Last week, we published our second annual law school rankings. The USC Gould School of Law plummeted, falling 15 spots to #35. Over the weekend, we received the news that the USC Law Dean, Robert K. Rasmussen, has decided to step down. COINCIDENCE?

Yes. It’s almost certainly a coincidence. USC still ranks solidly in the U.S. News rankings — solidly behind UCLA, but still.

In light of declining employment prospects, financial challenges, and professors who are gaining more attention for their hair than their scholarship, might it be a good time for USC Law to change direction?

Here’s the short message from Dean Rasmussen to the USC Law alumni community:

Dear USC Gould Alumni,

I want to share with you that I will be stepping down as Dean of the law school next year. I have agreed to stay in place until a successor is named and I look forward to being a constructive voice during that time for the law school’s priorities as we advance our role as a leader in legal education. You will continue to hear from me in my current capacity and I very much look forward to furthering our critical partnership between the school and its alumni as we make the USC Gould experience among the finest and most innovative in the realm of this country’s top law schools.

Many thanks for all you do for USC Gould,

Robert K. Rasmussen

Hey man, at least Rasmussen didn’t get the Lane Kiffin treatment from USC.

Rasmussen has been dean of the law school since 2007. That’s a long run. It’s also a run that predates the market crash and the changing realities of the legal employment market. But we haven’t heard any rumors about Rasmussen’s decision that suggest anything other than what he states in his letter.

Best of luck to Dean Rasmussen, and good luck to USC on their new dean search. I’m available, FYI.

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