BRISTOL, R.I. – As Roger Williams University School of Law begins a new year – and its 20th anniversary celebration – the dean who has led the school for half its existence announced today that he will step down at the conclusion of the academic year and return to teaching full-time.
David A. Logan has headed RWU Law since 2003, which places him among the 15 longest-serving law deans in America. (The average deanship is four years.) Logan said his long tenure reflects a match that still works to this day.
“From the moment I set foot on campus, I was impressed by the law school’s energy and potential,” Logan said. “I saw a talented faculty and staff and a solid student body, but also a clear need to help RWU Law build a reputation for quality in the bench, bar and legal academy.”
By all accounts, Logan succeeded admirably.
“It has been my distinct privilege to serve with Dean David Logan,” said University President Donald J. Farish. “He has been totally focused on making the law school the very best it can be, and he has been on the forefront of expanding its horizons in every direction. Much of the success of the law school is directly attributable to Dean Logan’s leadership of an exceptionally talented and committed faculty and staff.”
Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell of the Rhode Island Supreme Court agreed: “David Logan has certainly made a positive mark on the Rhode Island legal community,” he said. “The law school has thrived under his leadership. He has also been instrumental in developing a close, mutually beneficial relationship with the Rhode Island Judiciary. On a personal level, I will miss his sage advice and good humor, but I am delighted to learn that he will continue at the law school as a professor.”
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, who is a 1998 graduate of RWU Law and an alumnus of the University’s undergraduate criminal justice program, also spoke to Logan’s impact in the state’s legal community: “Dean Logan displayed foresight and an ability to identify trends, thereby ensuring the positive impact of the school on the region. He has positioned the school well for the future – and I am pleased to see that future includes continuing to instruct at the school. I have professionally and personally enjoyed our relationship throughout my tenure as Attorney General, and am pleased he will not only continue to be a resource for the office, but also for me personally.”
Under Logan’s stewardship, the School of Law attained membership in the prestigious Association
of American Law Schools (AALS) and saw marked improvement of graduate bar-pass rates and job placements – particularly in judicial clerkships, a key measure of law school success.
During his tenure, the law school also launched important experiential learning opportunities, including the groundbreaking Pro Bono Collaborative, the Immigration Clinic and the In-House Counsel Externship program.
“I particularly applaud David’s diligence in ensuring that every law student now has the opportunity to work in an externship or clinic setting prior to graduating, thereby obtaining the experience he or she will need to secure a position after passing the bar exam,” President Farish noted.
Chief Justice Suttell added that these programs provide “much-needed legal services to low-income Rhode Islanders as well as a variety of hands-on learning opportunities to law school students.”
Logan’s commitment to expanding the availability of legal services to underserved communities was recognized in such honors as Rhode Island Legal Services’ Equal Justice Award and the AALS’s Deborah Rhode Award for Pro Bono and Public Service.
Logan’s decade at RWU Law also saw the school achieve an increasingly diverse faculty, staff and student body; in 2010, he won the Providence NAACP’s Community Service Award.
He also helped raise the school’s profile. As a nationally recognized expert on mass torts, Logan has been frequently quoted in local, national and even international media.
A popular teacher of torts law even during his deanship, Logan plans to stay on as a full-time professor at RWU Law. In the meantime, Farish noted that Roger Williams University is initiating a search for a Logan’s successor, with the expectation that the next dean will be in place well before the 2014-15 academic year begins.
“The next dean will have the opportunity to build on what David has created,” Farish said.
About David A. Logan: David A. Logan has been dean of Roger Williams University School of Law since 2003. From 1981 until 2003, he was a member of the faculty of Wake Forest University School of Law from 1981 - 2003, where he won awards for his teaching of Torts, Media Law, and Professional Responsibility. His publications, focusing on the intersection of tort law and the First Amendment, have appeared in major journals, including the Michigan Law Review and the Virginia Law Review. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and served as an Advisor to the Restatement (3d) of Torts. Prior to that, Dean Logan clerked for a federal judge and practiced with a major Washington, D.C. law firm, where he represented Native American tribes.
Dean Logan is a frequent commentator on legal issues, having appeared on television (The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News, NBC Evening News, and Nightline), radio (Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Marketplace), and print media (Time, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Financial Times). Most recently, he has been widely quoted on the complex civil liability issues arising out of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico -- as close to the action as the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and as far-flung as the BBC and Voice of Russia.
He was born in New York City and grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He earned his B.A. from Bucknell University, his M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia. He was a varsity basketball player, head DJ of the campus radio station, and a music critic for Rolling Stone.