Taylor to Retire from Southwestern Law School
One of the most highly respected leaders in American legal education, Dean Leigh H. Taylor has announced he will retire from his post as Dean and Chief Executive Officer of Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles after 26 years of service. His retirement will become effective July 2005.
According to the Hon. Arleigh M. Woods, chair of Southwestern’s Board of Trustees, "Southwestern has thrived under the leadership of Dean Taylor and on behalf of the entire Southwestern community, the Board of Trustees expresses our heartfelt appreciation for his extraordinary dedication to the law school and legal education. The individual selected to assume the deanship next year will have an excellent foundation from which to continue the tremendous momentum Southwestern has enjoyed over the past two decades."
When Dean Taylor was first appointed to Southwestern in 1978, he was the youngest dean at any American Bar Association (ABA) approved law school in the country. During the ensuing years under his leadership the law school has realized tremendous growth and improvement in all areas, including the development of an outstanding faculty and professional staff, and the establishment of one of the most favorable faculty-student ratios in legal education; the introduction of programs to accommodate a diverse student body, including a unique part-time division for students with childcare responsibilities; the expansion of the curriculum and cocurricular programs; and the creation of one of the most beautiful and technologically advanced law school environments anywhere. The latter includes the acquisition and restoration of the internationally acclaimed art deco Bullocks Wilshire landmark that now houses the second largest academic law library facilities in California, and the Julian C. Dixon Courtroom and Advocacy Center, which is the most technologically sophisticated courtroom in the country. During Taylor’s tenure, Southwestern received commendations for diversity, and established the internationally recognized Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute, and the first graduate law program in entertainment and media law.
Now the longest-serving law school dean in the country, Dean Taylor has contributed significantly to the advancement of American legal education for over three decades. He has held many prominent positions within the four major legal education organizations. A long-term member of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) Board of Trustees, he was elected in 1995 as chair of that organization which includes all approved American and Canadian law schools. A member of the ABA Law School Accreditation Committee for several years, he has chaired numerous ABA/AALS (Association of American Law Schools) site evaluation teams to law schools around the U.S. and several foreign countries. He has also chaired many committees for the ABA and AALS. He is currently chair-elect of the Board of Trustees of the National Association for Law Placement Foundation for Law Career Research and Education. Dean Taylor’s knowledge and energy have also been extended to a number of positions in the greater legal community including tenure on the U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Merit Screening Committee for which he also served as chair.
Dean Taylor earned his B.A. (1964) and J.D. (1966) degrees at the University of Tulsa, and his LL.M. degree at New York University School of Law in 1969, and was a Fellow in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School in 1975. He was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 1987.