Dean Rudy Hasl spent his last day as TJSL’s dean like so many other days at the law school – working at his desk, meeting with senior staff and attending on-campus events. He is stepping down from the dean’s position he has held since 2005, effective June 30.
How did he feel about spending his last day on campus as America’s longest-serving law school dean?
“I’ve had my hand on the throttle for 32 years,” Dean Hasl says, “and it’s very hard to let go of the throttle. On the other hand, this is the right time to do it. I don’t have the resilience I used to have to keep the accelerator at full speed.”
Rudy Hasl is proud of his legacy and he feels there are three main elements to that legacy: 1) building TJSL’s new, innovative campus; 2) the diversification of the faculty, student body and staff and 3) the faculty’s embracing of the skills training programs the law school has adopted under his leadership.
“This has been a particularly challenging deanship,” he says. “We are a relatively new law school and it’s been a difficult set of problems to solve.” Yet he is ambivalent because there is “a lot of unfinished work on the plate, though I’m quite optimistic about the future of TJSL because we have the nimbleness to respond to environmental changes in legal education.”
Thomas Guernsey of Albany Law School takes over the deanship on Monday July 1. During his time as dean at Albany, an independent, non-profit law school like TJSL, Guernsey faced many of the same issues that TJSL faces.
“Dean Guernsey is poised, based on his experience, to hit the ground running and move forward,” Dean Hasl said.
Dean Hasl spent time teaching in TJSL’s Study Abroad Program in Hangzhou, China in June and he had a wonderful time being back in the classroom for the first time in a decade.
“I found the teaching to be exhilarating,” Hasl said. “The student feedback was exciting and the very positive evaluations were a real shot in the arm.”
After taking a year off, Dean Hasl plans to teach at TJSL – possibly evidence or trial practice.
“I’m looking forward to regrouping and discovering the next chapter,” he says.
And when he takes his hand off the throttle and the tiller, he will have the satisfaction of knowing he has set the law school on a positive course.