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National Jurist names IU Maurer School of Law professor most influential person in legal education

McKinney School of Law's Shepard ranked 15th

  • Jan. 8, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The National Jurist has named Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor William Henderson as the most influential person in legal education, putting him atop a list of professors, deans and chancellors whose voices and opinions are shaping the way future lawyers are educated and trained. The rankings appear in the January 2015 edition of the magazine, which reaches more than 100,000 law students and educators.

Former Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, a visiting professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, was ranked 15th.

Henderson, a Val Nolan Faculty Fellow, is no stranger to the list; the same publication ranked him second in both 2013 and 2014. He is a staunch believer in the need for change in the way tomorrow’s lawyers are shaped in today’s classrooms.

“Firmly in the intellectual category, (Henderson) is nothing if not consistent, speaking strongly for the need of serious reforms due to a changing legal market landscape,” the magazine said. “Few have been as committed to analyzing legal education and offering concepts for reform as (Henderson). He’s been writing for years, arguing that significant structural changes have changed the legal industry dramatically -- and permanently.”

At the Maurer School of Law, Henderson, along with other faculty, introduced in 2009 a first-year course called The Legal Profession, an innovative four-hour required course that covers the ethics, competencies and economics of the legal profession. From 2009 until 2014, he served as director of the law school’s Center on the Global Legal Profession.

“The National Jurist’s ranking confirms what we in the legal education circle have known for years: that Bill Henderson is one of, if not the most, influential voices in the country when it comes to explaining and understanding changes occurring in large law firms and the legal profession," said Austen L. Parrish, Maurer School of Law dean and James H. Rudy Professor of Law. “We are fortunate to have Bill here in Bloomington, where his insight and expertise have been invaluable.”

Shepard retired in 2012 after serving 25 years as chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. In addition to his appointment at the McKinney School, he chairs the Board of Advisors of the IU Public Policy Institute, part of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and co-chairs the institute's "Thriving Communities, Thriving State" project. He  was named to the National Jurist list last year as well. 

The magazine said of Shepard: “(He) continued his role as chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education last year. The task force recommended some controversial changes, including amending accreditation standards that up the price of law schools. An innovator, Shepard was disappointed that the task force was unable to submit the recommendations to an ABA body on procedural grounds. Instead, he and others decided to push for the reforms personally.”

IU McKinney School of Law Dean Andrew Klein said the praise for Shepard is well deserved.

“I’m not at all surprised to learn that Justice Shepard has been named to this list for the second consecutive year,” Klein said. “He continues the work he began as chair of the ABA task force charged with examining legal education, pursuing the reforms the group recommended. We admire his commitment to the profession and are very proud that he is part of the McKinney Law family.”

Joining Henderson and Shepard on the list is former Maurer School of Law Dean Bryant Garth, dean emeritus of Southwestern Law School and professor and the University of California Irvine School of Law. Garth ranked 12th on this year’s list.

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William Henderson

William Henderson

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Randall T. Shepard

Randall T. Shepard

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Media Contacts

James Boyd

Jonna MacDougall

Assistant dean for external affairs and alumni relations