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Stanford Report, September 6, 2000

Thompson named Law School vice dean; Shell promoted to senior associate dean

Barton H. "Buzz" Thompson, the Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law, has been appointed vice dean of the Law School, a position established to augment the school's academic governance and planning processes. A member of the faculty since 1986, Thompson will assist Dean Kathleen Sullivan in day-to-day academic governance and will shepherd the development of a new strategic plan for the school. He also will oversee the Law School's reaccreditation process.

"Buzz has demonstrated considerable administrative skill in his direction of our environmental law program," Sullivan said. "I can think of no better person to help us interpret the challenges and identify solutions for legal academia generally, and Stanford Law School specifically, over the next few years."

Thompson, whose research on environmental and natural resources law has won wide acclaim, will serve as vice dean at least two years. He says he is excited about the opportunity to help shape the school's future.

"I have seen the Law School from three different perspectives ­ student, alumnus and faculty member," Thompson noted. "I understand the traditions that we should build on as well as the opportunities for leadership in the future."

Thompson earned both his undergraduate ('72) and JD/MBA ('76) degrees at Stanford. He clerked for Judge Joseph T. Sneed of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, and for Justice William Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court. From 1978 to 1986 he was an attorney at O'Melveny & Myers, where he was named a partner in 1984. He is a former visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of the board of directors of the Natural Heritage Institute. In 1993 he won the Law School's John Bingham Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Thompson's appointment is part of a comprehensive strategic planning process as the school prepares for an accreditation site visit in the spring of 2001 by the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools.

Martin Shell, formerly associate dean for external relations, has been promoted to senior associate dean for external relations and chief operating officer. In addition to continuing to supervise development and alumni relations, Shell will take on the job of internal coordination among the school's various administrative departments.

"The exceptional analytic, organizational and diplomatic skills that Martin has brought to our external relations operation will no doubt stand him in good stead in this new role," Sullivan said.

Shell, who came to Stanford in 1998 from the University of Pennsylvania, oversaw the final years of the Law School's most recent fundraising campaign. The campaign, which concluded last fall, was one of the most successful in the history of U.S. legal education, generating more than $116 million.

Frank Brucato, who served as an associate dean at the school for nearly a decade, has taken on increased responsibilities as associate dean for finance and chief financial officer. "Frank's extraordinary gifts and experience in managing our budgets and solving all manner of financial problems are well known," Sullivan said. "I have asked him to take on a wide range of demanding new capital planning and finance projects for next year and beyond."

Brucato, a member of the Law School administration since 1983, is credited with strengthening the school's financial standing, creating new opportunities for curricular innovations. SR