Austen Parrish named dean of IU Maurer School of Law

Dec. 16, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Austen L. Parrish will be the next dean of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel has announced. Before his appointment, Parrish served as the interim dean and CEO of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.

He will become dean of the Maurer School of Law on Jan. 1, and he will also have the title James H. Rudy Professor of Law at the school. His appointment is subject to confirmation by the IU Board of Trustees.

"I am delighted to welcome Austen Parrish to Indiana University and to our law school community," said Robel, who is the former dean of the Maurer School of Law. “Austen is an exciting leader, and I am confident that he will inspire our faculty, students, staff and alumni to continue raising the national and global profile of the Maurer School of Law. Austen’s intellect, energy and entrepreneurial spirit fit well with our law school and will strengthen its belief in and dedication to finding innovative ways to prepare students for the challenges of the global legal profession."

Parrish served as interim dean from July 2012 until November 2013 at Southwestern Law School, where he is a professor of law. From 2008 to 2012 he was the school's vice dean, with responsibility for its overall academic program, including initiatives that brought Southwestern national recognition for curricular reform, professionalism and skills training.

A widely published scholar of transnational law and the use of domestic law and institutions to address global challenges, Parrish has been a Southwestern faculty member since 2002.

"The Maurer School of Law is an inspiring school with a rich tradition," Parrish said. "The school has had a remarkable series of leaders, and I feel privileged and humbled by the opportunity to serve as its dean.

“Part of what makes the school so special has been its ability to be a distinctive innovator and leader in legal education while deeply understanding the importance of a global outlook," he added. "The school makes a difference in the futures of its students by providing a first-rate educational experience in an intellectually rigorous and collaborative environment. I’m eager to work with faculty, staff, students, alumni and others to advance and build on this extraordinary tradition of excellence.”

Parrish was selected as a result of a nationwide search by a committee of faculty members, alumni and student representatives created in the fall of 2012. Hannah L. Buxbaum, the John E. Schiller chair in legal ethics at the Maurer School of Law, has served as interim dean since February 2012.

Robel was dean of the Maurer School of Law from 2003 until 2012, when she became IU Bloomington provost and Indiana University executive vice president. She was president of the Association of American Law Schools in 2012.

“I’m delighted that Austen will be bringing his tremendous energy and creativity to the Maurer School at this time of great change in legal education in the United States," said John S. Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs and Walter W. Foskett professor of law, who chaired the search committee. "I’m also deeply grateful to the members of the search committee for their hard work, thoughtfulness and collegiality in identifying and recruiting a group of superior candidates.”

At Southwestern Law School, Parrish worked closely with Bryant Garth, who was dean from 2005 to 2012. Garth was dean of the IU Maurer School of Law from 1986 to 1990. As interim dean, Parrish oversaw construction of a $20 million student housing complex, established relationships and collaborations with local and international universities, and led the move from a silent to a public phase of a capital campaign.

"Austen brings extraordinary talent and remarkable energy to his teaching, scholarship and administration," Garth said. "He is going to be a superb dean, and I am really happy that Indiana will be the beneficiary of his leadership."

Southwestern, a private nonprofit law school established in 1911, is known for its long-standing emphasis on diversity, public service and innovative programs. A pioneer in legal education for women and minorities, the school has strong ties to the Los Angeles business, entertainment and legal communities. Southwestern’s well-regarded Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute offers the most comprehensive entertainment and media law curriculum in the country.

Parrish is an expert in transnational litigation, civil procedure and conflict of laws. He is a leading scholar on issues related to cross-border disputes and has served as an expert witness in cases involving this topic. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles published in leading law reviews and is co-author of a widely used book on legal writing and a popular guide for new law students. Before entering academia, Parrish practiced complex business litigation at O’Melveny & Myers, a global law firm.

"Austen has the vision, passion and energy necessary to ensure that a law school seizes the opportunities that we have today to ensure that a legal education provides the foundation for our students to craft meaningful careers that benefit them and our society," said Robert K. Rasmussen, dean and Carl Mason Franklin Chair at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. "Southern California's loss is definitely Indiana's gain. I am confident that IU will enhance its position as one of our nation's leading public law schools."  

"IU has made a terrific choice," added Trevor W. Morrison, dean and Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. "Austen has all the skills necessary to be an outstanding dean and to lead IU forward to great success."

Parrish earned a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Washington and completed his J.D. degree at Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, managing editor of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law and a student-editor of the Columbia Journal of European Law. He is a member of the California State Bar.