Feb. 23, 2001
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John Jeffries named new dean of U.Va. Law School
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John Jeffries
John Jeffries

John Jeffries named new dean of U.Va. Law School

Staff Report

Constitutional law expert John C. Jeffries Jr. will be the next dean of the University's School of Law, U.Va. President John T. Casteen III announced Feb. 22.

Jeffries, who joined the Virginia law faculty in 1975, is the Emerson Spies Professor and the William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor. He served as academic associate dean from 1994 to 1999, a post that administers the school's curriculum and academic policies, and as acting dean in the fall of 1999.

Jeffries will be the 10th dean of the law school, which next fall will celebrate its 175th anniversary.

He will take over leadership of the top-10 school on July 1 from Robert E. Scott, dean since 1991. Regarded as a superb dean, Scott presided over the most successful fund-raising campaign in the history of American law schools, attracting more than $202 million in a seven-year effort. He plans to return to teaching after a year's sabbatical. "John Jeffries brings one of the keenest minds in American legal scholarship, a proven hand at administration and long devotion to the University to the task of guiding the School of Law to pre-eminence among its peers," Casteen said in announcing Jeffries' appointment. "Judged against a national field of candidates, John exemplifies the excellence in scholarship and service that are the hallmarks of leadership at U.Va."

"The prospect of following Bob Scott as dean is at once humbling and exciting," Jeffries said. "Bob leaves an institution that is physically attractive, academically vigorous and financially sound. I look forward to working with U.Va. students, faculty, administrators and graduates in the effort to build on this success."

Jeffries was selected after a national search by a committee representing faculty members, students and alumni. Roughly 90 candidates were considered and 15 selected for interviews before the committee unanimously recommended Jeffries.

"John Jeffries is a brilliant scholar, a charismatic teacher and has been a dedicated and influential member of this faculty for 25 years. I can't think of anyone who is better qualified to serve as dean," Scott said.

With a national reputation in civil rights, federal courts and criminal law, Jeffries is the author or co-author of several leading casebooks, numerous articles and a study of the insanity defense offered by John Hinckley, who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

In 1994, he wrote a highly praised biography of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., for whom he clerked after earning his law degree from U.Va. in 1973.

Jeffries has been a visiting professor at Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California, and has served on the faculty of the FBI Academy since 1976. In 1995 he received the U.Va. Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award.

He graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1970, majoring in history. While studying law at Virginia he was editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review, earned the Z Award for the highest academic average in his class and was awarded the Woods Prize as its outstanding graduate.


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