Janet Koven Levit appointed Dean of TU College of Law

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Published on 7/15/08

The University of Tulsa has named internationally respected legal scholar Janet Koven Levit as dean of the TU College of Law. Levit has served as interim dean since October 10, 2007.

The appointment, effective immediately, makes Levit the first female dean in the college’s history as well as the first dean drawn from among the college’s faculty since the 1960s.

She becomes the 36th active female dean of the country’s 197 law schools. She will serve a college where 16 or 33 resident faculty are women as well as over 40 percent of the student body.

During Levit’s tenure as interim dean, the law school experienced marked success, including:
• Producing a class of TU law students who had the state’s highest passage rates during the February 2008 bar exam,
• Earning national recognition for several students who were honored by such groups as the ABA and Phi Delta Phi,
• Hosting such nationally acclaimed speakers as Hiroshi Motomura, Bryan Stevenson and Nina Totenberg,
• Building strong relationships with business and industry partners that will provide unique scholarship opportunities for law students, and
• Recruiting an incoming class that has the strongest academic profile in the college’s history.

TU President Steadman Upham said the leadership Levit has provided as interim dean made the decision to elevate her status an easy one.

“In a relatively short time, Janet Levit has guided the law school to impressive successes and through significant milestones,” Upham said. “Dean Levit brings to her new appointment many distinguished qualities including leadership, scholarship and a focus on outreach that will play crucial roles in advancing TU’s reputation among the nation’s law schools. We are excited by the potential the college has under her stewardship.”

Levit’s selection came after extensive consultation with law school faculty, law alumni, members of Oklahoma’s legal community and respected community leaders throughout Tulsa and Oklahoma, said TU Provost Roger Blais.

“I think it speaks well of the College of Law that such a talented administrator and accomplished scholar grew from the ranks of our faculty,” Blais said.

Levit is an internationally recognized scholar in international law, publishing extensively in the areas of international commercial law, international human rights, and international trade and finance. She first served as a visiting assistant professor at TU from 1995 to 1997. From 1998 through 2002, Levit practiced law in Washington DC and New York as Assistant General Counsel of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a well as in the private sector. Levit re-joined the TU law faculty as an assistant professor in 2002, was named an associate professor in 2003, and a professor of law in 2006. She became a tenured faculty member at TU in 2004.

She earned her law degree in 1994 from Yale Law School, where she was book reviews and articles editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. She earned a master’s degree in international relations from Yale University Graduate School in 1994, and a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in 1990 from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University (with a concentration in Latin American Studies).

Levit said her goals for the law school are to continue the trends she began as interim dean, in particular setting the college apart from other regional law schools by offering top-tier students a law school experience that is excellent in all respects and by building upon TU’s strengths in energy law, Native American law, and international law.

“During my time as interim dean, our law school team developed a clear and concise strategic plan to streamline operations and align our resources with identified priorities,” Levit said. “In the coming years, we will carry out that plan, which focuses on three key areas: improved student quality, enhanced faculty reputation, and a remarkable student experience. We have already seen advancements in each of these categories, and the TU College of Law now has before it an unprecedented opportunity to capitalize on that progress.”

Levit thanked President Upham, fellow college deans and the entire TU community for continued support of the law school and its students.

Levit and her husband, Ken, have two children: Nathan, 10, and Rebecca, 6.