is perhaps the most talked about appointment.

Manning, the deputy dean at Harvard Law School, is the school’s new dean, effective July 1.

“[John Manning] has an unusual capacity for creating conversations and connections across lines of difference, and a deep appreciation for a wide range of perspectives and methods,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “Over and again during the search, I heard people remark on his magnetic enthusiasm for the law, his strong academic values, his collaborative instincts, and his extraordinary devotion not just to Harvard Law School as an institution but to the people — faculty, students, staff, and alumni — who are the lifeblood of its vital work.”

Manning is a graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He started at Columbia Law School before moving to Harvard in 2004. He also served two stints in the U.S. Department of Justice as an attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel and the Office of the Solicitor General.

Maureen Lally-Green will be the first female to serve as dean of Duquesne University School of Law, also effective July 1. She has been serving as interim dean since last July.

“During her highly-productive year in the dean’s office, Dean Lally-Green has already made significant strides in developing new academic programs, building strong ties with alumni across the United States, working collaboratively with faculty colleagues, and forging new pathways for Duquesne Law School as it re-invents legal education for a new era,” said President Ken Gormley.

Lally-Green was appointed as a judge in 1998 to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. She was elected to a 10-year term beginning in January of 2000, and served until her retirement a decade later. She then served as associate general secretary and/or director of the Office of Church Relations for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh until August 2015.

She served as a professor of law at Duquesne from 1983-98, and subsequently as an adjunct law professor, teaching Appellate Practice and Procedure and Federal Employment Discrimination Law.

Richard Bierschbach has been selected to serve as the next dean of the Wayne State University Law School. He will begin at Wayne State on Aug. 17.

Bierschbach comes to Wayne State from Cardozo School of Law and Yeshiva University in New York, where he’s served on the faculty since 2005. His primary research and teaching interests are in criminal law and procedure. He is a nationally recognized scholar, having published repeatedly in the nation’s top law journals. During 2015-16, he served as Cardozo’s Vice Dean.

Prior to joining Cardozo, Bierschbach clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judge Raymond Randolph; served as an Attorney-Advisor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel and as a Bristow Fellow in its Office of the Solicitor General; and practiced at a law firm in New York. He attended college and law school at the University of Michigan, studying engineering before graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. in history. He received his J.D. in 1997.

Michael J. Kaufman is the new dean at Loyola University Chicago, effective in March. Kaufman has been a member of the Loyola law faculty since 1986 and served as the School of Law's associate dean for academic affairs from 2005 until July 2016, when he assumed the role of interim dean.

He has published dozens of books and countless law review articles in his four areas of expertise: education law and policy, securities regulation and litigation, civil procedure, and jurisprudence.

While serving as associate dean, he created two Loyola School of Law institutes — the Education Law and Policy Institute and the Institute for Investor Protection. He was also the architect of the school's highly successful Weekend JD program.

Kaufman received a JD from the University of Michigan Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in political science and English literature from Kenyon College.

Christopher J. Peters, the associate dean for faculty scholarship and a professor of law at the University of Baltimore School of Law, has been appointed dean of the University of Akron School of Law. His first day will be June 15.

“The school’s reputation is growing, and there’s a real buzz around the place,” Peters said. “Faculty, staff and students are proud to be at Akron Law.”

Aviva Abramovsky, associate dean for international initiatives at Syracuse University College of Law, has been named dean of the University at Buffalo School of Law starting in July. 

“Professor Abramovsky was chosen for the position because of her impressive leadership experience, academic accomplishments, and creative, entrepreneurial vision for the UB School of Law and the future of legal education,” said UB Provost Charles F. Zukoski. “Under her leadership, I am confident that the School of Law will continue to build on its long tradition of delivering innovative and interdisciplinary research and learning in pursuit of justice.”

Abramovsky succeeds interim Dean James A. Gardner, who led the school since December 2014.

As associate dean at Syracuse, Abramovsky led the internationalization effort in the College of Law. She spearheaded the school’s Master of Laws (LLM) and two-year Juris Doctor (JD) programs for foreign lawyers, launched a visiting scholars and researchers program, developed international partnerships to enable a new international student exchange program and created a legal English pre-matriculation program. In addition, Abramovsky directed Syracuse’s LLM program and clinical internship in London and previously served as associate dean for special projects.

Abramovsky is an expert in commercial law, insurance law, regulation of financial entities and legal ethics. She holds a JD from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University.


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