Crossley to Resign as Pitt Law School Dean

Issue Date: 
May 16, 2011
Mary CrossleyMary Crossley

Mary A. Crossley, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law since 2005, announced that she will resign as dean effective July 1, 2012, in order to return to her research and teaching, which she will pursue in her role as professor in the University’s law school. A search committee will be formed in the coming weeks with the goal of identifying Dean Crossley’s successor by the spring of 2012.

“The School of Law has made significant strides in a wide range of areas under Dean Crossley’s leadership,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, who served as dean of the Pitt law school from 1985 to 1993. “She has been a leader within the larger University, as well as in her school, and has earned great respect from all of the law school’s many constituent groups, including its alumni and student body. We all look forward to working with her during her final year as our dean and feel very fortunate that she will continue to contribute to Pitt’s progress as a member of our faculty when her deanship comes to an end.”

“It has been my pleasure to work with Dean Crossley, both in her role as dean and as a participant in the activities of our Council of Deans,” said Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson. “Her decision to step down from the deanship will conclude seven years of successful administrative leadership and service to the school and to the University. I am delighted that she will continue her academic career at the University as professor in the School of Law.”

“Under Dean Crossley, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law developed a strong foundation in long-range strategic planning that has guided decision-making and assessment,” Beeson continued. “She led the faculty through curricular review and reform which resulted in the revision of the first-year curriculum to make it responsive to changes in the legal profession. Progress in this area included the addition of courses focused on developing core professional competencies from the beginning of a student’s legal education. She successfully recruited a number of new faculty, continued to build on the strength of the school’s clinical program through the addition of an Immigration Law Clinic and a Securities Arbitration Clinic, and created the Innovation Practice Institute, which engages in local economic development efforts by training law students to advise innovators.”

Crossley’s other accomplishments as dean included initiating the Pitt School of Law’s Washington, D.C., program to increase employment and alumni outreach as well as to pursue student externships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations; she also guided the law school in its achievement of significant progress toward its capital campaign goal, including gifts to support faculty excellence and cutting-edge programming in areas relating to energy, innovation and the life sciences, and support for students pursuing public interest or public service careers. In addition, she spearheaded the development of a collaborative diversity pipeline program, improved law school facilities, and taught law classes and published each year while she served as dean.

A widely respected scholar in disability and health law, Crossley has written and spoken on some of the most pressing legal issues presented by advances in medical science. These topics include discrimination in the treatment of infants with HIV infection and newborns with disabilities; the ramifications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including the relevance of the ADA to health care rationing, insurance law, and Medicaid managed care; the implications of the genetics revolution for our understanding of disability and criminality; and issues of inequality in health care generally. Her scholarly articles have appeared in such journals as the Columbia Law Review, the Hastings Law Journal, Issues in Law and Medicine, the Journal of Gender, Race and Justice, the Notre Dame Law Review, the Rutgers Law Journal, and the Vanderbilt Law Review.

Crossley earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Virginia and her Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt University. She began her professional career as a judicial clerk with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and then practiced health care and corporate law as an associate at law firms in San Francisco and Connecticut. She began her faculty career at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she rose through the ranks from assistant to full professor and served as associate academic dean. Before joining Pitt’s faculty as dean of the School of Law in July 2005, she was the Florida Bar Health Law Section Professor at Florida State University College of Law.

Crossley has served as a member of the editorial board of the Florida Practitioner’s Health Law Handbook and is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California, and the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics. She has been admitted to practice before the Tennessee, Connecticut, and California bars.