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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Acosta nominated as Secretary of Labor

Alexander Acosta, my dean at FIU College of Law since 2009, has been nominated (and will almost certainly be confirmed, possibly overwhelmingly) as Secretary of Labor. When we hired Alex, I predicted out loud that we would have him until a Republican was next in the White House. Turns out, I was right. I predicted/hoped that it would be 2021 rather than 2017. And I predicted/expected we would lose him to DOJ as Attorney General or to the federal bench; Labor never crossed my mind, despite his time at the NLRB.

Alex had what I believe should be regarded as a very successful deanship. The quality and success of our students has improved dramatically; we are ranked in the mid-50s on US News (yeah, I know) for student quality and job placement and we have topped Florida in bar passage the past three cycles. (Scholarly reputation is nearly immovable, although he supported programs to help on that front). He managed us through the financial and application drop--our applications have been up or down less than national averages most years. The only thing I predicted back in 2009 that he might do, but has not, was find a naming-rights donor. But those do not grow on trees.

I was skeptical of hiring a non-academic dean at the beginning. It turned out we were on the leading edge of a trend that numerous similar schools followed. He brought a unique skill set (notably the ability to recruit and support students) that is not easy to find or replicate and it did wonders for the school.

He will be missed, but I wish him all the best.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 16, 2017 at 03:57 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink

Comments

Trump’s Labor nominee oversaw ‘sweetheart plea deal’ in billionaire’s underage sex case
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/alexander-acosta-trump-jeffrey-epstein-plea-235096

Posted by: anon | Feb 17, 2017 10:12:19 AM

Re the supposed "sweetheart deal" that Acosta allegedly "oversaw," the NY Times reported at the time that the exact opposite was the case:

"In July 2005, a Florida grand jury charged Mr. Epstein with a lesser offense, soliciting prostitution. Mr. Epstein’s legal team, which would eventually include the former prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr and the Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz, was elated: Mr. Epstein would avoid prison.

But then the United States attorney’s office in Miami became involved. Last summer, Mr. Epstein got an ultimatum: plead guilty to a charge that would require him to register as a sex offender, or the government would charge him with sexual tourism, according to people who were briefed on the discussions."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/business/01epstein.html

Posted by: gdanning | Feb 17, 2017 11:44:31 AM

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