The University of New Mexico School of Law has announced that David Herring will be its next dean.

Herring is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he served as dean from 1998 to 2005. He will assume his new job on July 1, replacing interim dean Barbara Bergman.

Former dean Kevin Washburn stepped down in October after he was confirmed as the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Herring said that New Mexico was the only deanship that he pursued, in part because of the school’s small size (it admits about 100 students a year); its low student-to-faculty ratio and the fact that it adopted a clinic requirement several decades before experiential learning came into vogue.

"I’m really excited about New Mexico," Herring said. "I think it’s in a place that the rest of legal education wants to be and is moving toward."

Additionally, the faculty at New Mexico is focused on teaching and experimenting with new methods, he said. Herring has pursued similar priorities. He also mentioned the relatively low tuition: state residents pay about $15,000 a year and nonresidents about $34,000.

Herring is well aware, he said, that the legal education landscape has shifted drastically since his last stint as a dean. "Obviously, the two challenges will be attracting the students of the quality and diversity that you want and, on the back end, finding them jobs that will allow them to pay off any debt they accumulated and still be able to do some public service."

Many of the school’s graduates go on to government and public interest law jobs, he noted.

Before assuming the deanship at Pittsburgh, Herring directed the school’s clinical legal education program. He currently teaches constitutional law, lawyering and antitrust and has written extensively on child welfare law matters.

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