UC Irvine Names Austen Parrish New Dean of Law School

Thursday, April 07, 2022

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Austen Parrish, a respected scholar, gifted classroom teacher, and admired legal academy leader, will become the third dean of the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine, following a nationwide search. He will assume the post on Aug. 3.

“Since it first enrolled students in 2009, UCI Law has been recognized as the finest young law school in the nation, one of the top public law schools overall and a model for combining academic excellence with service to the community,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “With his clear vision, proven leadership and stellar accomplishments, Austen Parrish is the right person to guide UCI Law to greater heights, and we are excited he will be joining UCI.”

Hal Stern, UCI’s provost and executive vice chancellor, said: “Austen Parrish has proven as a scholar and dean that he is distinctly suited to lead our community of extraordinary students, world-renowned faculty, dedicated staff, engaged alumni and enthusiastic supporters.”

Parrish is the dean and James H. Rudy Professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. A top 20 public law school, it was founded in 1842 as the first state university law school in the Midwest. It is the ninth-oldest law school in the United States, deeply committed to interdisciplinary scholarship and part of Indiana University’s research-intensive flagship Bloomington campus.

Under Parrish’s leadership since 2014, the Maurer School of Law launched a far-reaching and ambitious strategic plan, grew its research centers, established new clinics and public service initiatives, expanded interdisciplinary degree programs, fostered diversity and inclusion, built pipeline programs with dozens of university partnerships and cross-campus collaborations, and completed a $60 million capital campaign.

“Former deans Erwin Chemerinsky and Song Richardson have set a very high bar for leadership at UCI Law, and to be selected to follow in their footsteps is an honor. This is a thrilling time to lead this simply extraordinary school and to help further its reputation as an eminent and innovative academic community,” Parrish said.

“UCI Law is exceptional, with a storied past and an extremely bright future,” he added. “It was established by visionaries who wanted to reimagine legal education, and the school has built its reputation through its interdisciplinary approach, along with its deep commitment to public service, social justice, research excellence and experiential learning. With its brilliant faculty, spectacular staff and inspiring students, the school is poised to do great things and to build on the strengths and commitment to excellence that were woven into the school’s DNA from its founding.”

Parrish’s scholarship and teaching emphasis is on transnational law and transnational litigation, with particular expertise in legal and policy issues related to the extraterritorial application of domestic law. He has written numerous scholarly articles that have been published in leading law reviews and is the co-author of two books. Over his career, Parrish has taught a variety of courses, including civil procedure, constitutional law, federal courts, transnational law, international environmental law and public international law. He has also taught in Indiana University’s prestigious Wells Scholars Program, where he was twice named a Wells Scholars Professor.

Parrish is active in numerous national organizations focused on legal education. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and serves on the board of directors for AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of legal education, especially issues of access and affordability. In 2020, he joined the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools. From 2015 to 2020, Parrish was a member, and then chair, of the AALS Membership Review Committee. In 2019, the Indiana Supreme Court appointed him to the Study Commission on the Future of the Indiana Bar Examination.

Before joining Indiana University Bloomington, Parrish was interim dean and CEO (2012-2014), vice dean (2008-2012) and the Irwin R. Buchalter Professor (2007-2008) at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Prior to entering academia, he was a litigation attorney with O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles.

Parrish grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is a first-generation college and law student. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics at the University of Washington and a law degree at Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. His wife, Leslie Parrish, is a senior attorney at Indiana Legal Services’ low-income taxpayer clinic. Previously, she served for many years as senior counsel with Public Counsel’s Children’s Rights Project in Los Angeles. They have two daughters.

“Austen brings extraordinary ability and remarkable energy to his teaching, scholarship and administration,” said Bryant Garth, UCI Law interim dean and Distinguished Professor of law emeritus. “He’s a superb dean, and I’m really happy that he’s bringing his talents to UCI Law.”

UCI Law has 52 full-time faculty members and 477 students and ranks highly, receiving tremendous accolades. Currently, U.S. News & World Report ranks UCI Law No. 17 among public law schools in the nation, with 12 specialty programs placing in the top 20.

UCI Law’s faculty are thought leaders concerning the most important issues of the day – from the moral, ethical and legal implications of emerging technologies to challenges in intellectual property law and the impacts of climate change. The faculty rank fifth in the nation for interdisciplinary impact based on publications in subject-matter journals, ninth nationally for academic impact based on downloads and citations, and 14th for scholarly impact based on citations. The collaborative and interdisciplinary community at UCI Law works to improve local, national and global groups by grappling with important issues as scholars, as practitioners and as teachers preparing the next generation of leaders.

UCI Law provides an innovative and comprehensive curriculum and prioritizes public service and a commitment to diversity within the legal profession. UCI Law students have completed more than 130,000 hours of pro bono work since the school’s inception.

“There’s not a better time to be joining UCI Law as it launches its next phase of growth and expands on its unique vision and mission,” Parrish said.

University of California, Irvine is a platinum-level Leader Circle partner of the Greater Irvine Chamber.

Category: Greater Irvine Chamber, Leaders Circle, UC Irvine, Education Excellence