May 20, 2008
A scholar with a vision for the future of legal education and an administrator who can move with speed and agility, Paul Schiff Berman has been appointed dean of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Currently the Jesse Root Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law, Berman will assume his new duties prior to the start of the academic year.
"In Paul Berman, ASU has found a scholar and leader who reflects the core characteristics of the New American University," said ASU President Michael M. Crow. "Paul is a bold thinker and will push the boundaries of what a law school can be. He will move swiftly and adroitly to elevate an already great law school into the top echelon of American legal education not by chasing the handful of law schools that represent the old 'gold standard" but rather by defining what 21st century legal education ought to be."
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Berman, whose scholarly writing focuses on how globalization affects the intersection of cyberspace law, international law, civil procedure and the cultural analysis of law, is a 1988 graduate of Princeton University and received his law degree from New York University School of Law in 1995. He served as a law clerk first to Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court.
"Paul Berman is incredibly creative and visionary," said University Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth D. Capaldi "From first meeting he impressed us all with his energy and ideas for building excellence in the law school, including greater interdisciplinary connections and new academic programs that will increase access, excellence and impact. He has terrific support from the faculty of the law school, and from the other deans. I am very excited we have attracted him here."
Berman begins his Deanship with an ambitious agenda built on the idea that the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law is poised for transformative growth in both the quality and scope of its student body, its faculty, its programs, and its physical plant.
"Ultimately," said Berman, "I envision a truly multidisciplinary legal center, where future lawyers develop essential skills for both transnational and local legal practice, where leading scholars from around the world come to engage in high-level discourse on law's role in society, where policy-makers can address the pressing social issues of our time, where corporate leaders can find the latest information on the legal regulation of cutting-edge scientific and technological innovation, and where even those who do not intend to be lawyers can spend at least a year exploring law's crucial role in a multicultural democracy embedded within an increasingly interconnected world."
Berman will succeed the college's current dean, Patricia D. White, who is stepping down after nearly a decade of leadership of the college to return to teaching. She will be a visiting professor at Georgetown University for one year before returning to the College of Law to teach tax law.
At Connecticut, Berman has taught Cyberspace Law, Conflict of Laws, Civil Procedure and Copyright Law, as well as an interdisciplinary seminar called Law, Culture, and Community and a course on Federal Courts and the Appellate Process.
He was visiting professor and visiting research scholar (2006-07) in the Princeton University Program in Law and Public Affairs and is the author of a half dozen scholarly books and more than a dozen scholarly journal articles. He has given more than 75 invited lectures and conference presentations and is frequently cited as a legal expert by the news media.
Berman was awarded a University of Connecticut Provost's Research Fellowship (Spring 2004) and was named one of "Connecticut's New Leaders of the Law" by the Connecticut Law Tribune (Fall 2004). He is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, the American Society of International Law and the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities.
His activities outside the field of law include being founder and artistic director of the Spin Theater; the chief administrative officer for another theater company, The Wooster Group; and administrative director of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater at Saint Mark’s Church. All three theater companies are not-for-profit and located in New York City.