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Michael Hunter Schwartz

Michael Hunter Schwartz

Dean and Professor of Law
AB, University of California, Berkeley
JD, UC Hastings College of the Law, Order of the Coif


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Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz can tie his interest in legal education excellence to a moment, years ago, when his wife mocked him. She came to visit his contracts class and, after offering mostly positive feedback, made a statement that echoes in his head to this day, "You have no idea when it works, why it works and when it fails, why it fails." He had to admit she was right, and he agreed to take an online class her college was offering so he could find out. 

Fifteen years, 10 books, eight law review articles and essays, three book chapters, and more than 200 presentations later, Dean Schwartz is regarded as one of the leading experts on law teaching, learning, assessment and curriculum design in the United States. In 2017, National Jurist Magazine named him the 9th Most Influential Person in Legal Education, his third year in a row among the top 15 .  

Dean Schwartz has a passion for preparing new law students to be effective law students and for preparing all law students to be skilled, happy, balanced, professional, service-oriented, problem-solving lawyers.  

Dean Schwartz's scholarly works include Teaching Law by Design II (Carolina Academic Press 2016), Expert Learning for Law Students (3rd ed., Carolina Academic Press forthcoming fall 2017) and What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press 2013), the product of a four-year, qualitative study of 26 of the most effective law teachers in the United States; McGeorge professor Cary Bricker was along the professors featured in the book. Dean Schwartz's books also include two editions of a contracts casebook, which was the first book in a practice-focused casebook series for which he is the designer and editor.

Dean Schwartz is the former Academic Curriculum Consultant to the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), and he is the chair-elect of the Section on Deans of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) and the former chair of the Sections on Teaching Methods and on Balance in Legal Education. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Experiential Learning and the Prince Sultan University Law Review and a member of the Law Casebook Series Advisory Board for Carolina Academic Press. Dean Schwartz's conference presentations include an AALS Presidential Program, multiple plenary sessions at a variety of conferences, and the keynote address at a national teaching conference at a leading German law school. He has trained dozens of law teachers in the United States as well as the Republic of Georgia, Iran, Turkey, and Chile. His contracts course was honored by the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Project as a model course reflecting "exemplary innovative teaching."

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