University of Alabama — Dean of the School of Law

The University of Alabama (UA) seeks a strategic and collaborative leader with a distinguished scholarly profile to serve as the next Dean of the School of Law. The Dean will develop a vision for the school and provide leadership in matters related to planning, curriculum, research and scholarship, and the law school’s budget. The Dean will also engage with faculty, students, alumni, the legal community, and state and federal governmental officials to advance the goals of the School of Law and University. The successful candidate must possess a J.D. and/or a Ph.D. in a field related to law and qualify for appointment at the rank of tenured full professor in the School of Law. The candidate must also possess a significant and progressive record of leadership in a professional setting, including but not limited to higher education, government, public interest, or business. They will also demonstrate a commitment and ability to advance the University’s philosophy and practice relative to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Preference will be given to candidates who possess leadership experience in the legal academy and a sustained record of excellence in research and scholarship, service, and teaching commensurate with a comprehensive research university. Additionally, the ideal candidate will demonstrate a readiness to advance the School of Law through fundraising and building external partnerships.

Located in the heart of Tuscaloosa, The University of Alabama is one of the nation’s premier universities, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in nearly 200 fields of study. With more than 1,200 acres of tree-lined campus and state-of-the art facilities, UA has been ranked among the most beautiful and most inspiring college campuses in the nation. In Fall 2022, the University set new enrollment records, including record enrollment of National Merit Scholars and racially and ethnically diverse students. As the state’s flagship university, UA is also designated among the Carnegie classification’s top doctoral research universities. With a growing number of industry and state/federal agency partnerships, UA’s research enterprise continues to surge. In fiscal year 2021, 38% of the 2,025 members of UA’s faculty engaged in externally funded research, the eighth straight year of increased externally sponsored awards. In the same period, faculty received a record 553 lifetime honorific awards from national and international award-granting associations or agencies. In all, sponsored awards brought $171 million to the University in fiscal year 2021, and research and development expenditures, a measure of output on previously funded awards, jumped 36% to $129.5 million. More details about the University, the physical campus, and the surrounding community are available in the latest Opportunity Profile.

The School of Law is among the most distinguished academic units in the state’s flagship university. It is consistently ranked among the Top 30 law schools in the nation and in the Top 10 among public law schools. For three of the past four years, Alabama Law has ranked in the Top 25 nationally. With a dynamic and nationally recognized faculty, the school regularly recruits a diverse student body that is among the most talented in the nation. Students in the most recent entering class come from 24 states and studied at 65 colleges and universities. The median LSAT score of the class is 166, and the median undergraduate GPA is a 3.95. Thanks to excellent academic programs and a capable Career Services Office, the school has maintained impressive numbers for bar passage and employment after graduation. Its judicial clerkship program is outstanding; according to data reported to the ABA, the program places Alabama Law among the top ten per capita among all law schools in the nation. And the value of an Alabama Law degree is exceptional, as Alabama Law is ranked #2 for lowest average graduate debt among law schools in the Top 40. The School of Law is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  To support these commitments, for the last five years the school has operated a Summer Scholars Program for diverse college students to provide pathways into law school for students from groups that are historically under-represented in the legal profession.

Alabama Law faculty members are highly regarded and frequently cited experts. They hold and express a diverse range of opinions on the law, its purpose, and its function in society. Their books have been published by Oxford University Press, Yale University Press, Cambridge University Press, Princeton University Press, University of Chicago Press, and Harvard University Press, among others.  Their articles have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the NYU Law Review, the Georgetown Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the Duke Law Journal, the Northwestern Law Review, the Texas Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, the Notre Dame Law Review, and the Southern California Law Review, among many others. This scholarship is central to the Law School’s mission of excellence.

Alabama Law recently completed a multi-year strategic planning process, which drew upon the efforts of faculty, alumni, students, staff, and executive administrators. As that plan highlights, strong scholarship and excellent teaching within a broad curriculum are central to the culture of the school. The 1L curriculum includes an Introduction to the Study of Law, which ensures that all who enter do so on a relatively equal preparatory footing, and a course in Legislation and Regulation, which adds coverage of statutory and regulatory interpretation to the traditional common-law curriculum. Pedagogic offerings also include a strong legal writing program; nationally competitive teams in moot court, trial advocacy, and negotiation; a first-rate semester-long externship program in the District of Columbia; a Finch Fellows Program that provides students hands-on experience in small-town practice; and a variety of additional externships and internships across the country, including with organizations such as the Department of Justice and the Equal Justice Initiative. 

The School of Law is home to four student-edited journals: the flagship general-interest journal, the Alabama Law Review; the Journal of the Legal Profession; the Law & Psychology Review; and the Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review. The school also offers guaranteed enrollment in one of six rigorous in-house legal clinics directed by the clinical faculty: the Civil Law Clinic, the Criminal Defense Clinic, the Children’s Rights Clinic, the Domestic Violence Law Clinic, the Mediation Law Clinic, and the Entrepreneurship and Non-Profit Clinic.  Students may earn certificates in Public Interest Law, Governmental Affairs, and International and Comparative Law. The Law School also offers dual enrollment programs, including, among others, the JD/PhD, JD/LLM in Taxation, JD/LLM Concentration in Business Transactions, JD/MBA, and JD/MSW in Social Work.

The School of Law enjoys accomplished and engaged alumni. Graduates are located in all 50 states, and graduates from the past five years are working in 41 states across the nation. The Alabama Law School Foundation recently restructured and re-incorporated to more effectively manage and deploy the school’s endowment. The Foundation is a ready partner for addressing present needs and future opportunities. The School of Law also recently restructured the Alabama Law Alumni Society in ways that make it more diverse and vigorous. The Society’s Leadership Council now actively recruits incoming students and assists current students and recent graduates through mentoring, networking, and advising.

Find out more about the Dean search here.

Applications should consist of a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, a list of five professional references with full contact information, and a request for confidentiality if desired. No references will be contacted without the explicit permission of the candidate. Applications, nominations, and expressions of interest can be submitted electronically, and in confidence, to the candidate portal. Applications submitted by January 30, 2023, will receive full consideration.

Confidential discussions about this opportunity may be arranged by contacting Werner Boel or Ashlee Winters Musser at AlabamaLawDean@wittkieffer.com

The University of Alabama is an Equal Employment/Equal Educational Opportunity Institution. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status, and will not be discriminated against because of their protected status. Applicants to and employees of this institution are protected under Federal law from discrimination on several bases.

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