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Leonard, Room Lower Level

Bass, Scott A.
Provost

Office of the Provost
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8061

MEMORANDUM
August 24, 2015

 TO: 

AU Community

 FROM: 

Scott A. Bass, Provost

 RE:

Washington College of Law Dean Claudio Grossman

____________________________________________________________________________

Following twenty-one years of outstanding leadership to the Washington College of Law and American University, Dean Claudio Grossman has informed me that he will return to full-time service on the WCL faculty at the end of this academic year. Dean Grossman’s tenure as dean is reflective of sustained impact and remarkable, given that the average law school deanships is 2.78 years.

Claudio Grossman joined the American University Washington College of Law faculty in 1983 as director of the International Legal Studies Program after a decade of legal education at universities in Chile and the Netherlands. While leading the program, he was appointed the Raymond Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law, an appointment he continues to hold. Grossman later served as WCL’s acting dean and as dean of graduate studies before his appointment as the 17th dean—and the longest serving dean—of the Washington College of Law.

During Dean Grossman’s tenure over two decades, the law school experienced profound transformation, enhancing the law school’s stature both nationally and internationally:

  • Substantially increased the size of the full-time faculty, moving the student-faculty ratio from 24:1 to 11:1
  • Received national recognition for its faculty scholarship
  • Significantly increased both the size and diversity of the student body
  • Fostered unparalleled learning opportunities for its students
  • Considerably increased alumni engagement
  • Improved the school’s endowment and net assets

Under his leadership, WCL earned distinction for four nationally recognized programs in Clinical Legal Education, International Law, Trial Advocacy, and Intellectual Property. Initially offering one LLM Program, the school now boasts an SJD program and five LLM programs in International Law, Law and Government, Trial Advocacy, Intellectual Property, and Human Rights, which is also offered in Spanish and is the first program of its kind. Just this year, other innovations included introduction of a fully online reentry program for lawyers returning to practice and a Legal Spanish program. 

The school’s outreach and influence were enhanced with expansion of its clinics and the development of an Externship Program, the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Center for International Commercial Arbitration, Legal Rhetoric Program, among others. 

During his tenure, Dean Grossman continued to dedicate time to his important human rights work.  He was a member of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights from 1993-2001 and its president from 1996-1997 and in 2001. He has been a member of the UN Committee against Torture since 2003 and served as chair since 2008. This work has certainly benefited the international human rights community, it has also created a cadres of human rights advocates from within the WCL community. Of the more the 100 students who have participated in the United Nations Committee Against Torture project over the last 10 years, 70% of them have gone into careers in human rights law. 

Recognized with numerous awards over the course of his career, Dean Grossman was named this past January, for the third year in a row, by The National Jurist as one of the 25 “Most Influential People in Legal Education.” The American Civil Liberties Union, the Hispanic National Bar Foundation, the Inter-American Bar Association, and the governments of the Netherlands and Columbia are just a few of the notable organizations that have acknowledged Dean Grossman for his legal education, human rights, justice, and other career contributions. 

It is interesting to note that in his first year as dean, Grossman led the law school’s move to its current 4801 Massachusetts Avenue location, which more than doubled the law school’s physical space and technological capacity. As he did then, Dean Grossman will now oversee WCL’s move to its newly constructed, spectacular 8 ½ acre Tenley Campus, designed to offer innovative and unparalleled legal education facilities. Dean Grossman and the school look forward to welcoming Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in February 2016 to celebrate the opening of the new campus and the anniversary of WCL’s founding.

The search for a new dean will begin immediately. Dean Grossman has offered to continue to serve as dean through summer 2016 when he will begin his first sabbatical in over two decades. Information regarding the dean’s search will be shared in the near future. Please join me in congratulating Dean Grossman on his many years of exceptional leadership and service to WCL and to the AU community.