Dean Patrick E. Hobbs Announces He Will Step Down as Dean of Seton Hall Law at End of 2014-15 Academic Year
A legacy marked by increasing academic excellence, and career success for Seton Hall Law graduates
Newark, New Jersey – Dean Patrick E. Hobbs announced that 2014-15 marks his last year as Dean of Seton Hall University School of Law. His tenure since 1999 is one of the longest among law schools deans in the nation, marked by groundbreaking achievements that have transformed the Law School and the surrounding Newark community. “To be able to welcome and guide students beginning their journey into a career in the law, to support faculty who consider, change and shape our system for the better, and to spend time with thousands of alumni achieving success in all walks of life, I can’t imagine an endeavor more rewarding or satisfying,” he wrote in a statement.
Dean Hobbs is perhaps most proud of what the school has accomplished in the last five years, working with faculty, administration and the Law School’s Board of Visitors to respond to the dramatic changes affecting legal education. Dean Hobbs ensured that the School maintained a focus on providing a top-notch education to high-achieving students and on developing an innovative skills-based curriculum to provide students with critical skills, beginning in their first year.
The employment outcomes reflect the strategy’s success: data submitted to the American Bar Association ranks Seton Hall Law 28th in the nation – alongside the top schools in the New York metropolitan region – based on the full-time long-term employment rates among students in the Class of 2013. “The last few years in legal education have been a test for all of us,” Dean Hobbs noted, “But we’ve come through the storm, we are confident of our heading, and it’s time for someone else to have the privilege of taking the helm.”
Among his many accomplishments, Dean Hobbs:
- Heightened Seton Hall Law’s prominence as a leading law school in the region and nation: the school has risen in the US News and World Report rankings, from the third tier in 1999 to among the top third of all law schools, most recently 68th in the country. In doing so, he increased the academic profile of student body and successfully recruited and retained faculty who have built national and international reputations.
- Created and expanded the Law School’s Centers of Excellence including the Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & Policy, which provides lawyers and health care industry professionals with essential training and skills required to navigate the laws that govern all facets of the health and life sciences fields. Seton Hall’s Health Law program just marked its 18th year ranked among the top 10 in US News and World Report.
- He secured major gifts to support these areas including $2.5 million from Schering-Plough for a Chair in health law and a $1 million endowment from Gibbons P.C. to create the Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology, a think tank for business leaders, legal practitioners and academicians exploring complex issues arising in the 21st century’s technology-driven global economy.
- The Center for Policy & Research was also founded during his tenure, most noted for issuing a series of reports on the capture and detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, analyzing the government’s own data through the systematic review of literally over 100,000 pages of government documents. Reports have been introduced into the Congressional Record by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, and as part of a Resolution by the European Parliament.
- In 2006, he established a partnership with the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Program (NJ LEEP), a “pipeline” program that enables disadvantaged students at the high school and college levels to attain academic excellence and pursue a career in the legal profession. It has achieved a 100 percent college acceptance rate among all of its classes since the first cohort graduated in 2011.
- Launched and completed the Seton Hall Law Rising Campaign, the largest and most successful fundraising campaign in the history of the law school, raising over $25 million between 2007 and 2011.
- Between 2009 and 2011, in addition to his duties as Dean of Seton Hall Law, Dean Hobbs accepted an interim appointment as Director of Athletics and transformed Seton Hall University’s then-struggling Athletic Department, hiring new coaches for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, increasing its overall budget while eliminating several sports, but also adding Women’s Golf, which just won the Big East Championship in only its fourth year. He also negotiated a contract with the Prudential Center as the home for the men’s basketball team home games.
In 2004, Dean Hobbs served as Chair of the Newark Mayor's Blue Ribbon Commission on the Downtown Core Redevelopment, a key initiative driving Newark’s resurgence and which led the way for the construction of the Prudential Center entertainment arena.
Dean Hobbs joined the faculty of Seton Hall Law School in 1990, and was named Dean in 1999. Following a sabbatical in 2015-16, he plans to return to his original passion, teaching tax law to Seton Hall Law students.
He served on the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation from 2004-14, and chaired the Commission for the last four years of his tenure. He then stepped down when he was named the first Ombudsman in the New Jersey Governor's office in April 2014. He will continue to serve as Ombudsman.
Dean Hobbs is a former member of the Standards Review Committee of the American Bar Association, Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and has twice chaired the Law School Development Committee. He also serves as a member of the boards of the Newark Alliance and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Additionally, he served as a member of the Advisory Board of Lexis-Nexis, the New Jersey Commission of Professionalism and the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.
Seton Hall University School of Law, New Jersey's only private law school and a leading law school in the New York metropolitan area, is dedicated to preparing students for the practice of law through excellence in scholarship and teaching, with a strong focus on clinical education. Founded in 1951, Seton Hall Law School is located in Newark and offers both day and evening degree programs. For more information visit law.shu.edu.