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Loyola selects new dean for the College of Law

April 15, 2011

María Pabón López, J.D., professor of law at Indiana University School of Law and an expert in immigrants’ rights, has been selected as the new dean of the College of Law at Loyola University New Orleans. López will begin work at the university this summer.

“I am delighted that professor López has agreed to become the next dean and know that she can lead and manage the college in these times of transition. Her academic background, scholarship and desire to positively impact the lives of everyone make her the perfect choice for Loyola,” said Loyola President the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D.

López, a native of Puerto Rico, said she offers a unique perspective on how the legal system responds to the changing world and how best to prepare law students to address these challenges. She is bilingual and bicultural, having lived and worked in the law in both the United States and in Latin America, and has researched and taught law in several other regions of the world.

“I understand how my own study, practice and teaching of law has opened my mind, and has helped shape my vision of a just society,” said López. “I was very attracted to Loyola because of its Jesuit mission. As dean, I will lead the College of Law in continuing to make great contributions to the vision of a just society.”

Since the death of former law dean Brian Bromberger in 2010, Loyola’s law school has been led by interim dean Kathryn Venturatos Lorio, J.D., ‘73. A dean search committee was formed and led by law professor P. Michael Whipple, and included professors Trey Drury, Stephen A. Higginson, Blaine LeCesne, Luz M. Molina, Etheldra Scoggin, Dian Tooley-Knoblett, Monica Hof Wallace, and law alumni representative Richard McCormick. Student members of the search committee included Desmonde Bennett, Perrey Lee, Laura Smith, and Geoffrey Sweeney.

“As soon as the search for our new dean began, we were looking for a person with outstanding credentials who understood the challenges facing our College of Law and who possessed the enthusiasm, skills and personal character needed to forge our college ahead. We are extremely hopeful that Professor Lopez is indeed that individual,” said Lorio.

At Indiana University, López has served as professor of law since 2008, associate professor of law from 2006-08, and assistant professor of law from 2002-06. López received her juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1989 and her Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Princeton University in 1985.

In addition to López’s immigration background, which also includes the education of immigrant children, she is an expert on immigration law and diversity/multicultural matters in the legal profession, focusing on issues concerning Latinos, race and the law, and the status of women lawyers. She has also published articles on Spain’s immigration law regarding undocumented workers, as well as the impact of immigrant nurses on the nursing shortage in the U.S. She has also conducted research in the areas of family law and inheritance law as it pertains to those who are not U.S. citizens.

A prolific author, López has published articles in journals such as the Harvard Latino Law Review, the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, the Hastings Women’s Law Journal and the Seton Hall Law Journal. Her latest book is “Persistent Inequality: Contemporary Realities in the Education of Undocumented Latino/a Children” (with Gerardo R. López), published by Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group in 2009. Her current research projects include an examination of hate crimes against immigrants in the U.S.; analysis of the recent legislation in the immigration law of Spain; and a study of diversity pipelines into the legal profession.

López serves as the secretary for the Indiana State Board of Law Examiners, having been named to the board by Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard. She is also an appointed member of the Indiana Supreme Court's Court Interpreter Certification Advisory Board, a project of the Race and Gender Fairness Commission. She is an inaugural member of the Latino Affairs Committee of the Indiana State Bar. In addition, she serves on the editorial boards of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin and the Computer Assisted Legal Instruction center.

López is the recipient of the 2008 Diversity Attorney in Practice Award from the Indiana Lawyer and the 2007 Rabb Emison Diversity Award from the Indiana State Bar Association. López received the 2006 Trustees Teaching Award from Indiana University. She has also been named a Dean's Fellow in recognition of scholarly excellence at the Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis. She was the recipient of a Special Recognition Award from the Chair of the Second National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference held at the George Washington University School of Law in October of 2004. The law school's Hispanic Law Society gave López their 2004 Award “in recognition of her commitment to her students and loyal support of the HLS.” She has also received awards from the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the Travis County Texas Women Lawyers Association (for contributions to the minority community) and from the University of Missouri Columbia School of Law, where she was a recipient of Faculty Performance Shares.

In 2010 López was appointed to the Editorial Advisory Committee of the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The Editorial Advisory Committee reviews and comments on articles for publication in The Bar Examiner, which is published quarterly, and is the only national publication related to bar admissions. She has been the secretary of the Board of Law Examiners since 2008. Also in 2010, she was elected to the American Law Institute, one of the highest honors in the legal profession.

López is married to Dr. Gerardo López and has two daughters, Marina and Cora Lucia.

For more information, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888 or jshields@loyno.edu.

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