New UC Irvine dean will be only woman of color to lead a top law school, university says

UC Irvine announced that L. Song Richardson will be the new dean of its 9-year-old School of Law following the departure of founding dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

Richardson will take the helm Monday as the only woman of color to lead one of U.S. News & World Report’s 30 top-rated law schools, according to the university.

Richardson was named interim dean after Chemerinsky began his new position as dean of UC Berkeley’s law school in July. Richardson has been part of UCI’s law school faculty since 2014 and was a senior associate dean for academic affairs from 2016 to 2017.

She teaches and writes in criminal law, criminal procedure and law and social science.

“It’s rare to find an elite law school with a world-class faculty that excels at both teaching and scholarship, a creative and multi-disciplinary approach to legal education and a commitment to creating and disseminating knowledge that improves lives and communities around the world,” Richardson said in a statement.

A statement from UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman described Richardson as a “brilliant scholar and inspirational leader.”

According to the university, Richardson previously was a law professor at DePaul University, American University and the University of Iowa.

She also was a partner at a criminal-law firm, a state and federal public defender in Seattle and an assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Priscella.Vega@latimes.com

Twitter: @vegapriscella

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