The new dean for the University of Michigan Law School has been chosen and the school is promoting from with, according to The National Law Journal. The new dean is associate dean for academic affairs Mark West. West will replace Evan Caminker, who will step down on August 31 following 10 years as the dean of the law school.
West has been teaching at Michigan since 1998, were he developed expertise in the legal system in Japan. For the previous five years, West has been working as an associate dean.
“I’m very pleased that Professor West will assume the leadership of the law school at a time when thoughtful approaches are needed to basic issues facing legal education, such as curriculum, costs, technology, and globalization,” university provost Philip Hanlon said in a statement.
The appointment of West has to be approved by the board of regents at the university. West said that he is honored at his appointment and understands the challenges of being the head of a law school in the legal industry today.
“We’re in an excellent position to address the challenges that are out there,” West said in an interview Wednesday with The National Law Journal. “The primary focus has to be the students. I teach 1Ls and, yes, I see the struggles with tuition levels and employment. The focus has to be on those numbers. I want students to be able to walk in here the way I did, thinking ‘I’m at Michigan Law and I’m off the treadmill. All I have to do is work hard and I’ll get to do what I want to do.’ ”
In the interview, West said that one of his main goals as dean of the law school will be raising money for student financial aid and loan repayment programs. West also wants to formalize employment outreach programs for students and alumni.
“This really is the institution that shaped the way I think, write and teach,” he said. “As corny as it sounds, I really do love the place.”
Back in March, Caminker made the announcement that he will be leaving the position of dean when his second, five-year contract ended. During Caminker’s 10-year tenure as dean, the school constructed a new academic building, student commons and added courses that teach practical skills.
West is a graduate of Columbia Law School and has practiced law in the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in the firm’s Tokyo and New York offices.