Thank You and Congratulations, Dean Waterstone!

March 27, 2023

Dear LMU Community: 

With pride, enthusiasm, and mixed emotions, I share that Fritz B. Burns Dean of LMU Loyola Law School and Senior Vice President Michael Waterstone will be the next dean of the UCLA School of Law. He will transition into his new role in mid-summer (further details forthcoming).  

Dean Waterstone joined the law school in 2006 as a distinguished scholar and professor, serving as associate dean from 2009-2014, then as dean for the past seven years. During his tenure, Dean Waterstone has made landmark contributions to our institution. He led the establishment of new academic programs, secured transformative gifts to actuate his bold vision, and presided over an impactful period of innovation. Dean Waterstone’s efforts to expand access to legal education and ensure that our graduates are prepared to meet the needs of a changing legal landscape have been awe-inspiring. His charismatic and collaborative leadership style served our mission and emboldened students to ignite a brighter world.

I highlight a few milestones that exemplify Dean Waterstone’s legacy:

  • The debut and growth of the Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic (LSJLC), a hub for the law school’s 20-plus live-client clinics. Operating as a public interest law firm, LSJLC is a regional and national leader in clinical legal education that provides legal services to those most in need and is a visible manifestation of LMU’s commitment to social justice. 
  • Development of centers of excellence, including the Loyola Public Service Institute. These centers focus on programming that addresses the roles and impacts of lawyers and public servants. Similarly, the interdisciplinary Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation created Coelho Fellows, the only pipeline program of its kind to support talented students with disabilities who seek to attend law school.
  • A commitment to equity and inclusion inspired the creation of the LLS Anti-Racism Center, a milestone in support of our shared mission to become a proactively anti-racist institution. Additionally, Dean Waterstone created the law school’s first associate dean position for equity and inclusion. During his tenure, LLS experienced notable gains in the enrollment of Black and Latine students, and the overall diversity of the 2022 entering class was among the highest. 
  • Stewardship and fundraising success, including multiple seven-figure gifts and one eight-figure gift, from the LLS Centennial Scholarship initiative for law students to record-breaking fundraising amid the challenges of the global pandemic, and most recently a $10 million bequest from lawyer/philanthropist Joan Lavine and a $6 million gift from the estate of Maurice D. Schwartz that will strengthen the William M. Rains Library and the Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic.
  • Improvement of key metrics, including students’ entering LSAT score, entering GPA, bar passage rate, and employment outcomes. For example, this year, LMU LLS attained a 90% employment rate, which is the highest under current reporting standards.
  • Program innovation, leading the creation of the LLS Hybrid JD, a revamped version of LLS’s evening program allowing students to earn their JD with a one-night/week residency commitment.

As we begin our next chapter in the life of our law school, I am grateful to Dean Waterstone and his team for their impactful contributions to our university and beyond. I am delighted to share that Brietta R. Clark, professor of law and J. Rex Dibble Fellow, will serve as interim dean while we conduct our search for the next dean of LMU Loyola Law School. Additional details about the search will be shared in the weeks ahead. 

Please join me in congratulating Dean Waterstone, thanking him for his commitment and vision, and applauding the continuing rise of LMU Loyola Law School. I look forward to honoring Michael's contributions in the coming months.

With appreciation and thanks,

Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.