McGeorge School of Law Taps Innovative Legal Educator as Next Dean
January 24, 2017
University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento announced today that Michael Hunter Schwartz, a national leader in legal education reform and in building law school enrollment, will be its next dean.
Schwartz, who has served as the dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law at University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 2013, is scheduled to begin his appointment at McGeorge on July 1.
"Dean Schwartz is a proven leader in legal education and has a strong record for building enrollments, improving bar-passage rates, and enhancing the reputation of law schools," said Maria Pallavicini, Pacific's provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. "His experience with academic support and curriculum reform, and his track record for building collaborative relationships with law schools in other countries, will be essential as we continue to strengthen McGeorge for the future."
Schwartz is looking forward to joining McGeorge.
"Coming to McGeorge is like coming home for me," said Schwartz, a Southern California native who attended UC Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. "I am excited that I will be working with the McGeorge faculty and staff and with everyone across Pacific to make McGeorge the law school everyone looks to for the brightest legal minds in the country. It's a wonderful opportunity for us all."
During his time at the William H. Bowen School of Law, Schwartz organized the first-ever law school community research summit, hosted the region's first-ever legal hack-a-thon to develop computer applications and websites to solve legal problems, and established collaborative relationships with law schools in Taiwan, Poland and Mexico. During his time as dean, the law school's academic support and bar-pass programs were completely revamped, the curriculum was reformed, and a new mentoring program for first-year law students was created.
This month, Schwartz was named the ninth most influential person in 2016 by National Jurist Magazine, his third time receiving this recognition. He was among the top 15 "Most Influential People in Legal Education" in 2014 and 2015, as well. Under his leadership, the Bowen School of Law won the 2016 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award for the school's comprehensive development professionalism curriculum.
He has written extensively on teaching law, including "What the Best Law Teachers Do," a book published by Harvard University Press that reported the results of a four-year qualitative study of 26 of the most effective law teachers in the United States. He also created and edits a law school textbook series that currently includes 23 texts. He is the former academic curriculum consultant to the Council of Legal Education Opportunity, and former chair of the Association of American Law Schools Sections on Teaching Methods and Balance in Legal Education. In 2016, he was elected to the executive committee of the AALS Section for Deans. He is on the editorial advisory board of Carolina Academic Press, the Journal of Experiential Learning, and the Prince Sultan University Research Review. He has spoken about teaching and learning at law schools and conferences on nearly 200 occasions, and his presentations include training programs for law professors from Chile, Iran, the Republic of Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Turkey.
"Dean Schwartz is a prolific scholar with a track record of revitalizing curriculum and supporting law students for success," said McGeorge's Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Michael Colatrella Jr. "His expertise centers on what truly prepares lawyers for what's next."
Before taking the helm at Bowen, Schwartz was the associate dean for faculty and academic development, the co-director of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, and a professor of law at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. He also has served as a professor of law at the Charleston School of Law in Charleston, South Carolina, and at Western State University College of Law in Fullerton. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a juris doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in San Francisco.
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