Emory School of Law Dean David Partlett announced last Thursday that he will be stepping down from his current position after June 30.
In an email to students at Emory’s School of Law, Partlett wrote that he decided to step down in order to be a full-time faculty member at the law school.
“I have enjoyed greatly my time as your dean and the many relationships I have forged with you,” he wrote.
He explained that he will teach courses to incoming students in the fall and looks “forward to teaching additional courses in the spring.”
The law school’s students have improved in the eyes of many, including employers and alumni, University Provost Earl Lewis wrote in his email to law school students.
At the same time, Lewis wrote, Partlett has come to understand “that challenges ahead could not be adequately addressed in five years.”
As a result, Partlett suggested to University administrators that “the mantle be passed to someone with a longer horizon of sustained leadership.”
“The economic recession, shifting legal markets, macro changes on the global level and other factors suggest that the next decade is as critical to the school’s future as any period in its history,” Lewis wrote in an email to the Wheel.
Lewis said that Partlett served under the position of dean of the law school under a five-year renewal appointment.
Partlett’s decision to discontinue as dean and not renew his contract is “meant to advance the interests of the law school.”
Partlett reasoned that this change in his career path will engage the school in being able to have a longer-term dean.
He added that this will also give Partlett the opportunity to teach full-time to the students he catered to during his years as the dean, according to Lewis.
Lewis added that external rankings — such as the U.S. News & World Report where Emory’s Law School ranking dropped from No. 22 to 30 — were not part of Partlett’s decision.
In his email, Lewis commended Partlett for improving the profile of the student body and the quality of the law school faculty since his arrival.
The University is currently working on a plan to name an interim dean, Lewis wrote.
However, it is too early to determine the precise procedure the University will follow in upcoming weeks, according to Lewis.
The last dean search — which was five years ago —, he explained, included both a search advisory committee and an external consultant.
The interim dean will be announced by June 30, Lewis explained.
The dean, Lewis wrote, ought to be able to fulfill the responsibilities of that position.
Lewis explained that some of those responsibilities include serving as chief administrative officer of the school and “leading the school in every area,” which range from strategic planning and faculty hiring to alumni relations.
Partlett wrote in his email that he and other members of the School of Law faculty remain committed to ensuring an “outstanding educational experience.”
Students will receive more information from the Provost’s Office when plans for the transition in leadership are finalized, Partlett explained.
“In the interim, I know the community can be assured of continued professional engagement by the senior team David [Partlett] has assembled,” Lewis wrote.
Partlett came to Emory in July 2006. He had previously served as vice president, dean and professor of law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.
— Contact Jordan Friedman