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Yale Law Reappoints Dean for Second Term

Yale has reappointed Heather Gerken for a second term as dean of the law school.

Gerken, who is the first female dean of Yale Law and has served in her position for the past five years, will begin her second term on July 1, Yale Daily News reports.

“This renewal recognizes Dean Gerken’s tireless efforts to strengthen the school’s tradition of academic excellence, ensure a rigorous intellectual environment by supporting faculty scholarship, and expand experiential learning opportunities for students,” Peter Salovey, President of Yale University, says in a letter to the Yale Law School community. “Among her many contributions, she launched a transformative program to educate the next generation of scholars and leaders, diversified the faculty and student body, and stewarded robust philanthropic support to enhance the institution’s educational experience and need-based financial aid programs. In addition, over the past two years, Dean Gerken has worked with faculty, staff, students, and alumni to make sure the Law School community can continue to thrive while navigating the pandemic.”


Since her first term, Dean Gerken has accomplished an ambitious agenda, including an initiative to allow 70% of law students to receive scholarship support in 2021-21 and to create the five most diverse classes in the school’s history. Currently, over half of Yale Law’s Class of 2024 are female and 54% of students identify as students of color.

“Members of the YLS community remarked on Dean Gerken’s dedication to the mission of the School, her record of building new innovative programs, her advocacy for scholarly and clinical work, and the inspiring passion that she brings every day to her job,” Salovey says. “She has already accomplished an ambitious agenda in her first term, and I am confident that the Law School will continue to benefit tremendously from her vision, talent, and energy in the years ahead.”

Gerken says she is “so grateful” to have the chance to lead Yale Law for another term.

“I think that this is such a joyous job,” Gerken tells Yale Daily News. “The magic of our intellectual environment is that it isn’t just something that takes place inside the classroom, but takes place in those exchanges between students and faculty on ideas, when the students meet each other out in the courtyard and when students interact directly with clients.”

Sources: Yale Daily News, Yale University

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