California Western School of Law has appointed Sean Megan Scott to serve as its next president and dean, effective August 1, 2020. As California Western prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2024, Scott will use her deep expertise in legal education to build on the school’s strong commitment to innovation, diversity, and academic excellence.
“Recognized nationally as a strong and creative leader, and as one of only two African American women to be appointed as president and dean of an American law school, Professor Scott embodies the values of our community,” states Jeff Lewin, Chair of California Western’s Board of Trustees.
An author of numerous articles on advances in legal education, Professor Scott has a long history of innovation as a law school administrator and professor. As a legal educator, Professor Scott taught at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
“In my new role as president and dean of Cal Western, I expect to continue my commitment to promoting academic excellence, advocating for diversity in the academy and legal profession, innovating in the classroom and emphasizing the critical role law schools play in maintaining the pillars of our democracy,” says Scott. “California Western is in an excellent position to expand opportunities for students and faculty by taking advantage of San Diego’s strong and varied economy and legal community.”
The appointment is the latest of Scott’s many leadership positions in the legal academy. She most recently served as associate director of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), the largest and most prestigious legal academic society in the United States. In that role, she was charged with promoting AALS programs that furthered the association’s core values of improving legal education, promoting diversity, and advocating for justice.
“California Western has chosen a superb leader in selecting Sean Scott as their new dean. In her work as Associate Director of the Association of American Law Schools in 2019, Sean earned the respect and admiration of law faculty and deans around the nation as well as of the AALS staff,” says Judith Areen, Executive Director of the Association of American Law Schools. “She made possible the launch of much-needed materials on becoming a law teacher on the AALS website—materials that should both encourage and prepare a more diverse generation of new faculty. Her warmth, good judgement, and creativity will ensure her place as one of the great American law deans.”
From 2008 to 2016, Scott served as senior associate dean and associate dean for faculty at LMU Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (LLS), where she established the school’s Master of Science in Legal Studies (MLS) program. Additionally, she was instrumental in reengineering the school’s curriculum to add subject-matter concentrations and first-year electives. Leveraging LLS’ unique location in downtown Los Angeles near the tech epicenter of Silicon Beach, Scott helped launch the school’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Law program, available as an area of focus to Juris Doctor, Master of Law and MLS candidates. Additionally, she helped orchestrate Loyola Law School’s Fashion Law Project to assist designers and entrepreneurs in the nearby Los Angeles Fashion District.
“Sean Scott is a reliable, inspiring and creative law school administrator,” says Victor Gold, dean emeritus and William H. Hannon Professor of Law at Loyola Law School. “I appointed her senior associate dean at Loyola and entrusted her with a series of urgent problems caused by the recession that began in 2008. She met every challenge, transforming much of the law school in the process. We are stronger today because of Sean. She will be a superb law school dean.”
Since 1994, Scott has taught Contracts, Law of Sales, and Race, Gender and the Law at LLS. An innovator inside her own classroom, students have responded by giving her numerous honors, including the Student Bar Association’s prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award and the Black Law Students Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award.
“Sean Scott’s recent scholarship explores the intersection of disability and contract law,” says Danielle Kie Hart, professor of law at Southwestern Law School. “In so doing, she adds an important voice to a growing body of work that documents the impact that contract law has day in and day out on all of us and forces us to confront important questions about who we are as a society and how we want to or should be treated.”
“Dean Scott brings inclusive and insightful leadership excellence to Cal Western,” says Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the Law School Admissions Council. “She is a perfect choice for the school, and I cannot wait to see all that the community will accomplish together.”
Scott currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the California Women’s Law Center. Before joining academia, Scott was an associate in the Los Angeles office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. She earned her Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law.
Lewin is looking forward to working with Professor Scott and predicts a bright future for California Western at the same time praising the work of outgoing President and Dean Niels Schaumann.
“I would personally like to thank Niels Schaumann for his leadership over the past seven years. His ability to make the difficult decisions needed to ensure our financial future will serve us well going forward,” said Lewin.
“We are optimistic about our future and believe that the appointment of Professor Scott as our next President and Dean is an essential and significant step forward.”
The search for California Western’s new president and dean began in September 2018 and was announced in mid-2019. Approximately 40 candidates from around the United States, Europe, and New Zealand applied for the position.
About California Western School of Law
California Western School of Law provides a rigorous, traditional legal education with an
emphasis on developing problem-solving, communication, writing, and analytical thinking
skills. We are committed to using the law to solve human and societal problems. Our mission is
to train ethical, competent and compassionate lawyers, representative of our diverse society,
who can use the law effectively and creatively. Please visit us at cwsl.edu.