Tweedy Law School Deans Break Out Calculators (Correct)

Dean of law school was once a dream job for lawyers who prefer the ivory tower to the daily grind of billable hours. These days, the job is more like the CEO of a sprawling company than a tweed-clad dispenser of constitutional wisdom.

“My job has changed dramatically,” said Marc Miller, who served as dean of the University of Arizona Law School for nearly a decade.

The school – ranked in the top 50 by US News – is among those that in recent years have expanded beyond the traditional Doctor of Laws training program for college graduates. It now also offers an undergraduate law degree, both on-campus and online, as well as dual JD/PhD and JD/MBA programs, legal training for foreign diplomats, and training for service providers. alternative legal.

Growing offers from the University of Arizona and other law schools aim to bolster results after declining enrollment and amid the uncertainty posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. These factors have also changed the role of the law school dean, who is increasingly focused on making sure the money keeps flowing.

“Law schools are less siloed now,” said Daniel Rodriguez, the former dean of law school at Northwestern University, noting the increased integration of law schools with their universities. “Even if you’re a top law professor, there’s no substitute for financial acumen.”

“We have a business to run,” he added.

Recession-shattered law schools

The change can be attributed to the Great Recession, when precarious job prospects began to scare law school students into deep debt.

According to research by Jerome Organ, professor of law at the University of St. Thomas Law School.

The numbers then increased and stagnated for several years. The total number of new students entering law school in fall 2021 is up 2.3% from 2020, but still well below the peak of nearly 148,000 law students in 2010, American Bar Association Data To display.

Unexpected high demand during Covid has led to the hiring of robust lawyers over the past couple of years. But job prospects have started to soften this year, raising concerns about the future of law employment and dampening the prospect of law school enrollment returning to earlier highs.

It has law schools—there are about 200 accredited by the American Bar Association—and their deans are looking for other sources of revenue. Fundraising, which once consisted mainly of renaming buildings after generous donors, has expanded to become a full-time activity.

Schools have also launched new offers to recruit more students.

“There has been a proliferation of non-JD programs in law schools,” Rodriguez said. Enrollment in non-JD programs has skyrocketsfrom 76% in 2014 to more than 21,000 currently, according to the American Bar Association.

Garry Jenkins arrived at the University of Minnesota in 2016 to take over as dean of law school. Jenkins, who had experience in the executive suite and had worked for major law firms Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, said he came on board when school was struggling with a hit to its $54 million operating budget due to declining enrollment.

“My first task was to straighten out the finances and deliver quickly,” Jenkins said in an interview. “We had to bring a strategy that a CEO would bring to a company because we are a big institution with big finances.”

He oversaw a cadre of distinguished teaching peers, but his main job was to scramble to remedy the school’s deficit.

The school’s financial problems were well known: the public university system is funded by taxpayers and subject to debate in the state legislature. Minnesota was among the states where lawmakers began to question the use of public funds to fund higher professional education.

Garry Jenkins

University of Minnesota

Jenkins, who earns just over $391,000 a year, according to Minnesota state public records, had served as chief operating officer and general counsel for the Goldman Sachs Foundation. This has given him financial chops not typical of many law school deans, who are often promoted from the administrative or teaching ranks and earn a median $310,600according to

The school has launched new programs, including a master’s program for students who want to become patent agents and a popular law minor for undergraduates, he said.

mind gap

After taking over as dean of law at Pepperdine University, Paul Caron said his main task was to find ways to fill the enrollment gap. Freshman enrollment at the school plummeted in the mid-2000s, from about 210 students to 160 students a year, he said.

The school scored a lifeline from alum Rick Caruso, a real estate developer who is running for mayor of Los Angeles. He was renamed to Caruso after he pledged $50 million to Pepperdine in 2019.

To boost enrollment, the school also temporarily lowered admission standards. Since then, he has developed online programs and master’s programs to keep tuition fees going.

Caron also wanted to teach, but the former tax law professor said he soon realized that was unrealistic.

“It almost killed me because of the demands on my time running the school,” Caron said of the one time he tried to teach during his tenure. “I can manage budgets, but I have terribly underestimated the time needed for fundraising.”

Jon J. Epps