Law School Deans, Law Schools, U.S. News

Change Comes To George Washington University Law School


Over the past few months, I have increasingly come to believe that this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment of transformational change and dynamic opportunity for The George Washington University. Recent studies indicate that seventy percent of the world’s population has access to web-enabled mobile computing devices. Yet, so far, most institutions of higher education have been slow to develop models that will allow them to scale their educational approach to meet the global demand. Accordingly, we have a window of possibility, if we move aggressively and immediately to explore the exciting opportunities in online and executive education, to build high-quality education models for a rapidly expanding population. I would very much like to assume an integral role in this educational revolution.

I am therefore extremely pleased to announce that Steven Knapp, the University President, and Steven Lerman, the Provost, have offered me the new position of Vice Provost for Online Education and Academic Innovation, to begin January 16, 2013, and I have accepted. In this role, I will help to craft a long-term strategy for GW’s growth in these new educational frontiers, where academic excellence and academic innovation meet. Such growth is obviously crucial to the future of the University and its global footprint, and I am excited by the challenge. In addition to my responsibilities as Vice Provost, I will continue teaching the law students whom I have come to love, as the new Manatt/Ahn Professor of Law.

This move will allow me to continue my ongoing commitment to innovation in higher education, but it will mean that I will step down as Dean at the Law School. I leave the deanship with mixed emotions, but with a sense of gratification regarding all that the law school has achieved over the past year. We have completed one of the most successful 14-month periods of fundraising in the law school’s history. We increased the total number of donors contributing to the Law School’s Annual Fund as well as the total number of dollars raised. I traveled the country and abroad, engaging with over 2500 alumni, and our efforts resulted in a large increase in total alumni engagement. Meanwhile, in a very difficult economic environment, the law school ended fiscal year 2012 with a surplus. The spirit of innovation this past year has been amazing: We have brought to life a new mentoring program, new professional development training and career service initiatives, new efforts in health law and policy, energy law and policy, and cybersecurity law and policy, a new collaborative interdisciplinary degree with the Business School on Government Contracting, a new Intellectual Property Masters Degree Program for non-lawyers, and many other initiatives that will benefit the law school community for years to come. It has been an exciting time.

I want to thank President Knapp and Provost Lerman for the trust they have shown in asking me to assume a leadership role in the University’s initiatives in the area of online and executive education and to play a strategic role in fostering academic innovation more broadly.

I also want to thank the many alumni and supporters of the law school who have become true, deep, and lasting friends even in such a short time, and the faculty and staff of the law school who have worked so hard to build for the future of this great institution. And to the many law students with whom I have interacted, I pledge my full support to the efforts of future law school administrators to enhance your educational and professional experiences at GW. My sincere best wishes to each of you.


Paul Schiff Berman

Law school dean steps down, moves into provost’s cabinet [GW Hatchet]
GWU reports overstating freshmen credentials [Washington Post]

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