Continuing the Path to Excellence: University of Minnesota Law School Dean Alex M. Johnson, Jr.
16 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2015
Date Written: 2006
Alex M. Johnson, Jr., the ninth dean of the University of Minnesota Law School, served with honor and distinction from 2002 to 2006. He leaves a legacy of achievement consistent with the tireless drive, ambitious goal setting, and adaptation to change that marked his career before ascending to the position of Dean at the Law School. Receiving his early education in the public schools of Los Angeles, Mr. Johnson began his undergraduate education at Princeton University and then transferred to Claremont College in 1973. He remained in Los Angeles for law school, earning his law degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. Following graduation, Mr. Johnson practiced as an associate at the Los Angeles branch of Latham & Watkins, LLP.
Two years into his career in private practice, Mr. Johnson received an unanticipated phone call. His former Wills and Trusts professor, Bill McGovern, called to inquire if he would consider a teaching position at the University of Minnesota Law School. At first, Mr. Johnson's response was, "Hell, no."
However, after Dean Robert A. Stein's persistence and an unpleasant day at work, Mr. Johnson agreed to travel to Minnesota for a visit. The University of Minnesota Law School offered him a teaching position, and he took a year–and then two–off from his law practice in Los Angeles. Initially unsatisfied with teaching, Mr. Johnson returned to practice in Los Angeles. After practicing in a law firm for two more years, Mr. Johnson realized the teaching of law was ingrained in him. He soon accepted a teaching position at the University of Virginia. He went on to establish a distinguished teaching career, including serving as visiting professor at the law schools of Stanford University, the University of Texas, and Washington University. While at the University of Virginia, Mr. Johnson also served as Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention." Mr. Johnson was also a prolific scholar, publishing books and articles with topics that spanned from modern real estate to critical race issues to critiques of legal education.
In addition to his faculty and administrative positions, Mr. Johnson also performed distinguished roles on the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC); he served as the Chair of the LSAC, and as Chair of the organization's Board of Trustees, Minority Affairs Standing Committee, and Test, Development, and Research Committee.
Keywords: Tribute, Alex M. Johnson
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