Provost’s Blog

Written by Whitten

Taking Georgia Law to the next level

Nov 14, 2014

Our School of Law is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best, and I am confident that its next dean—Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge—will help take it to an even higher level.

Professor Rutledge, who joined the Georgia Law faculty in 2008 and has served as the associate dean for faculty development since 2013, was selected following a national search that yielded four extraordinary finalists.

What set Professor Rutledge apart is his commitment to enhancing faculty scholarship. In his role as associate dean for faculty development, he mentored untenured faculty on publishing and engaging with external audiences while also building connections among faculty to encourage new perspectives on legal scholarship. Professor Rutledge, who holds the Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law, is an internationally recognized scholar who has published in the top legal journals and presses, including Yale University Press, Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press.

The quality of the scholarship that our faculty produce is important for several reasons. First and foremost, our students are best served when they learn from faculty who are generating new ideas and insights at the leading edge of their fields.

The mentorship that Georgia Law faculty provide is outstanding, and it results in remarkable student outcomes. Georgia Law’s advocacy program is among the nation’s best, and its students won four national championships in 2013-14 alone. In the past nine years, six Georgia Law alumni have served as U.S. Supreme Court judicial clerks.

Professor Rutledge’s commitment to excellence in instruction is reflected in the many teaching awards he has earned over the course of his career. He is the recipient of the Law School’s John O’Byrne Award for promoting faculty-student relations, and earlier this year he was selected by law students in the Class of 2014 to serve as a co-marshal at Commencement.

In addition to enhancing the education that students receive, faculty scholarship benefits the broader legal community across our state, nation and world. Georgia Law faculty have advised elected officials and agencies across the state, testified at Congressional hearings and have informed the work of policymaking bodies at the national and international level. Members of our Law School faculty have had their scholarship referenced in opinions written by judges and justices at many levels, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Professor Rutledge himself has argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court as a friend to the court—someone who is not a party to the case—in a successful defense of the judgment of the lower court.

Professor Rutledge undoubtedly has what it takes to elevate the impact of our Law School, and he’s not shy about asking alumni and other supporters to step up and play a role in advancing Georgia Law. Endowed faculty chairs are critical to attracting and retaining the nation’s best faculty, and the availability of scholarships can be the deciding factor in whether a talented student can pursue his or her dream of becoming a lawyer or have a career-enriching study abroad experience.

The appointment of Professor Rutledge as dean is effective January 1, and he succeeds Rebecca White, a J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law who has served as dean of the School of Law since 2003 and will be returning to the faculty. Under Dean White’s outstanding leadership, the School of Law saw its national and international stature rise substantially. With Professor Rutledge at the Law School’s helm, I know that Georgia Law will continue its dramatic rise for the benefit of our students, our state and our world.

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