(Photos courtesy Notre Dame Law School) The law school dean who has written scholarly articles that have been cited in U.S. Supreme Court decisions and who claims “My Cousin Vinny” is her favorite legal movie will be returning to the classroom next summer.

Nell Jessup Newton has announced she will be stepping down as dean of the Notre Dame School of Law in July 2019. The Fighting Irish mounted a full offense and convinced her in 2009 to leave her alma mater, the University of California Hastings College of Law, where she served as chancellor and dean.

She joined Notre Dame as dean and full tenured professor on July 1, 2009.

“I think (in) 10 years you can make an impact on the school, then it’s time to let the next person make their impact,” Newton said of her decision to leave the deanship. “Ten years is a fabulous length of time.” Nell Jessup Newton has led the Notre Dame Law School since July 2009. With four decades in legal education, she is ready to take her energy and passion back to the classroom. Under her leadership, the Notre Dame Law School added faculty and strengthened the curriculum in business and intellectual law, as well as in intellectual property. In addition, clinics and several new programs were launched and interdisciplinary programs, along with a dual J.D./MBA degree, were developed.

These are strong accomplishments for any law school leader, but Newton got them done when the Great Recession landed a crippling blow to legal education. Applications dwindled, particularly from academically strong individuals, and jobs dried up, leaving many law school graduates across the country without sufficient work and unable to repay their student loans.

Notre Dame consistently admitted classes with nearly 200 members and a median LSAT score in the 160s. Moreover, a vast majority of the graduates were employed in J.D.-required positions.

“We weathered the storm pretty well,” Newton said, giving credit to the law school’s faculty. “I’m very proud of how well we did.”

As a legal scholar, Newton has built her reputation as an expert on American Indian law. She arrived at Notre Dame […]

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