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National expert in legal education, property law named college dean

A national leader in legal education and property law will become The University of Toledo College of Law’s next dean, pending approval by UT’s Board of Trustees, University officials announced today.

Benjamin Barros, associate dean of academic affairs at Widener University’s School of Law in Harrisburg, Pa., will be the college’s next leader following a national search.


“Ben Barros has extensive experience in legal education and in the practice of law at two of the nation’s top law firms, each with an international footprint,” said John Barrett, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “As dean, Ben will bring with him innovative educational approaches that respond to the changes in the legal profession and ensure our law graduates continue to leave UT a step ahead of their peers as they pursue employment.”

Barros said the strength of UT’s law school was one of the key components that attracted him to the position.

“UT’s law graduates have some of the best bar passage rates in both Ohio and Michigan and a big part of that is unquestionably the stellar faculty that comprise the College of Law,” Barros said. “Faculty are regularly advancing national legal conversations in their published scholarship and are frequently the voices media at a national level reach out to for expertise.

“The result is an alumni base that is very successful in the profession and holds many prestigious and influential positions across the country,” Barros said, also noting the college has positioned itself very competitively with its current tuition pricing.

Barros also emphasized the importance of a continued partnership with the local legal community for the college and UT’s students.

Prior to joining Widener University, Barros worked as an attorney at the law firm Latham & Watkins, LLP, and before that at Debevoise & Plimpton, both in New York City. He has taught at both Fordham University and Catholic University.

Immediately after graduating law school at Fordham, Barros clerked for Judge Milton Pollack of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in philosophy from Colgate University and the University of Maryland, respectively.

Barros is the founding editor of the Journal of Law, Property, and Society. He was one of the youngest educators to serve on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools and has served as chair of the AALS Property Section as well as president of the Association for Law, Property, and Society.

Earlier this year he published a textbook on property law with Aspen and Wolters Kluwer and has been published in leading philosophy journals including Philosophy of Science and Synthese.

A recipient of Widener law school’s outstanding faculty award this spring, Barros said student success is the primary goal.

“The most rewarding part of being a law professor to me is seeing the transformation of my students in law school and following their career success,” he said.

Barrett also thanked Daniel Steinbock for his service as the college’s dean since 2011. He also served as interim dean in 2010.

“Under Dean Steinbock’s leadership, UT law graduates passed the bar exam at some of the highest rates in Michigan and Ohio,” Barrett said. “From faculty scholarship, to fundraising, to community engagement, Dan is leaving the deanship in a much stronger state. I know I speak for many when I say thank you for all he has accomplished on behalf of UT.”

Legal Community’s Reaction
“Ben Barros is an inspired choice to lead Toledo’s Law School in these challenging times. He is a superb property scholar whose work I deeply admire. But more importantly, he is an energetic leader; an institution builder; and an entrepreneur. I know he will be a terrific success.”
— Eduardo M. Peñalver, Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School

“At a time of transformation in the legal profession, Ben Barros is exactly the type of dean law schools need as leaders. He is a superb scholar, he has a deep experience in practice, he has substantial administrative experience, and he is a thoughtful analyst of legal practice. Ben has the skills and insight needed to build for the future, and Toledo deserves congratulations on this wise choice.”
— Bill Treanor, Dean, Georgetown University Law Center

“Dean Benjamin Barros is one of the nation’s leading scholars of property law as well as a person of integrity and good judgment. The University of Toledo College of Law will be in good hands with him as the Dean.”
— Joseph William Singer, Bussey Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

“Ben Barros is one of the leading lights of the rising generation of leaders in legal education. He has already served as one of the youngest members of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and in that role has developed a deep understanding of the issues confronting law schools around the nation. Ben is currently chairing the first program committee for the AALS Annual Meeting, which constitutes the largest gathering of legal educators in the world. Under his leadership, new categories of programs have been developed and he has attracted a range of great speakers and panels for the 2016 meeting. Ben stands out for his ability to develop innovative approaches to every task he handles, and also inspires others to do their best work. He also is a charismatic speaker and writer. Legal education has already benefitted from his talent and skills — and will undoubtedly benefit more in the future.”
— Judith Areen, Executive Director, Association of American Law Schools

To download photo of Barros click image or

Media Coverage
The Blade (May 26, 2015)
13 ABC (May 27, 2015)
The Blade (May 27, 2015)
The National Law Journal (May 28, 2015)


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