Schools name new deans

Deans, deans and more deans. Some schools are making historic firsts in naming women and African-Americans to the posts for the first time. Here’s a rundown of recent leadership changes.


Anita K. Krug, D. Wayne has been named dean of Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech. Krug will begin her term as dean on August 1. Currently the D. Wayne and Anne Gittinger Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law, she will be the first woman to permanently hold the office in the school’s history. 

Krug has held a variety of positions at the University of Washington, including interim dean at the University of Washington School of Law and interim vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Washington Bothell. Krug received her undergraduate degree at Kansas State University before completing M.A., J.D., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University, where she held a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship and served on the Harvard Law Review. Her academic research has focused primarily on securities regulation and the regulatory environment surrounding investment advisers, public and private investment funds, and other financial institutions.

“The Illinois Tech community is delighted that Professor Krug will bring her outstanding leadership abilities to Illinois Institute of Technology as the new dean of Chicago-Kent College of Law,” said Peter Kilpatrick, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. “Her vision for the future of Chicago-Kent stood out among a truly remarkable field of qualified candidates, and we welcome and look forward to her leadership as our newest dean. She was the top choice of the search committee, the faculty, and our leadership team.”


Michael F. Barry, current assistant dean and practitioner in residence at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, has accepted the position of president and dean at South Texas College of Law Houston.

Barry, who served four years at St. Mary’s Law, officially will join the nearly 100-year-old law school as its 11th president and dean prior to the 2019-2020 academic year.

Barry earned a law degree from Yale Law School, a master’s degree in theology from the University of San Francisco, and a bachelor’s degree in English and Religious Studies from the University of Virginia.


Stephen C. Payne, a Yale Law School graduate, army veteran, and partner in the global law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, has been appointed by Catholic University President John Garvey as the next dean of the Columbus School of Law. He will assume his new duties starting July 1.

Based in Washington, D.C., Payne is chair of Gibson Dunn’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and health care practice group. He has served with the firm since 2011, where his practice has focused on providing counsel to drug and medical device manufacturers and institutional health care providers regarding health care and FDA compliance, enforcement, and regulatory matters.

Payne earned his bachelor’s degree from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, where he graduated first in his class. At Yale Law School, he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics and a Thomas Swann Barristers Union Prize finalist.


Professor Jenny S. Martinez, a scholar of international law and constitutional law who has been a member of the Stanford faculty for more than 15 years, has been named dean of Stanford Law School.

Martinez is a leading expert on the role of courts and tribunals in advancing human rights. She joined Stanford Law School as a faculty member in 2003, served as associate dean for curriculum from 2013 to 2016, and in 2018 chaired a key working group that developed a plan to advance diversity and inclusion in the school.

Martinez assumed her new position April 1. She succeeds M. Elizabeth Magill, who is stepping down as dean to become provost of the University of Virginia. Martinez holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and earned her J.D. at Harvard Law School. 


Elizabeth Kronk Warner has accepted an offer to serve as the next dean of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, becoming the first woman in school history to hold that post.

Kronk Warner is currently associate dean of Academic Affairs, professor and director of the Tribal Law and Government Center at the University of Kansas School of Law.

Kronk Warner is a nationally recognized expert in the intersection of environmental and Indian law. She has taught courses in property, Indian, environmental and natural resources law and supervises the school’s Tribal Judicial Support Clinic.

A citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, she serves as an appellate judge for the tribe and as a district judge for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe.

She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School; she received her undergraduate degree in communication from Cornell University and also studied at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.


Verna L. Williams has been named dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. She becomes the first African American to lead the law school. The college, established in 1833, is the fourth oldest continuously operating law school in the country.

Williams, who has been serving as interim dean and Nippert Professor of Law since May of 2017, began her duties April 1.

Williams joined the university as an assistant professor in 2001. She was named professor in 2006 and served as Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law from 2013-2017.  Williams co-founded and co-directed UC’s Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice and co-directed the university’s joint-degree program in Law and Women’s Studies.

Dean Williams is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and Georgetown University.  


The University of South Dakota has named Miller, South Dakota, native Neil Fulton dean of the law school. A current federal public defender, South Dakota Bar Examiner and former chief of staff to then-Gov. Michael Rounds, Dean he will begin full-time this June.

Fulton attended Yale University and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science in 1994. Following college, he attended the University of Minnesota School of Law. He graduated summa cum laude, first in his class, in 1997 and received the Devitt Award for excellence in trial advocacy courses and the Kaplan Award for overall academic excellence at graduation.


Michèle Alexandre, a noted civil rights, gender and race scholar, and author of “The New Frontiers of Civil Rights Litigation,” was named the next dean of Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida. Alexandre is the College of Law’s first African-American dean. The appointment is effective June 2019.

Alexandre is currently serving as the associate dean for Faculty Development and Intellectual Life, professor of law, and the Leonard B. Melvin, Jr. Lecturer at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

She has a J.D. from Harvard Law and was Colgate University’s first black valedictorian.


Regent University and its Board of Trustees have named North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin as its new School of Law dean. He started in March.

Judge Martin has served for more than 26 years as a North Carolina judge, and more than 20 years on the N.C. Supreme Court.. In 1992, at age 29, Martin became the youngest superior court judge in the modern era, and in 1994, at 31 years old, Martin became the youngest judge in the history of the N.C. Court of Appeals.

Martin received his J.D. degree at the University of North Carolina School of Law and received a B.S. degree from Western Carolina University.


Michael McGinniss, associate professor of law at the University of North Dakota School of Law, has been named the school’s new dean.

McGinniss joined the UND faculty in 2010. He teaches courses on professional responsibility, evidence, conflict of laws, remedies and legal ethics. A popular teacher, he has served as the faculty advisor for the North Dakota Law Review for the past seven years, and students have chosen him to hood them at spring commencement since 2012.

McGinniss earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Washington College, and graduated third in his class at the College of William & Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law.


Duquesne University has named April Barton as dean of the School of Law following a national a search. She succeeds the Hon. Maureen Lally-Green, who has served as dean since 2017.

Barton, who begins as dean on Monday, July 1, currently serves as associate dean for academic affairs at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. In that role, she oversees the academic program and has successfully launched numerous initiatives on leadership development, including a student Lawyers as Leaders program and a new course, Leadership and Management Skills for Lawyers.

Barton earned a J.D. from Villanova University, where she received the Herman Mitchell Schwartz Award, and a bachelor of science (cum laude) in physics from Moravian College. Barton is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar and the American Bar Association.


Danielle M. Conway, dean and professor of law at the University of Maine School of Law, has been named the new dean of Penn State’s Dickinson Law after a national search. Her appointment is effective on July 1.

Conway, a leading expert in public procurement law, entrepreneurship and intellectual property law, joined Maine Law as dean in 2015 after serving for 14 years on the faculty of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law.

She began her career in legal education as a member of the faculty at the Georgetown University Law Center in 1996. She joined the faculty of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1998 and then joined the University of Hawai’i in 2000. 

Conway earned her J.D. degree with honors from the Howard University School of Law, where she served on the Howard Law Journal and the National Moot Court Team. She also holds an LL.M. from the George Washington University Law School and a bachelor’s degree from New York University Stern School of Business.


G. Marcus Cole, the William F. Baxter-Visa International Professor of Law at Stanford University, has been appointed Joseph A. Matson Dean of the Law School and professor of law at the University of Notre Dame. Cole succeeds Nell Jessup Newton, who is stepping down July 1 after serving 10 years as dean.

Cole currently teaches courses including bankruptcy, banking regulation, contracts and venture capital. His research explores the ways in which the world’s poor are using technology to overcome local government restrictions to solve community and societal problems.

Cole earned his bachelor’s degree in applied economics from Cornell University and his juris doctorate at Northwestern University, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business.