Law School Deans, Law Schools

Fordham Students Left With Bitter Taste in Their Mouths After Dean Treanor’s Departure for Georgetown

Dean William Treanor

Yesterday, we brought you the news of Fordham Law School Dean William Treanor’s appointment as dean of Georgetown Law School, when we posted a message that went out to Georgetown law students at 4 p.m. We soon learned that we blindsided Fordham students and alumni with the news. They weren’t happy to get the “Surprise! Your dean is bouncing!” message from us, instead of from Fordham or from the dean himself.

One alum g-chatted us:

I can’t believe Treanor is leaving Fordham… All of my friends are shocked and now in the anger/betrayed phase.

Treanor was well-liked at Fordham, but his hasty departure left a bitter taste in the mouths of some of his former students. One commenter said:

Congratulations Georgetown you just earned a Dean who left Fordham Law without any sense of warning or notice to Fordham students after years of issuing statements of how Fordham is a “community” and a “home.” Oh! and how convenient after he was a strong cause for Fordham dropping in the rankings from 25 to the 30’s. Oh ya Bulldogs. That was a great steal.

Let this be a lesson to other deans who plan to jump to a higher-ranked ship. Make sure you send your farewell message before your new school sends out its welcome message.

Dean Treanor did send out an email to Fordhamites, but it was sent over two and a half hours after Georgetown kids got the giddy news, and two hours after our post went up. A two-hour delay may seem inconsequential to some, but in the world of instant news and communication, it’s unforgivable in the minds of some Fordham folk. Did he make up for the faux pas in the email?

No, not really. Here’s the full email that went out at 6:30 p.m. last night:

From: Dean William Michael Treanor
Subject: Departure and Thank you
Date: June 29, 2010 6:30:33 PM EDT

To the members of the law school community,

I am writing to share with you the news that, at the beginning of the 2010-2011 academic year, I will be leaving Fordham to become dean at Georgetown Law School.

Without question, being part of the Fordham Law School community has been the most profound privilege of my professional career. Fordham Law is, as each of us knows, an extraordinary academic institution. It is a school that is deeply committed to ethics, to scholarship, and to the highest standards of professionalism, a school that very fittingly has as its motto “In the Service of Others,” a school that educates superb lawyers and great leaders, and a school that has a deep commitment to community. It has been an honor to help advance the law school’s remarkable mission.

I became dean eight years ago, and few deans today serve a school as dean for eight years. As I look for new challenges, I am delighted to have the opportunity to be going to Georgetown, a school that, on so many levels, has so much in common with Fordham Law.

I will always treasure the memories of my time on the faculty and as dean. For myself, for my wife Allison, and for my children Liam and Katherine, the Fordham Law family has been very much a part of our family, and it always will be. I am deeply grateful to the entire law school community for all your support and help and, above all, for your friendship. Working together, we have achieved much in these past eight years. As I conclude my tenure as dean, I am pleased to reflect back on those achievements and even more pleased to know that the law school’s future is bright with promise. This school has a wonderful history, and it is clear to me that even greater things lie ahead for Fordham Law.

With all best wishes,


We reached out to Dean Treanor this morning to inquire about the faux pas with Fordham and whether there was an internal candidate who would be named acting dean in the interim, but he has not responded. Maybe we’ll hear from him in a couple of hours.

UPDATE: Fordham has announced the interim dean: Michael M. Martin, University Distinguished Professor of Law. Martin has served as an associate dean in the past and has been on the Fordham faculty since 1972.

Earlier: Georgetown University Law Center Poaches New Dean from Fordham

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