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‘Tis the season … to name new law deans.

Hamline University School of Law has tapped CR Bard Inc. general counsel Jean Holloway as its new dean. That announcement came just days after Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law announced that Wake Forest University Vice Provost Jennifer Collins would be its next dean, and Indiana University Maurer School of Law-Bloomington named Southwestern Law School professor Austen Parrish as its dean.

Hamline’s selection of Holloway is somewhat unusual because of her background in practice rather than the academy. She has worked in-house at medical companies including Medtronic Inc. and Boston Scientific Corp and has been general counsel at medical device manufacturer CR Bard since 2012. Earlier, Holloway was a partner in two of Minnesota’s most prominent law firms: Faegre & Benson and Dorsey & Whitney.

She will be the school’s first female dean.

“Jean Holloway’s leadership roles in complex institutions both in the public and private sectors, her skill to work creatively with diverse constituencies and her demonstrated record of success in the practice and business of law led to our decision that she would contribute significantly to advancing Hamline University’s School of Law,” university president Linda Hanson said.

In addition to her real-world legal experience, Holloway is a former president of both the Hennepin County Bar Association and Minnesota Women’s Lawyers, and has experience fundraising, the university noted.

“I am especially excited about building on Hamline Law’s unique strength in developing practice-ready, problem-solving lawyers through challenging and personalized experiential learning programs,” Holloway said.

She will assume the deanship on Jan. 6, replacing Donald Lewis, who will return to Nilan Johnson Lewis, the law firm he co-founded in 1996. Lewis has led the St. Paul, Minn., law school since 2008.

Holloway’s new job will come with challenges. The law school has reduced the size of its faculty by nearly 20 percent in the past three years to adjust to lower enrollment. It enrolled 88 new students this fall, down from 233 in 2010, according to the American Bar Association.

Hamline faces stiff competition for students in the Twin Cities law school market. It is has the third-lowest U.S. News & World Report ranking of the area’s four law schools, which includes the University of Minnesota Law School, the University of St. Thomas School of Law and William Mitchell College of Law. However, the school moved up out of the unranked tier of schools on this year list to land at No. 126.

Contact Karen Sloan at ksloan@alm.com.