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Roger J. Dennis, provost of Rutgers University’s Camden campus, is leaving to be the founding dean of Drexel University’s College of Law, Drexel President Constantine Papadakis announced yesterday. Dennis had taught at Rutgers School of Law since 1981 and was the university’s provost since 1997. Dennis was the law school’s dean from 1991 to 1997. Drexel Provost Stephen W. Director said when the university narrowed down the candidates, Dennis’ combination of legal and administrative experience stood out. “All of the last few candidates were strong. It became a matter of turning the magnification up fairly high. Roger’s strong sense of scholarship, proven accomplishment, and experience �#8212; both legal and academic �#8212; as well as his leadership were excellent,” Director said. Dennis said it was bittersweet to leave Rutgers-Camden after 26 years, but that it was time for a new challenge. He said his years of experience in legal education and accreditation were “really a marriage made in heaven” for this position. “I’ve stayed connected to the legal profession and law professoring, and its makes a lot of sense to go back to the core of my professional identity,” Dennis said. “I’m really looking forward to it.” Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick was unavailable for comment for this story, but said in a news release that while he regretted losing Dennis, the opportunity at Drexel was richly deserved. Drexel’s selection of Dennis concludes a yearlong search for the fledgling law school’s dean, Director said. Dennis is set to begin as dean on May 1. Jennifer Rosato, who has served as acting dean, will again focus on her duties as associate dean of students and continue to be a law professor, she said. Rosato said she would help Dennis through his transition and expected it to be seamless. Dennis said he thought Drexel’s choice of concentrations in entrepreneurship, intellectual property and health care fit well with the region. He also said he liked the notion of getting students into the legal community early in their education through the co-op program. Dennis’s philosophy in developing the law school would be to pay a particular focus on its people, he said. “The real guts of it is [to be a strong school], you must recruit excellent students and faculty, so I’ll pay a fair amount of personal attention to those things,” Dennis said. Drexel’s law school opened in August, and will be navigating through the American Bar Association’s multiyear accreditation process beginning in the fall. Dennis will be charged with leading the law school through that process, Director said. On that responsibility, Dennis said he was confident. Dennis said he had years of experience in working through the ABA’s accreditation process. Beyond accreditation, Dennis will be responsible for launching the law school’s co-op program and its pro bono requirement, Rosato said. Dennis will also be developing the school’s curriculum. Currently, the curriculum is only established for first-year students, Director said. Dennis’ legal focus is corporate and antitrust law, and he has published articles on regulation and federalism. Though he said he would be too busy as dean to teach any courses during his first year, he said he had previously taught basic business organizations, securities regulation, antitrust and, most recently, civil procedure. Dennis graduated Order of the Coif and earned his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1974. Before working in academia, Dennis was a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. McLaren of Illinois. He then worked in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division as a trial attorney and special assistant to the assistant attorney general. He also worked at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom’s Washington, D.C., office as an associate. Drexel’s accreditation process will not begin until the law school completes its first full year. Around October, the ABA will do an on-site inspection. A report will be generated from that visit that lists needed improvements, but if most of the requirements are in place the school can get a provisional accreditation around August 2008. The school will have up to five years from the time a provisional accreditation is given to complete the list of suggestions and become accredited. The process could be complete by the time the first class graduates in 2009, according to the school’s Web site, which details the accreditation process.

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