Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Vice Dean Austen Parrish Appointed Interim Dean June 08, 2012
Vice Dean Austen Parrish Appointed Interim Dean

The Southwestern Board of Trustees has appointed Austen Parrish, Vice Dean and Professor of Law, as Interim Dean and Chief Executive Officer. He will assume the post July 1, 2012, when Dean Bryant Garth, who is stepping down after seven years, begins his sabbatical (click here for more information). Dean Parrish has been a member of the Southwestern faculty for ten years and has served as Vice Dean since 2008. The Board is beginning the process of coordinating a formal dean search.

"The Board is confident that Dean Parrish will provide outstanding leadership and carry on the momentum we have enjoyed under Dean Garth's stewardship - particularly in the areas of curricular enhancement, faculty recruitment and development, academic support, student housing, institutional partnerships and major fund raising efforts," Tom Hoberman, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said in his announcement to the Southwestern community. "Dean Parrish has been an invaluable member of the Southwestern faculty during the past decade, and as Vice Dean, he has spearheaded many aspects of these ventures. He is a highly respected administrator, teacher and scholar, whose dedication and vision will make him an effective leader during this time of transition. The Trustees look forward to working with him in the coming year."

Since joining Southwestern's faculty in 2002, Dean Parrish has earned accolades as a legal educator and administrator. During his tenure as Vice Dean from 2008 to 2012, Dean Parrish worked closely with Dean Garth in creating a number of new academic programs, with the school receiving national recognition for its curricular reform as well as its focus on professionalism, skills training, and hands-on learning. Under Dean Garth's leadership, Southwestern recruited top-notch faculty, reinvigorated its two-year SCALE program and Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute, continued to expand its campus, and dramatically enhanced student services and academic support. Particularly notable in recent years has been the increased excitement and investment of Southwestern's large loyal and enthusiastic alumni base in the school's success.

"It is an honor to have the confidence of the Board and the faculty as we continue the momentum and build on Bryant's accomplishments," Dean Parrish said. "From the construction of student housing, to the school's 100th Anniversary capital campaign, to our innovative new online entertainment law LL.M. program, to our deepening ties with Claremont Graduate University, to the hiring of talented faculty, exciting things are happening at the school. I am looking forward to continuing the initiatives that Bryant started and to aggressively take advantage of new opportunities during this interim year."

Dean Parrish has taught a variety of courses at Southwestern, including Advanced Topics in American Law, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, International Environmental Law, and Public International Law. He also served as Director of the Summer Law Program in Vancouver, B.C. Canada for eight years. He was named as Southwestern's Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law in 2007, has been the recipient of the First-Year Professor Excellence in Teaching Award, and has been selected numerous times as Commencement Grand Marshal by the graduating class.

Dean Parrish, as Dean Garth did, brings an international perspective to the deanship, with particular expertise in the areas of transnational litigation and civil procedure, international law and relations, and conflicts of law. He is one of the top scholars on Canada-U.S. transboundary relations and has served as an expert witness in a number of Canadian cases involving transboundary disputes. In his recent publications, he has focused on critiquing the use of extraterritorial domestic laws and the role that national courts play in solving global challenges. Dean Parrish is the author of numerous scholarly articles that have been published in leading law reviews including the Minnesota Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Boston University Law Review, and the George Washington University Law Review, among others. He also is the co-author of two books, Effective Lawyering: A Checklist Approach to Legal Writing, widely used by lawyers and law firms, and Hard-Nosed Advice From a Cranky Law Professor, a popular guide for new law students.

According to Carrie Menkel-Meadow, the A.B. Chettle, Jr. Professor of Law, Dispute Resolution and Civil Procedure at Georgetown Law Center and also the Chancellor's Professor of Law at UC Irvine Law School, "Southwestern is very lucky to have Austen Parrish as Interim Dean - he is a caring, efficient and brilliant administrator, superb teacher (who helped this very experienced teacher when she taught the same course as he at Southwestern), and an internationally known scholar, especially for his much cited transnational litigation and civil procedure scholarship. Dean Parrish is the best person I know to lead Southwestern into its second century and to shepherd the law school's continued growth and pursuit of excellence."

Dean Parrish takes on the interim deanship with a great appreciation of the value behind Southwestern's long-standing commitment to graduating students who have learned practical lawyering skills. Prior to joining the faculty, he was an attorney with O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where he practiced complex business litigation in both federal and state trial and appellate courts. Active in pro bono activities, he has worked with a number of local public interest organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Constitutional Rights Foundation, and Public Counsel Law Center.

Judge Stan Blumenfeld of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, who has known Dean Parrish for many years, first as a former partner of O'Melveny & Myers and currently as an adjunct faculty member, said, "As a litigator, Austen possessed a rare combination of skill and talent that made him highly valued to clients and colleagues alike. Both inside and outside the courtroom, Austen demonstrated his exceptional intellect, creativity, judgment, and equanimity. Within the firm, Austen was also tireless in developing younger lawyers and enhancing the esprit de corps. With this background, Austen will continue to lead Southwestern in the right direction, as he understands the importance of a legal education that promotes academic learning and practical experience in a supportive environment."

Dean Parrish earned his B.A. degree in Political Science/Economics at the University of Washington. He completed his J.D. degree at Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and served as Managing Editor of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law and as a student-editor of the Columbia Journal of European Law. He is a member of the California State Bar.

"Having worked closely with Austen for the past seven years, I am confident that he will be a superb interim dean," Dean Garth said. "His experience as a scholar, practitioner, and administrator will serve him well as he takes on this new role."