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Yale Law School Names First Female Dean

Feb. 21, 2017, 11:39 PM

Yale Law School professor Heather Gerken has been selected as the school’s next dean, it announced on Tuesday.

Gerken, one of the country’s leading experts on constitutional and election law, will be the school’s first female dean, Yale said in an announcement.

Gerken shared the news Tuesday in a Twitter post...

... while New York Times reporter Adam Liptak (who graduated Yale Law School in 1988) shared some Gerken love...

... and Karen Sloan of The National Law Journal reported that law professors described Gerken as “thoughtful” and a “serious intellectual.”

Gerken, 48, assumes the role as dean on July 1, according to Yale, replacing outgoing dean Robert Post.

Gerken is a former Jenner & Block associate. She worked at the firm between 1996 and 2000, prior to joining Harvard Law School as a professor.

She has worked as an appellate lawyer in Washington, D.C. and served as a senior advisor to the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012. At Yale Law School, she created and runs what the school called its most innovative clinic in local government law, the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project (SFALP).

The clinic is a partnership between Yale Law School and the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office in which students work with attorneys to “conceive, develop and litigate” public interest lawsuits... “that tackle problems with local dimensions but national effects,” according to Yale’s website.

The school said that Gerken will continue to run the clinic during her deanship.

A native of Bolton, Massachusetts, Gerken graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1994. She clerked for Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then for Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1995 term.

Gerken’s appointment was earlier reported in Above the Law .

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