Emily Spieler, who has served as the School of Law’s dean since 2002, has decided to step down from her posi­tion at the end of the aca­d­emic year.

The Edwin W. Hadley Pro­fessor of Law, Spieler has brought about trans­for­ma­tive change at the School of Law, recruiting out­standing fac­ulty, building inno­v­a­tive inter­dis­ci­pli­nary pro­grams, glob­al­izing edu­ca­tion and research, enhancing expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion and advo­cating for the impor­tance of law, policy and jus­tice across all of Northeastern’s endeavors.

“It has been a priv­i­lege to serve as the dean at North­eastern,” Spieler said. “I came here because I was attracted to the his­tory and values of this law school, par­tic­u­larly our com­mit­ment to edu­ca­tion that empha­sizes expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion and the role of law in advancing the public good. I con­tinue to believe that these prin­ci­ples are essen­tial to edu­cating great lawyers, to doing research that mat­ters and to addressing the chal­lenges of the world.”

To build the school’s inter­na­tional reach, Spieler has hired fac­ulty who focus on inter­na­tional and immi­gra­tion law and human rights, expanded the inter­na­tional law cur­riculum, increased the school’s net­work of inter­na­tional and domestic co-​​op employers, raised funds to sup­port stu­dents pur­suing inter­na­tional expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties, and worked with fac­ulty to found the Pro­gram on Human Rights in the Global Economy (now sup­ported by the Ford Foun­da­tion). At the end of the 2011–2012 aca­d­emic year, the school will also launch its first grad­uate law degree pro­gram — an LLM for inter­na­tional stu­dents.

During Spieler’s tenure, the quality of admitted stu­dents dra­mat­i­cally increased. This year, the school wel­comes its most accom­plished and diverse stu­dent body ever.

“Under her lead­er­ship, the law school has attained national and inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion for its sig­na­ture strengths in public interest law and expe­ri­en­tial legal edu­ca­tion,” said Provost Stephen Director in a mes­sage to fac­ulty. “She will leave the law school a sig­nif­i­cantly stronger and more vital insti­tu­tion.”

As dean, Spieler main­tained a strong focus on pro­viding the best in expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion among law schools, anchored in Northeastern’s sig­na­ture co-​​op pro­gram. In par­tic­ular, the school extended co-​​op oppor­tu­ni­ties out­side the United States in inter­na­tional law, human rights and other areas of law.

Under­standing that the world’s prob­lems can only be solved through inter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tion, Spieler suc­cess­fully recruited joint fac­ulty with the Col­lege of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion and the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences. She also built strategic alliances with other higher edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions, devel­oping dual-​​degree pro­grams with Bran­deis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Man­age­ment and Ver­mont Law School, and strength­ening the JD/​Master of Public Health pro­gram with Tufts Uni­ver­sity School of Med­i­cine. 

These part­ner­ships have enabled North­eastern stu­dents to pursue joint degrees in law and public health, envi­ron­mental law and policy and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, as well as the soon-​​to-​​be-​​launched dual degree in music industry lead­er­ship, in coop­er­a­tion with North­eastern University’s Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design. The school also has a number of other joint degree pro­grams within the Uni­ver­sity.

Spieler also enhanced the law school’s lead­er­ship in public ser­vice and public interest law. She sup­ported fac­ulty efforts to build new pro­grams such as the Civil Rights and Restora­tive Jus­tice Project and sus­tain existing pro­grams like the Domestic Vio­lence Insti­tute and the Public Health Advo­cacy Insti­tute, and led other law school deans to sup­port efforts to expand access to jus­tice both in Mass­a­chu­setts and nation­ally.

The School of Law was named the top public interest law school in 2008 by The National Jurist and preLaw Mag­a­zine, and was recently chosen to receive the Boston Bar Association’s Beacon Award that rec­og­nizes “lead­er­ship in diver­sity and inclu­sion.” 

Under Spieler’s lead­er­ship, the School of Law has gone through a phys­ical trans­for­ma­tion as well. New facil­i­ties are now equipped with state-​​of-​​the-​​art class­rooms, clinics and aca­d­emic and social gath­ering places for stu­dents and fac­ulty.

Provost Director will con­vene a search com­mittee to con­duct a national search for a new dean of the School of Law.