New Incoming Dean at Scalia Law: Ken Randall

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

When Henry Butler became dean of George Mason's Antonin Scalia Law School five years ago, he vowed that he would only serve one term. True to his word, after a very successful term as dean, including two record-breaking gifts of $30 and $55 million, Butler announced his intention to resign as dean last year (but stay on as a faculty member), and the law school and university proceeded with a search to find a new dean.

After a grueling process involving many talented candidates, we hit the jackpot; Ken Randall, longtime dean of University of Alabama Law School and a pioneer in distance legal education will become the law school's dean on December 1. Here is the law school's press release:

George Mason University has announced Kenneth Randall as the new Dean of George Mason's Antonin Scalia Law School. He will join the university on Dec. 1, 2020.

"Ken Randall is a proven leader who embodies the spirit of George Mason University," said President Gregory Washington. "He brings a commitment to ideas, faculty diversity and a proven ability to attract a wide range of students. We are excited to welcome him to Mason Nation."

Dean Randall served for two decades (1993-2013) as Law Dean of The University of Alabama and was named one of legal education's most transformative deans of the last decade. (Brian Leiter's Law School Reports). He also served as Special Counsel to President Robert Witt of the University of Alabama from 2006-2012, a period when campus enrollment doubled.

During his time as dean, Alabama's U.S. News ranking soared from 96 to 21, the greatest jump in the history of U.S. News law school rankings. Also, under his watch, Alabama similarly improved its U.S. News Peer Reputation more than any other law school.

Beyond his academic legacy, Dean Randall has also been a successful entrepreneur. In 2013, he founded iLaw Distance Education, which has become a market leader in distance education, partnering with nearly 25% of all law schools. In 2017, iLaw was acquired by BARBRI Holdings, through Leeds Capital (NY). Dean Randall's expertise in this field is vital at a time when the pandemic has made it necessary to educate students both online and in the classroom.

Dean Randall holds a Doctorate and Master's concentrating in International Law from Columbia University; a Master's in Law from Yale University, and Juris Doctor from Hofstra University.

"This is a strategic hire at an important moment for our law school and university," said Mark Ginsberg, Provost and Executive Vice President. "Dean Randall is an independent thinker with an impressive track record. He will take the Scalia Law School to new heights."

Scalia Law is consistently ranked among the top law schools in the nation, currently ranked by U.S. News & World Report at 42 for its full-time program and 4 for its part-time program. It is strategically located in Arlington, Va., and has consistently placed students and graduates in clerkships, on key Senate and House Committees, at federal agencies, and at top law firms.

"I am thrilled and honored to be the next Dean of the Antonin Scalia Law School," said Dean Randall. "I admire Scalia Law's entrepreneurial spirit and its commitment to intellectual diversity. In the spirit of Antonin Scalia, this school encourages the robust and respectful debate of ideas, and that makes it unique among law schools."

The political, economic and social climate will only increase the tremendous demands for legal scholars and first-rate law school graduates. Dean Randall's experience and vision will help guide the law school during this critical time.

"In a pool of talented national candidates, Ken Randall stood out for his impressive track record leading a top law school for more than two decades, his independent thinking, and his ensuing career as an entrepreneur," said search committee chair and Schar School Dean Mark J. Rozell.

Henry Butler, who led record-breaking fundraising at the law school during his five-year tenure, will remain on the faculty as Executive Director of the law school's prominent Law & Economics center.


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  1. I trust that this school at least won’t bow down to the wokesters on campus.

  2. Not sure how this works but why would the gifts be one of the dean’s accomplishments?

    1. Not suitable for family reading.

      #justajoke #don’tsue

    2. In this “modern” era where major universities, even public ones, out-compete each other in building up their endowments, and in which he national rankings reflect the endowments, fundraising is often a big part of the dean’s job. Of course the dean has professional fundraisers who are doing a lot of the preliminaries leading up to a donor making a mega-commitment, the dean’s own role is significant. Far more than it used to be when you and I were young.

      1. We actually have very little in the way of fundraising staff, the gifts are almost entirely a product of the efforts of Dean Butler and his predecessor Dan Polsby.

        1. Being a school willing to (1) be paid to put Justice Scalia’s name on the door and (2) emulate far lesser institutions by hiring a number of ardent movement conservatives were likely important elements in that context.

          The Commonwealth of Virginia’s continuing improvement indicates those developments at a public institution occurred with fortuitous timing for conservatives.

        2. All the better! It has to be done, and the dean definitely has to know how it works.

    3. Not sure how this works but why would the gifts be one of the dean’s accomplishments?

      Fund-raising is a big part of any dean’s job. This is especially true when it comes to securing large donations.

  3. “two record-breaking gifts of $30 and $55 million”

    I suppose the $55 million gift broke the record for largest donation, and the $30 gift broke the record for smallest donation.

  4. I haven’t searched past years’ law school rankings by U.S. News, but the latest list (ranked in 2020) ranks the University of Alabama Law School as tied at #31, not #21. Still, even a jump to #31 from #96 is very impressive.

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