A slew of women have been appointed law dean this semester, which will soon yield a record high for female leadership in the legal academy. The number of women occupying the dean suites has been on the rise for years, but this year’s new batch of leaders is particularly diverse in both gender and race. Here, we’re introducing you to the next generation of women law school leaders, some of whom have already taken the helm this spring. Experts say the increasing visibility of women in top law school positions is inspiring more female academics to pursue those roles.
Michéle Alexandre—Stetson University College of Law. Alexandre will be Stetson’s first African-American law dean when she takes over in June. She comes from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where she was an associate dean for faculty development and intellectual life. She’s also an expert in civil rights.
April Barton—Duquesne University School of Law. Barton will stay in Pennsylvania for her upcoming law dean gig, which kicks off in July. She’s currently the associate dean for academic affairs at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. She’ll take over from another woman: current dean Maureen Lally-Green.
Danielle Conway—Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law. Conway is no stranger to the dean’s office. Since 2015 she has held the top post at the University of Maine School of Law, where she was the first African-American dean. She’ll take that expertise further south to Pennsylvania in July.
Judith Daar—Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law. It seems fitting that the next dean of Northern Kentucky’s law school is a woman. The school’s pervious permanent dean resigned in late 2017 after complaints he sexually harassed staffers. Daar is currently a visiting professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law and previously served as interim dean of Whittier Law School.
Elizabeth Kronk Warner—University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. Warner is set to become the first woman law dean in the school’s 106-year history. She’s currently the associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Kansas School of Law. She will start her new position in July.
Jenny Martinez—Stanford Law School. When Martinez took the helm at Stanford Law this week, she became the first Hispanic dean at the prestigious school. Martinez is no stranger to Stanford. She has been on the faculty since 2003 and is an expert on the impact of courts on human rights.
Renée McDonald Hutchins—University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. Hutchins will take the reins at UDC later this month. She has spent the past 16 years on the faculty of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
Kimberly Mutcherson—Rutgers Law School. Rutgers named Mutcherson as co-dean of its two law campuses in January, and she took on the role immediately. All in one swoop, she became the law school’s first female, African-American and LGBT dean. She joined the faculty of Rutgers’ Camden law campus in 2002.
Verna Williams—University of Cincinnati College of Law. Williams didn’t have to move far when she was named Cincinnati Law’s permanent dean in March. She has been in the dean’s office since May of 2017, serving at the school’s interim dean. She has been on the law school faculty since 2001.