June 23, 2010 13:53 Age: 4 yrs

DEAN'S VIEW: Forging a New Direction

Emory Law identifies the path to ongoing success

As the legal profession continues to experience economic challenges, law schools too are faced with difficult choices in this ever-changing marketplace. Emory Law has been actively engaged over the last four years in building on the foundation established by my predecessors.

We have accomplished much during my tenure as dean. Alumni often draw me aside to comment on the law school’s energy and momentum. Students work with one another and with faculty and administration in community. The administration collaborates with students to identify ways to improve the school. Our faculty is reshaping the curriculum and fashioning an educational program that will better prepare our graduates for a successful future in the profession.

Despite these improvements, we have much to do if we are to position Emory Law for success in a challenging future.

Toward that end, this summer Emory Law will launch an effort to focus on six strategic initiatives that we are confident will provide a foundation for success: Enhancing our academic strengths and faculty, developing a plan for sustained financial health, enriching our student experience, attracting highly qualified students, engaging our alumni and integrating our communications process.

I have appointed a coordinator in each area and have formed working groups of administrators and faculty for each. These groups will identify and prioritize initiatives to foster improvements.

For example, the faculty has started examining ways to enhance our academic strengths by evaluating existing LLM programs for possible improvements as well as identifying new program areas for LLM, certificate and joint degree programs. These improvements will augment the fine work faculty members have completed and will continue to focus on related to improving our JD curriculum (see story, p. 17).

Our Office of Admission, led by Assistant Dean Ethan Rosenzweig 02L, has undergone a fundamental transformation this year. The entire application process is now paperless. Communication efforts have been strengthened and personalized for prospective students. The intention is to extend the community that is so much a part of the present student experience to our prospective students.

The success of these efforts was reflected in the record number of admitted students attending our annual Visiting Day. Comments from students and families participating were overwhelmingly positive. They appreciated the personalized efforts and sensed the strength of our student-centered community. Ethan will lead a working group to continue these improvements as part of the development of our new strategic initiatives.

Given the challenges facing law schools and the legal profession, it is imperative that we build on our successes and forge a law school experience that continues to be relevant to our students and our alumni.

We simply cannot rest on our laurels. We must be bold and envision a law school for this century; one that is led by a faculty bent on providing a superb legal education and one that reaches beyond the walls of the academy to provide opportunities for meaningful partnerships with the profession.

In this way, we can ensure our students are prepared for more than practice and that Emory Law is positioned to be even more successful in the future.

David F. Partlett
Dean and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law


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