The Dean Search Committee at the University of St. Thomas School of Law has announced four finalist candidates for the law school’s deanship.

The university is selecting a new dean to replace Thomas Mengler, who stepped down earlier this year to become president of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

The four finalists will interview at St. Thomas in September. They are:

  • Sept. 10-11: Patrick J. Borchers, vice president for academic affairs and professor of law, Creighton University
  • Sept. 13-14: Robert K. Vischer, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law, St. Thomas School of Law
  • Sept. 20-21: Ruth L. Okediji, William L. Prosser Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota
  • Sept. 24-25: David S. Caudill, Arthur M. Goldberg Family Chair and professor of law, Villanova University School of Law

The four candidates demonstrate a depth of academic and administrative leadership. Each candidate will make a presentation to the law school community from 5-6 p.m. on the first day of his/her visit in Schulze Hall Auditorium, across 11th Street by skyway from the School of Law building. These presentations are open to members of the St. Thomas community.

Prior to becoming vice president for academic affairs at Creighton, Borchers served eight years as dean of the university’s School of Law. Earlier, he served as associate dean for academic affairs and associate dean for student affairs while a professor at Albany Law School. His tenure as dean saw significant increases in fundraising, including for endowed professorships, student scholarships and a clinic. He is an expert on conflict of laws, serving as a co-author for both the leading treatise and leading textbook in the field, and writing a host of book chapters and articles.

In addition to his roles at Villanova University School of Law, Caudill is a senior fellow at the University of Melbourne Law Faculty. He was a professor for 16 years at Washington and Lee Law School, where he played a leading role in alumni programs and events and served six years as coordinator of the integrated legal research and writing program. He holds a Ph.D. from the Free University of Amsterdam, has engaged in postdoctoral work at three other institutions, and has served continuously for 13 years in leadership roles in sections of the American Association of Law Schools. His scholarship focuses especially on law and science and law and literature and has resulted in six books and numerous articles.

In addition to serving as a professor of law at the University of Minnesota, Okediji is director and founder of its Intellectual Property and Development Program. She was previously the Edith Gaylord Harper Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She has served in leadership roles on a number of university and professional committees, including as co-chair of the University of Minnesota Task Force on the Global University, chair of the Oklahoma Faculty Senate, and an Executive Committee member for National Order of the Coif. A leading authority on international intellectual property law, she has written five books and dozens of articles and chapters, and has consulted, spoken, and/or served on task forces on five continents.

Prior to coming to St. Thomas, Vischer had served as professor of law at St. John’s University, a fellow at St. John’s Vincentian Center for Church and Society, and visiting research scholar at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools and in leadership roles for two American Association of Law Schools sections.  He has been recognized multiple times for his teaching; his writing – focused on conscience, religious liberty and the public sphere – includes two books, more than two dozen articles and regular commentary in popular publications and blogs.

After closing in 1933 because of the Great Depression, St. Thomas’ School of Law reopened in 2001. It is located on the university’s downtown Minneapolis campus.

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