Charles Williams | August 15, 2018
Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law Nell Jessup Newton will conclude her tenure as dean of Notre Dame Law School on June 30, 2019, after 10 years of service to the Law School and the broader University. The University is currently conducting a search for the Law School’s next dean.
Newton assumed the deanship at an important time for the Law School, in the midst of a recession that resulted in diminishing job prospects for all law school graduates across the country and a concomitant serious downturn in applications to law schools. Despite these challenges, Notre Dame Law School is thriving, and continues to attract outstanding students and faculty. Twenty of the current full-time Notre Dame Law faculty joined the Law School during Newton’s deanship, including four in 2018-2019. The current faculty hiring plan anticipates eight additional faculty hires in the coming years. Throughout her deanship, Newton provided extensive support for scholarship and helped raise the scholarly profile of the Law School by supporting the creation of research programs on Church, State, and Society; Constitutional Structure; Law and Economics; and Law and Market Behavior. Most recently, the Law School has become an integral part of the University’s Real Estate Institute.
Newton’s concern for students has been a hallmark of her tenure. She expanded the Career Development Office, created a new position for a wellness counselor for students, and significantly upgraded the school’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program for graduates in public service. To date, that program has grown 500 percent during her tenure. To further encourage student interest in public interest careers, she created the Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship and the Bank of America Foundation Community Sustainability Fellowship, each of which annually awards two Notre Dame Law students a two-year post-graduate fellowship with a governmental agency or private nonprofit. To guide student course selection, the faculty also created eight curricular programs of study.
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