The longest serving law school dean in America recently announced that he will be resigning next year after more than three decades of leadership in legal education. Rudy Hasl, Dean and President of Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL), will step down on June 30, 2013, concluding 32 years of service at four different ABA law schools, including TJSL, Saint Louis University, St. John’s University and Seattle University.
The TJSL Board of Trustees has appointed a search committee to start the process of identifying candidates who would be interested in becoming Dean and President of the law school.
“With a new facility in the East Village of San Diego’s downtown area and recent membership in the Association of American Law Schools, the School is particularly well positioned for a creative leadership opportunity,” said Dean Hasl. “The faculty members are actively engaged in scholarly activities and have placed a genuine value on the quality of the teaching they provide.”
During his tenure as TJSL’s dean since July 1, 2005, he has significantly increased the diversity of the faculty and staff as well as the student population so that TJSL is consistently ranked as one of the most diverse law schools in the nation. He has added several new and successful academic programs, including international business and comparative law summer study abroad programs in Hangzhou, China, and Nice, France; an academic center for Sports Law & Policy; fellowship programs in intellectual property, criminal law and sports law; three LL.M. programs, one exclusively online, and all with an international focus; a Small Business Law Center to serve small business entrepreneurs, artists and art organizations; and just recently, the launch of a new solo practice skills track as well as an incubator program for TJSL alumni to help jump start their own solo practices while at the same time providing better access to justice for underserved communities. He also has significantly bolstered the academic support programs at TJSL. Much of Dean Hasl’s time and energy the past few years has been devoted to the planning and construction of TJSL’s new eight-story, award-winning campus that opened for classes in January 2011.
“Dean Hasl has so many professional accomplishments, they would fill a book,” said Randy Grossman, a member of the TJSL Board of Trustees. “First and foremost is his achievement as the guiding force behind the building of TJSL’s state of the art new campus, one of the most technologically advanced, beautiful law schools in the country that will serve our students for many years to come. He has increased the stature of the law school and has moved us down the path to become a nationally known and respected law school. He has also made a personal commitment to increase the diversity of the faculty staff and especially the students. ”
Dean Hasl has extensive experience in leadership positions within the American Bar Association (ABA), the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and the Law School Admissions Council. Dean Hasl has served as Chair of the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and its Accreditation and Standards Review Committees. He also served as the ABA representative on the board of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO). Dean Hasl recently was appointed to serve a three-year term on the AALS Committee on the Recruitment and Retention of Minority Faculty and Students. In addition, he served four years as a member of the TJSL Board of Trustees from 2001-2004 before being appointed Dean in 2005.
“We’ve been so incredibly lucky to have had the most experienced dean in all of US legal education as our dean for the last seven years,” said Beth Kransberger, TJSL’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs. “He is the embodiment of what it means to be an educator, and in particular, a student-centered educator. He’s pushed all the faculty and staff each day toward the aspirational ideals of legal education and worked tirelessly on behalf of our students. We’ll also miss the twinkle in his eye when he talks about the drought tolerant plants on our outdoor terraces and Thomas Jefferson’s fascination with paleontology!”
"Dean Hasl has spearheaded increased diversity on the faculty and the student body so that Thomas Jefferson now has the distinction of being one of the most diverse law schools in the country," said TJSL Professor Marjorie Cohn. "He has also shepherded the school into an impressive new building that is located downtown, which is closer to the courts and attorneys for student internships. Its technologically advanced classrooms provide us with opportunities for more effective teaching."
“I have been blessed with challenging opportunities at each of the schools where I have served as Dean,” said Dean Hasl in his retirement announcement to fellow deans at law schools across the country.
“Some of you have heard me talk about the great opportunity that a Dean has to create magical moments in the lives of others,” Dean Hasl added. “My life has been filled with so many such moments and I will continue to relish them. Those are the moments that really sustain us. I know that it seems like we are all facing the most serious challenges to legal education and to the future of our institutions. I can look back over many valleys and peaks as our profession continues to change and evolve. While the current challenges seem monumental, we can also see the beginning of the end to the current economic crises. There is reason to be optimistic about improvements that are on the horizon. “