The University of Michigan Law School invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of assistant dean for international affairs. Since 1859, the University of Michigan Law School has offered its students one of the world’s finest legal educations in a setting of stunning physical beauty. The Law School’s faculty of more than 151 teachers are counted among the most prestigious in the U.S., and its strength is fortified by more than 100 business and professional staff. Michigan Law boasts approximately 1,000 students, and more than 23,000 alumni, who are leaders in law, business, and public service in countries across the globe. Michigan Law is widely regarded as one of the nation’s top 10 law schools.

 

The Position

Role of the Position 

Reporting to the dean of the Michigan Law School, the assistant dean for international affairs will exercise overall responsibility for the daily operation of the Law School’s long-standing Center for International and Comparative Law (CICL) and Michigan Law’s graduate programs, student exchanges, international and comparative law initiatives and relationships, and national and international outreach for the Law School, while coordinating with a CICL faculty director, senior administrators, the Law School’s faculty Global Affairs Committee (G.A.C.),  and other faculty members working in the international or comparative law fields. The assistant dean will participate in recruitment of international students for the Law School’s LL.M., S.J.D., summer academic programs, and research scholar programs, and, in coordination with the G.A.C., S.J.D. admissions and foreign research scholar acceptances. They will advise and oversee matriculated LL.M., S.J.D. students and incoming foreign exchange students and coordinate semester exchange programs for J.D. students interested in studying or working abroad. In conjunction with the Office of Career Placement, the assistant dean will collaborate in expanding and advising on career development opportunities for foreign students and U.S. students interested in working internationally. The assistant dean will also collaborate with the G.A.C. regarding existing or potential relationships with foreign partner law schools across the globe, and work both internally and externally to support the Michigan Law School as a center of international and foreign law legal scholarship.

Other specific duties for the assistant dean of international affairs as outlined in the position description include:

Student Support

  • Initiate, negotiate, advise on and oversee J.D. semester exchange programs with foreign partner law teaching institutions.
  • Advise J.D. and L.L.M. students interested in studying or working abroad through established partnerships and ad hoc placements.  Support career advising for J.D. students interested in international law-related careers, in the U.S. or abroad; assist and advise L.L.M. students with job placements in the U.S. and abroad.
  • In collaboration with G.A.C., oversee student awards for legal study and internships outside the U.S.
  • Collaborate with faculty, administration and student groups with respect to student programming on international and non-U.S. law and careers through conferences, workshops, guest speakers, etc.

Outreach

  • Work with G.A.C. and other law school faculty to develop international programming, conferences, workshops, and guest speakers to support international and foreign law scholarship.
  • Develop and maintain relationships, alone or with the dean, development staff, or faculty members, with a broad range of international constituents (law teaching institutions and other legal institutions outside of the U.S., international or multilateral institutions, foreign regulatory and legal agencies, law firms, international and foreign bar associations, U.S. and foreign employers, Michigan Law School alumni, potential development prospects, etc.).
  • Represent Michigan Law in the U.S. and abroad by vigorous external engagement.

Qualifications and Characteristics

The successful candidate will possess a J.D. degree or equivalent; knowledge about the U.S. legal system and legal educational and career landscapes; significant experience in legal practice, legal education, or law-related work with a global dimension; cross-cultural competency; substantial organizational and administrative experience, including the ability to give close attention to program management details and to offer sustained follow-up on existing and new initiatives, as well as competence in budget management; interpersonal skills for interaction and collaboration with, and support for, diverse stakeholders in the law school’s and university’s global missions, including students, faculty, administrators, and alumni; eagerness to represent the University of Michigan Law School externally, including with faculty, alumni, visitors, donors and potential donors, and representatives of other institutions in the U.S. and abroad; and a capacity for creative and strategic thinking, including for program development regarding existing and future global initiatives. The successful candidate must be available for, and experienced with, regular international travel. Additional desired qualifications include foreign language competency; experience studying, working or living internationally; and experience working in higher education, particularly with global aspects.

The following characteristics would be attractive in a successful candidate.

  • Ability to promote Michigan Law School, and its students and faculty, in international collaborations and opportunities
  • Organizational astuteness and the ability to work effectively with a wide array of personalities and constituents, internal and external
  • Prior relationships with international partners and non-U.S. legal communities
  • A proactive approach and eagerness to build relationships with non-U.S. partner institutions and faculty from the ground up
  • Proven management skills—the ability to lead people and effect continuous improvement
  • Exceptional communication and presentation skills
  • Strong business and budgetary acumen

History of the Position

The position has been vacant since August 2021. Theresa Kaiser-Jarvis served in the assistant dean position from 2015 to 2021. Nicholas Calcina Howson, Pao Li Tsiang Professor of Law, has served in the role as interim until a new assistant dean for international affairs is hired.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

Law school  stakeholders articulated many opportunities for the new assistant dean of international affairs. The following are common themes that were highlighted.

Collaboration with Law School Faculty. The new assistant dean will forge significant partnerships with international and comparative law faculty through the G.A.C and individually. It will be necessary for the successful candidate to work with faculty to build strong relationships with foreign partner institutions, Michigan Law School alumni, and international employers, public and private.  

Strategic planning. The assistant dean must demonstrate a leadership style that is collegial and effective. It is expected that over time the assistant dean will develop a concrete vision to respond to this dynamic and complex area’s priorities.

Experience with international students. The assistant dean must understand the unique needs of international students around academic programs, mental and physical health, and employment markets. It is desirable that the candidate is an experienced and internationally well-traveled professional.

Communication skills. The new assistant dean must have exceptional internal and external communication skills, and be able to communicate effectively with law school faculty and senior administration regarding every aspect of this activity, from the L.L.M. , S.J.D., and summer academic programs, to J.D. student exchanges, to opportunities for students to find international or international law placements.

Trust and confidence of students. Law students prioritize building upon the tradition of accessibility, support, and international connections long associated with the assistant dean position. The new assistant dean will be charged with relationship building with students from all programs to advise them on academic, career, and personal matters.

Ambassadorship. The new assistant dean will be an ambassador for the Law School abroad with respect to the maintenance of existing international relationships and the forging of new ones, the recruitment of foreign students, existing and newly-initiated collaborative arrangements, and supporting Michigan Law School faculty in their international and foreign law projects. With multiple partner institutions and very long-standing relationships worldwide, the successful candidate will need diplomatic skills and the ability to engage with individuals from diverse cultures, political economies, and backgrounds.

Advocacy. The new assistant dean will be an internal advocate for refined or increased international opportunities to ensure the delivery of exceptional student experiences. They should also work to identify additional internal and external and resources that will facilitate increased student and program success.

Building a Strong Team. As the new assistant dean transitions into the position, it will be essential to develop a strong sense of “team” among faculty, administration and staff to build relationships that emphasize a collaborative and transparent work environment. Transparency, communication, timely flow of information and attention to budgetary discipline were common themes.

Enrollment Management experience. The assistant dean will need to be courageous in continuing to advance new ideas in the international and comparative law areas, approaching the task with creativity and ambition. They should continue to tend and develop a robust professional network that will allow them to stay abreast of trends and best practices.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining the University of Michigan Law, the following will initially define success for the assistant dean for international affairs.

  • The assistant dean is known as an exceptional advocate for students and the international and comparative law activity at the Michigan Law School. Students, administration and faculty seek their knowledge and support for initiatives that positively affect the student experience.
  • The assistant dean has demonstrated that they are a valuable thought leader, joining the dean, senior administrators, and other community members in advancing strategic priorities on behalf of the law school and its students.
  • The assistant dean has maintained and developed quality relationships with law school students, administration and faculty and created a culture and practice of positive and transparent collaboration within the law school, all to enhance the student experience.
  • The assistant dean has demonstrated a leadership style that is effective and collegial, while being highly successful in advancing the goals of the law school for students and faculty.
  • The assistant dean has established partnerships at the broader University of Michigan and globally to enhance academic, international and career opportunities for Michigan Law students.

Institution & Location

Center for International and Comparative Law

Michigan Law’s global engagement is broad, deep, and enduring. The University of Michigan’s founding statute of 1859 required the law faculty to hire a professor of international law, and its first L.L.M. class graduated more than 130 years ago. Ann Arbor is the birthplace of the American Society of Comparative Law, as well as the European Society of International Law, and is the place where the study of European Union law as a discipline began. Michigan Law fostered the development of a generation of international and comparative law professors who have since scattered the globe, taking the Michigan model of legal education with them. And in 2001, Michigan Law became the first U.S. law school to require its J.D. students to study international law in order to graduate.  At this time, the Michigan Law School boasts one of the strongest corps of faculty among top 10 U.S. law schools specializing in both international law (public and private) and specific non-U.S. legal systems (e.g., China, the European Union, India, Korea, Japan, etc.). 

Along the way, the Law School consolidated much of its student-oriented international activity under the Center for International and Comparative Law or CICL. Today, the Center’s mission manifests itself in these four priorities:

  • Prepare all Michigan Law School J.D. students for success in a global environment
  • Advance academic excellence, inspire personal growth, and develop leadership abilities for all L.L.M. students, S.J.D. candidates, and visiting research scholars of the Michigan Law School while embedding those programs within the J.D. student experience and communities 
  • Support the intellectual life and teaching activities of the Michigan Law School faculty with the pursuit and creation of opportunities in international and comparative law scholarship and teaching in the U.S. and abroad
  • Safeguard and enhance the Law School’s long-standing reputation for international and comparative law excellence and increase its worldwide recognition as a first mover and preeminent leader in these fields

Michigan Law at a Glance

For more than 150 years, the University of Michigan Law School has offered its students one of the world’s finest legal educations in a setting of stunning physical beauty. Among Michigan Law’s more than 23,000 alumni are leaders in law, business, and public service in countries across the globe.

What explains the Michigan difference? While students certainly gain access to a collegial community of scholars who work at the top of their fields, they also forge connections with each other—a diverse body of talented students whose cooperative spirit helps bring out the best in faculty and students alike.

Quick Facts

  • Michigan Law has over 1000 students.
  • Michigan Law has 151 full-time faculty.
  • Michigan Law has over 23,000 alumni.
  • Michigan’s Law Library has one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of foreign, comparative, and international law materials. 
  • With more than one million volumes, the Law Library has one of the world’s premier collections and is staffed by experts in legal librarianship. 
  • Michigan Law is an international center for interdisciplinary legal scholarship and teaching. 
  • The variety of workshops, symposia, and student activities reflects the Law School’s strong institutional interest in global affairs. 
  • Michigan Law offers a number of formalized University of Michigan dual-degree programs. Students also can design their own programs. 
  • Michigan Law’s Debt Management Program is one of the most progressive in the country. 
  • Michigan Law has multiple internship programs (including with the International Court of Justice and the International Law Commission) and externship programs abroad, including in South Africa, Geneva, and India, and with human rights organizations worldwide. 
  • Michigan Law has eight student-edited journals and more than 50 student organizations, including the International Law Society and multiple groups dedicated to specific foreign law areas.
  • More than half of law students take advantage of one of Michigan Law’s 19 established clinical offerings.

Leadership

Mark West – Dean of Law

Mark D. West is the 17th dean and the Nippon Life Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, and one of the ranking Japanese law specialists in the U.S.. During his deanship, West has focused on enhancing student life and the broader intellectual community at the Law School. Early in his position, he worked with students, alumni, and donors to establish a program that guarantees summer funding for all first-year students. West also has worked to ensure that every law student has the opportunity to participate in a legal clinic, including a new clinic that Dean West launched to provide legal services to U.S. veterans. Further, he collaborated with faculty and administrators to reform Michigan Law’s curriculum. 

 

Learn more about Mark West

Organizational Chart for the School of Law

Institutional Overview 

Leadership

Mary Sue Coleman – President 

Mary Sue Coleman is president emerita of the University of Michigan and president emerita of the Association of American Universities, representing the country’s leading research universities. She also is a former president of the University of Iowa. She has promoted the educational value of diverse perspectives in the classroom and within the academic community throughout her career. She has worked in numerous venues to improve access to higher education for all. 

The Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion honored her as Humanitarian of the Year, and the Michigan Women’s Foundation presented her with its Trillium Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mary Sue Coleman – Biography

Organizational Chart for the Office of the President

Mission and Strategic Plan

Mission

The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving, and applying knowledge, art, and academic values and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.

Strategic Plan

The campus-wide strategic plan outlines strategies and actions to support the 49 schools, college, and unit plans. The plan’s core strategies focus on three areas.

  • Strategy 1: Create an Inclusive and Equitable Campus Climate
  • Strategy 2: Recruit, Retain and Develop a Diverse Community
  • Strategy 3: Support Innovative and Inclusive Scholarship and Teaching

https://diversity.umich.edu/strategic-plan/campuswide-unit-plans/

Diversity Statement

At the University of Michigan, dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is central to the mission as an educational institution to ensure that each member of our community has the full opportunity to thrive in any environment. Diversity is key to individual flourishing, academic excellence, and the advancement of knowledge.

https://diversity.umich.edu/about/defining-dei/

Benefits Overview

BENEFITS OVERVIEW

In addition to a career filled with purpose and opportunity, The University of Michigan offers a comprehensive benefits package to help protect oneself and one’s family and plan for a secure future. 

For more information on team member benefits, please visit:

https://careers.umich.edu/benefits

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination
Review of applications will begin May 25, 2022, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Laura Puckett-Boler at lpb@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email info@spelmanjohnson.com.

Visit the University of Michigan website at https://umich.edu/ 

The Law School link is found here: https://michigan.law.umich.edu/

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

At the University of Michigan, our dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is central to our mission as an educational institution to ensure that each member of our community has full opportunity to thrive in our environment, for we believe that diversity is key to individual flourishing, educational excellence and the advancement of knowledge.

U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters when eligible, are required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all campuses, including Michigan Medicine. This includes those working remotely. More information may be found here:

https://hr.umich.edu/working-u-m/my-employment/covid-19-information-employees