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Law school dean to leave post in one year

Mark Reutter, Business Editor
(217) 333-0568;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Thomas M. Mengler has announced he will step down from his position as the dean of the University of Illinois College of Law.

Mengler, who informed the faculty of the college of his decision last Thursday, plans to serve as dean until the start of the 2002-2003 academic year. A national search will be conducted to identify Mengler’s successor.

"I am extremely proud that in working with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, we have achieved a great deal and re-established this outstanding law school as one of the premier programs in the country," said Mengler, who has been dean of the college since spring 1993. He said that although he’s uncertain what he’ll do after he leaves as dean, he said he may return to teaching full-time in the college.

"When I interviewed for this position, I pledged to the faculty and the campus administration that I would be prepared to serve seven to 10 years," Mengler said. "That period of service, I believed then and now, is the right length of time in a leadership position of this type.

"It allows time to facilitate significant growth and change within the law school and to leave the institution in better condition for another individual with energy, enthusiasm and vision to continue the advancement of the law school’s multiple missions of teaching, research and professional service."

During Mengler’s tenure as dean:

The size of the faculty has increased from 27 in 1994 to 37 in 2001.

The curriculum has grown from 85 upper-level course titles and 98 sections in 1994 to 125 upper-level course titles and 141 sections in 2001.

The number of endowed chairs and professorships increased from seven in 1993 to 21 in 2001.

Last spring, the college began publishing the Journal of Law, Technology & Policy, in conjunction with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs.

The college announced a summer program in International and Comparative Intellectual Property Law to begin in summer 2002 in collaboration with the University of Victoria in Canada, and St. Peter’s College at Oxford University in England.

A native of River Forest, Ill., Mengler earned his bachelor’s degree from Carleton College and a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1981.

After serving as a law clerk for Judge James K. Logan of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Kansas, Mengler entered private practice in Washington, D.C.
From 1983 to 1985, Mengler was an assistant attorney general in Texas, working as a civil litigator in the antitrust division. He joined the UI faculty in 1985.

Mengler’s research and teaching focus has been on civil procedure, complex litigation and evidence. As a consultant to the Federal Courts Study Committee, he participated in the drafting of jurisdictional legislation enacted by Congress in 1990