Albany Law School President & Dean to Step Down When Contract Expires

Apr 26, 2010, 15:15 ET from Albany Law School

Nine Years of Leadership Raised School to New Heights, Says Board Chair

ALBANY, N.Y., April 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Albany Law School announced today that President & Dean Thomas F. Guernsey will step down from his position on June 30, 2011, when his contract ends. Guernsey served as the School's Dean for nine years – more than twice the national average length of service for law school deans.

"It is remarkable how much has been accomplished since Dean Guernsey arrived at the Law School," said Board of Trustees Chair E. Stewart Jones, Jr.  "Next year, we will mark Albany Law School's 160th anniversary. There is no doubt in my mind that Tom Guernsey will go down in that august history as one of our finest deans."

"Holding this position has been a great privilege," said Guernsey. "During my time here, we have all worked together -- faculty, students, staff and alumni -- to take Albany Law to new heights in academic excellence and fiscal stability. My hope is that by letting the Board know of this decision well in advance, the School will have enough time to conduct a comprehensive search for my successor and seamlessly appoint a new leader."

Guernsey's most notable achievements, all articulated in his initial vision for the school, include:

  • Transforming a school with steep financial challenges into a financially solid institution
  • Shrinking the student body – resulting in a $4 million decrease in tuition revenue -- to enroll a more select, higher-achieving class and reduce the faculty-student ratio
  • Significantly improved the quality and quantity of faculty scholarship through implementing new standards and recruiting nationally renowned scholars  

His reforms inspired more giving from the alumni than ever before, both in dollar amount and percentage of alumni who gave. Equally telling, 100 percent of the faculty and 76 percent of the staff gave to the school's Annual Fund last year.

Other highlights of his impact on Albany Law School include:

  • Decreased the faculty-student ratio from 21:1 to 13:1 
  • Created a new Center for Excellence in Law Teaching
  • Increased the recruitment of students at the national level, resulting recently in over half the student body coming from out of state, an important goal given the decreasing number of law school applicants in New York. This year, more than 2500 students – the most ever and 20 percent more than last year – applied to the school
  • Improved campus facilities and the student experience outside the classroom, led by a new assistant dean devoted to student needs, and a new Director of Diversity
  • Alumni gave more than $1 million to the Annual Fund for the first time in the School's history. His leadership also led to a number of major gifts, including gifts of $1 million and $750,000
  • Maintained an employment rate for graduates well above the national average
  • Maintained support for the law library that continues to garner a reputation as one of the best in the country

About Dean Guernsey 

Named the 16th Dean of Albany Law School in 2002, he previously served as dean of Southern Illinois University School of Law. Before that he was associate dean and professor at University of Richmond; the Honorable Abraham L. Freedman Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Temple University School of Law; and instructor of law at Vermont Law School. His research examines issues around evidence, negotiation, trial advocacy and special education law. Recent books he published include three editions of Special Education Law (Carolina Academic Press), which he co-wrote with his wife Kathe Klare, a faculty member at Albany Law School, and Advanced Negotiation and Mediation Theory and Practice: A Realistic Integrated Approach (National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2005), which he co-wrote with a colleague. New editions of two other books on evidence and trial practice will be published this spring. He earned his B.A. from the University of Michigan, and his J.D. from Wayne State University, and an LL.M. from Temple University School of Law.

ALBANY LAW SCHOOL is a small, independent private school in the heart of New York state's capital since 1851. As the oldest law school in New York and the oldest independent law school in the nation, the institution offers students an innovative, rigorous curriculum taught by a committed faculty. Several nationally recognized programs -- including the Government Law Center and the Albany Law Clinic & Justice Center -- provide opportunities for students to apply classroom learning. Students have access to New York's highest court, federal courts and the state legislature, as well as a thriving technology-based economy. The employment rate for graduates has been well above the national average for law schools for the past 26 years. Visit  


Dave Singer at 518-445-3211 or

Nick Crounse at 518-445-3208 or

SOURCE Albany Law School