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When the University of Connecticut School of Law named its new dean, it chose the candidate who displayed the most knowledge of the school, its students and its faculty. You might call him an insider. After 18 years as a faculty member, Jeremy R. Paul has ascended to the law school’s top post after a lengthy search to replace Nell Jessup Newton, who left UConn for Hastings College of Law in 2005. Paul’s tenure is effective April 27. Until then, Kurt A. Strasser will continue to lead the institution as its interim dean. Strasser said he’s “absolutely delighted with the appointment. Jeremy is the kind of person who will bring fresh thinking” to the law school. Strasser said he didn’t apply for the post; he’d rather stick to the classroom, he said. Paul was chosen from among four finalists. Of 36 total applicants, Paul was the only UConn faculty member who applied for the position, according to law school spokeswoman Michelle Helmin. “I am delighted that a candidate has been selected who has devoted himself so fully to the law school for nearly two decades and is absolutely committed to its students, faculty and continued success,” Peter Nicholls, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at UConn, said in a written statement. Paul, 50, served as associate dean for academic affairs at UConn Law from 1999 until 2004, when he was named associate dean for research. He said he will continue teaching one course per year, which is all his new schedule will allow. “The students are the reason the law school is here,” he said. “For a dean not to be involved in the classroom sends a bad message.” Continuing to attract talented students and staff will remain a goal under Paul’s watch, he said, as will developing greater scholarship resources as the cost of a legal education rises. The school has a relatively small enrollment of 497 full-time students. Keeping the school’s graduates in state is also a priority. “A strong law school is an important aspect of a growing economy in the state,” Paul maintained. Exposing the Insurance Law Center, the only such center in the country, to an international audience is one of Paul’s particular goals that interests Professor Tom Baker, the center’s director. “We’re in a global marketplace to a certain degree … and UConn is a brand and it’s good to build on that,” Baker noted. Hiring a dean from inside the school should provide for a seamless transition in April, Baker added, considering Paul has been part of the law school’s senior leadership for several years. “The risk of an outside dean is that it takes time to get to know the faculty and the school,” said Baker. News of Paul’s hiring came with widespread applause. “He has a strong vision and a lot of energy,” said Jon Bauer, clinical professor of law. “I think he’ll be a great cheerleader for the school. He’s firmly rooted in the world of practice and will have good relations with the state bar and alumni.” Paul Chill, associate dean for academic affairs and clinical professor of law, said his long-time colleague is a “fabulous teacher and scholar. � He has the respect and admiration and is generally liked by everyone.” Paul previously served as a law clerk to Judge Irving R. Kaufman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; as professor-in-residence at the appellate staff of the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and as assistant to the president of Travelers Group. He has taught at the University of Miami as both assistant and associate professor and at Boston College Law School as a visiting professor. He graduated from Princeton University in 1978 and received his law degree from Harvard in 1981. Paul and his wife, Laurel, and their two sons, Jason and Russell, reside in West Hartford.

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