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New dean promotes IU McKinney as national leader

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For its next dean, the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law has tapped one of its own.

Andrew R. Klein, the Paul E. Beam Professor of Law at McKinney and chief of staff in the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Chancellor’s Cabinet, has been appointed dean of the Indianapolis-based law school. He will begin his new position July 1, pending approval of the I.U. board of trustees.

With his pedigree in teaching and administration, Klein assumes the top job after being on the faculty at McKinney for 13 years. He will oversee a law school with a 100-plus-year history and 1,100 alumni – several of whom hold top leadership positions, including in Indiana the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate Pro Tem President, three members of the Indiana Supreme Court, four members of Congress, and the governor.

klein Klein

“The McKinney School has educated many of the state’s political and professional leaders, and I am confident that the school will continue to play a critical role in legal education in Indiana under Andy’s guidance,” I.U. President Michael A. McRobbie stated in a press release.

Klein is walking into the dean’s office at a time when enrollment in law schools across the country is declining and legal education, in general, is under heavy criticism as being overpriced and not providing experiential learning that students need to practice law.

Yet he is undeterred and, in fact, remains bullish about McKinney. The educator readily pointed out the programs, traditions and scholarship that he maintained not only set the school apart but make it a national leader.

“I have a vision of the school as being a model of what legal education should be like in the 21st century,” Klein said. “We’re already doing a lot of the things people say law schools should do. We’re a model for law schools around the country.”

Into the classroom

The university announced Klein’s appointment the morning of March 19 and a few hours later his email inbox was overflowing with congratulatory messages from colleagues and friends around the country. Catching his breath in the late afternoon, he called the day a whirlwind.

Klein, 50, will become the 12th dean of the McKinney Law School since it became part of I.U. in 1944. He is replacing the current dean, Gary Roberts, who will be stepping down in June to comply with university policy that all deans leave the office when they reach the age of 65.

McRobbie noted Klein is well suited to advancing the research, education and civic engagement of the law school.

“Andy has made exceptional contributions to both the McKinney School of Law and the development of the IUPUI campus during his tenure, and his expertise, leadership and experience make him an outstanding choice as the next dean,” McRobbie stated.

Klein arrived at McKinney as a visiting professor in the fall of 1999. He was on the faculty at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Ala., and when he got the offer to teach full time at the Indianapolis school, he jumped.

The Chicago native described I.U. as a great university and the downtown Indianapolis location as a great campus. Joining the faculty, he said, gave him the opportunity to work at a major research institution and a terrific law school.

Klein took a step into administration when he served as associate dean for academic affairs from 2004 to 2007. In 2010, he was named chief of staff of the Chancellor’s Cabinet where he handled a range of duties including oversight of the IUPUI intercollegiate athletics program.

Two years later he became the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Having the administrative experience will help his transition into the dean’s chair at the law school. Yet, he still hopes to maintain his connection to the classroom by teaching one class a year.

“One thing I’ve never tried to hide is the fact I enjoy being in the classroom,” Klein said. “It is a privilege and tremendous opportunity to introduce students to this wonderful profession.”

Klein was encouraged to think of an academic career by his teachers and mentors at Emory University School of Law. After receiving his J.D. with distinction in 1988, he clerked for Judge Joseph W. Hatchett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Then he worked as an associate at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago from 1989 to 1992.

He left private practice for teaching in 1992. Klein said he finds the interaction with the students to be rewarding, and he likes the scholarship aspect of researching and writing about an issue.

His work inside and outside the classroom at McKinney has earned praise from colleagues and students. He has received five teaching awards, three faculty leadership awards, two outstanding administrator awards and the I.U. Trustees Teaching Award.

I.U. Executive Vice President Charles R. Bantz pointed to Klein’s work as a teacher as a distinguishing factor in his selection for the top position.

“By conducting a national search with excellent candidates, it became crystal clear that Andy Klein has everything a law dean needs,” Bantz stated in a press release. “He is a recognized scholar, a devoted teacher, an experienced law school administrator and a member of the national professional organizations, and he has tremendous educational experience.”

Agenda as dean

On the day his appointment was announced, Klein sent a note to faculty members, and in the weeks before he becomes dean he wants to talk to the professors before he sets his agenda.

However, even as McKinney fell to No. 98 in the recently released law school rankings from U.S. News & World Report, Klein again pointed to the curriculum and offerings already in place which can position the school to be a leader.

Klein said he wants the school to do better, but he continued to outline what he sees as the school’s strengths that paint a different picture from the rankings.

In particular, he noted McKinney has placed an emphasis on legal writing which, along with health care law, earned the school a No. 10 ranking in each of those specific areas by U.S. News. Also, the school provides students with numerous opportunities for hands-on experiences through many legal clinics and externships.

Its downtown location in Indiana’s capital city not only provides students with the opportunities and experiences they cannot get anywhere else but also allows the school to foster strong relationships in the community.

As he takes over the leadership of the school, Klein emphasized he also wants build and maintain the institution’s connections throughout the city, the state and the country.

“The McKinney School of Law is one of Indiana’s most important assets – a training ground for so many of our state’s leaders, and for outstanding lawyers around the world,” Klein said on the day his appointment was announced. “I plan to do everything in my power to earn the trust that Indiana University has placed in me. And I am excited about working hand in hand with the tremendous faculty, excellent students and many loyal alumni who share my enthusiasm for our school.”•

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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