Law school hires president


James McGrath. Courtesy WMU Cooley Law School

The next president has been selected for a local law school.

James McGrath, professor of law and associate dean for academic support and bar services at the Texas A&M University School of Law, will become the president and dean of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, effective July 1.

McGrath will be the third president and sixth dean since the law school’s founding in 1972.

He is replacing Don LeDuc, who retired after 16 years in the role. Jeffrey Martlew has held the interim post since last September.

WMU Cooley Law School is based in Lansing and has a campus in Grand Rapids.

"The selection of James McGrath as president and dean comes as WMU Cooley is in a strong position to enhance its standing in legal education,” said Scott Dienes, a WMU Cooley board member who chaired the search committee.

“The search committee, and the law school’s faculty and staff, found that his personal character and expertise in the areas of innovative legal education and performance outcomes align with WMU Cooley Law School’s mission for training the next generation of attorneys.”

McGrath joined the Texas A&M University School of Law as a visiting associate professor of law in 2005 and has taught various courses since that time. He was promoted to professor of law in 2013 and became associate dean of academic support and bar services in 2015.

Throughout his career, McGrath has spoken at law schools around the country about teaching techniques and continues to focus his advocacy on serious issues facing education, health care and LGBTQ rights. He has had multiple works published on the topic of education and learning techniques.

“I am excited for this opportunity to work with faculty and staff who are dedicated to Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s mission of access to the legal profession and modern program of instruction,” McGrath said. “We will all work together to make our law school a model for the future of legal education.”

He holds a J.D. from the Howard University School of Law and a B.A. in psychology from San Jose State University. He has an M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health and an M.L. in graduate legal education from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

In 2011, McGrath served as a Fulbright Scholar, earning a teaching fellowship at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology.

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