Patricia D. White is a Professor of Law and was the University of Miami School of Law's eleventh dean from 2009-2019. Her legal career spans over four decades as an attorney and educator. She was the first woman law school dean in Arizona and the longest serving one in the history of Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Her prominence in the field of legal education has led to her being recognized as one of the most influential and innovative people in legal education by National Jurist magazine in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and in the 2012 ranking she was named the top woman on the list.
White chairs the ABA's Commission on the Future of Legal Education, which aims to influence dramatic changes in the legal profession over the next decade. Under White’s leadership, Miami Law has also been recognized by Pre-Law Magazine as one the “20 Most Innovative Law Schools” in 2017. Similarly, Innovation 800, published in 2017 by Cambridge University, included Miami Law as a "Leader in Learning" and one of the most innovative law schools. The London-based Financial Times, considered one of the premiere international daily newspapers with a special emphasis on business and economic news, has also tipped its hat to Miami Law’s innovation. In its “FT Special Report on Innovative Law Schools”, it ranked Miami Law as one of the most innovative law schools in the world in 2015 and 2016. Innovation accolades also came for Miami Law's specialty areas, such as the Billboard Magazine 2017 ranking of Miami Law as a top school for music law in the U.S. The Legal Services Innovation Index ranked the University of Miami Law in the top four for law schools delivering innovation and technology programs in 2017.
After becoming the dean of Miami Law in 2009, White continued her longstanding commitment to students, the transformation of legal education and public service. She transformed Miami Law’s student services program, including adding the unique Student Development Program, the AskUs Fellows initiative, Academic Achievement Program and the Office of Professionalism to name a few. She established the LawWithoutWalls program, linking students and faculty from over 30 academic institutions around the world to examine issues and develop new solutions in legal education and practice; and Legal Corps a novel fellowship program that placed new law school graduates in not for profit and public sector organizations across the nations and the globe.
Under White's leadership, the number of clinics at Miami Law more than doubled, bringing the total to 10. In 2011 Miami Law was honored by the American Bar Association Law Student Division with the Judy M. Weightman Memorial Public Interest Award, in recognition of the law school's strong commitment to public interest through the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center. She has won many awards, including the 2012 Equal Justice Leadership Award, given by Legal Services of Greater Miami for her commitment to public service, and the Judge Learned Hand Award for distinguished public service, from the Arizona chapter of the American Jewish Committee.
White received degrees in philosophy and law (B.A. 1971, J.D. 1974, M.A. 1974) from the University of Michigan. While attending law school, she was also a graduate student in philosophy and an associate editor of the law review. She began her legal practice in Washington, D.C., at Steptoe & Johnson and then moved to Caplin & Drysdale. Georgetown University Law hired White onto the faculty in 1979, and in 1988 she joined her alma mater, the University of Michigan. While at Michigan, she was of counsel to the Detroit firm Bodman, Longley & Dahling, and served for a year as tax advisor to the Economic Study Committee of Major League Baseball. In 1994, she joined the law faculty at the University of Utah, and was of counsel to Parsons, Behle & Latimer. She is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia, Michigan, and Utah, and is an elected Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel.
During her career, White has worked in the areas of tax law, torts, bioethics, philosophy of law, and trusts and estates, and has published in prominent law and bioethics journals.
1989 National Student SymposiumUniversity of Michigan Law School
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