McGeorge School of Law Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz on the quad of the Sacramento campus

Michael Hunter Schwartz

Dean, McGeorge School of Law
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Dean Schwartz is the 10th Dean of the University of Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. He started July 1, 2017.

Dean Schwartz is the author of seven books (three of which come with lengthy teacher’s manuals), seven law review papers, three book chapters, and eight shorter works addressing a wide variety of teaching, learning and curriculum design topics. Schwartz's books include What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press 2013) and a contracts textbook, Contracts: A Context and Practice Casebook (3d ed. 2020), which was the first book in a textbook series he designed to modernize law school casebooks (which he now edits).

Dean Schwartz is a national leader in law school teaching and learning. Dean Schwartz has delivered more than 230 professional presentations about teaching and learning in law school. Dean Schwartz is a Consultant to the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, and he is a member of the board of advisors for a national legal publisher and two peer-reviewed law reviews.

During Schwartz’s time as dean, he has overseen the law school’s highest bar pass rate in 25 years, the highest U.S. News & World Report job placement rate in the history of McGeorge, and one of the 15 largest gifts in the history of U.S. legal education.

Dean Schwartz has overseen the creation of an Honors Accelerated JD Degree, the creation of three online MSL degrees and an online LLM degree, a law-focused undergraduate study abroad program, the Sacramento Legal Employers Diversity Collective, and an experiential alumni mentoring program for first-year law students. Under Schwartz’s leadership, the Center for Inclusion and Diversity was created in 2018 and a Military and Veteran Student Center was created in 2021 on the law school’s campus.

Dean Schwartz's leadership is evident through his role as Chair-Elect for the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section for Alternatively Scheduled JD Programs. His previous work as chair of the AALS Sections on Deans, Socio-Economics, Teaching Methods, and Balance in Legal Education reflects his commitment to shaping the future of legal academia. Dean Schwartz also served on the inaugural, 10-member Dean’s Advisory Board for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Legal Education Police Practices Consortium.

In January 2024, National Jurist Magazine named Dean Schwartz the 9th Most Influential Person in Legal Education. He was also ranked on the list in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Dean Schwartz’s Contracts course was selected by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System as “an innovative course that reflects exemplary innovative teaching.” In 2019, Schwartz was one of 30 CLEO Edge Award Honorees in the Education category, underscoring his transformative contributions to the field.

Before his deanship at McGeorge School of Law, Schwartz was dean at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock, Arkansas from 2013-2017. He taught at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas from 2006-2013, where he also served as the law school’s Associate Dean for Faculty Development and the Co-Director of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning.

Dean Schwartz invites you to follow his blog on innovation in legal education, What Great Law Schools Do.  

An Interview with Dean Schwartz

Curriculum Vitae
Research Focus

Representative Scholarship and Activities

Representative Books

What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press 2013).

Expert Learning for Law Students (3d ed 2018).

Contracts: A Context and Practice Casebook Teacher's Manual (3d ed. forthcoming spring 2020) (first book in a casebook series I created and edit).

Teaching Law by Design for Adjuncts II (Carolina Academic Press, 2017).

Teaching Law by Design II (2016).

Representative Law Review Articles

Towards a Modality-Less Model for Excellence in Law School Teaching, 70 Syracuse L. Rev. __ (forthcoming Spring 2020).

Fifty Ways to Promote Teaching and Learning, 67 J Legal Ed. 696 (2018).

Teaching Law Students to be Self-Regulated Learners, 2003 Mich. State Det. C.L. L. Rev. 447 (Summer 2003).

Teaching Law by Design: How Learning Theory and Instructional Design Can Inform and Reform Law Teaching, 38 San Diego L. Rev. 347 (2001) reprinted in The Doctrine-Skills Divide: Legal Education's Self-Inflicted Wound (Carolina Academic Press 2017).

Representative Book Contributions

Learning Theory and Teaching Theory in Building on Best Practices (Lexis-Nexis Publishing 2015).

Engaging First-Year Law Students by Treating Them Like Colleagues in Brockmann/Pilniok (eds.), Studieneingangsphase In Der Rechtswissenschaft (Nomos Publishing House, 2014).

Representative Professional Activities

Chair of AALS Sections on Socio-Economics (2019), Deans (2018), Teaching Methods (2013), and Balance in Legal Education (2009).

Member, AALS Membership Review Committee (2019-present)

Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Academic Curriculum Consultant (2011-2012)

Advisory Board, Carolina Academic Press

More than 200 professional presentations, including more than 75 invited talks at U.S. law schools and for non-U.S. law faculty from Chile, Georgia, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan.