Intriguing People 2014

The Law Man: Dan Hamilton

Dean of UNLV’s Boyd School of Law
Photo by Jon Estrada

Photo by Jon Estrada

ACHIEVEMENTS: Hamilton took the helm of the school in July after serving as associate dean for faculty development and professor of law and history at the University of Illinois. He has a Ph.D. in American legal history from Harvard University, is a former chairman of the legal history section of the American Association of Law Schools, and serves on the Board of the American Society for Legal History.

AGAINST THE TIDE: “The goal is to take a great thing and make it better,” Hamilton says. “[Past deans] have done a remarkable job, and we need to keep the trajectory going. In addition to great applicants in-state, I want to attract more candidates from out of state.” His challenge lies in the fact that, because of a recession-fueled decrease in high-paying attorney jobs nationwide, law school applications are down.

WIDE-OPEN POTENTIAL: “UNLV is a unique story in the history of legal education. It’s become one of the country’s top public law schools in a short period of time,” Hamilton said. “To me, it’s what I envision as the best of the West—open, not bound by tradition and more entrepreneurial.”

STAT: Boyd has 416 law students and 36 full-time tenured and tenure-track professors.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: The best fields for new lawyers, Hamilton says, are intellectual property, bankruptcy and employment law.

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