Michael H. Schill has been appointed dean of the University of Chicago Law School for a second five-year term, President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum announced. The term begins July 1, 2014.
In their message to the Law School, Zimmer and Rosenbaum praised Schill for retaining the school’s “intellectual hothouse character and historic interdisciplinary focus” in his first term and commended his success in efforts to “recruit outstanding faculty, enhance academic programs, and attract the best and most diverse classes possible.”
Under Schill’s leadership, the Law School has continued to grow in distinction and quality, Zimmer and Rosenbaum wrote. Schill was instrumental in launching several new interdisciplinary programs for the Law School, including the Doctoroff Business Leadership Program, which combines law and business courses, internships, and mentoring relationships to equip law graduates with the knowledge and skills to be business leaders or advisors. Another major initiative is the Kapnick Leadership and Professionalism Initiative, a leadership development program co-developed by the Law School and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business that will launch this fall.
In addition, the Law School created the Law and Economics 2.0 initiative in 2011. The centerpiece of this initiative is the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics, which has brought together more than 30 faculty members and built strong partnerships with Chicago Booth and the Department of Economics to promote the understanding and dissemination of the economic approach to law throughout the world.
Schill’s leadership also has brought new levels of support from alumni and community leaders, including the creation in 2010 of the Rubenstein Scholars Program, funded by gifts totaling $20 million from University Trustee David M. Rubenstein, JD’73. The Rubenstein program provides full scholarships for 20 high-achieving students in each Law School class. Debra A. Cafaro, JD’82, made a $4 million gift in 2013 to launch the Cafaro Scholars Program, which enables students from modest backgrounds to obtain a legal education with no debt.
The Law School has continued to attract many exceedingly promising junior faculty and distinguished senior faculty members under Schill’s deanship. The school also has expanded clinical programs that provide extensive practical experience for all interested students.
“It has truly been an honor and a pleasure to lead the Law School these last four years, and I am thrilled to be looking towards our future,” said Schill. “No other law school is more committed to the world of ideas than ours. To work with Chicago Law faculty and students every day continues to be a great joy. I look forward to redoubling our efforts to attract the best students and professors, develop paradigm-shifting programs for training our students, and support the world’s most creative and productive faculty in their world-changing research.”
In addition to serving as dean of the Law School, Schill is a member of the board of governors of Argonne National Laboratory and a member of the board of trustees of ITHAKA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the utilization of digital technologies in teaching and the preservation of scholarship.
Prior to his appointment at UChicago Law, Schill served as dean of the UCLA Law School and pursued scholarship in real estate and housing policy, deregulation, finance, and discrimination. He has authored four books and more than 50 articles and reports, including a property law casebook that he has coauthored, which is now used at more than half of all law schools nationwide.
A graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, Schill was in private practice before joining the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a tenured professor of law and real estate. He became the Wilf Family Professor in Property Law at New York University School of Law and professor of urban planning at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He was the founding director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.