After over 20 years of teaching, Brietta Clark now 1st woman and 1st Black to lead Loyola Law School

Abu Mubarik December 21, 2023
Brietta R. Clark. Photo: Loyola Law School

Brietta Clark now leads LMU Loyola Law School as dean. Her appointment comes after more than 20 years of teaching and five months of serving as interim dean. As the 19th dean of Loyola Marymount University’s (LMU) Law School, the appointment makes her the first woman to hold the position and also the first Black dean in the university’s 103-year history.

According to CBS News, she will oversee a student body that totals more than 300 students, over 60% of whom are women.

“I am thrilled to welcome Brietta Clark as the new Fritz B. Burns Dean of LMU Loyola Law School,” LMU Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas Poon, Ph.D. said. “Her unparalleled expertise, combined with her passion for advancing research and education and her commitment to diversity and inclusion, makes her an exceptional leader to propel our law school into a future of excellence and innovation.”

Clark joins a growing list of black women who are leading law schools across the country as well as universities. Her appointment comes at a time when the university was seeking to be more inclusive, particularly in how they teach the law.

“This is a place where we interrogate the law,” Clark said. “Where we’re all about social justice. We think about inequality, right? And yet it has taken a long time for the legal academy to start to have its leadership, and even its professors and faculty and students, really reflect the diversity of America.”

She first joined the law school faculty in 2001 and has served in several capacities, including as Associate Dean for Faculty from 2015-20, according to the University’s website. The website adds that she was recently awarded the 2023 David P. Leonard Faculty Service Award by the St. Thomas More Society. 

Also, she has received recognition for her mentorship by the school’s Black Law Students Association, the Judge Stephen O’Neil Trial Advocacy Mentoring Program (“Young Lawyers Program”), and the Health Law & Bioethics Student Association. Additionally, she participated in the AJCU Ignatian Colleagues Program for leaders in Jesuit higher education.

In her early career, she served on the Los Angeles County Medical Association-Bar Association Joint Committee on Bioethics where she helped draft ethical and legal pain management guidelines for physicians.

What is more, she served on the Institutional Review Board for Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles as well as a volunteer attorney with the HIV/AIDS Legal Services Alliance.

Prior to joining the LLS community, she specialized in healthcare transactions and regulatory compliance, working at the Los Angeles office of Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood.

She also volunteered with the National Health Law Program, which nurtured her interest in Medicaid access and protecting safety-net hospitals in underserved communities. 

Meanwhile, Clark got a B.A. from the University of Chicago and her J.D. from USC Law School, where she was also a post-graduate research fellow.

Her research and public service have focused on inequity in the U.S. health care delivery and financing system. LMU says that in her months as interim dean, Clark raised over $6.3 million, including a $5 million gift to the Bill and Gail Robinson Scholarship Fund.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 21, 2023


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