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Emory University’s next law school dean may not be a lawyer. Two of the three finalists on the school’s candidate list, chosen in the wake of former Dean Howard O. Hunter’s resignation in January, don’t have law degrees. All three hold doctorates. One of the nonlawyers is Thomas S. Ulen, 54, a professor teaching law and economics at the University of Illinois College of Law. The other is Harry N. Scheiber, about 66, a professor of law and history at the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. The lone lawyer candidate is Davison Douglas, 45, a law professor at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Though all the candidates have substantial credentials, none come directly from Ivy League jobs and none have been law school deans. So why these choices? Was the search too limited? Is money an issue? No, say those connected with the search and selection process. It’s simply that some of the best people for the job weren’t lawyers. “It has been identified as a little bit unusual to have a couple of people who do not have the J.D. degree,” acknowledges Emory law professor Jeffrey N. Pennell, who confirmed the identities of the finalists. Pennell is chairman of the nine-member search committee that chose the finalists. “If I had my druthers, I would rather have somebody who has practiced law but … we have people with the J.D. degree on the faculty who have never practiced.” INDIANA DEAN WITHDRAWS Initially, Emory’s slate of finalists was a 50-50 mix of lawyer/nonlawyer hopefuls. But a fourth finalist, Alfred Aman, an attorney and dean of the law school at the University of Indiana-Bloomington, withdrew his candidacy late Monday afternoon. Aman said on Tuesday that his reasons for withdrawing related primarily to geography. His wife, an anthropologist, recently landed a teaching post at Princeton. Also, Aman says he’s happy in his deanship at Indiana. Pennell says Aman’s withdrawal is so recent that he doesn’t yet know if the search committee will add another candidate — whether lawyer or nonlawyer — or leave the number of finalists at three. Pennell says that after conducting “airport interviews” — where candidates fly to Atlanta for off-campus screening interviews — the committee unanimously agreed that the two nonlawyer candidates were among the strongest in their vision and their grasp of legal education and the strengths of Emory’s law school. “We didn’t think that having the J.D. degree was the most important criteria,” he says. The American Bar Association’s Standards for Approval of Law Schools, Standard 205 entitled “Dean,” makes no mention of a J.D. or other equivalent law degree as a requirement for holding a law school deanship. A check of the 185 law schools accredited or provisionally approved by the ABA shows that all their deans have a J.D. degree or its equivalent. A law degree isn’t necessarily essential to being a good dean, according to L. Ray Patterson, a professor at the University of Georgia’s law school and a law dean at Emory from 1973 to 1981. “I think the individual is more important than the degree,” he says. “There are lots of persons who have J.D. degrees who would not be qualified.” He says the most important criteria for deans include intelligence, the ability to understand and deal with people, leadership ability, vision and an awareness of their own limitations. But he acknowledges that there are situations where the J.D. may come into play. FUNDRAISING IS KEY ROLE For example, a big part of a dean’s job is fundraising, often from other lawyers and alumni. “It’s a reasonable inference to assume that a person without a law degree could not connect with law school alumni … a person without a law degree would have to have truly exceptional qualities to be chosen,” he says. Also, he says, “You could argue that a man without a law degree would be conferring law degrees.” But, he reiterated, a person’s fitness and ability to be a good dean depend on personality and situation more than on the possession of a J.D. What’s right for a school depends on the school’s situation and whether it’s a school with lots of resources that’s on the move, or one that is already recognized as a top flight school. “I think that Emory would be a school that’s on the move. I don’t think they’ve quite reached the pinnacle of schools such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Michigan, Berkeley,” he says. NONE FROM IVY LEAGUE With the exception of one candidate — Berkeley’s Scheiber — none of the deanship prospects are coming from Ivy League schools or any near their tendrils. “My understanding is that each of those are fine schools,” says Ben F. Johnson III, the chairman of Emory’s Board of Trustees, of the candidates’ current posts at Berkeley, William & Mary and Illinois. “Not all of the drivers in higher education necessarily emanate from Harvard and Yale. I say that as someone who went to Harvard. But I’m continually surprised at how much leadership is given to the professions and law schools and the judiciary by people who haven’t had the benefit of going to Harvard.” Patterson, too, says he doesn’t find it particularly significant that the candidates aren’t coming from the Ivy League. “I think some people would raise questions as to why they don’t choose someone from their own faculty,” he says. The names of three Emory law professors have made the rounds in Georgia’s legal community as possible contenders for the dean’s post. But two, Richard D. Freer and Charles A. Shanor, say they never were candidates and didn’t aspire to be. The third, Thomas C. Arthur, did not return a call by press time. “All things considered, there was a sentiment among the faculty … that we look for an infusion of perspective, if you will,” says Pennell of the decision to choose outsiders as dean candidates. He adds that Hunter, Emory law’s former dean, was an insider who served for 12 years. The candidates will visit the school at separate times for on-campus interviews scheduled to begin Oct. 25 and run through Nov. 2. The Emory law faculty is scheduled to vote on the candidates on Nov. 8. But Pennell says that vote will not be the deciding factor in who gets hired. Emory’s president, William M. Chace, will choose which of the three — if any — to recommend to the university’s Board of Trustees, headed by Johnson. Johnson says there’s no specific timeline on selecting a new dean, but he anticipates finishing the process before the end of the year. NO DISCUSSIONS ON SALARY Whoever the new dean is likely will earn in excess of $200,000, according to Johnson. But he says there have not been any discussions of compensation yet. The dean’s salary won’t be adversely affected by the decline in stock value at Emory’s major benefactor, Coca-Cola Co., according to Johnson, who says the school takes a long-term view that transcends temporary slumps in share value. “I think the Coca-Cola Company is just as supportive of the law, the legal process … the law school as anybody could possibly be,” he says. “The traditional sources of philanthropy at Emory are associated with Coca-Cola, i.e., the Woodruff Foundation has seen Coke stock be flat, has seen it rise. … You don’t make 10-, 20- or 30-year decisions based on whether the Dow Jones is up or down today.” Also, according to Pennell, luring a candidate is not as simple as salary. He says that before signing, any future dean likely will negotiate with the university to set future funding for the law school and to make sure he has the money to carry out his vision and goals. MULTI-PRONGED SEARCH Pennell says the search committee found the current slate of candidates with the help of a consultant, its own investigative efforts and advertisements in various publications. He would not reveal how many candidates the committee considered. The consultant, he says, made some 500 phone calls pursuing leads. The search committee broke into two groups to examine possible candidates. One group looked at people in the law school community nationwide, including every current sitting dean at a U.S. law school, and full professors and associate deans at the top 50 schools, he says. The other group looked at judges, managing partners, every woman who was a full professor, and politicians, on the theory that like politicians, law deans do a lot of fundraising and are responsible to a constituency they can’t fire, says Pennell. The finalists, he says, are people with experience that relates to the type of law school Emory aspires to be. Here’s a thumbnail sketch of their credentials: Douglas, the only lawyer of the trio, is the Hanson Professor of Law and the director of the Institute of Bill of Rights at William & Mary. He holds an A.B. in history from Princeton and M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School, plus Ph.D. and J.D. degrees also from Yale. He specializes in civil rights, Constitutional law, employment discrimination and legal history and has a long list of publications, including the book “Reading, Writing and Race: The Desegregation of the Charlotte Schools.” Scheiber is the Stefan A. Riesenfeld Professor of Law and History, and the Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Society at Boalt Hall, at Berkeley. He’s also been an associate dean there. He has an A.B. from Columbia, a master’s degree from Cornell, and a Ph.D. in American history, also from Cornell. He’s done post-doctoral work in law, and has held Guggenheim, Rockefeller and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, among others. He’s also been president of the ACLU of New Hampshire and has written extensively on the history of law and public policy, federalism and constitutional development. Ulen is the Alumni Distinguished Professor of Law at Illinois. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth, a second bachelor’s from Oxford in politics, philosophy and economics, and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford. In addition to teaching in the law school, he holds positions in the Department of Economics and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs. He’s also the director of the University of Illinois’ master’s program in public policy and public administration. He was a member of the founding board of directors of the American Law and Economics Association, and has co-authored a book, “Law and Economics.” “We’ve got a group of finalists who all bring different experiences and strengths,” says Pennell. “I don’t think you could look at any of [them] and say they’ve got everything you might want. But none of them has a major hickey or defect.” Staff reporters Julia D. Gray and Richmond Eustis contributed to this story.

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