Alicia Ouellette To Be Lewis & Clark Law School’s Next Dean Starting Jan 2025

The Lewis & Clark Law School is welcoming Alicia Ouellette, a legal education leader based in New York, to be the law school’s next dean, starting in January 2025. Ouellette will be taking over for the school’s current dean, Jennifer Johnson, who announced last fall she would be stepping down from the position.

Lewis & Clark is home to one of three law schools in Oregon. Willamette University’s College of Law, University of Oregon’s School of Law and Lewis & Clark’s Law School produce the majority of practicing lawyers in the state.

The change at Lewis & Clark coincides with similar transitions underway at the other two law programs. Willamette’s law school dean Brian Gallini announced last month he would be leaving to take the top job at Quinnipiac University’s School of Law in Hamden, Connecticut. UO’s law school dean Marcilynn Burke announced a similar move in March, with plans to leave UO to become the new dean at the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans.

This leadership transition also comes as Oregon moves toward implementing alternative pathways to obtain a license to practice law in the state. The Oregon Supreme Court approved an alternative to the bar exam last November and the state’s law schools, including Lewis & Clark Law, are expected to play a pivotal role in opening the new licensure pathways this year.

Related: Oregon advances alternative routes to becoming a licensed lawyer

Ouellette is the former president and dean of Albany Law School in New York, a position she held for nearly a decade before leaving last year. Ouellette said she’s proud of the work she did at Albany Law, including the design and implementation of a new strategic plan for the school. She said the plan was centered on student success.

“The faculty, the staff and the alumni, we all came together around a common vision that really put the students at the center and focused on [changing] the program of legal education so it better served our students,” said Ouellette.

Enrollment and fundraising efforts increased under Ouellette’s leadership, according to Albany Law. She wants to continue those successes at Lewis & Clark, where the development of a new strategic plan is in the beginning stages.

To prepare for the top post at her new law school, Ouellette plans to hold listening sessions with law students and faculty. She’ll also begin preparing for an upcoming accreditation visit from the American Bar Association in 2025.

Last October, Dean Johnson announced she would step down in August 2024. During her 10-year tenure Johnson increased the school’s endowment by more than 52% and oversaw the school’s digital transition. Johnson plans to take a one-year sabbatical before rejoining Lewis & Clark’s law faculty in a smaller capacity.

Ouellette said she’s eager to bring her expertise to Portland.

“I think it’s an incredible city,” said Ouellette. “I am excited to see how the law school engages with the city and the community and to grow those connections.”