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Stanford News Service
August 3, 2018

Dean M. Elizabeth Magill to leave Stanford Law School to become provost at UVA

Magill, the law school dean since 2012, has spearheaded innovations in legal education and brought in top talent.

M. Elizabeth Magill, the dean of Stanford Law School since 2012, has announced that she will depart the university to become provost at the University of Virginia, a position she plans to assume in the summer of 2019.

During her tenure, Magill expanded Stanford Law School’s academic program and experiential learning opportunities to include a first-of-its-kind Law & Policy Lab, a Global Initiative that incorporates the complexity of a globalized world into the law school curriculum, and intimate discussion seminars held at faculty homes that deepened ties between faculty and students.

M. Elizabeth Magill, 2017 photo

M. Elizabeth Magill (Image credit: Ed Caldwell)

Magill presided over a major effort to hire faculty, bolstered fundraising and alumni engagement, expanded and redesigned student life initiatives, and increased the school’s commitment to public interest fellowships and diversity and inclusion efforts. She also played a major role in the university’s long-range planning process and led a university-wide task force on sexual assault policies and practices.

Provost Persis Drell will launch a search for a new dean in September after consulting broadly with law school faculty this summer.

“Liz Magill has led Stanford Law School to new heights of achievement and innovation,” Drell said. “She also has been a true citizen of the university, working to support and advance our community as a whole. Liz’s appointment at the University of Virginia recognizes her enormous talents, her effective leadership and her deep personal commitment to excellent scholarship and the highest-quality educational experience for students.”

University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said, “Both Stanford Law School and Stanford University as a whole have benefited from Liz’s sharp and strategic mind, her thoughtful decision-making rooted in institutional values, her relentless personal drive, and her care and concern for the well-being of everyone in the community. We are proud of her contributions to Stanford and of the innovations the law school has pursued under her leadership.”

Magill will leave Stanford in the summer of 2019. In becoming provost of the University of Virginia, Magill will return to an institution where she spent 15 years on the law faculty before coming to Stanford. She will work with her former UVA colleague James E. Ryan, most recently dean of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University and, as of Aug. 1, the new president of the University of Virginia.

At Stanford, Magill led a substantial period of faculty revitalization at the law school that put the school in position to carry on existing ventures and establish new ones through the middle of the 21st century. On Magill’s watch, 19 new faculty members joined the Stanford Law School faculty. Representing nearly 30 percent of the current faculty, these additions, including 10 tenured appointments, three clinical faculty and six junior tenure-track faculty, renewed the faculty and transformed research, teaching and the collegiality of the institution.

“It has been a daily privilege to lead Stanford Law School these past six years,” said Magill, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean. “Stanford took a chance on me, and I have considered it the professional opportunity of a lifetime to serve as dean at this exceptional law school and play a role at this remarkable university. Thanks to the collective efforts of the faculty and staff here, SLS is in a very strong position, and I can’t wait to see the direction it takes under future leadership.”

Magill created the Law & Policy Lab, now in its sixth year, an innovative venture in experiential learning. Under the guidance of seasoned faculty advisers, Law & Policy Lab students counsel real-world clients in an array of areas, including education, copyright and patent reform, public enterprises in developing countries, policing and technology, and energy policy. This unique policy incubator offers more than 20 practicums a year, half of which enroll graduate students from other departments as well as law students, recognizing that Stanford Law School graduates will be active in policy arenas and will need to work in teams to solve problems.

Under Magill’s leadership, the school also launched a Global Initiative, an innovative model for training tomorrow’s leaders by providing students with on-the-ground experience in different legal and political environments. A three-pronged initiative, it includes a foundational course on global legal practice that relies on in-depth case studies of international business transactions and litigation; courses that combine rigorous classroom training with intensive overseas study trips to countries such as Brazil, India and China; and greater integration of comparative law and international issues into existing core courses.

Magill built upon the momentum of Stanford University’s historic capital campaign, The Stanford Challenge, bolstering and increasing overall fundraising for the law school each year of her deanship. More than $130 million has been raised over the past six years, with a focus on faculty support, financial aid, loan repayment assistance, clinical education, public interest programs, interdisciplinary teaching and research, and programmatic initiatives. Under her leadership, the law school witnessed a surge in annual giving, with record-breaking results in three of the past six years, including the most successful year in Law Fund history in 2017.

Magill also led efforts to enhance overall alumni engagement with the school through expanded volunteer opportunities, and reinvigorated advisory boards and events across the globe, including the school’s year-long celebration of its 125th anniversary, which launched on Jan. 1, 2018.

As dean, Magill also presided over continued expansion of the school’s public interest and public service commitments, including increasing the school’s postgraduate public interest fellowships. In 2018, Stanford Law School awarded 12 postgraduate fellowships in the fields of public interest, criminal justice and international law.

Magill hired a new dean of students, expanded and redesigned student life initiatives to include significant opportunities focused on issues of racial and economic justice, and placed a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion efforts. These efforts date from the beginning of her deanship and deepened in the last year with the creation of a working group on diversity and inclusion composed of faculty, staff and students. The working group made numerous recommendations for ways to improve the experience of all students at the law school, all of which will be implemented at Magill’s direction.

In addition to her leadership of the law school, Magill has held leadership roles in many university-wide initiatives. She served on two dean search committees, for the School of Engineering and the School of Humanities and Sciences; she was the co-chair, with the president of Stanford’s student body, of the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault Policies and Practices, a year-long effort resulting in recommendations that transformed the university’s process for handling sexual assault complaints; and she has played a major role in Stanford’s long-range planning efforts over the past two years.

Magill was appointed the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School on Sept. 1, 2012. She is the law school’s 13th dean. Before coming to Stanford, she was on the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law for 15 years, where she was the vice dean, the Joseph Weintraub–Bank of America Distinguished Professor of Law, and the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor.

An expert in administrative law and constitutional structure, Magill has taught administrative law, constitutional law, and food and drug law. Her scholarly articles have been published in leading law reviews, and she has won several awards for her scholarly contributions. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute, and she has served as a fellow in the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University, the Roscoe Pound Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, and the Thomas Jefferson Visiting Fellow at Downing College, Cambridge University.

After completing her BA in history at Yale University in 1988, Magill served as a senior legislative assistant for energy and natural resources for U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad, a position she held for four years. She left Capitol Hill to attend the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was articles development editor of the Virginia Law Review and received several awards for academic and scholarly achievement. After graduating in 1995, Magill clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Immediately following her clerkship with Justice Ginsburg, she joined the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.



Brad Hayward, University Communications: (650) 724-0199,

Stephanie Ashe, Stanford Law School: (650) 723-2232,


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