BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School names D. Gordon Smith new dean

Gordon Smith will be the new dean for BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School. (BYU Photo)

BYU News reported March 25 law professor D. Gordon Smith will be the new dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School. BYU Academic Vice President Brent Webb announced Smith as the new dean.

Smith is replacing James Rasband, who served as dean since 2009. Smith will begin his five-year term on May 1, 2016. Rasband will return as a full-time teacher after taking a leave of absence to study abroad in London and Washington, D.C.

Prior to this appointment, Smith served as associate dean for faculty and curriculum for five years.

Webb expressed gratitude for Rasband’s administration in the BYU News announcement.

“He has been strategic in his vision and leadership and energetic in his service,” he said. “I also welcome Gordon Smith as the new dean. The law school will benefit from his creativity and commitment to high standards.”

Smith received his bachelor’s degree from the BYU Marriott School of Management in accounting. He then got his Doctor of Law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

Smith started teaching law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He also taught as a visiting law professor at Vanderbilt University Law School, Arizona State University College of Law and Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

Smith joined the BYU Law School faculty in 2007. The three most recent graduating classes voted him the BYU Law School Alumni Association’s Teacher of the Year.

Second-year BYU law student Jared McDonald is taking a class from Smith. McDonald said Smith’s lectures are full of insights — he gives useful background information because he wrote the book students use in class.

McDonald said Smith’s background with cases and judges enabled him to give students helpful additional information on cases.

“That added a lot of depth to the case studies,” McDonald said.

BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School was ranked number one in Best Value Law Schools by PreLaw Magazine and ranked 38 in Best Law Schools by U.S. News & World Report.

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