Law School Deans, Law Schools, Musical Chairs, Texas

Musical Chairs: Dean of Texas Law To Step Down

Larry Sager

Aren’t you supposed to get some kind of prize for moving your school into the top 14?

Lawrence Sager, dean of the University of Texas School of Law, will be stepping down at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year.

We’ve been a big fan of Dean Sager around these parts. He’s an NYU guy transplanted to Texas. And he managed to get Texas into the top 14 of the U.S. News law school rankings.

But all good things must come to an end. Why is Larry Sager relinquishing the UT Law deanship?

Some law deans mysteriously disappear thanks to the U.S. News rankings. But Dean Sager won the U.S. News rankings game. He probably could have stayed on as dean as long as he wanted to.

Evidently, he doesn’t want it anymore. The Austin-American Statesman has the story. Sager gave the paper the following statement:

“It has been an extraordinarily busy and rewarding five years… for me and for the Law School. And we have a year left. But there comes a time when even a venture this marvelous needs to come to an end. For my deanship, twelve months from now is that point.

“On the question of my continuing: My present plan is to work my head off in this coming year, take a sabbatical, and return to the faculty. In the course of my deanship, I have tried with some success to be an active participant in the scholarly discourse of the Law School and I have continued to teach; returning full time to teaching, writing, and talking is far from an unattractive prospect.”

Yes, Dean Sager, I think we can all think of more “unattractive” career options than being a tenured law professor. As a professor rather than a dean, Sager won’t have to handle annoying tasks like issuing public smackdowns to whiny UT law students.

By any objective standard, Dean Sager’s tenure as dean has been successful. Here’s how one tipster summed up his feelings about the outgoing dean:

My take is that he has been responsible for raising UT from 17 to 14, at least partially by playing with the employment numbers. As an employed member of the 2011 class, I don’t have a problem with it, but I think that those that are unemployed blame him. I’ve always enjoyed him and am sad to see him go but I’m most concerned about who UT will get to replace him and whether we’ll be able to maintain our ranking under other leadership.

If you know a dean who isn’t at least partially playing with employment numbers, give us a call.

And so the search for a new Texas-sized dean begins. Getting a Yankee transplant worked once. Depending on how this election turns out, maybe Harold Koh will be available to fill Sager’s shoes hat?

UT law dean to step down [Austin American-Statesman]

Earlier: University of Texas Law School: Looking for a Few Good Human Beings
University of Texas Law Students Warn Employers to Stay Away from UT

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