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Job ID: 101203

Dean, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Northwestern University

  • Dec. 11, 2017
  • Dean, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Pritzker School of Law
  • Northwestern University
    Chicago, IL
    United States
  • Open until filled
  • Available immediately
  • Dean
  • Law - General
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Northwestern University
Dean, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Northwestern University seeks a distinguished scholar and educator to serve as Dean of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, a top-ranked institution that is known for its innovation and commitment to excellence in both teaching and research. A successful Dean candidate will be an energetic and collaborative leader who is able to engage with a broad community of practitioners in law, business, and policy. He or she will be able to demonstrate a profound commitment to legal education, an uncompromising belief in academic excellence, a commitment to diversity in all its forms, an unwavering ethical compass, and a deep commitment to collaboration across disciplines and departments within the University.

The Law School ranks in the top 10 in the nation and successfully blends a rigorous intellectual environment with a collegial and supportive community. The Law School’s faculty and students are among the nation’s strongest. The faculty is highly regarded for academic strength across many key areas of law and is well-known for its interdisciplinary expertise. With one of the lowest student-faculty ratios among its peers, students have access to a renowned research faculty as well as broad opportunities for experiential learning through nationally recognized clinical programs. The Law School’s student and teaching cultures are based on teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect, with the goal of creating ethical, entrepreneurial, well-rounded lawyers who are able to make a positive and lasting impact in law, business, and policy. Approximately 90% of the students enter with post-undergraduate work experience from a wide range of occupations and settings. The student body draws 31% of its students from racially or ethnically diverse backgrounds and is 50% male and 50% female. In addition, the Law School has a geographically diverse student body, with students holding undergraduate degrees from 235 colleges and universities. Nine percent of the current student body is international, representing 20 countries.

Experiential learning is increasingly a focus of legal education. The Law School has long been a leader in this area. The nationally recognized programs housed in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, one of the oldest and largest clinics in the United States, serve as models for similar clinics across the country and cover a number of areas, ranging from wrongful convictions to a unique entrepreneurship program. The Clinic includes more than 20 programs within 14 centers and offers one of the most varied clinical experiences of any law school. Over 90% of JD students pursue experiential learning through the Clinic’s programs, and the Clinic is an oft-cited reason for choosing the Law School by current students and alumni.

In addition to its core JD program, the Law School offers a number of additional degrees and programs of study, including a highly regarded three-year JD-MBA program in close partnership with Northwestern’s nationally ranked Kellogg School of Management. This is the largest JD-MBA program in the country, with nearly 80 students. Additionally, JD students are encouraged to pursue cross-training opportunities by supplementing their law school classes with business and management coursework through several co-listed and jointly offered courses. Other degrees and programs include a six-year JD-PhD program that provides students a fully funded education, a JD-LLM in International Human Rights, a JD-LLM in Taxation, a new Master of Law (MSL) program, visiting and exchange programs, and several executive and professional education programs. The Law School places a heavy emphasis on global education and offers its students highly regarded study abroad programs.

The Law School is recognized for innovation in legal education. In recognition of its leadership in advancing new initiatives at the intersection of law, business, and technology to educate its students for a rapidly changing world, the Law School was recently ranked as one of the top four law schools in the country in a new Innovation Index. In 2015, the Law School established the Master of Science in Law (MSL) degree to address the complex intellectual property, legal, and regulatory environment facing technology professionals and entrepreneurs. Reflecting the school’s emphasis on interdisciplinary study, the degree is designed to provide focused, practical, business-centered legal training to STEM professionals. It is the only master’s program at a law school that is exclusively for STEM professionals and currently enrolls 64 full-time and 42 part-time students. In addition, a new Entrepreneurship Track for JD students familiarizes students with the key aspects of new venture creation and the innovation process along with opportunities to provide legal representation to entrepreneurs through the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center. A new Dean will have the opportunity to build on this strong culture of innovation and partner with faculty to introduce novel ideas and approaches in the Law School.

The Law School’s historic fundraising campaign, Motion to Lead, has raised nearly $220 million, including J.B. Pritzker and M.K. Pritzker’s unprecedented $100 million naming gift, the largest single gift ever to any law school. The campaign continues its strong progress toward a $250 million goal. The new Dean must build upon these successful development efforts, strategically steward resources, and serve as a sound financial manager.

The Law School’s lakefront location in the heart of downtown Chicago provides a spectacular setting in which to live and study. A major world financial center, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and one of its largest legal markets. The Law School’s proximity to courts, commerce, and public interest activities enables students to study and practice law in a vibrant legal and business community.

Northwestern University is a leading research university committed to maintaining superb professional schools. Northwestern University is currently ranked 11th in the U.S. and is home to a dozen colleges and schools across three campuses: a 240-acre campus in Evanston, a 25-acre campus in Chicago’s vibrant Streeterville neighborhood (housing the Law School) and a third campus in Doha, Qatar. Its schools include the highly regarded Kellogg School of Management (ranked #4), School of Education & Social Policy (#10) and Feinberg School of Medicine (#17).

The Dean of the Law School reports to the Provost on the Law School’s educational programs, research activities, fundraising, finances, outreach, and other operations. The Dean is charged with the responsibility of maintaining the highest standards of teaching and scholarship and further increasing the distinction and leadership of the Law School. As a senior member of the Northwestern University leadership team, the Dean works collaboratively with the Law School faculty, the President, the Provost, the Deans of Northwestern’s other 11 schools, and the other senior officers of the University to manage the Law School’s programs and resources in furtherance of the University’s academic and institutional goals.

The primary responsibility for the new Dean will be to build upon the Law School’s strong foundation of scholarship and excellence in legal education, taking steps to continue to increase the Law School’s standing based on:

  • the scholarly contributions of its faculty as leaders in legal research and education;
  • recruiting and retaining a distinguished cadre of the nation’s most distinguished legal scholars;
  • the quality of the students entering and graduating from the Law School and the career opportunities available to them in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors;
  • an innovative educational program that instills students with the foundational competencies and practical skills necessary for the evolving legal employment market;
  • the distinctiveness of its interdisciplinary programs, particularly the collaborative programs with the Kellogg School of Management and other Northwestern schools, centers, and academic programs; and
  • the depth and breadth of its partnerships with nationally and internationally renowned law firms, corporations, educational institutions, local, state, and federal judiciaries, and leading nonprofit organizations, and the opportunities these partnerships provide for student involvement and faculty collaboration.

Among other opportunities to lead, the new Dean will:

  • work collaboratively with faculty, staff, and University administration to develop and execute a new strategic plan to promote and advance the national and international reputation of the Law School, guided by the highest standards of scholarly and professional excellence;
  • provide inspiring leadership and responsible oversight for the Law School to ensure that all aspects of the institution effectively serve the teaching, research, and service missions of Northwestern University, including fostering more cooperation across disciplines and approaches among the faculty, developing and enhancing joint programs with other University departments, enabling deeper integration of students with the Evanston campus, and working with the Law School’s excellent clinical programs;
  • emphasize and support diversity, broadly defined, in the faculty, students and staff, and foster an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive;
  • provide stewardship in developing and managing the structural, financial, and human resources of the Law School;
  • provide leadership in continuously improving the resources of the Law School, especially through developing and implementing fundraising plans and further increasing the endowment;
  • provide intellectual and professional leadership for Northwestern University and for legal education nationally and internationally; and
  • further enhance the Law School’s relationships with alumni, members of the legal profession and business communities, community members, state and local government, and other external constituencies.

The ideal candidate will be a recognized scholar with a national or international reputation for sustained achievement and be able to inspire and lead an accomplished faculty toward further excellence. The candidate should have strong management skills, including the abilities to develop the School’s resources through fundraising and other initiatives and to allocate those resources strategically and effectively. The candidate should have an engaging presence, be able to connect with a broad group of constituents, and persuasively communicate the mission and goals of the Law School within the University, the legal academy, the legal profession, the business community, and the world, as well as enhance the Law School’s relationships with alumni, public and private sector leaders, and local community members. The Dean must have the ability and commitment to recruit a diverse faculty, staff, and student body, and to foster their inclusion and participation in the life of the institution. The candidate should possess strong knowledge of legal and business markets. The candidate should be equipped to take advantage of the global nature of the legal profession and to further enhance the Law School’s international reputation. The candidate should be prepared to oversee the preparation of students for outstanding professional practice that reflects the highest ethical values, public service-mindedness, and exemplary legal skills; to contribute to strategic planning within the University; and to collaborate effectively with other leaders in achieving the University’s goals.

The successful candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • Commitment to Excellence: A record of achievement and innovation in every aspect of an academic and professional career is the best evidence of the enterprise, imagination and determination expected of the next Dean of the Law School.
  • Intellectual Leadership: A reputation for achievement as a legal scholar, meeting the qualifications for appointment as a tenured professor of law; the ability to inspire and lead an accomplished faculty toward further excellence; an appreciation for innovative and interdisciplinary legal scholarship as well as traditional legal scholarship; an appreciation for the centrality and importance of clinical practice and practical lawyering skills in preparing students for the world; the ability to engage leaders of the legal profession, whether they be members of academia, the professional world or public officials, locally and nationally, as a respected colleague; a commitment to the School’s central role in a research university that fosters civic engagement and policy debate; the ability to embrace Northwestern’s culture of innovation – to be fearless in breaking with common ways of doing things when necessary; the willingness to nurture the spirit of camaraderie and collaboration at the Law School; an appreciation of the need to be accessible to students and staff; and the ability to bring energy and passion to the job.
  • Commitment to Diversity: The ability and commitment to aggressively recruit a diverse faculty, staff, and student body and to actively foster their development and participation in the life of the institution, including by ensuring that adequate support systems are in place.
  • Institutional Leadership: Strong management skills, including the commitment and capability to develop the Law School’s resources through fundraising and other initiatives and to allocate them strategically; the ability to collaborate with the law faculty and staff and the University leadership in developing and implementing new strategic plans for the Law School; the ability to inspire the law faculty’s active participation in governing itself and in serving the University and the public; the ability to build consensus and further enhance collaborative efforts; the ability to address issues relating to the status and integration of clinical teaching faculty within the Law School; commitment to pluralism in teaching methods; and the ability to collaborate within the University to help achieve the University’s overall goals.
  • External Leadership: The ability to enhance the Law School’s relationships with varied constituencies including alumni, the legal profession, government officials, the local community and the broader public, business leaders, and philanthropic, service and educational institutions; background or experience in building such relationships internationally; the ability to work in partnership with these constituencies toward common goals; the ability to secure material and other support from these partners; and the ability to mobilize the Law School’s resources to serve the public, the legal profession and the academy.

Northwestern University is a private comprehensive research university based in Evanston, Illinois. The University has over 21,000 students and consists of 12 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools and colleges: the Law School; the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; the Feinberg School of Medicine; the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management; the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science; the Graduate School; the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music; Northwestern University in Qatar; and the Schools of Communication, Education and Social Policy, and Professional Studies. Northwestern was founded in 1851 to serve the people of the Northwest Territory. Instruction began in 1855, and women were first admitted in 1869. Today, Northwestern’s largest campus is a 240-acre parcel in Evanston, along the shore of Lake Michigan. The University’s campus in downtown Chicago is the location of its Law and Medical Schools. The Medill School and School of Communication also have a campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar. The University has a total endowment of $9.8 billion.

Northwestern’s 3,344 full-time faculty members include Tony Award winners, Guggenheim Fellows, MacArthur Fellowship Recipients, and members of numerous honorary and professional societies including the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Council of Learned Societies. Its research budget includes total awards and grants of around $676.5 million.

Morton Schapiro began his term as the 16th President of Northwestern University on September 1, 2009. He is a professor of economics in Northwestern’s Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and also holds appointments in the J. L. Kellogg School of Management and the School of Education and Social Policy. President Schapiro is among the nation’s leading authorities on the economics of higher education, with particular expertise in the area of college financing and affordability and on trends in educational costs and student aid. He has testified before U.S. Senate and House committees on economic and educational issues and is widely quoted in the national media on those issues.

Jonathan Holloway became Provost of Northwestern University and Professor of History and African American Studies on August 1, 2017. He is Northwestern University’s Chief Academic Officer and an ex officio member of the faculty of each school. In this role, he supervises the educational policies and academic priorities of the University; encourages and coordinates initiatives in undergraduate and graduate education; oversees the University’s annual budget; acts on faculty appointments and promotions; directs allocation of resources and space to academic units; and is the acting chief executive officer in the absence of the President. Prior to joining Northwestern, Provost Holloway was most recently the Dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History and American Studies at Yale University. His research is on post-emancipation United States history with a focus on social and intellectual history.

Founded in 1859, the school that would become known as the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law was the first law school established in the city of Chicago. Today, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law advances the understanding of law and produces graduates prepared to excel in a rapidly changing world.

The Law School has an excellent reputation nationally and internationally and is currently ranked among the top 10 law schools in the U.S. It also achieves strong rankings for its specialty programs in trial advocacy, tax law, and legal writing; scholarly citations of its faculty; and the employment success of its graduates. Admission is extremely competitive, with the median LSAT in the top 4% of all test takers nationwide. As part of the Law School’s innovative admissions process, each applicant is invited to interview, and only applicants that demonstrate maturity and interpersonal skills are invited to attend. The Law School strongly prefers applicants with significant full-time work experience; 87% of students enter with at least one year of full-time work experience, and 75% with two years or more.

The faculty is highly regarded for academic strength in a number of areas and is well known for its empirical expertise. With half of its professors holding PhDs, the Law School’s faculty is among the nation’s strongest. The nationally recognized clinical programs serve as models for similar clinics across the country.

The Law School has more than 50 student-led organizations, including the Student Bar Association, a governing group that gives students a voice in curriculum and administration. Each year, student groups plan and celebrate a variety of special events, including Public Interest Law Week, International Law Week, Diversity Week and Black History Month.

The new Dean will be instrumental in the development of a new strategic plan, building on the firm foundation of excellence that exists today, as well as the current strategic plan, which focuses on innovation, student-centeredness and interdisciplinarity.

To ensure full consideration, candidate materials should be received by January 22, 2018. Review of nominations and applications for the position will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. All candidate information will be held in strict confidence until the final round of interviews. The anticipated start date is July 1, 2018.

Qualified candidates should forward an electronic version of a curriculum vitae and an optional letter of interest to Nominations and inquiries should be addressed to Northwestern’s Korn Ferry search consultants:

John Amer, Esq.
Senior Client Partner

Priscilla Angelich
Senior Associate

  • Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

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