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At Stanford, New Medical and Law Deans Expect to Work Collaboratively

Publication Date: 
September 23, 2012
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Katherine Mangan

Dean M. Liz Magill is quoted by Katherine Mangan in this Chronicle of Higher Education article regarding changes in legal education and why these changes make it a good time to be a leader.

Stanford University's two newest deans say that some of the most compelling areas of study emerge where medicine and law intersect: analyzing the impact of changes in health-care laws, for instance, or considering the legal implications of genetic testing.

Stanford's president and provost say that a commitment to cross-disciplinary learning was a key reason the university selected the new deans: Lloyd B. Minor, who will lead the medical school, and Mary Elizabeth Magill, who just took office at the law school.


Ms. Magill, who was previously vice dean and a professor of law at the University of Virginia School of Law, became dean of Stanford Law School on September 1. She replaced Larry Kramer, who left to become president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


Ms. Magill, 46, taught at Virginia for 15 years, focusing on administrative law, constitutional law, and food and drug law.

She's taking on her new role at a time when rising student debt and a constrained job market have prompted law schools nationwide to re-evaluate how they're educating the next generation of lawyers.

"These conversations should always happen, but they happen with the greatest intensity at a time when people are worried," Ms. Magill says. "But if you think that the biggest barrier is that people are going to resist change, if it's a time when people are openly discussing change, it's a good time to be a leader."