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For the Faculty and Staff of the University of Miami
Thursday, March 26, 2009

University of Miami names new law school dean

The University of Miami announced today that Patricia D. White, a nationally known leader in legal education, has been named dean of the UM School of Law. White is currently the Jack Brown Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where she served as law dean from January 1999 to July 2008. During the 2008-09 academic year, White is visiting professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and is serving as special counsel to Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, D.C.

White will begin work at UM in July. She replaces Paul R. Verkuil, who has served as acting dean for the last year, and Dennis O. Lynch, who served as law dean for a decade before stepping down in 2008.

“The University of Miami has gained a visionary leader in the legal education arena,” said UM President Donna E. Shalala. “Her vast experience, energy, and innovative spirit will greatly enhance the law school’s national profile.”

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said, “The University of Miami has made a wonderful choice for the dean of its law school. Trish White was a superb dean at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and she will come to Miami with experience, wisdom, and enthusiasm.”

“Having served as a law school dean in the past, Trish is poised to strengthen a variety of aspects of the school, including the faculty and its academic programs,” stated UM Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.

“The UM law school has a well-known intellectual tradition and an incomparable location. It has enormous potential to become an important leader in 21st-century legal education,” said White. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work closely with President Shalala and the entire University and legal communities to help achieve that goal.”

White joined the Arizona State University College of Law faculty as dean and was the longest-serving dean in the history of the college. Her leadership marked a transformative and innovative period for the law school. Its faculty doubled in size; the student-teacher ratio became the third best in the country; interdisciplinary and joint programs in medicine, philosophy, psychology, international law, and real estate development were created; a nationally acclaimed legal writing program was developed; five new clinics were added; an exceptionally active pro bono program for students was established; the faculty’s publications gained national recognition; and two centers of excellence—the Indian Legal Program and the Center for the Study of Law, Science, and Technology—became preeminent.

White earned her B.A., M.A., and J.D. degrees at the University of Michigan. She has published widely in the areas of tax law, bioethics, philosophy of law, legal education, and torts. She has taught at the Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Michigan, and the University of Utah, and has had extensive practice experience in tax law and in estate planning. She is a member of the District of Columbia, Michigan, and Utah bars and is an elected fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel.

White has won many awards. Just last week she was awarded the Judge Learned Hand Award for distinguished public service by the Arizona chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

“The University was in search of a first-rate legal scholar to lead the law school, and we have found it in Patricia White,” said William Green, School of Law Dean Search Committee chair and senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education at UM. “Her commitment to academic excellence will help create one of the great academic legal centers in the country.”

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