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Leaving his position as dean of the Yale Law School was an easy decision for Anthony T. Kronman. He had no choice. Just like presidents of the United States, Yale Law deans can serve only two terms (albeit five-year terms vs. four). “It’s great for the school and it’s great for the dean,” Kronman said in an interview in his spacious, comfortable office that overlooks Wall Street on the Yale campus. “The school needs fresh blood. It’s a pretty demanding job.” From most accounts, it’s a job Kronman did well. Robert C. Ellickson, the Walter E. Meyer Professor of Property and Urban Law at Yale Law, praised Kronman when he was first hired in 1994 and still praises him 10 years later. “It’s important for a school to hold onto its faculty and attract new ones,” Ellickson said. “Amazingly few left … and several came back.” Relatively low turnover is important to a school’s prestige, Ellickson explained. “People vote with their feet on where they want to be,” he said, adding that something is wrong when academics find “pastures greener” and head elsewhere. “Attracting quality professors shows they place Yale above other schools,” he said. “The faculty has maintained and increased its strength,” Kronman asserted. “We have lost only one faculty member to another school which, if I’m permitted to boast, is pretty incredible.” Kronman said Yale Law has hired faculty away from every other major law school during his tenure. About the only chink in Kronman’s armor is his hiring of minority professors. The National Hispanic Bar Association criticized him in 1997 for 12 straight years of having no Hispanic faculty member on a tenure track. Kronman admits the same is still true seven years later. “The faculty has become more diverse,” he said. “This is a slow and patient process. Over the past 15 years we’ve made very few appointments of junior people to untenured positions. Lateral appointees tend to be further advanced in their careers. The more junior you go in the scheme of things, the more you find a group of teachers who are wonderfully diverse.” Yale Law had no junior faculty when Kronman became dean. It has three now. “It should be twice as large,” he said. He counts his failure at hiring more junior faculty as one of the few regrets of his tenure. “I’m not a person who tends to be filled with regrets,” he said. “My habit is to look ahead, not back. I would have liked to have done more to bring the school into an active engagement in the great international issues of the day.” He also could have done more to address the physical needs of the campus, where space is dwindling. “It’s a beautiful campus, but space is getting tight.” One thing outweighs those regrets: his relationship with the faculty, which unanimously selected him for two five-year terms. “I leave the deanship believing my friendships with my colleagues are intact, which is an immense source of personal satisfaction,” he said with a smile. His successor, Harold Hongju Koh, Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law, said Kronman deserves praise for his 10 years of keeping Yale on top. “He has maintained the law school, by acclamation, for 10 years as the best in the world,” Koh said. “That’s quite an accomplishment.” Koh, who takes over on July 1, said Kronman “is a person of tremendous intelligence, eloquence and personal decency. Many people have these qualities but very few have them in this abundance and combination.” Another element Kronman brought to his leadership, according to Koh, was optimism. “At the end of the day, the dean has to keep looking at the bright side and see all the possibilities,” he said, “and not focus on the particular travails of the day. He may be the only dean in America that looks younger than when he first started.” Kronman commences a sabbatical at the beginning of July that lasts until the beginning of the 2005-06 academic year. He will divide his time between Yale Law and a freshman program called “Directed Studies” that focuses on classical literature. Far from being a step down, Kronman views it as a return to his roots. “I’m deeply interested in undergraduate education,” he said, “and have a particular interest in the classics.” The dean, a friendly, outgoing man who looks much younger than 59, says his top legacy is the school is as good, if not better, than when he took over from Guido Calabresi, who was named a 2nd Circuit appellate judge in 1994 by President Clinton. “The school continues to be the intellectually vibrant and influential place that it was when I became a student in 1972 and dean in 1994. That’s what matters to me the most,” he said. Kronman has a Ph.D. in philosophy and a J.D. from Yale. The school has also benefited from Kronman’s belief in public service. He continued Calabresi’s loan forgiveness programs for graduates who took low-paying, public service jobs. “Loan forgiveness is great,” he said, “but we needed to take the next step beyond that and create some paying fellowships.” The programs, such as the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program and Fund, provide recent grads the opportunity to work after law school without needing to worry about paying their bills. Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, said Kronman was instrumental in the development of the Liman program. She said, “The breadth and depth of the program and its support by Yale Law School are all artifacts of Tony Kronman’s commitments to public service and his understanding, shared by Arthur Liman and many others, of the important contributions that legal profession can and should make to the public.” The students at Yale Law have a great impact on the future of law, Kronman said, with 15 percent of the Class of 1998 employed in academics five years after graduation. “We produce a disproportionate number of the nation’s law teachers,” he said. “As you influence legal education, you influence the profession as a whole. The shaping influence that Yale Law School has had over the past 75 years has been incredible.” Knowing that impact, Kronman has also worked during his decade as dean to improve the morality of the profession. He restructured the professional responsibility program in the early part of his tenure, but it’s changing again. “We’ve been actively debating how professional ethics should be taught here at the school,” Kronman said. “My concerns about them have become the concerns of the faculty to the degrees that they weren’t a decade ago.”

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