Message From The Dean

Supporting Students

Dean SchapiroI am very excited to be joining the USD School of Law community at this important moment in its history. I have long admired USD, and I know that the loyalty and dedication of our alumni have made the school the extraordinary institution that it is.

On behalf of the entire law school, I would like to thank Vice Dean Margaret Dalton for all that she has done this academic year in her capacity as Interim Dean to lead the law school’s effort to provide online instruction at the highest level while continuing to educate practice-ready graduates. 

Sharing with you the good news and outstanding achievements of University of San Diego School of Law is my great pleasure. Long before coming to USD School of Law, I was impressed by the extraordinary quality of the law school’s faculty. Just recently, my high opinion of the faculty's scholarly excellence was further reinforced as I attended the Hugh & Hazel Darling Foundation Works in Progress Conference. This well-attended conference attracts scholars nationwide who engage in robust debate focusing on the most important issues of constitutional interpretation. As you will read in this message, the USD faculty are called upon frequently to share their legal expertise and weigh in with their academic opinions on a host of contemporary legal issues affecting our everyday lives.

It is my privilege to be joining my new colleagues as a member of the law school’s acclaimed faculty. As I envision the future of USD, my priorities as dean include:

  • Bolstering student success by providing students with the knowledge and the skills necessary to thrive in this changing world and enhancing bar passage rates as a precursor to meaningful employment opportunities.
  • Focusing on the essential need to turn diversity, equity and inclusion policies into tangible outcomes that promote a stronger sense of belonging. Better education and career outcomes occur when students’ diverse strengths, abilities, interests and perspectives are understood and supported.
  • Extending the reach of USD School of Law nationally and internationally through innovative programs and partnerships with universities, corporations and governmental agencies to serve the legal needs of people around the world and to prepare our students to better shape the evolving global

This is a time of great change in society and in the legal profession. The pandemic and uncertain economic conditions confront our students with great challenges. With its exceptional students, faculty, staff, and alumni, USD School of Law is ideally positioned to continue to be a leader in legal education.

In addition to raising more funds for student scholarships, the law school continues to seek funding for legal clinics and centers, endowed professorships, and program support for highly effective instructional programs, including the foundation-building Experiential Advocacy Practicum (EAP). This unique program has provided students with the skills necessary to understand the practice of law in all its complexities. Student advocacy teams are experiencing record-setting success this year, in large part because of the real-world experience, practice and training they receive from their adjunct professors, mentors and practitioners. Recent graduates credit their experience competing in advocacy while at USD School of Law with their litigation and transactional success.

All of these successes are made possible by your generous support. I feel very fortunate to be joining this extraordinary community, and I thank you for all you do to support the quality and reputation of USD School of Law. Your continued engagement ensures that the future of the law school is bright. 

Warmest Wishes,

Robert Schapiro
Dean and Professor of Law