It’s beginning to look like former SMU law school dean Charles Galvin is literally irreplaceable. Since Galvin retired last June, the special committee charged with finding his successor has heard thanks-but-no-thanks from at least 50 prominent legal educators. “Only a few were even interested in talking about it,” says one committee member ruefully.
One problem is competition. Few legal scholars make a career out of administration, so turnover in law school deans’ offices is always high. When SMU entered the market for a new dean, so did about 30 other schools. A second, more serious problem involves the university’s attitude toward control of the law school budget. Though Galvin denies it, speculation persists that one reason he resigned was that university officials refused to give him complete control of the school’s income. Apparently, the issue of control looms large as the selection committee meets with candidates.