Longtime faculty member Jenny Martinez has been named the next dean of Stanford Law School.
University officials announced Wednesday that Martinez will succeed outgoing dean Elizabeth Magill, who is leaving the dean’s office after seven years to become provost of the University of Virginia. Martinez—an expert on the impact of courts on human rights who has been on the Stanford Law faculty since 2003—will assume that post April 1.
“She has deep support from her faculty colleagues, students and staff for both her scholarship and her leadership,” said Stanford Provost Persis Drell in an announcement of the appointment. “She brings an enthusiasm for the future of Stanford Law School and she will be a great addition to the senior leadership of the university.”
Martinez—who is Hispanic—will join the growing number of women occupying the dean suites in law campuses across the country, particularly minority women. Women now comprise about a third of deans at ABA-accredited law schools, and that percentage continues to rise.
She served as the law school’s associate dean for curriculum from 2013 to 2016 and last year chaired the school’s working group on diversity and inclusion. That group issued a slew of recommendations, including the creation of a diversity cabinet; more outreach to prospective and admitted students, and the creation of a speaker series centered on bias and identity.
“Jenny Martinez is not only an exceptional scholar and gifted teacher, but has been a spectacular citizen at the law school who has played a pivotal role in the school’s important recent initiatives on promoting diversity and inclusion, and providing path-breaking global learning opportunities for our students,” said law professor Jane Schacter, who was co-chair of the dean search committee.
Martinez graduated from Harvard Law School and went on to clerk for two of the biggest names in the federal judiciary: Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Martinez on Wednesday called the opportunity to lead the law school an honor.
“Through my work in international and comparative law, “I have seen how important law is to building societies where everyone is treated fairly and all kinds of human endeavors can flourish,” she said. “Through innovative research and teaching, in collaboration with other departments in the university, Stanford Law School is uniquely situated to contribute to solving public policy problems and training lawyers for the future.”