Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, was named dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law on Wednesday. Chemerinsky succeeds interim dean Melissa Murray, who took on the role after former dean Sujit Choudhry resigned following a sexual misconduct scandal.
One of the most prominent names in legal education, Chemerinsky comes to Berkeley Law as the department continues to cope with the aftermath of Choudhry’s resignation.
In March, Berkeley Law fell from 8th to 12th in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Law School” rankings, near the bottom of the traditional top-tier law schools. In April, the UC Board of Regents paid $1.7 million to settle the misconduct lawsuit stemming from Choudhry’s term as dean.
At UC Irvine, Chemerinsky shepherded the school from its inception in 2008 to a ranking of 28th in the newest U.S. News & World Report’s law school rankings. In addition to his service as dean, Chemerinsky is a prolific author and commentator, writing columns in the Orange County Register, the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal.
Chemerinsky, 64, is widely considered to be a giant in legal education. One of the most cited legal scholars in the nation according to Law.com, Chemerinsky was named by National Jurist the most influential person in legal education in January 2017. A graduate of Harvard Law School and Northwestern University, Chemerinsky is an expert in constitutional law, and has argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Dean Chemerinsky is an acclaimed researcher, gifted teacher, and accomplished administrator,” said Carol Christ, the campus’s chancellor-designate, in a statement announcing his appointment. “I believe he will be a phenomenal leader for our law school.”
Chemerinsky will take office July 1, the same day as Christ.