Emory Report
April 25, 2005
Volume 58, Number 28


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April 25, 2005
Tom Arthur resigns as law dean

BY Elaine Justice

Tom Arthur will step down as dean of the School of Law, Provost Earl Lewis announced April 21. Arthur, a member of the Emory law faculty since 1982, will return to teaching as soon as arrangements can be made concerning a transition.

“It has been an honor to be the dean of this law school, and I am proud of all that my colleagues and I have been able to accomplish in the last three years,” Arthur said. “But these accomplishments have come at a high cost to my family life, my intellectual life and scholarship, and my teaching, all of which I miss greatly. Consequently I have decided to return to teaching and scholarship. I appreciate the generous support I have received from President Jim Wagner and Provost Lewis in making this decision.”

“Tom’s decision is the result of several conversations,” Lewis said. “We have decided to act on Tom’s recommendation that he step aside as dean as soon as we can put in place a strategy for an interim solution.”

Wagner and Lewis met with law school faculty last week to discuss the resignation and get faculty input on alternatives for the transition period.

Tom Lawley, dean of the School of Medicine, will chair the search committee for a new law school dean, and its members will be announced within the next two weeks, the provost said.

Lewis stressed that Arthur’s resignation is not related to a drop in the law school’s latest rankings in U.S. News & World Report. “It is unfortunate that the rankings came when they did, because the casual reader will conflate the two,” Lewis said. “The law school’s rankings over the last 10 years have oscillated in a predictable rhythm, and this year’s ranking is no exception.

“This is really about a dean who, upon looking at the prospect of another several years, came to the conclusion that the job, personally and professionally, required more than was good for him or his family,” Lewis continued. “I applaud Tom for the degree to which he has helped to solidify the academic community in the law school. He has made some outstanding hires. He has shown a commitment to the academic vision outlined by the law school faculty in its strategic plan. And he has positioned the school to realize significant gains in the years ahead.”

Named dean of law school in June 2002, Arthur served from 1989–97 as associate dean for academic affairs and co-director of Emory’s American Law Center in Moscow in 1996 and 1997. From 2000–02, Arthur served as interim director of the Halle Institute for Global Learning. His academic specialties include antitrust, civil procedure and administrative law.