Lisa Kloppenberg, the former dean of Dayton Law, has been appointed the next dean of Santa Clara University of Law, according to a press release from the school. She is set to begin her five-year term on July 1, 2013, and will be replacing the current dean, Donald Polden.
Kloppenberg comes to Santa Clara University following her tenure with the University of Dayton Law School, where she was a dean for ten years. Dayton Law is Ohio’s largest private university and one of the largest Catholic colleges in the U.S. In a statement published on The Wall Street Journal, President of Santa Clara University Michael Engh noted, “Her understanding of current-day challenges to legal education and her commitment to Jesuit Catholic ideals of educating the ‘whole person’ make her a wonderful fit for SCU.”
In one of her key legacies at Dayton Law, she helped pioneer the school’s accelerated J.D. program, in which students could earn their law degrees over the course of two years, instead of the traditional three year track at most law schools. The five-semester law program was the first of its kind in the nation and was created in response to rising law student debt for graduates in the face of a difficult job market.
Kloppenberg was also known for her work in reforming the legal curriculum at Dayton Law. According to her biography on the Dayton Law School website, she was responsible for increasing the diversity of both the faculty and student body and adding graduate programs that focused on IP and technology. She was also praised for her efforts to encourage greater community service, including the Carnegie Foundation-recognized program, “Law as Problem Solver.” She also strengthened UD Law’s existing dispute resolution curriculum and unveiled a revamped legal writing program, which was nationally ranked by the U.S. News & World Report.
As a former practicing lawyer, Kloppenberg earned both her Bachelors and J.D. from the University of Southern California, before going on to clerk for U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Dorothy Wright Nelson. Judge Nelson was both one of the first women to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals, as well as one of the first female deans appointed at a law school. Kloppenberg was personally mentored by Judge Nelson, and the effects of that influence have been evident in her own life: Kloppenberg went on to become Ohio’s first female dean of a law school.
After her clerkship, Kloppenberg went on to practice at the DC firm of Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays and Handler, where she focused on litigation, mediation, and arbitration matters. She then taught courses on constitutional law and federal courts at the University of Oregon School of Law.
As a former law student, practicing attorney, law professor, and law dean, Kloppenberg has seen every aspect of the legal education spectrum. She is thus particularly well-suited to know the ins and outs of the current legal market, both from an academic and a career-oriented perspective. Kloppenberg brings her expertise in dispute resolution and constitutional law to the school, where, particularly in the latter, she is a widely-published and well regarded expert in the field.