Jennifer Mnookin, a nationally renowned evidence law scholar who has held key administrative positions at the UCLA School of Law, has been appointed the school’s dean, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh announced today.
Mnookin, the David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law, will become UCLA Law’s ninth dean on Aug. 1. She will succeed Rachel Moran, who decided not to pursue a second term as dean. Moran, who has led the school since 2010, will remain on the faculty.
Mnookin joined the faculty in 2005, and she served as vice dean for faculty and research from 2007 to 2009 and as vice dean for external appointments and intellectual life from 2012 to 2013. She is founding faculty director of the law school’s Program on Understanding, Science and Evidence.
“Chancellor Block and I are confident that UCLA Law will reach new heights under Jennifer’s leadership,” Waugh said in an announcement.
The 2014 recipient of the law school’s Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching, Mnookin regularly teaches courses on evidence and torts, as well as more specialized classes in areas such as expert and scientific evidence, wrongful convictions, and law and popular culture.
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected as the next dean of UCLA School of Law,” Mnookin said. “Having served on the UCLA Law faculty for the past decade, I know firsthand what an exceptional institution it is. We have tremendously capable students, an extraordinarily talented and dedicated faculty and staff, and passionate and involved alumni and friends.
“I’m extremely excited about this opportunity to work together with the law school community, my campus colleagues and the broader profession, to build on the many strengths of this great law school, and to advance our core values of access, excellence, collaboration and innovation.”
Mnookin is a co-author of two widely cited treatises — “Modern Scientific Evidence: The Law and Science of Expert Testimony” and “The New Wigmore, A Treatise on Evidence: Expert Evidence” — and the author of numerous articles related to evidence and forensic science. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Technology and Law. She has served on a variety of other national working groups on issues relating to forensic science and evidence law, including a National Institute of Justice/National Institute of Standards and Technology expert working group on human factors in fingerprint identification. Some of her current research explores innovative ways to increase access to expert social science evidence to educate juries about the potential for eyewitness misidentification and false confessions.
Prior to joining UCLA Law, Mnookin was a member of the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. She received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a law degree from Yale Law School and a doctorate in the history and social study of science and technology from MIT.
Moran, the outgoing dean, praised Mnookin as “a first-class legal scholar, an imaginative teacher and a collaborative and innovative leader.”