The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas F. Guernsey as the next Dean and President of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, effective July 1, 2013. Dean Guernsey is currently a member of the faculty at Albany Law School and served as its Dean from 2002-2011. Additionally, he previously served as Dean, Professor of Law and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Southern Illinois University, as well as Associate Dean and Professor of Law at University of Richmond. His contributions at Albany were significant in placing the school on a solid financial footing, dramatically improving its academics and increasing its stature in the community. Dean Guernsey is active in national legal organizations, including the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools.
Thomas Guernsey will replace Dean Rudy Hasl who is stepping down as dean after having served as dean for more than 30 years at four different ABA law schools, the last eight at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Dean Hasl is the longest serving law school dean in the country. He is responsible for leading the construction of the School’s new state-of-the-art campus in the East Village of Downtown San Diego. The new law school building has won several architectural and technical awards as well as U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold certification. Dean Hasl will remain as a tenured faculty member.
The Dean Search Committee, in consultation with Korn/Ferry International, identified and reviewed more than 60 candidates for the position in a national search. “Among this rich field of candidates, Tom Guernsey stood out by reason of his experience, background and proven track record in more than 35 years of legal education,” said Judge William McCurine, Jr., member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Dean Search Committee.
“As Dean and President at Albany Law School, he worked closely with a broad group of constituencies, including faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, state and local government officials, local business people and legal professionals, as well as other educational partners. During his tenure, Albany Law School made consistent progress in teaching and scholarship, innovations in the curriculum, admissions, bar passage, placement, development and financial management of an independent law school. While these accomplishments were not done alone, they were achieved under Tom Guernsey’s leadership, reflecting his ability to identify and work with talented professionals to achieve ambitious goals. The entire Thomas Jefferson School of Law community looks forward to a rewarding relationship with Dean Guernsey in this next, exciting chapter of our School. He joins an outstanding faculty and dedicated staff who will together take the School to the next level of excellence.”
“I am honored to be chosen as the next Dean of Thomas Jefferson School of Law,” said Dean Guernsey. “One cannot help but be impressed with what is clearly the best law school facility in the country, but the reason I am excited to join the Thomas Jefferson School of Law community is the work going on inside that building. The faculty has developed innovative programs and approaches to delivering legal education and are exploring creative ways to make law school more affordable and better prepare students to be practice ready. At the same time, the school has recommitted itself to advancing the law through scholarship and furthering its commitment to the community through its expanding clinical and pro bono programs. These are challenging times for legal education and legal education will change dramatically in the next few years. Given its impressive faculty, hardworking staff, engaged students and dedicated Board of Trustees, I am convinced the law school is up to the challenge. I am also confident that Thomas Jefferson School of Law will be one of those schools that lead the way.”
In 2011, Dean Guernsey was awarded the Trustee’s Gold Medal, the highest honor awarded by Albany Law School to an individual who has demonstrated a record of exemplary support and dedication to the advancement of Albany Law School. Trustees and alumni established the Dean Thomas F. Guernsey Faculty Research and Scholarship Endowment in his honor to support faculty research and scholarship. He also received the Faculty Scholarship Legacy Award in honor of his efforts advancing faculty scholarship at Albany Law School, and the Legacy Award from the Center for Excellence in Law Teaching for his efforts advancing teaching at Albany Law School. Dean Guernsey was also named a University of Richmond Distinguished Educator in 1983 and 1989.
Dean Guernsey teaches evidence, criminal law, criminal procedure and trial advocacy. He has practice experience in disability law litigation and legal aid, and has served as a consultant/trainer in interviewing, counseling, negotiation, mediation and trial practice for various legal, public service, government, insurance, business, medical and banking organizations.
Dean Guernsey holds an LL.M. (Clinical Legal Education) from Temple University School of Law, a J.D., cum laude, from Wayne State University and a B.A., with distinction, from the University of Michigan.
Dean Guernsey will begin his position as President and Dean of Thomas Jefferson School of Law on July 1, 2013.