Law School Deans Without Law Degrees

Brian Leiter’s announcement of the new Dean search at Texas noted that:

My own view is that we’d hire someone outstanding who had a PhD, but not a JD, as long as their scholarly work was connected to law and they met the other desiderata.

This is interesting. Does anyone know, off-hand, if there are any law school deans who don’t possess JDs? It would seem (at first glance) pretty unlikely except at a certain type of school because of the need to connect with practicing attorney alumni. But perhaps it is the wave of the future?

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11 Responses

  1. KipEsquire says:

    I would think the AALS might have something to say about that.

  2. John Jenkins says:

    That might be Prof. Leiter’s view, but I’d be willing to wager that won’t be the *outcome* of the search.

  3. DartMan says:

    Interestingly, law profs have served in the administration of schools without law schools. Lee Bollinger was provost of Dartmouth, even though my beloved alma mater doestn’t have a law school.

    I guess what’s good for the goose….

  4. jw says:

    Perhaps a JD isn’t *necessary*, assuming the candidate’s PhD and academic speciality were closely related to law. But Leiter seems to be saying that, in his mind, a JD is a *deal-breaker* for an outstanding candidate, even if s/he has the PhD. That seems downright odd.

  5. jw says:

    Oh, wait, on second thought, I think I’m mis-reading Leiter’s statement. He seems to be saying that he’d consider someone with a JD, provided his/her scholarly work related to law.

  6. concurring opinions reader says:

    Didn’t Emory look seriously at a couple of people without law degrees for a dean search some years ago. I heard about some faculty memeber from Berkeley’s jsp program and an economist, too? Anyone remember the details of the story?

  7. Dennis J. Tuchler says:

    Didn’t Notre Dame Law School have a non-JD dean many years ago?

  8. Randy Picker says:

    Gerhard Casper, former Dean of Chicago, provost at Chicago and President of Stanford:

    Foreign law degrees and an LLM but no JD

  9. Alfred Brophy says:

    Professor Picker’s comment suggests another question to the legal historian in me: who was the first dean to have a JD (or LLB)? Langell had an LLB, but did his predecessor as the Dane Professor (Theophilius Parsons)? In looking for information on Parsons, I’m realizing that he’s someone I ought to know a heck of a lot more about–an apparent traveler with the Transcendentalists and a Swedenborgian. All quite interesting. But to get back to my question: is it possible that Langdell was the first dean of a US law school with a law degree?

  10. Alfred Brophy says:

    Err, that’s Theophilus Parsons (not Theophilius).

  11. Barry Feld says:

    I believe that back in the 1970s, Richard Schwartz was Dean of Buffalo law school with a Ph.D., but not a law degree. He was one of the leading scholars in the law and society area for several decades.