Lansing-based Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s board of directors has announced James McGrath, professor of law and associate dean for academic support and bar services at Texas A&M University School of Law, as the law school’s next president and dean.
McGrath is the third president and sixth dean since the law school’s founding in 1972. He is replacing Don LeDuc, who retired after 16 years serving in the same positions. McGrath was selected through a national search that involved the school’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, and WMU representatives.
“The selection of James McGrath as president and dean comes as WMU-Cooley is in a strong position to enhance its standing in legal education,” says Scott Dienes, board member and chair of the search committee. “The search committee and the law school’s faculty and staff found that his personal character and expertise in the areas of innovative legal education and performance outcomes align with WMU-Cooley Law School’s mission for training the next generation of attorneys.”
McGrath joined Texas A&M University School of Law as a visiting associate professor of law in 2005. He was promoted to professor of law in 2013 and became associate dean of academic support and bar services in 2015. He has spoken at law schools around the country about teaching techniques and continues to focus his advocacy on issues facing education, health care, and LGBTQ rights. He has had works published on education and learning techniques.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in psychology at San Jose State University, McGrath earned a juris doctor degree from Howard University School of Law. He attended Harvard School of Public Health, where he earned a master’s degree, and Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, where he completed a master’s degree in graduate legal education. He served as a Fulbright Scholar, earning a teaching fellowship at Beijing University of Chemical Technology in China.
McGrath will officially take over the post on July 1 from Jeffrey Martlew, who has served as interim since September 2018.