BOSTON – November 8, 2019 – The Board of Trustees of New England Law | Boston today announced that it has selected United States Ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa and former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown to lead the school as its next president and dean.
Brown will replace New England Law President John O’Brien, who has been the longest serving law school dean in the nation, having served for more than 30 years. Ambassador Brown will join the school in December 2020 at the end of his commitment to the State Department.
“We are very pleased that Scott Brown agreed to be our next dean and president,” said Board Chairman Martin C. Foster. “Ambassador Brown will bring a unique and rare combination of experiences to our law school. He has been successful in both the private and public sectors, fully embraces the mission of New England Law | Boston, and holds the management and development skills necessary to successfully lead an independent law school. The environment in legal education and the legal profession has changed significantly in the last decade. Our vision of the school going forward recognizes these changes and plots a course that is practical and gives our graduates the best prospects for employment and fulfillment. We believe strongly that Scott Brown is the leader who can deliver on this vision,” he continued.
Said Brown, “For more than 100 years, New England Law has prepared students from all walks of life for a successful career in the legal world, and it’s an honor to join their community. Throughout my time in public life, I’ve worked hard to bring people together, and that’s an approach I intend to apply every day in my new role. John O’Brien has a proven track record of success, and I’m looking forward to building on his outstanding legacy. Ensuring the next generation of legal minds has the tools and training to succeed and give back is a tremendous responsibility, and I look forward to getting started at the conclusion of my current job.”
Brown was selected after a five-month national search initiated in May. A search firm considered hundreds of candidates with varied experiences and credentials. The field was narrowed and a search committee, representative of the New England Law community and composed of trustees, faculty, staff, and alumni, narrowed the field and interviewed five candidates in October. Three finalists were chosen to interview with the board and meet with faculty and department heads in a community forum held last week at the law school.
“After a diligent and extensive search that considered leaders in all fields of the law as well as corporate, higher education, government, and nonprofit leaders, we feel that the best candidate emerged and are excited that Ambassador Brown will be leading our law school into the future,” said Attorney Janine Brown-Smith, who served as alumni representative on the search committee.
Said New England Law President John O’Brien, “We were fortunate to have three exceptional finalists, all of whom would make outstanding deans. Scott Brown is a particularly good fit for our school given the unique nature and needs of an independent law school, which requires strong management and development skills in addition to legal acumen.”
New England Law | Boston has upheld a legacy of revolution, evolution, and excellence for more than a century; 725 full- and part-time students attend the school. New England Law was founded in 1908 as Portia Law School, which offered a legal education exclusively to women at a time when most other institutions would not accept them. For decades, most of the women who passed the Massachusetts bar examination were Portia graduates. The school became coeducational starting in 1938. During O’Brien’s tenure the school established a tradition of bringing Supreme Court Justices to the campus to interact with students, hosting seven justices—several of them multiple times. Most recently, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., was the guest of honor at the school’s Law Day celebration in 2016.
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