Wayne State University has reappointed Richard A. Bierschbach to a second five-year term as dean of its highly ranked Law School and named him the John W. Reed Endowed Professor of Law. The reappointment comes after a thorough and positive review of his first five years as dean by a committee of faculty and staff.
Bierschbach joined Wayne State in August 2017 from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York, where he had served on the faculty since 2005.
Under Bierschbach’s leadership, Wayne Law has seen transformational progress on many fronts, including:
- A 42-spot improvement in its U.S. News & World Report ranking, from No. 100 to No. 58 — the highest jump in the Law School’s history.
- Dramatic improvement in post-graduation employment outcomes, propelling Wayne Law’s ranking for placing its graduates in “gold standard” jobs from No. 121 to No. 19.
- A major increase in philanthropy, including more than $5 million for Damon J. Keith Scholarships and a more-than-doubling of major gifts to the school.
- Increased diversity of both the faculty and student body.
- The launch of several new, innovative programs, including an online master of studies in law for non-lawyers, an interdisciplinary holistic defense program with the WSU School of Social Work, and an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in law that already has more than 300 students.
“The improvements in Wayne Law in recent years are impressive, and I’m pleased that they have been accomplished while remaining true to the mission of Wayne State,” said WSU President M. Roy Wilson. “In addition, the Law School remains a fantastic value for the money, ranking among the best in the country by that measure.”
Bierschbach’s plans for the next five years include adding new concentrations to the school’s master of studies in law; expanding its specialized LL.M. program for foreign and domestic lawyers; launching an undergraduate degree in law in collaboration with partner units across WSU; and continuing to grow Wayne Law’s national stature, ranking and reputation.
“Rick has had a really positive impact on Wayne Law and has earned broad support from the school’s faculty, staff and students,” said Mark Kornbluh, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “I look forward to working with him in the coming years and seeing what he accomplishes next.”
Bierschbach’s primary research and teaching interests are in criminal law and procedure. He is a nationally recognized scholar in the field, having published repeatedly in the country’s top law journals.
Prior to joining Cardozo Law, Bierschbach clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph; served as an attorney-advisor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel and as a Bristow fellow in its Office of the Solicitor General; and practiced at a major New York firm.
He is an alumnus of the University of Michigan, where he studied engineering before graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. in history. As a Michigan Law student, he earned the Daniel H. Grady Prize for graduating first in his class, as well as the Henry M. Bates Award, the law school’s highest honor.