Resource Offers Data on Law School Deans

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Tracking law school deans across the U.S., Rosenblatt’s Dean Database offers a rich repository of real-time information for the higher education sector.

The resource was created in 2007 by Jim Rosenblatt, JD, professor of law and dean emeritus at the Mississippi College School of Law. The focus is to collect data related to law school deans, allowing users to access real-time information regarding terms, career trajectory, and more.

While this remains the cornerstone of the project, data fields have been expanded based on interest from the public to include gender and ethnicity, interim and full-time status, prior job roles, and new positions achieved after one’s deanship.

The most often accessed data shows seniority in terms of tenure, both in current deanship and in cumulative deanships, Rosenblatt says. “You can see people very rapidly move up what I call the order of merit list, up the letterhead as they stay around, because there’s such turnover, there might be as many as 40 deans [who] turn over in a year,” he says.

It’s rare for a law school dean to stay in their role for 10 years or more, Rosenblatt says. However, there’s an advantage to having people that stay for extended terms.

“Many deans say that the longer they stay, the more effective they think they are in the broader scheme of things,” Rosenblatt says.

In terms of demographic data, men comprise approximately 57% of law school deans, while women hold about 43% of these positions. Nearly 67% are Caucasian, 21% are Black or African American, 6% are Hispanic or Latino, 2% are Asian or Pacific Islander, 2% are Native American, and less than 1% are Asian American, Iranian American, Arab/Middle Eastern, or Filipino.

Rosenblatt says he’s seen progress in this representation over time; however, there is room for improvement. “I think under … the goals of the Association of American Law Schools, that there’s a great emphasis on [improving diversity],” he says. “A lot of it is intentionality — when you conduct your dean searches, you want to widen your applicant pool, you want to encourage applicants that come from diverse backgrounds, you want to look at diverse members of your own faculty.”