New law dean an 'excellent catch'

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

As the UA law school snatches its new dean from a Midwestern school, the current dean plans to head to that region.

Joel Seligman, who has been a law professor at the University of Michigan since 1986, has accepted the $145,000 per year top position at the University of Arizona College of Law.

About 55 candidates competed with Seligman to replace E. Thomas Sullivan, who served as dean of the UA law college for six years before stepping down last year to write a book.

Last week, Sullivan accepted a new position at the University of Michigan Law School, which is ranked among the top five law schools in the country.

Seligman, who will begin at the UA July 1, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1974 and has since taught law at Northeastern University and George Washington University as well as the University of Michigan. He also worked as a consultant to the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Office of Technology.

"I am delighted about the position; I feel like an eight-year-old kid with a new Lego set," he said. "For 18 years I have been writing and researching and I have felt for a while now that I wanted a more people-oriented job. I think I will really enjoy it."

Seligman's goals for the position include raising the visibility of the UA law school, since it is "not as appreciated as it would be if it were on the East Coast or in California." He also wants to strengthen the ties between the law school and other areas of the university.

"Professor Seligman is an excellent catch for the UA," said George Davis, a geosciences professor and head of the dean search committee. "He is a leader in his field of securities law and is an outstanding teacher, which is excellent since there is a tradition for law deans to teach."

Davis said the committee was looking for a candidate who was a strong scholar and teacher, had experience or strong potential as an administrator and could work well with external constituencies, such as alumni and fundraising groups, and Seligman naturally surfaced as a leader in the search.

"When he spoke at the law school, I knew right then that I was observing someone with a head and a heart. He is strong intellectually and a very caring person, which is a great combination."

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