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Peter Keane, dean of San Francisco’s Golden Gate University School of Law, has turned down the school’s five-year contract extension offer and will step down as dean when his current contract expires in December 2003. Keane, 59, sent out an e-mail this week to faculty and staff, explaining that he will leave his post to concentrate on teaching and writing, said a school source who spoke on condition of anonymity. In the e-mail, Keane detailed the accomplishments Golden Gate has made during his tenure, including a recently completed $20 million renovation. “It is sad news for us,” said David Oppenheimer, the school’s associate dean for academic affairs. While Keane has not yet released a public statement, he is expected to notify students next week. Keane, who is traveling, could not be reached for comment. Oppenheimer said Keane recently spent a week in Hawaii and realized he wanted to leave the high-stress world of being a law school dean and return to teaching and writing. Oppenheimer described Keane’s decision as pretty routine. “The average U.S. law school dean lasts four years,” he explained. “It’s a very high-stress position.” Keane has been a very visible public face for Golden Gate since taking the reins as dean in 1999, replacing Anthony Pagano. He is a regular legal analyst for broadcast media including “Larry King Live” and “Nightline.” In addition, he worked as an analyst for CBS television during the O.J. Simpson trial. “I think his deanship will be known for the exposure he brought to the school as a public figure and the wonderful renovation,” Oppenheimer said. Keane is expected to resume his position as a full-time professor at Golden Gate. Currently he teaches courses in criminal procedure, evidence and legal ethics at the law school. The school has not begun its search for a replacement. Keane served previously as chief assistant public defender for San Francisco. A native of Brooklyn, he earned his J.D. from Southern Methodist University law school.

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