Yet another law school has looked outside of academia for its next dean.

The University of San Francisco School of Law has tapped John Trasviña to be its next top administrator, effective on June 17. Trasviña is assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before his HUD appointment in 2009, he was the president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

"As one of the nation’s leading civil rights advocates, Assistant Secretary Trasviña brings to the position a unique combination of executive management experience, fundraising acumen, institution building skills, and strong relationships with legal, business, and government leaders both locally and nationally," provost Jennifer Turpin said.

Trasviña will replace Jeffrey Brand, who announced in October that he would step down after 14 years leading the law school. Brand will rejoin the faculty.

Law schools have become more willing to hire deans directly from law firms, the bench or government. New York Law School hired a dean from New York City government; the deans at Brooklyn Law School, the University of San Diego School of Law and Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law came from large law firms. Pepperdine University School of Law’s dean came from the federal bench.

Trasviña said he was honored to be selected as dean. "It is an exciting opportunity to train the next generation of lawyers and to serve San Francisco and the greater community as the law school begins its second century," he said. "I care deeply about the cause of legal education and about this institution, which has produced leaders for social justice in our courtrooms and communities locally, nationally, and internationally."

Though Trasviña’s most recent experience is in government and public interest law, he is not entirely unfamiliar with the classroom. He was director of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law’s Discrimination Research Center from 2001 to 2006 and has taught immigration law at his alma mater Stanford Law School.

Trasviña is credited with boosting fundraising and expanding services while at MALDEF. At HUD, he oversees more than 580 employees who enforce fair housing laws.

Contact Karen Sloan at For more of The National Law Journal’s law school coverage, visit: