Dean, School of Law

Job description

Dean, School of Law

Posting #: 2593
Position Status: Full-time regular
Location: San Diego
Position Type: School of Law, Administrator

Position Title & Department:

Dean, School of Law Posting #


Department Description:

The University of San Diego invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the School of Law. Founded in 1954, the USD School of Law is the premier law school in the San Diego region and one of the leading institutions for legal scholarship, education, and research on the west coast. One of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, the USD School of Law is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law, taxation, and children’s advocacy. Top-ranked specialty programs include intellectual property, tax, and international law, all in the top 25% in the nation according to U.S News and World Report; the graduate tax program (LLM-Tax) is ranked #6 in the nation and #1 on the west coast according to the LLM Guide 2019.

USD Law is home to 56 full-time faculty (45 of whom are tenured or tenure-track, 6 professors in residence/practice, 5 legal writing and research professors) and 108 part-time adjuncts/visitor faculty. According to a 2018 study, USD Law faculty ranked 36th nationally (top 20%) among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 22nd nationally (top 20%) in past-year faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network. Professors recognized as among the most cited in the nation in their fields include Steve Smith (Law and Religion), Ted Sichelman (Intellectual Property), Michael Ramsey (International Law and National Security), Orly Lobel (Public Law/Employment), Don Dripps (Criminal Procedure), Mike Rappaport (Constitutional Law), and Larry Alexander (Criminal Law).

Complementing the law school’s strong academic curriculum is a broad range of courses, programs, centers, clinics, and institutes that provide students with many opportunities to gain hands-on, practical legal experience, starting with the first-year Experiential Advocacy Practicum. Through this practicum, all 1Ls learn litigation and transactional practice skills from experienced practitioners from leading firms, corporate legal departments, and agencies. At USD Law, students have opportunities to represent clients in many legal clinics, including Appellate, Civil, Education and Disability, Entrepreneurship, Federal Tax, Immigration, State Income Tax, State and Sales Tax, Veterans, Workers Rights, and Women’s Legal Clinic. Additionally, hands-on practical experience includes a multitude of policy centers and externship opportunities.

University Description:

The University of San Diego, a contemporary and engaged Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Diocese of San Diego and the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1949. Governed by an independent board of trustees since 1972, USD remains committed to a liberal arts education grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition and the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty. Inspired by this centuries old tradition of Catholic higher education, the University welcomes people of all faith traditions and any, or no, religious background. The future success of USD relies on the contributions of those who seek to foster the development of engaged global citizens and an earnest confrontation of humanity’s urgent challenges.

Detailed Description:

The University of San Diego is seeking a visionary dean for its School of Law. Candidates must be knowledgeable of current trends in legal education and possess the imagination and the willingness to shape the future; at the same time, be unflinching in their commitment to the academic mission and values of USD Law, including high quality scholarship and teaching. Candidates must also be knowledgeable of the current legal job market and anticipated legal market shifts. They should have a strong desire to develop the excellence of the faculty, to recruit and support promising students, and to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Law School.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Reporting directly to Provost Gail F. Baker, the Dean of the Law School is the chief academic and administrative leader for the School of Law and serves as an essential member of the University’s leadership team. The Dean will set the strategic direction for the School, with the responsibility for advancing the mission and operations of the School through supervision and decision making in areas of general administration, marketing and communication, personnel, budgeting and finance, academic programs. The Dean will guide a robust scholarship and research agenda and promote excellence in education, including the development of collaborative academic programs. They will also be responsible for raising funds externally and interacting with alumni and other supporters of the Law School.
Job Requirements:

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Leadership: An established record of effective, innovative, strong, and collaborative leadership. An entrepreneurial mindset with capacity to identify exciting opportunities for the School of Law in alignment with the University’s mission and vision. Demonstrated administrative and budgeting experience. A history of developing and promoting shared governance between faculty and administration. The capacity to formulate and articulate a compelling shared vision, while at the same time having the ability to persuade a wide range of audiences of its value and to engage others in its successful implementation. The ability to recruit outstanding new faculty as well as retain the School’s strongest faculty. Experience engaging with, recruiting, and retaining diverse faculty of color and those from diverse backgrounds. Familiarity with appointment, promotion, and tenure procedures. Ability to motivate and inspire others to strive continuously for academic excellence. Ability to make timely and sometimes difficult decisions.
  • Academic Background: Outstanding academic credentials and a passion for academic excellence. Credentials for appointment at Full Professor level.
  • Community Relations: Committed and excited to interact with the local legal community to ensure continued support for robust hiring of students and graduates.
  • Focus on Students: Genuine investment in the School’s teaching mission and the importance of providing students with the highest-quality educational experience. Commitment to experiential education and practical skills training. Student-centric with a deep belief in the value of a diverse student body and mechanisms for retention and support of all students, with an emphasis on students from underrepresented groups.
  • Fundraising: Committed and excited to increase philanthropic support from individuals, foundations, corporations, and the government, ideally with demonstrated success in fundraising.
  • Financial Management Experience: Record of operational leadership and fiscal management demonstrating excellence, growth, and financial effectiveness.
  • Personal Qualities: Personal and academic integrity. Strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills, emotional intelligence, intellectual curiosity, courage, and a capacity for openness and transparency. Ability to foster a collegial and respectful work and educational environment.

Performance Expectations - Knowledge Skills and Abilities:

  • Highly strategic thinker and creative problem solver
  • Provide a clear vision for more innovative legal education to develop new lawyers for the 21st Century and set strategic direction for the School based on an assessment of strengths and needs in collaboration with University leadership and administration
  • Recruit and retain the best faculty, enhance their career development, and supervise the promotion and tenure process
  • Foster the cultural and ethnic diversity of the faculty, staff, and students
  • Support faculty research and scholarship
  • Engage with students
  • Engage with employers and alumni to promote and develop employment opportunities for students and graduates
  • Promote and maintain all faculty (tenure, tenure-track, adjunct, and visiting) mentorship and teaching excellence
  • Enhance the financial resources of the School through development of alternative revenue sources and philanthropic fundraising
  • Further build connections, collaboration and cross disciplinary programming with the other schools on campus as well as build a strong and collaborative partnership with the USD administration
  • Develop strong connections with law alumni across the United States and with the greater legal community

Background check: Successful completion of a pre-employment background check.

Degree Verification Requirement: Persons offered employment in this position will be required to provide official education transcripts for degree verification purposes.

Posting Salary:

Commensurate with experience; Excellent Benefits.

The University of San Diego offers a very competitive benefits package, to include medical, dental, vision, a retirement contribution given to you by the University (with three year vesting period), and access to on-campus Fitness Centers. Please visit the benefits section of our website to view all of the perks and benefits that USD has to offer. USD: Human Resources: Benefits

Special Application Instructions:

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. Interested candidates should submit confidentially, in electronic form (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files preferred), a curriculum vitae and letter of interest to:

Jett Pihakis and Joi Hayes-Scott

Russell Reynolds Associates

[email protected]

(202) 654-7870

For full consideration, materials should be received as soon as possible and preferably by June 8, 2020.

Additional Details:

Hours: 37.5

Closing date: Open Until Filled. For full consideration, materials should be received as soon as possible and preferably by June 8, 2020.

Note: External job postings will be up for at least five days. After that time, applications will be reviewed by the hiring manager/committee throughout the posting period. A candidate may be selected at any time which could then close this posting on a date earlier than listed.

The University of San Diego is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion and is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the campus community.

The University of San Diego is a smoking and tobacco-free campus. For more information, visit

Advertised: May 18, 2020 Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:




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Job No:
Posted: 5/19/2020
Application Due: 11/18/2020
Work Type: