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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Alex Acosta to be dean at FIU

I am thrilled to report that R. Alexander Acosta, currently U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and former head of the Civil Rights Division at DOJ, will be the new dean of FIU College of Law. Acosta graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and clerked for Samuel Alito on the 3d Circuit (my old circuit). FIU press release here.

This is a great hire for us. Acosta has connections in the Miami market that will be a tremendous help for us in attracting students, getting them jobs, and raising money--the three areas in which we are most lagging. I admit to having been initially apprehensive about a non-academic dean. I was won over by hearing about Acosta's efforts as a non-prosecutor taking over a prosecutors' office; the parallels to a non-academic taking over a law school were pretty striking. And we are in pretty good company with schools that recently have gone the non-academic route for dean. Could this be something of a new trend?

And, of course, there is the fact that this played out so publicly, thanks to Florida's Sunshine laws and having a high-profile political figure in the mix. In the end, I do not believe the coverage skewed the outcome, but it definitely changed the way the process worked.

I would pause to compliment and thank our outgoing dean, Leonard Strickman, who got the place off the ground and carried us through the fill-in-the-box steps of ABA and AALS accredidation. Acosta's role is to get us to the next level and I am convinced we got the right person.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 27, 2009 at 04:49 PM in Howard Wasserman, Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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Controversial Alexander Acosta has been named Dean at neighboring FIU Law. See the AP story and the FIU statement. Hell be stepping down as US Attorney in a few days, and starts soon after. FIU President Modesto A. Maidique said, His connections at the... [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2009 8:37:22 AM


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