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Stetson University College of Law selects three finalists in dean search


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Gulfport, Fla. – The search for the next dean of the Stetson University College of Law has been narrowed to three candidates.

The finalists are: John T. Berry, Executive Director of the State Bar of Michigan; Darby Dickerson, Interim Dean of the Stetson College of Law and Leroy Pernell, Dean of Northern Illinois University College of Law.

“A number of highly qualified candidates from across the country have applied for this position and the selection process has been very difficult,” said John Cooper, co-chair of the Dean Search Committee.

The committee has been working since its appointment in July 2003 to identify individuals to recommend to President H. Douglas Lee to serve as Dean of Stetson University College of Law and University Vice President. The 12-member committee is comprised of representatives from the faculty, alumni, staff, Board of Overseers and the Student Bar Association.

The three finalists will be brought to campus for interviews in January or February 2004. Events will be planned for faculty, administrators, staff and students to meet with the candidates. Ultimately the recommendations of the faculty and the Dean Search Committee will be forwarded to President Lee for the final selection. President Lee has indicated his desire to have the final selection made so that the new dean will assume his/her position by July 1, 2004.

About the Finalists:

John T. Berry is a 1976 graduate of Stetson University College of Law. He is the Executive Director of the State Bar of Michigan. Berry has served as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting consumer fraud action in Florida. He has also served in leadership positions in both the Florida Bar and the Arizona State Bar. He also serves as the Chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Professionalism. In 2000, he was appointed to serve on the Florida Supreme Court Professionalism Commission. He was the 2001 recipient of the American Bar Association’s Michael Franck Award, the association’s highest award in the field of legal ethics and professionalism. Berry has published prolifically on legal professionalism and has been associated with and taught at a number of law schools.

Dean Darby Dickerson has been Interim Dean of the Stetson University College of Law since May 2003. She graduated from the Vanderbilt Law School in 1988 where she served as Senior Managing Editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and as a member of the Moot Court Board. After serving as a law clerk for a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, she entered private practice for six years in Dallas, Texas. In 1995, she was named the Outstanding Director of the Texas Young Lawyers Association and also the Outstanding Young Lawyer in Dallas. Dean Dickerson joined the Stetson faculty in 1995. She served as Associate Dean of the Stetson College of Law from 2000-2002 and as Vice Dean of the College of Law from 2002-2003. She has published extensively in the areas of litigation ethics and legal writing and citation.

Dean Leroy Pernell has served as the Dean of Northern Illinois University College of Law since 1997. Dean Pernell graduated from the Ohio State Law School in 1974. Prior to teaching law, Dean Pernell practiced with the Columbus Legal Aid and Defender Society. He served as a Professor at the law school at Ohio State from 1975 and as Vice Provost of the Office of Minority Affairs at the Ohio State University from 1994, until being appointed the Dean at the University of Northern Illinois. In 1988, he served as a visiting scholar at Columbia University School of Law. He has written law review articles in the areas of criminal procedure, juvenile justice, personal injury and sports law.