Record applications and enrollment, a redesigned curriculum, and significant improvements in bar exam and job placement rates are among the highlights of Bierman’s seven years at the helm of Elon’s law school.
Elon University School of Law Dean Luke Bierman has announced plans to conclude his service as dean following the December Commencement for the Class of 2021.
A university committee will be convened in the weeks ahead to begin a national search for his successor.
Bierman’s departure coincides with Elon Law’s anticipated reaccreditation by the American Bar Association and follows seven years of significant achievement including:
- A highly experiential, redesigned curriculum that graduates students in 2.5 years
- Record student applications and enrollment with increases in academic metrics
- A reduction by nearly 30 percent of average student loan debt at graduation
- Significant advancements in the recruitment of women and students of color
- Increased diversity within the ranks of the faculty
- Bar exam and career placement rates at their highest levels in over a decade
Bierman’s accomplishments came during a time of steep declines in law school enrollment nationwide and calls for a reassessment of the approach to legal education. Through his leadership, Elon Law weathered the worst of the enrollment decline and has rebounded strongly in recent years thanks to the new curriculum.
“Luke Bierman’s service as dean of Elon Law is distinguished by innovation with extraordinary vision and informed judgment for what a modern law school should be,” said Elon University Provost Aswani Volety. “In a time of great change and challenge in legal education, Dean Bierman seized an opportunity to forge a new path and create a model that is proving to be highly successful. We are grateful for his leadership and look forward to his contributions as a faculty member working with students as they prepare to be lawyer-leaders in their communities.”
Bierman joined Elon Law in 2014 as the school’s third dean since its establishment in 2006. He pursued a strategic plan that included new academic collaborations with area universities, partnerships providing legal services in the community, enhancements to law school programs focusing on legal writing, and establishment of a full-time residency-in-practice for academic credit unique in legal education.
Bierman intends to take a sabbatical leave before returning to the Elon Law faculty where he will teach courses that focus on state courts, judicial decision making, and law and popular culture.
“Working together, the Elon Law community has successfully shown that legal education is not static and can be redesigned and modernized for the good of our students,” Bierman said. “We are pioneers who have changed legal education during the most challenging period for higher education for the better part of a century. We have contributed to strengthening the rule of law in a rapidly changing nation and a world that grows in complexity by the day. We did this together. And of that I am most proud.”