The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

USD School of Law Dean Search Finalists

Posted by demkid on December 24, 2010

Got this email the other day from Mary Jo Wiggins, Associate Dean and Chair of the Dean Search Committee:

The University of San Diego School of Law Dean Search Committee is pleased to announce the finalists in the search for the next Dean of the School of Law:

Robert B. Ahdieh Associate Dean of Faculty & Professor of Law Director, Center on Federalism & Intersystemic Governance, Emory University School of Law

Nicholas W. Allard Partner and Co-Chair, Public Policy & Administrative Law Department, Patton Boggs, LLP Washington, D.C.

Lawrence E. Mitchell Theodore Rinehart Professor of Business Law Executive Director, Center for Law, Economics & Finance, The George Washington University Law School

These finalists will be visiting the USD campus in January 2011 for meetings with law school and university constituencies, as well as law school alumni. Schedules for the on-campus visits are forthcoming.

We thank you for your participation and support in what is one of the most important decisions for the future of USD School of Law School.

USD Law’s current dean is Kevin Cole, who announced that he’ll be resigning his position as of next summer.  He’s been a member of the faculty since 1987 and dean since 2006.  The first obvious thing about this trio is that they’re all men.  A quick Google search to brush up on my School of Law history shows that there’s only been one female dean in the school’s 56 years.  This was Kristine Strachan, who served from 1989-97.  Between Strachan and Cole was Daniel Rodriguez, who was the youngest dean when he was named in 1998.  I’m sure all three finalists are top-notch candidates, but it would have been nice to see a female receive strong consideration.

After a quick look at the finalists’ CVs, I have to say that I was pretty darn impressed by Ahdieh, in particular.  If I have my years right, he’s still in his late-30s, and his experience, honors, and publications are exceptional.  He also worked briefly for Arlen Specter, and that gets bonus points from me!  Here is Professor Ahdieh’s faculty page at Emory Law.  Check it out.

Whatever the search committee decides, the new dean will be charged with continuing the School of Law’s upward trend in the US News rankings.  While the dean may not have much personal control here, enhancing the school’s reputation should be at or near the top of his list of responsibilities.  Dean Cole should be commended for his work in this area, as USD currently holds its highest rank ever in the annual rankings, just outside of Tier 1 status.  Perhaps Top-50 awaits under new leadership!

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8 Responses to “USD School of Law Dean Search Finalists”

  1. anon said

    Differences in rankings don’t matter much outside the top 14. Everything else is considered TTT, be it #50 or #199.

  2. anon said

  3. anon said

    If you look at the chart, about 5% of USD grads work with NLJ 250 firms. To see a significant increase in this figure, say 20% or students, USD would have to rank as high as USC, a top 20 school. It is highly unlikely that USD can continue an upward trend to move 30 or more slots, which is necessary to bring about any major change to the employment prospects of the students. Rankings are the fundamental factor for graduate employment prospects, but their is significant contraction outside the top schools. Any effort to move a mere 5 to 10 spots up or down the rankings will be futile since those school will offer the same job prospects. The Dean/students should focus their efforts elsewhere, besides the mere rankings game.

  4. demkid said

    Of course, working in a top firm is just one aspect. I’d argue that becoming a Top Tier law school has at least some effect on overall reputation, student quality, professor quality, name recognition, alumni giving, etc. There’s more to life than top-firm job prospects!

  5. anon said

    Well USD already has a superb faculty, I mean what prof wouldn’t want to live in SD. You say that enhancing the schools ranking should be at the top of the Dean’s list, but does the school really need to improve it’s faculty, students quality, name recognition? I mean the faculty is already top rated and the students have excellent incoming gpa/lsats, so that can’t possibly need the #1 attention of the new Dean. Anyhow, most law students only care about 1 thing, their job prospects at graduation, and the chart has a lot more to say about that issue, beyond just the top firm category. If there is more to life than top firm, how come over 70% of the students at the top schools either go into a top firm or a judicial clerkship after graduation? (Less than 10% of USD students go into either). There is more to life than top-firm, especially when you have no chance of getting it.

  6. borzin said

    YEA! You made it on the scamblogs. haha.

    http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com/2011/01/law-school-game-repeat-players-v-one.html

    https://brightcoast.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/usd-law-jumps-to-56th-in-2011-us-news-law-school-rankings/

    “The University of San Diego School of Law has continued its rise in the latest version of the US News Law School Rankings. In the 2011 version, USD Law has jumped from #61 to #56, and is now on the cusp of Tier 1 status.”

    Who gives a damn, kid? If you want to stay in San Diego – and you don’t mind taking out more than $109,657 in additional, non-dischargeable student loans – then go ahead and sign on the dotted line. And make sure to refrain from wetting your pants, in case this toilet seeps into the “first tier.”

  7. Jane said

    Law Dean Finalists
    http://www.motionsonline.org/2011/02/09/lawdeanfinalists/

    Get to know the Candidates Personally
    http://www.motionsonline.org/2011/02/09/getting-to-know-the-dean-candidates/

    http://www.motionsonline.org/2010/09/29/dean-cole-looks-back-ahead/

    http://www.motionsonline.org/2010/09/29/shining-light-on-the-dean-selection-process/

  8. borzin said

    “Dean Cole should be commended for his work in this area, as USD currently holds its highest rank ever in the annual rankings, just outside of Tier 1 status. Perhaps Top-50 awaits under new leadership!”

    2011 ranking – 67. do’h!

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