Strickland Named New Dean of Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Two-time Mayor of Memphis to Guide Law School as it Enters New Era

March 26, 2024 — Jim Strickland, the 64th mayor of the City of Memphis, was announced today as the next dean of Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Jim Strickland

A practicing attorney through 2015, Strickland served on the Memphis City Council from 2008-15 before completing two terms as mayor from 2016-23. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Memphis, where he majored in finance. He went on to graduate from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law with honors. He taught as an adjunct instructor there from 1989-96.

"Jim Strickland’s experience in law practice, public service and administration will complement the teaching, research and engaged scholarship talents of our outstanding law faculty,” said David J. Russomanno, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. “He will build on a strong foundation as the school evolves to meet the changing demands of legal education. His established relationships with the local and state legal communities, as well as other stakeholders, will facilitate the creation of new opportunities for the next generation of attorneys.”

Strickland is a graduate of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis. After earning both his bachelor’s degree and his juris doctor from the University of Memphis, Strickland went on to clerk for Justice William H. D. Fones when he was on the Tennessee Supreme Court.

While COVID-19 dominated much of his second term as mayor, Strickland can count the city’s response to the pandemic including mass vaccinations among his major accomplishments along with the expansion of the city’s library system and spurring economic development that helped create thousands of jobs, leading to a lower unemployment rate and the lowest poverty rate in the city in decades.

Also under Strickland’s leadership, Accelerate Memphis launched with the goals of strengthening the city’s core by investing in communities, improving city parks and community centers, revitalizing citywide assets and improving the safety of neighborhoods.

"I am honored to be named Dean of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, my alma mater. We have a very good law school with a strong faculty, a well-rounded student body, great alumni, a supportive University administration and the best facility in the nation. With this solid foundation and the help from all our constituencies, I am confident we will see growth in the areas of enrollment, the bar passage rate and fundraising,” said Strickland. “I thank President Hardgrave and Provost Russomanno for this opportunity, and Dean Schaffzin for her six years of upstanding leadership of the law school."

Strickland will join the law school as a professor of practice on April 8 and assume the deanship on June 1.

Photo Credit: City of Memphis


Jennifer Godwin
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