I am pleased to announce the appointment of Neil Hamilton, professor in the St. Thomas School of Law and founding director of the Thomas Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, as interim dean of the law school.

Neil Hamilton

Neil will begin the position next month with the departure of Thomas Mengler, who will become president of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

A search committee for a permanent dean continues its work and hopes to identify an individual this fall. Neil has told me that he will not be a candidate for permanent dean.

In consulting with School of Law faculty and staff, I found unanimity in the idea of appointing Neil as an interim dean. He is held in the highest regard both in the School of Law and in the legal community, and I know he will do an exceptional job.

Neil received his bachelor of arts degree in economics from Colorado College in 1967 and his juris doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1970. He also has a master of arts degree in economics from the University of Michigan (1979).

He practiced with law firms in Minneapolis and Indianapolis before entering the teaching profession. He taught in law schools at Airlangga University in Indonesia and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland before joining the William Mitchell College of Law faculty in 1980.

Neil joined the St. Thomas School of Law as a founding faculty member in 2001 and served as associate dean for academic affairs in spring 2002 and from 2003 to 2005. He became Holloran Center director in 2006.

He has taught a required course in professional responsibility and an ethics seminar for 25 years, and at St. Thomas he created the first Ethical Leadership course, which he co-teaches with Holloran. Neil also has taught courses in administrative law, business ethics, antitrust, regulated industries, banking, business organizations, contracts and civil procedures.

His honors include Lawyer of the Year from Minnesota Lawyer magazine (2002), Hennepin County Professionalism Award (2003) and the Professional Excellence Award from the Minnesota State Bar Association (2004, one of only three law professors ever to receive this recognition). St. Thomas honors include the School of Law Excellence in Professional Preparation Award (2003), the John Ireland Presidential Award for Excellence as a Teacher/Scholar (2009) and a Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2011).

Neil’s scholarly focus is on formation of an ethical professional identity for students and practicing progressions, and his web site states that our law school “can help shape cultures of high professional ideals that reflect the first ethical principles and faith of each lawyer.” I have seen him demonstrate that behavior time and time again at St. Thomas, and I believe he is an ideal reflection of the law school’s mission to integrate “faith and reason in the search for truth through a focus on morality and social justice.”

Please join me in congratulating Neil on his appointment as interim dean!