Stepping down as Temple law dean

Posted: September 06, 2007

Capping a tenure in which Temple University law school's endowment increased fourteenfold and its overseas campuses expanded, Dean Robert Reinstein announced yesterday that he would step down at the end of this academic year to teach and to focus on other academic pursuits.

Reinstein said the time was right to leave his administrative post because the law school - and the university - had made considerable strides in enrollment, teaching, and placement of graduating students.

"My first love of law has always been centered on teaching and scholarship, and I am anxious to pursue my passion by returning to the faculty," Reinstein said. "While this was a difficult decision for me to make, I believe strongly in the vision and judgment of Temple University's president, Ann Weaver Hart, and know that she will choose excellent successors."

Temple's law school is by far the biggest source of first-year associates for large Philadelphia law firms. Under Reinstein's leadership, the law school gradually evolved from a commuter campus to one in which half its applicants now are from out of state, and its litigation program is one of national regard.

Reinstein, 62, also will step down from his post as the university's vice president of international programs.

Hart said two separate searches would be conducted to fill the positions.

"I am most grateful for Dean Reinstein's remarkable service to Temple," Hart said. "Under his leadership, the Beasley School of Law has grown by every measure. In addition, Bob's impact on Temple has been felt globally, through his work in developing and expanding international programs in China, at Temple University Japan, Temple Rome, and around the world."

Anthony J. Sirica, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and chairman of Temple law school's board of visitors, said one of the more notable aspects of Reinstein's career was that he had sustained a high performance over many years.

"It is a high-pressure job," Sirica said, "and it calls on many talents."

Reinstein, as head of international programs, oversaw the university's Tokyo campus during a time of growth. The Tokyo campus now has 3,000 students with majors including liberal arts, business and law.

Nearly 25 percent of Temple's law students study abroad at campuses in Beijing, Tokyo and Rome, the university said.

Reinstein, a graduate of Harvard Law School, began his career at Temple as a professor of law in 1969. In 1982, he joined the university administration, as Temple's chief lawyer.

It was in this role that Reinstein found that he frequently had to sort through legal issues involving Temple's overseas campuses. That in turn convinced him of the need for international exposure for Temple law students.

"I have had a passion for international education because it is a reality . . . that we have to be ahead of the game, and not always catching up," Reinstein said.

Temple said that Reinstein, having served for 19 years, is America's longest-serving law school dean. During his time heading the law school, the endowment rose from $4 million to $57 million, while faculty positions grew from 50 to 60, and applications grew to 4,800, more than twice the number when Reinstein took over.

Reinstein made his announcement yesterday in a speech to the law school faculty.

Besides heading Temple law school, Reinstein also has played a key role in government and politics in the city.

During the 1970s, he was one of a handful of lawyers who successfully sued to desegregate the Philadelphia police and fire departments, the Pennsylvania State Police and Operating Engineers Local 542.

From 1977 through 1980, Reinstein worked at the Department of Justice, where he was head of civil litigation in the civil rights division.

For now though, Reinstein says he is eagerly looking forward to returning to the law school faculty, where he will teach constitutional law. He said his return to teaching was foreshadowed last year when he collaborated on a scholarly article, which he said he found deeply satisfying.

Contact staff writer Chris Mondics at 215-854-5957 or

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