Who wants to be...Dean?
And then there were four.
Today all students received an email announcing the Dean Search Committee (including representatives from the faculty, main campus and a student) has selected four candidates, who will visit campus in February, to replace Dean E*ley.
Whoever is chosen will have some big shoes to fill. I am an unabashed, if anonymous, Dean Edl*y supporter. Dean Edl*y came in facing a recent sex scandal, crumbling facility, a minuscule endowment compared to our peers and declining support from the state. During his tenure, Edl*y succesfully completed an ambitious 125 million dollar fundraising campaign, established new academic centers in areas of strength, significantly expanded the faculty, restored Berkeley's place as solidly a top 10 law school, established summer public interest grants and oversaw the construction of a renovation of our building that turned it from an embarrassment into a source of pride. He took some flak for how "direct" and even dismissive he could be, especially in response to student concerns about Occupy and (more importantly my opinion) tuition increases (while lobbying for his own promised benefits). But he was witty, charismatic, endlessly energetic and passionate about Boalt and, in my opinion, left this a far better law school than he found it. We send our best wishes for his speedy recovery.
His Cosbey-esque sweaters will be especially missed.
But what of this group of contenders?
Samuel Bag*nstos: A Michigan Law Professor with an impressive resume. He clerked for Stephen Reinhardt on the 9th Circuit and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A constitutional and civil rights litigator who has successfully argued several cases in front of the US Supreme Court (especially in the area of disability law) he has taught at Harvard and UCLA, been heavily published, and also has administrative experience as an associate Dean at Wash U. Hes young and impressive, but can he fundraise, is he a fit for Boalt's unique culture, can he fundraise?
Interim Dean Gillian L*ster: Dean L*ster also has an impressive resume, (I guess everyone on this list does...this probably means my chances of ever being Dean are low), but unlike other candidates, faculty and students have had a chance to see her in the last job over the past few months...but what impression has she left? What would she do with the post full-time?
Sujit Ch*udhry: International man of mystery! Canada's favorite candidate for Dean of Boalt (I would be remiss if I ignored that Dean Lester also has strong Canadian ties). Currently a Professor at NYU Law, Choudry has written more then 60 books, was a Rhodes Scholar (but not the only one on this list...), clerked for the Supreme Court...of Canada and specializes in Comparative Constitutional Law. But you know...
Judge William Fletch*r: The only person on this list who first taught Federal Courts at Boalt in 1977, was a classmate of Bill Clinton's as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, is second generation 9th Circuit, has made very significant contributions to the law of standing, and clerked for Justice Brennan - Judge Fletcher is certainly an intriguing possibility. But can a person who has been treated with the deference accorded to a Federal Judge be effective at the begging alumni for cash, the gladhanding, navigating the academic wars and student and alumni complaints that come with being a Dean? Would he really resign from the 9th Circuit (one would assume he'd have to)?
Certainly some intriguing possibilities! But of the four...none are active full time faculty members...ne must assume some submitted their names - how do they and their supporters feel right now?
Only one is a person of color, only one is a woman...How do students and alumni feel about this list? How do you feel? Sleepy? Angry? Hungry?
Sound off below!
More updates to come as the parade of candidates visit Berkeley Law.