Final Report of the Consultative Committee on the Selection of a Dean of the Law School

President Judith Rodin and Interim Provost Michael Wachter convened the Law School Dean Search Committee on November 16, 1998. Members of the committee were: Jacques deLisle (Professor of Law, Law School); Martin Fishbein (Harry C. Coles, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Communication, Annenberg School for Communication); Daniel R. Garodnick (L'00, Editor, The Law Review, Law School); Robert A. Gorman (Kenneth W. Gemmill Professor of Law, Law School); Richard J. Herring (Jacob Safra Professor of International Banking and Vice Dean and Director Wharton Undergraduate Division, The Wharton School chair); Heidi M. Hurd (Professor of Law and Philosophy, Law School); Paul S. Levy, Esq. (Law School Alumnus, Member of the Law Board of Overseers); Georgette Poindexter (Associate Professor of Real Estate, The Wharton School); Samuel H. Preston (Frederick J. Warren Professor of Demography and Dean, School of Arts and Science); Edward Rock (Professor of Law, Law School); Stephanie Whitfield (L'01, Student Representative, Law School); Rose McManus (Office of the Secretary) served as secretary to the committee. On August 2, 1999, Professor Heidi Hurd resigned from the Search Committee. Sarah Barringer Gordon (Professor of Law, Law School) was named on August 17, 1999, to take her place.

The University of Pennsylvania Law School enjoys a strong position among the top tier of American law schools. It possesses a highly interdisciplinary, intellectually diverse, productive and research-oriented faculty and has a tradition of leadership and active involvement in legal reform and experimental methods of teaching and learning. The School has a strong research and teaching connection with other outstanding professional schools and academic departments at Penn and a talented and diverse student population from the United States and abroad.

In an effort to clearly understand the current and future needs of the School, the committee consulted widely with students, faculty, alumni and members of the Law School administration at the beginning of the search. The goal of the Law Dean Search Committee was to find a dean who could provide the intellectual vision and leadership necessary to sustain and enhance the Law School's tradition of excellence in education and research and strengthen its reputation worldwide. It sought candidates with a distinguished record of scholarship, professional achievement and academic leadership.

The committee solicited nominations from Law faculty, students, and alumni as well as from peer institutions across the country. Advertisements were placed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Black Issues in Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook, National Law Journal, and The New York Times. In addition, the search firm of Korn/Ferry International was engaged to assist the committee in identifying candidates. In all, the committee met 44 times and reviewed the credentials of 99 candidates, 23 of whom were women, 4 were identified as minorities, and 7 were faculty members of the School.

A total of 18 individuals were interviewed. At the completion of this process, and after careful deliberation, the committee submitted a set of recommendations to the President and Provost, who subsequently announced the appointment of Michael Andrew Fitts, Robert G. Fuller, Jr., Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Professor Fitts has been at the Law School since 1985 and served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1996 to 1998. Prior to coming to Penn, from 1981 to 1985, he was Attorney Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Professor Fitts was graduated from Harvard College and received his J.D. from the Yale University School of Law.

The appointment will be submitted to the Trustees of the University for final approval on March 23, 2000.

--Richard J. Herring, Chair

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 25, March 21, 2000