Chemerinsky, Testy, Caron all take on new roles

The three most influential leaders in legal education are taking on new positions and challenges. Erwin Chemerinsky and Paul Caron head a list of new deans and Kellye Testy will take over leadership of LSAC.  

Chemerinsky, listed by The National Jurist as the most influential person in legal education, will step down on June 30 as dean of University of California-Irvine Law School and move north to take over as dean at University of California-Berkeley School of Law.

Chemerinsky was the founding dean of UCI when it opened in 2008.

“Being part of creating this wonderful law school has been an incredible privilege and pleasure,” he said in an email to the law school community “Together, we have achieved something no one else has done and that few thought was possible.”

Chemerinsky set out to create a law school that would rank in the top 20, and fell just short. UCI ranked 28th in U.S. News & World Report this year. But that was an achievement few thought possible.

UC Berkeley is his next challenge. While ranked No. 12 in U.S. News, the school has been in turmoil. Its previous dean, Sujit Choudhry,  resigned a year ago after he was accused of sexual harassment by his executive assistant. The school also dropped out of U.S. News’ top 10.

Chemerinsky was previously a professor of law and political science at Duke University and prior to that a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, where he taught for 21 years.

L. Song Richardson will serve as UCI’s interim dean.

Kellye Testy, the second most influential person in legal education, is stepping down as dean of the University of Washington to assume the role of president and CEO of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).

“I am honored to assume the role of President and CEO of LSAC, an organization whose sole mission is to serve law schools, law students, and legal education,” Testy said.

Testy served as President of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in 2016. She led the University of Washington School of Law for eight years, expanding philanthropic resources, advancing equity and inclusion, and heightening the school’s stature and visibility.

“Dean Testy’s enthusiasm for LSAC’s mission is clear, and her commitment to diversity and access to legal education is inspiring,” said LSAC Board of Trustees Chair Susan Krinsky. “We believe Dean Testy’s experience and commitment are perfectly suited to her new role. Her leadership in pursuit of quality legal education will allow LSAC to reach even greater heights of success in serving our member schools and their students.”

Testy succeeds Daniel Bernstine, who passed away in September 2016.

Paul Caron took over as Dean of the Pepperdine School of Law on June 1. Caron, ranked by The National Jurist as the third most influential person in legal education, previously served as associate dean for research and faculty development.

Caron is a widely respected expert in tax law, and is publisher and editor of Tax Prof Blog, the most popular tax blog on the Internet. He is also the owner and publisher of the Law Professor Blogs Network of more than 50 blogs in other areas of law edited by law professors around the country.

“Since his first days as a distinguished visiting scholar through his selection as a tenured professor and now his candid and strategic participation in this search process, I have admired Professor Caron for his keen intellect, generous outreach to others, and his sterling reputation within the national legal community,” said Pepperdine president Andrew K. Benton. “

Caron came to the School of Law in 2010 as a visiting professor. He joined the School of Law tenured faculty in 2013 and assumed the role of associate dean in 2015.

Previously Caron served as the associate dean of faculty at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Caron received his LLM from Boston University, JD from Cornell Law School, and AB from Georgetown University. 

Photo: Greg Olsen/University of Washington School of Law

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