Willamette University College of Law has tapped Curtis Bridgeman, now an associate dean for academic affairs at Florida State University College of Law, as its next dean.

Meanwhile, the Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law has promoted Eric Lane to its top administrative post. Lane has been interim dean since March, when Nora Demleitner stepped down to become dean at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Lane has taught at Hofstra for 35 years and has held a number of public service positions, including special counsel to the New York City Council between 2002 and 2005.

“These are challenging times for American law schools, but these challenges provide a real opportunity to rethink legal education and implement thoughtful changes directed toward an improved, more just legal system,” Lane said.

The job woes of law graduates and the rising cost of legal education are also key issues for Bridgeman, who will assume the deanship at Willamette in July.

“All law schools right now face a tough employment market,” he said. “We’re going to draw on our wonderful alumni base and our location across the street from the state capitol to get real practical experience for our students.”

Willamette is already exploring ways to expand and improve the school’s internships and externships, and has tapped a recently retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice Paul De Muniz to help connect students with opportunities within state government and the judiciary.

“I think it’s a great time to be a law school dean,” Bridgeman said. “The schools that can really do things better are going to shine. These tough times force us to focus on what’s really important, and that’s providing an education that prepares students to practice.”

Bridgeman has taught at Florida State since 2004; his scholarship centers on contracts and commercial law.

Contact Karen Sloan at ksloan@alm.com.