Bruce P. Smith named Dean; David D. Meyer named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Friday, January 09, 2009

Award-winning professor named College of Law Dean

Bruce P. Smith, a noted legal historian and award-winning University of Illinois law professor, was named Dean of the College of Law by Provost Linda Katehi on January 9. The Board of Trustees confirmed Dean Smith's appointment at their January 15 meeting. Dean Smith, who joined the law faculty in 2001 and has served as associate dean for academic affairs since April, officially assumed his duties as the college's 12th dean and Guy Raymond Jones Faculty Scholar on February 16. He replaces Heidi Hurd, who was dean from 2002 to 2007, when she stepped down to join the faculty of the more than century-old college. Professors Charles Tabb and Ralph Brubaker have served in an interim capacity.

Professor David Meyer named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Professor David D. Meyer, a leading scholar at the intersection of constitutional law and family law, began his duties as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs on February 16. Professor Meyer's articles have appeared in the University of Chicago Legal Forum, Minnesota Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, and other journals. Dean Meyer served as U.S. national reporter on family law at the past two congresses of the International Academy of Comparative Law, in Utrecht (2006) and Brisbane (2002).In 2006, Professor Meyer delivered the Siben Distinguished Professorship Lecture at Hofstra University School of Law ("The Constitutional Rights of Non-Custodial Parents"), and the inaugural Weyrauch Distinguished Lecture in Family Law at the University of Florida ("Palmore Comes of Age: The Place of Race in the Placement of Children"). He received his B.A. in History with Highest Honors and his J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Michigan, where he also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. He clerked for Judge Harry T. Edwards on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Byron R. White on the United States Supreme Court. He also served as a Legal Advisor to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague and practiced law in Washington, D.C., and Chicago before joining the Illinois faculty in 1996.

"Bruce is a scholar of considerable vision and energy with high ambitions for the college," said Richard Herman, chancellor of the Urbana campus. "He is just the right person to be leading our fine College of Law."

Dean Smith, 44, says his years on the U. of I. faculty will yield a smooth transition to heading the college, ranked 23rd in the latest U.S. News ratings of the nation's top 100 law schools.

"The College of Law has tremendous strengths: a world-class faculty, top-notch students, talented administrators and staff, and highly accomplished alumni," Smith said. "It is a privilege to have the opportunity to lead such a remarkable institution and to advance the mission of this great public research university. I look forward to building on the significant legacy of my predecessors, helping the college achieve our ambitious goals, and visiting with many of our alumni in the coming months."

Dean Smith, whose research has focused on Anglo-American criminal procedure in the 18th and 19th centuries, is co-director of the Legal History Program at the college, whose graduates include Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier and Michael Strautmanis, longtime legal counsel to President-elect Barack Obama.

He has written a book that will be published this year on the history of common law, along with numerous articles that have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews.

In 2008, Dean Smith was one of two recipients of the university's prestigious Campus Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching, which recognizes excellence in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and other contributions to improved instruction, including influence on curriculum.

"I have been deeply impressed by the intensity and dedication of Professor Smith's work as a scholar and teacher of law, and by the exciting vision he brings to the challenges of the law deanship," said Provost Linda Katehi.

Before joining the U. of I., Smith practiced law for five years at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., working primarily in patent litigation, employment law and sports law, representing the National Football League, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League.

He received law and doctoral degrees from Yale University, where he was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities and senior editor of the Yale Law Journal. He received a bachelor's degree summa cum laude with highest honors in history from Williams College, and received bachelor's and master's degrees in history from the University of Cambridge, where he attended as a Hershel Smith Fellow.


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