MC

Mississippi College

Mississippi College Law Dean Analyzes Legal Landscape on Campus

September 26, 2013

America’s troubled economy is contributing to a rapid turnover rate among law deans on campuses nationwide.

At the moment, there are 19 interim law deans around the USA. It’s a very difficult job that requires them to be administrators, fundraisers, educators, community leaders and the face of their institutions during stressful times.

“I think there has been more change-over in deans than in any two-year period,” Mississippi College Law School Dean Jim Rosenblatt said in a new “National Law Journal” story by reporter Karen Sloan.

The story goes on to tell readers all about Rosenblatt’s Dean’s Database that contains a wealth of online information about the nation’s law deans. For those who want to know, American law deans serve an average of slightly over four years. According to his database, only four law deans in the USA have served for more than 20 years.

A native of Wilkinson County who grew up on a farm near the Mississippi River, Rosenblatt has already exceeded the national average when it comes to his tenure on the MC law campus in downtown Jackson. The Ridgeland resident became the MC law dean in August 2003 after a stellar 30-year career in military legal circles. He holds the Distinguished Service Medal and three awards of the Legion of Merit.

Rosenblatt is keeping tabs on a slew of statistics involving law deans. His set of numbers show that Ivy League rival Yale edges Harvard when it comes to producing law school deans. Yale educated 26 law deans compared to 23 who graduated from Harvard.

A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Rosenblatt received a law degree from Cornell in Ithaca, New York.

Rosenblatt’s Dean’s Database is a good example of his dedication and hard work over his career to help serve the legal community, colleagues say.

“Our faculty and staff have appreciated the stability that Dean Rosenblatt brings with his energy and enthusiasm that haven’t waved one bit over his tenure as our dean,” said Phillip McIntosh, the Mississippi College law school associate dean.

McIntosh says Rosenblatt’s findings about the rapid turnover rate among law deans aren't surprising in today’s fast-changing world with the USA economy still battling big challenges.

“It’s a tough and demanding job,” McIntosh said.

Many law schools around the nation are dealing with declining enrollment. At Seton Hall’s law school in New Jersey, enrollment dropped 43 percent between 2010 and 2012. Enrollment was down 53 percent at Hamline’s law school. Law schools churn out about 40,000 graduates each year across the nation. There are 203 American Bar Association approved law schools.

People who aspire to be law deans and remain in high demand are “very picky about what jobs they want to take due to the pressures on law schools to keep up enrollment and to keep their rankings in the U.S. News & World Report arms race,” McIntosh said. “Plus, law schools are also concerned that they make a good choice since the risks are also high.”

Rosenblatt’s research noted the longest-serving dean is John O’Brien of the New England School of Law. He’s served more than 25 years.

Photo: Jim Rosenblatt serving his 10th year as Dean of Mississippi College School of Law