Schools name new deans

Deans, deans and more deans. Some schools are breaking new ground in naming women and African-Americans to the posts for the first time. While law schools have long made efforts to diverse their student bodies, it appears such efforts are not limited to the classroom.

Here’s a rundown of recent leadership changes:

The University of San Francisco (USF) has named Susan Freiwald the 19th dean of the School of Law, after nearly a year leading the school as interim dean. Freiwald will be the school's first female dean since its founding in 1912. Her appointment is effective July 1.

Freiwald joined the USF School of Law faculty in 1997, and, as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2017-18, she launched the Academic and Bar Exam Success Program at USF and worked to revamp the core curriculum.

As a faculty member, Freiwald received the School of Law Distinguished Professor Award and served as chair of the school's Honor, Strategic Planning, Budget, Status, and Appointments committees.

Freiwald is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, where she majored in economics and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a JD from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, where she served as Books and Commentaries co-chair of the Harvard Law Review.


Duquesne University School of Law has named April Barton as the new dean. She will assume the role at the Pittsburgh-based school on July 1.

Barton 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. 

She has presented and moderated discussions on innovations in law school teaching, law school distance learning, technology and classrooms of the future at Harvard Law School, New York Law School, the Gruter Institute, Carnegie Mellon University and the National Association of Attorneys General and Appellate Chiefs, among others.

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.


Elizabeth Kronk Warner has accepted an offer to serve as the next dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law, becoming the first woman to hold that post in the school's 106-year history. 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 will begin her duties on July 1.

Kronk Warner joined the University of Kansas in 2012 as director of its Tribal Law and Government Center. She was appointed associate dean in 2015, overseeing operational issues and coordinating on admissions, career services and administration of 12 joint degree and eight certificate programs. Kronk Warner currently is responsible for all matters related to academic compliance and student affairs; she served as acting dean for a four-month period in 2016.

Kronk Warner 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. She worked in private practice for several years before entering academia. Prior to joining the University of Kansas, Kronk Warner was a law professor at the University of Montana and Texas Tech.


Verna L. Williams has been named dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. She becomes the first African American to lead that 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.  


Amy J. Wildermuth, associate vice president for faculty and academic affairs at the University of Utah, has been named dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She begins her deanship on July 1.

Wildermuth brings academic and administrative experience as well as legal expertise. She served as University of Utah’s first chief sustainability officer and as a professor in the S.J. Quinney College of Law. Her academic career has focused on areas of civil procedure, administrative law, environmental law and U.S. Supreme Court practice. She has represented several amicus curiae parties before the U.S. Supreme Court.

At the University of Utah, Wildermuth oversees all aspects of faculty affairs and development and assists with the administration, leadership and governance of the entire institution. As chief sustainability officer, she led the university’s efforts in that area, which included a university purchase of offsite renewable energy to supply 50 percent of the University of Utah’s electricity and several innovative community discount programs for solar and electric vehicles.

She earned both a juris doctorate and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois and has a bachelor's degree in history and a bachelor's degree in engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Wildermuth succeeds William M. Carter Jr., who has served as dean of the School of Law since 2012.


Wake Forest University has chosen Jane Aiken to become the next Dean of the School of Law. Aiken comes to Wake Forest from Georgetown Law, where she has been a professor and administrator since 2007 and currently serves as the Blume Professor of Law.

At Georgetown, Aiken founded the Community Justice Project to enable students to represent clients in cases involving questions of justice where remedies are often transactional, policy-based or require extraordinary measures for adjudication. Her doctrinal courses primarily have been Evidence and Torts, while other courses included Motherhood and the Law and the Law of Extradition. Aiken has served as associate dean for experiential education and then vice dean for the Law Center, and she currently chairs the University Task Force on Gender Equity.

Aiken is a leading scholar in clinical pedagogy and has directed a wide array of clinics involving prisoner’s rights, domestic violence against women and children, HIV, homelessness, police brutality and international human rights. In 2014, she co-authored The Clinic Seminar and Teaching the Clinical Seminar.

Aiken earned an LL.M. from Georgetown, a J.D. from New York University (as a Root-Tilden Scholar) and a B.A. from Hollins College.


Charles H. Rose III has been named dean of the Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University, effective July 1. Rose is currently professor of law and director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy at Stetson University’s College of Law in Gulfport, Fla. Stetson University College of Law has been ranked the No. 1 school for trial advocacy 21 times by U.S. News & World Report, most recently in its 2020 rankings. Rose has served as the director since 2008.

Prior to joining the Stetson faculty in 2005, Rose spent 20 years on active duty in the Army. He served as a linguist, intelligence officer and judge advocate. He prosecuted and defended criminal cases for more than five years and served as a criminal law professor at the Judge Advocate General’s School of U.S. Army in Charlottesville, Va. He also served as an adjunct professor at the Notre Dame Law School.

His primary scholarly interest focuses on advocacy persuasion techniques, and he is an internationally recognized expert in that area. He teaches and researches in the areas of advocacy, criminal procedure, military law, evidence and professional ethics. Rose’s published work includes numerous law review articles, two casebooks on trial advocacy, and legal treatises on military criminal law and evidentiary law.

Rose earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University at South Bend and his JD from the University of Notre Dame Law School. He also earned an LLM from the Judge Advocate General’s School, United States Army.

He replaces David Crago, who has served as interim dean since 2017 and will return to the ONU College of Law faculty.


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. 


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.