If you want to become a law school dean, Minnesota may be the place for you.
Three of the state's four law schools are searching for new leaders.
Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul was the most recent to announce a vacancy when Dean Jon M. Garon said last month he will step down.
Garon, who will conclude a five-year term when he leaves his position in July 2008, said the school will announce a national search during the next few weeks. He said he doesn't believe the search will be affected because of other law school dean vacancies in Minnesota.
"All the schools have a national footprint, so we're really competing against a national pool," he said.
Also located in St. Paul, William Mitchell College of Law is in search for a new leader after Allen Easley said in August he was resigning for personal reasons. Eric Janus, a longtime faculty member, has been an interim president and dean.
Mary Cullen Yeager, who is chairing the school's 11-member search committee, said they are reviewing past search processes to see how effective they have been. She said the committee is not sure when it would want the new dean to start, but is not in a hurry because the school has an experienced interim dean.
"We aren't feeling pressure," said Cullen Yeager, a partner at Minneapolis' Feagre & Benson who is also vice chairwoman of the law school's board of trustees.
AIMING FOR NEXT SUMMER
University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis has been without a dean since April 2006, when Alex Johnson stepped down following a four-year stint. The school has had two interim co-deans since then.
The law school hopes to pick a candidate by the end of the calendar year in order to have a permanent dean in place next summer, said Kevin Reitz, a law professor and co-chairman of the school's law school dean search committee.
Reitz said many deanships average four years so it's not unusual that most of Minnesota's law schools are looking for replacements at the same time.
"The dean searches are often national searches, so in any year that one school is looking for a dean, there are several more schools scattered around the country that are also looking," he said. "The fact that two others are nearby, I think, doesn't change a picture a whole lot."
Still, Reitz acknowledged dean searches can be challenging. The school took the proactive step of contacting about 200 potential candidates, he said.
"There are very few people that promise you at the outset, 'If I'm promised the job, I'll take it,'" Reitz said. "The good candidates seem to be going through their own decision-making process even as the law schools try to decide which candidates they prefer."
University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis is the only one in the North Star State not looking for a law school dean. Thomas Mengler became the law school's second dean in June 2002.