January 7, 1999
Vol. 18 No. 7

current issue
archive / search

    Dean Fischel to build on Baird’s accomplishments in Chicago Law School

    By Jennifer Vanasco
    News Office

    Daniel Fischel, the Lee and Brena Freeman Professor in the Law School, assumed the Deanship of the Law School on Monday, Jan. 4, the first day of Winter Quarter.

    He succeeds Douglas Baird, the Dean and Harry A. Bigelow Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School and an expert in commercial law, corporate reorganizations, and law and economics, who has served as Dean since 1994. Baird is returning to full-time teaching and research.

    Fischel, who was appointed Dean-elect in August, has already started preparing for the Law School’s future.

    “We’ve already started a strategic planning process in connection with our 2002-2003 centennial,” Fischel said. “We’re thinking seriously about how we want to position the Law School in its second 100 years.”

    The strategic plan will examine all aspects of Law School operations, including the curriculum, student services, library resources and the physical plant. Major physical renovations are under consideration, and Fischel hopes to increase the Law School’s curricular offerings in such important, emerging fields as technology law, intellectual property law and health care law. The Law School also may create a new Global Entrepeneurship Program and establish a center in health care policy, hopefully in coordination with other University divisions.

    Already, Fischel said, a leading health care economist, Tomas Philipson, Professor in Public Policy and co-author of a book on AIDS with Judge Richard Posner, has agreed to teach a course at the Law School for the next five years.

    Fischel said that these additions will build on the existing key strengths of the Law School. “We have as distinguished a faculty as we’ve ever had and an incredible array of perspectives—yet at the same time, our faculty is cohesive,” Fischel said. “In addition, the Law School has a strong academic culture, with the youngest faculty among the major law schools—but it’s not just chronological age. Even the faculty who are in their 60s, 70s and 80s are still vibrant and dynamic. This place keeps people young,” Fischel said.

    Fischel’s own work is an example of this dynamic in the Law School. He pioneered the legal analysis of corporate law subjects such as hostile takeovers, securities fraud and corporate crime. His text, The Economic Structure of Corporate Law, co-authored with Federal Judge Frank Easterbrook, has become the classic reference work for analysis of corporate law through law and economics.

    In addition to his research and teaching, Fischel serves as a principal in Lexecon Inc., widely regarded as the leading law and economics consulting firm in the nation. He also is currently acting as a consultant to the U. S. Department of Justice on several major issues.

    Fischel earned his J.D. from the Law School in 1977 and has been a faculty member at the Law School for 15 years. He was elected to the Order of the Coif and then clerked for Associate Justice Potter Stewart of the U. S. Supreme Court. He received his M.A. in American history from Brown University in 1974 and his B.A. from Cornell University in 1972.