Paul L. Caron

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Andy Morriss Named Inaugural Dean at Texas A&M Law School

Andy MorrissNew Texas A&M Law School Dean Named, University Commits $25 Million To School In AUF Funds:

A nationally prominent legal scholar known for his work in a variety of regulatory issues, as well as for his teaching background, Andrew Morriss, Ph.D., J.D., is the new dean of the Texas A&M University School of Law, effective July 1. ...

Prof. Morriss, who holds a Ph.D. degree in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in addition to his J.D. earned at The University of Texas at Austin, is currently the D. Paul Jones, Jr. & Charlene A. Jones Chairholder of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law. He is an acknowledged leader regarding regulatory issues involving environmental, energy and offshore financial centers. ...

“Carol and I are thrilled to get to be part of the team at Texas A&M,” Morriss said. “This is a unique opportunity in American legal education, combining the excellent faculty, staff and students at the law school with one of America’s premier research universities.” His wife, Dr. Carol Akers, is a graduate of Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. ...

Chancellor Sharp received authority to provide $5 million from the Available University Fund (AUF) for the law school now and up to $20 million over the next five years on a dollar-for-dollar basis regarding funds raised in the private sector. The AUF represents proceeds from the Permanent University Fund to enhance excellence in teaching, research and related initiatives. Fundraising and donor engagement activities are already under way. ...

In joining in the recommendation to the board, interim President Hussey noted:  “Prof. Morriss has not only distinguished himself in his field of scholarship, but comes to us with unique perspective as a faculty member who was integrally involved in enhancing two previous schools of law. Serving at the University of Illinois as it advanced from the Top 100 to No. 23 and at the University of Alabama, which advanced from Top 80 to No. 23.”

He is considered by colleagues and students —present and past— an exceptionally accomplished teacher, and they point to numerous courses that include international experiences for students, a high-impact learning focus of Texas A&M. He has taught and lectured in the Cayman Islands, China, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Nepal and other locations around the world.

His scholarship includes being author and coauthor of more than 60 articles, chapters and books. He is a Research Fellow at the New York University (NYU) Center for Labor and Employment Law, Chair of the editorial board for the Cayman Financial Review and enjoys affiliation with numerous think tanks on public policy, including the Property & Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University, the Institute for Energy Research at Washington, D. C., and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Prior to joining the University of Alabama, Morriss was the H. Ross & Helen Workman Professor of Law and Professor of Business at the University of Illinois College of Law and the Galen J. Roush Professor of Business Law & Regulation at Case Western Reserve University.

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Texas A&M Univ. School of Law was most recently named Texas Wesleyan Univ. School of Law and even earlier DFW Law School. It was the only part time legal education option for working individuals in the DFW area until SMU began a part time program in 2004. As a graduate of Texas Wesleyan Univ. School of Law and a current LLM student at Alabama, I am glad that a prof from a top tier law school is taking over as dean.

Posted by: Babs | May 3, 2014 6:17:43 AM

I am laughing at the reference to Illinois's rise in the rankings. Not only is the rise exaggerated, but it was the result of false reporting of GPA and LSAT scores during that time period, which the school admitted. The scandal came to light in 2011, and Illinois dropped massively in the rankings for a couple of years.

Posted by: Hugh | May 2, 2014 9:39:29 AM

LOL, when was Illinois ever out of the top 50? Alabama rose a bit, but Morris came on after the bigger jumps.

And, let me say this, I don't know what type of law school A&M expects to have, but my guess is that they need to mint lawyers with practical skills. In all honesty, the law school probably doesn't even need to exist. I doubt there's some unmet need for talent in Texas. But if there is an unmet need, they don't need students studying theoretical approaches to the law. Morris is a brilliant legal scholar, but I don't think he's proven himself as a brilliant practitioner.

Posted by: HTA | May 2, 2014 7:05:09 AM

To recruit someone of Andy's caliber as the inaugural dean is an extraordinary accomplishment for a new school. Congratulations both to Texas A&M and Andy!

Posted by: MH | May 1, 2014 5:01:03 PM