SACRAMENTO — Michael Hunter Schwartz will be the next dean of the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, according to a Sacramento Business Journal report.
Schwartz is set to replace Francis "Jay" Mootz III, who has served in the role of dean for four years starting in 2012 and will officially be stepping down when his contract ends this summer. Schwartz will start in his new role in July.
"Coming to McGeorge is like coming home for me," the Southern California native told the Northern California Record in an emailed statement. "I am excited that I will be working with the McGeorge faculty and staff and with everyone across Pacific to make McGeorge the law school everyone looks to for the brightest legal minds in the country."
While he was at the William H. Bowen School of Law in Arkansas, Schwartz put together a law school community research summit, the school's first-such event; hosted a legal hack-a-thon in order to develop computer applications and websites to solve legal problems, which was a first for that region; and “established collaborative relationships with law schools in Taiwan, Poland and Mexico,” according to a Jan. 24, 2017 news release from McGeorge.
Schwartz attended the University of California Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and remembers first stepping foot on the Pacific campus decades before now calling it his home, according to the Business Journal report.
Schwartz has work to do to fully restore the school to its previous level, according to recent reports.
Over a five-year stretch after 2010, according to the Business Journal report, McGeorge lost nearly half of its student population and fell out of the U.S. News & World Report's rankings of the top law schools.
In last April's rankings, according to a news release on McGeorge's website, the school was 12th in trial advocacy and 25th in international law. The school was also ranked 38th in part-time law programs and 60th on a list of the top 100 most diverse institutions.
According to the Jan. 24, 2017 news release by McGeorge, Schwartz was recently named the ninth-most influential person in 2016 by National Jurist Magazine, the third time in his career he has received such distinction. Under his guidance, Bowen was also tabbed in 2016 as the winner of the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award for the school's comprehensive development professionalism curriculum.
“Dean Schwartz is a proven leader in legal education and has a strong record for building enrollments, improving bar-passage rates, and enhancing the reputation of law schools,” Pacific Provost Maria Pallavicini said in the release. “His experience with academic support and curriculum reform, and his track record for building collaborative relationships with law schools in other countries, will be essential as we continue to strengthen McGeorge for the future.”