SLU Law Dean Annette Clark Resigns Citing Numerous Disputes with President Fr. Biondi

As first reported by nextSTL, Dean Annette Clark has announced her resignation of the deanship at the Saint Louis University School of Law. Her appointment was announced in April of 2011 and she assumed the deanship July 1, 2011. In Janurary, after years of seeking a renovated home on the school's main Frost Campus, SLU announced that the law school would move to a new building in downtown St. Louis. This move is one issue cited cited by Clark for her resignation. "You acquired the building downtown and deemed it to be the new law school building without adequate investigation of its suitability and without any notice or consultation with the law school leadership," Clark wrote to SLU President Fr. Lawrence Biondi and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Manoj Patankar in her letter of resignation acquired by nextSTL and dated today.

In a letter to faculty and staff, Clark elaborates on the move, "I was kept completely in the dark regarding the acquisition of the building downtown and its designation as the new law school building, learning the news only three days before the announcement was made public." Clearly the move wasn't the only issue, as the resigniation letter and message to faculty and staff make clear. *update: Fr. Biondi has now released a letter that states, in part, that he had planned to terminate Dean Clark at a "regularly scheduled meeting" today. The meeting did not take place and Clark submitted her resignation. In his "special message", Biondi says, "Her emails…demonstrate a lack of a clear and comprehensive understanding of the duties and obligations, autonomy and authority, of a modern-day dean at a large and complex university." His letter is below. SLU Law Dean Annette E. Clark Resignation Letter 8-8-12

Resignation Announcement Faculty Staff 8-8-12-1

Special Message From SLU President Father Lawrence Biondi Regarding Dean Annette Clark 8-8-12

From April 2011 announcement of Dean Clark's hiring:

April 28, 2011

Annette Clark Selected as Dean of School of Law
Annette Clark, M.D., J.D.
Following a national search, Annette Clark, M.D., J.D., has been selected as the new dean for Saint Louis University School of Law, effective July 1, 2011. Clark brings an impressive list of credentials to the position and will help guide the law school through the changing landscape of legal education.
"Professor Clark truly understands the challenges and opportunities facing law schools today and has a clear vision for how our School of Law will thrive and grow well into the future," said Saint Louis University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. "Having taught at a Jesuit law school, she also knows the critical role our mission plays in educating our students and serving our community."
Clark will join Saint Louis University School of Law from the Seattle University School of Law, where she's served on the faculty since 1989. Clark also served as the school's interim
dean from 2009-2010, after more than 10 years as associate dean and then vice dean, overseeing the academic program, including the curriculum and centers and institutes, as well as the faculty. Clark has an M.D. with honors from the University of Washington School of Medicine and her J.D. summa cum laude from Seattle University School of Law.
"The Saint Louis University School of Law's reputation among practicing attorneys, judges and other law schools is very strong. And with a nationally ranked health law program, a new center for legal advocacy, great breadth of faculty expertise, a vibrant student body and terrific alumni support, its future is very bright," said Clark. "Serving as the law school's dean is a great honor and privilege, and I look forward to getting started and meeting all of the wonderful students and alumni I've heard so much about."
Of her many awards, Clark was named the 2008-09 James B. McGoldrick, S.J., Fellow, which is awarded to the Seattle University faculty member or administrator who best exemplifies commitment to students and to the values of a Jesuit education. She teaches, writes and consults in the areas of medical liability and bioethics and is a frequent national and local lecturer on bioethics-related topics.
Her scholarship operates at the interface of health care, law, and health policy, with a particular emphasis on end-of-life issues. She has published articles in the New York University Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, and the Tulane Law Review, among others.
Today's announcement represents the culmination of an intensive, nearly year-long search process led by the law school's Dean Search Committee to identify the needs of the law
school and how the experience and characteristics of prospective dean candidates could benefit the next phase of the School of Law.
After a select group of candidates were invited for on-campus interviews, the committee held small- and large-group meetings with students, faculty and staff to meet the candidates. These groups later provided feedback to the committee that was used to develop a recommendation on finalists to the University administration, which formally appoints the new dean. For more information on the committee, visit
"The caliber of all of the candidates with whom we met was extremely high, and it was a great honor to represent our colleagues and students during this important chapter of the school's history," said Michael Korybut, chair of the Dean Search Committee. "We believe Professor Clark will provide dedicated leadership while carving a new path for the future of legal education at Saint Louis University."
Professor Emerita Sandra H. Johnson will continue to serve as interim dean through June 30, 2011. Johnson was appointed interim dean following Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Jeffrey E. Lewis' announcement last spring that he would return to full-time teaching at Saint Louis University School of Law after 11 years as dean.
"I would like to thank Sandy for her outstanding leadership during the past year," Biondi said. "Her willingness to serve as interim dean not only demonstrates her dedication to the law school, but also her deep commitment to our entire University community."