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Stanford Law Appoints Third Dean in Just Four Months

Stanford Law has appointed Paul Brest as its interim dean, making him the third dean that the law school has appointed in just four months.

Brest, formerly the Stanford Law dean from 1987 to 1999, is succeeding Robert Weisberg, who stepped down due to health issues and will continue as a faculty member, Reuters reports. This will be the third time Stanford Law has appointed a dean since October, when dean Jenny Martinez became university provost. Stanford Law has not made a public comment regarding its ongoing leadership changes.


Brest has had an extensive career in the legal world. In addition to his recent appointment as interim dean, he serves as a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a faculty co-director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and co-director of the Stanford Law and Policy Lab. From 2000 to 2012, Brest served as president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

He is co-author of Money Well Spent: A Strategic Guide to Smart Philanthropy (2nd ed 2018), Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Professional Judgment (2010), and articles on constitutional law, philanthropy, and impact investing.

Brest is also a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of honorary degrees from Northwestern University School of Law and Swarthmore College. Prior to joining the Stanford Law faculty in 1969, he clerked for Judge Bailey Aldrich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and Justice John M. Harlan of the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, he engaged in civil rights litigation with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in Mississippi.


Stanford Law isn’t the only law school seeing major leadership changes. Both the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University of California at Los Angeles installed new law deans over the summer. University of Michigan Law School also appointed an interim dean in October.

The current deans at Columbia Law School and the University of Virginia School of Law have announced plans to step down this summer. Columbia is currently in the process of searching for a new dean, while Virginia recently appointed Professor Leslie Kendrick as its upcoming dean last month.

Sources: Reuters, Stanford Law School, University of Michigan Law School


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