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A message to students from Dean Freer

Richard D. Freer

Dear Team Emory Law Students: 

I am honored to start my service as Dean of Emory Law today. Forty-one years ago, Mrs. Freer and I left our families and childhood homes in Southern California to come to Emory. Our son was two weeks old; we bought our first house (with a 12 percent mortgage), took a 40 percent pay cut, and moved 2,000 miles—all so I could start a job I had never done in a city in which we knew one person.  

We did this because Emory was different from other academic options—there was excitement and ambition, a positive trajectory, and a clear core mission. I am delighted to lead the school as we embrace that same ambitious and bold spirit moving forward. We are Team Emory Law.  

The mission of our school is to educate sophisticated, principled lawyers who can flourish in the practice of law anywhere. You are the focus of that mission. Enhancing the student experience and student flourishing are central goals of my administration.  

That administration includes a remarkable group of professors with whom I am honored to serve. Professor Joanna Shepherd is Vice Dean, Professor Ifeoma Ajunwa is Associate Dean of Programs and Projects. Professor John Acevedo is Associate Dean of students and Academic Programs. And Professor Matt Lawrence is Associate Dean of Faculty.  

We have already taken positive steps. Our Student Flourishing Initiatives take effect in August, when we welcome the Class of 2027. These include new courses designed to teach students about professional expectations and equip them to meet those expectations, as well as to strengthen preparation for the bar exam. This fall, the faculty will start a ground-up assessment of the curriculum, to ensure that it equips students for the legal world as it will unfold over the coming years. We will enhance and coordinate mentoring, creating a pipeline of support from undergraduates considering law school, through law school, and into the profession. And more initiatives will be on the way. 

Have a wonderful summer. Thank you for representing Emory Law in what you do and who you are. Though I have been here for 41 years, today I start a new role. It is hard for me to express how proud I am to do so with you. 

Dean Freer