The second-best law school in the country has decided on a new dean. And nobody will make fun of her if she wants to pop her collar.

We told you back in March that Larry Kramer would be leaving Stanford Law School. Today, the university announced the selection of Mary Elizabeth Magill, vice dean of the University of Virginia School of Law, to lead SLS. She takes over on September 1st.

Magill got her J.D. at UVA, but she’s a native of Fargo, North Dakota. So let’s everybody cue up the Frances McDormand voice while we take a look at the rest of Magill’s wonderful résumé….

The new dean of SLS has surprisingly few Stanford or West Coast connections. From the Stanford press release:

Magill teaches administrative law, constitutional law, food and drug law, and seminars in constitutional structure and administrative law. She was a fellow in the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University, visited Harvard Law School, served as the Thomas Jefferson Visiting Fellow at Downing College, Cambridge University, was elected to the American Law Institute in 2010 and is the immediate past chair of the Administrative Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

Magill earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1988. She earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995. Magill, a native of Fargo, N.D., served as a senior legislative assistant for energy and natural resources for Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. After earning her law degree, Magill clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the Fourth Circuit and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Following her clerkship with Justice Ginsburg, she joined the faculty at Virginia.

She’s done all that and she’s still under 50.

Could being the dean at Stanford just be a way station for Magill before a life on the bench, like it was for former Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan? Magill has been rumored to be a possible Fourth Circuit appointee for the Obama administration — though sending a former Ginsburg clerk to the Fourth Circuit feels like sending a Cherokee to Okalahoma.

A Ninth Circuit appointment might be another thing entirely.

But enough speculation about Magill’s next job; her new job is pretty cool too. Running one of the best law schools in the nation during a time of unprecedented challenge in the legal job market has got to be really exciting. And she’ll have the support of outgoing Dean Kramer:

“Liz will bring to her deanship an enthusiasm that inspires students and colleagues and a capacity to help everyone around her realize their academic and professional ambitions, whatever those may be,” Kramer said. “On top of that, she perfectly fits Stanford Law School’s unique commitment to interdisciplinary work and its embrace of innovative change in legal education.”

Congratulations and best of luck to Dean Magill. Welcome to the HYS.

Mary Elizabeth Magill named dean of Stanford Law School [Stanford University]


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