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Deans & Legal Education
A Selected Bibliography

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External Deaning

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External Deaning

Jon M. Garon, To Make a Difference: Dean as Producer, 39 U. Tol. L. Rev. 297 (2008).
The author writes “As I look at my fifth year as Dean of Hamline University School of Law, I am often struck by the dissonance between my professional life, as a lawyer and law professor, and my administrative life, as a dean within a small university…I am a product of my unique practice and academic experience. An entertainment lawyer by disposition, my field includes a broad array of intellectual property law and the arts or business organizations which exploit these rights. Perhaps blinded by my professional background, I believe that to make a difference, we must learn from these fields to make a difference for our schools, students, institutions, and communities. As I prepare for my last year as Dean of Hamline, this essay allows me the opportunity to reflect on how to make that difference for both our students and our institutions."

John D. Huston, From Admiral to Dean, 35 U. Tol. L. Rev. 101 (2003).
The author compares and contrasts his experiences as an admiral in the Navy with his experiences as dean of a law school. 

Kevin R. Johnson, Commentary:  Deciding to Become a Dean, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 813 (2008).
The author reflects on the dean search process and factors to consider in deciding whether to become an external candidate. 

Peter Keane, Interloper in the Fields of Academe, 35 U. Tol. L. Rev. 119 (2003).
A dean who came to his position from law practice, not academia, discusses how he found the role of dean to be much easier that he had been led to believe.  He cites as the reason for so much widespread dissatisfaction with the dean’s job the fact that most deans are former law professors, and being a law professor is terrible training for becoming a dean.

Paul A. LeBel, Fit, 40 U. Tol. L. Rev. 371 (2009). 
The author believes that the fit between a law school’s character and needs and a prospective external dean’s talents and interests is the single most important factor in the dean’s success.  He offers seven factors to consider in assessing this fit. 

David F. Levi, From Judge to Dean: Reflections on the Bench and the Academy, 70 La. L. Rev. 913 (2010).
The author reflects his transition from federal judge to law school dean and asks “whether there might be some unifying theme within which we might see the roles of the judge and the dean as in harmony with some greater purpose and as part of some greater tradition.”

Gene R. Nichol, Jr., Ten Small Lessons from the Campaign Trail, 33 U. Tol. L. Rev.  131 (2001).
The author offers perspectives he has gained on the campaign trail to life in a law school.   

Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, The Role of Law Schools and Law School Leadership in a Changing World: On Being an “Outside Dean” – The University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Experience, 29 Penn. St. Int’l L. Rev. 121 (2010).
The author reflects on the areas in which being an outside dean may be an advantage in reaching out to the world outside the law school. These include leadership, constituent relations, “extra-academic” responsibilities, and reputation enhancement and fundraising. 

W. Taylor Reveley, III, Cultural Musings of a Non-Traditional Dean, 31 U. Tol. L. Rev. 725 (2000).
The author became a law school dean after twenty-eight years in large law firms, with little experience in legal academia.  He discusses the similarities and differences between law school deanship and law practice.

Jack M. Weiss, A Causerie on Selecting Law Deans in an Age of Entrepreneurial Deaning, 70 La. L. Rev. 923 (2010).
The author considers the relative advantages of deans from traditional backgrounds (generally tenured academics) and non-traditional backgrounds in various aspects of the dean’s responsibilities, including financial management, job placement, curriculum development, institution building and conflict management, and academic leadership. He proposes that dean search committees should carefully examine the actual nature of any candidate’s experience and strive to strike a balance between academic and practical qualifications.

Willis P. Whichard, From a Warm Bench to a Hot Seat: The Transition from Judging to Deaning, 36 U. Tol. L. Rev. 221 (2004).
The author, who became dean at Campbell Law School after retiring from the North Carolina Supreme Court with twenty-eight years of state service, recounts the similarities and differences between being a dean and a judge.

Patricia D. White, Brief Reflections on the Enterprise, 31 U. Tol. L. Rev. 773 (2000).
The author discusses her experiences as a dean and concludes that deaning has more in common with being a lawyer than a law professor.