That was quick.
The University of Saint Louis School of Law announced on March 5 that former Supreme Court of Missouri Judge Michael Wolff would assume the deanship, effective immediately. That news came just one day after interim dean Tom Keefea trial attorney with deep ties to the law school but no academic experienceannounced to several St. Louis news organizations that he was leaving. His departure, which he attributed to his own inappropriate comments and clashes with the faculty, was news to the faculty and university administrators, who had not been informed of his decision.
Wolff assumes leadership of a law school reeling after a turbulent eight months. Former law dean Annette Clark resigned unexpectedly in August after one year in the job, during which she sparred with university president Lawrence Biondi over the law school's funding and autonomy. (Biondi said that she was on the cusp of being fired.)
One sore spot for Clark was the university's acquisition of a donated downtown St. Louis office building that is to become the school's home. Law school administrators learned of that decision a mere three days before it was announced to the public, she contended.
It will fall to Wolff to oversee the move. He has served on the faculty since 2011 and was chairman of the committee developing plans for the renovated building.
"The landscape of legal education is changing, and SLU Law is at the forefront," Wolff said in a written statement. "We have such a vibrant student body, talented faculty, dedicated staff and supportive alumni community. I look forward to moving the school downtown and integrating the educational experience of the students with the legal community, which will serve a vital role in our education and justice mission."
Wolff spent 13 years on the state's highest court and also served as chairman of the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission. He taught at the law school for 23 years before his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1998.
"As a longtime member of the Saint Louis University community, Dean Wolff is dedicated to the mission of our School of Law, and to ensuring that its mission remains at the heart of the outstanding legal education we provide to our students," Biondi said.
Contact Karen Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That was quick.