Emory University School of Law named Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law Richard D. Freer as its next dean, according to a Nov. 1 press release. Freer, who has served as a faculty member at the law school since 1983, will replace the current Dean Mary Anne Bobinski at the end of her term on June 1, 2024.

Bellamkonda said in the press release that he and University President Gregory Fenves are “ambitious” about the future of the school under Freer’s leadership.

“We are confident that under Rich’s leadership, Emory Law will realize its highest potential in service to our students, society and the legal profession as well as help our entire institution achieve its bold ambition of being a university without peer,” Bellamkonda said.

Freer is a nationally-recognized scholar in civil procedure and has received the prestigious Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award. He has authored or co-authored 17 books and published articles in leading scholarly journals, including NYU Law Review and Duke Law Journal. 

In his new position, Freer aims to prioritize alumni engagement and student flourishing and build upon Bobinski’s hiring efforts, according to the press release.

“Our faculty is an acclaimed community of scholars of impact,” Freer said in the press release. “And our exceptional recent hiring under Dean Bobinski’s leadership has brought even more energy and productivity.” 

The law school began an internal hiring effort for the school’s next dean on Aug. 17 after Bobinski announced she was stepping down from the role on March 14. Bellamkonda and Thomas Simmons Professor of Law Joanna M. Shepherd co-chaired the committee.

In the Nov. 1 press release, Shepherd said that she was “very excited” about Freer’s appointment.

“During the 20 years that I’ve worked with Rich, I’ve admired his enduring commitment to his students, his legal scholarship, our law school colleagues and the broader university community,” Shepherd said in the press release. “I’m confident that Emory Law will thrive under Rich’s leadership as he focuses on building community within the school, enhancing alumni involvement, expanding ties to the Atlanta and national legal communities, and cultivating student achievement and satisfaction.”

During his 40 years at the law school, graduating classes have named Freer “Outstanding Professor of Emory” 10 times. The Black Law Students Association has also selected Freer as “Professor of the Year” five times. 

Bobinski, who will serve out the rest of her term until June, commended Freer on his dedication to the University.

“Thousands of Emory Law alumni are familiar with his dedication to student success and his warmth and compassion,” Bobinski said in the press release. “My colleagues and I look forward to continuing to advance Emory Law’s national leadership in legal education and our focus on student success—and to supporting Professor Freer’s transition into the dean’s office next summer.”

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Sarah Davis (22Ox, 24C) is a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Wheel. Previously, she interned with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Covington News and Austin Monthly Magazine. In her free time, you can find her exploring new running trails and coffee shops around the city.