The OU Board of Regents today announced the appointment of Joseph Harroz Jr. as interim president of the University of Oklahoma, effective immediately.
Harroz has served as dean of the College of Law since July 1, 2010. Since that time, OU Law has become one of the premier institutions for legal education in the United States. The college has enjoyed remarkable success, including:
- achieving the highest U.S. News & World Report ranking ever earned by an Oklahoma law school
- being named a Top 10 Best Value Law School in the nation, making OU Law a Best Value Law School for 10 consecutive years
- consistently leading the state in Bar Exam passage rates
- earning a reputation as a nationally leading law school for moot court competitions, evidenced by OU Law teams winning four national competition championships in the last two years
- being recognized as one of the top law schools in the nation for international law by National Jurist’s preLaw Magazine
- launching the nation’s first-ever law school Digital Initiative to prepare students for success and leadership in the modern practice of law, resulting in recognition as a Top 20 Most Innovative Law School and as an Apple Distinguished School
- setting pro bono service hour records, with more than 20,000 hours in 2018-2019
- creating joint degree and certificate programs to enhance the J.D.
- launching an online Master of Legal Studies degree that has grown to nearly 400 new students in the past six years
- and expanding its LL.M. program by offering two of these specialized degrees fully online.
In a statement, OU Board of Regents Chairman Dr. Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes said, “In his eight years as Dean of the OU College of Law, Joe has proven himself an effective leader and administrator with a collaborative leadership style that helped the school achieve distinction in virtually everything it does – from rankings, student success and being best-value, to volunteerism, fundraising and innovation.”
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OU Law Conversations: Dean Emeritus Andrew Coats
What led you to OU Law? I have wanted to go to law school since I was a teenager. I was active in speech contests and enjoyed making oral presentations. When I was in high school, I would go downtown and watch some of the trials at the courthouse, so, I got acquainted with the courtroom rather early. I obtained a Navy scholarship to go to OU. I was a regular Navy midshipman then I served three years in the far east before coming back to law school. I wanted to attend law school and came back to OU.
OU Law Conversations: Robert Barnes
What led you to OU Law? OU Law has been part of my family since the 1920s. My great uncle was Dr. Maurice Merrill, a 1922 graduate of OU Law who then earned a Doctorate in Law from Harvard University in 1925. Merrill taught at OU Law for 30 years, published numerous seminal works in oil and gas law, constitutional law, administrative law and the law of Notice. While still in his twenties, Merrill published the seminal treatise Implied Covenants in Oil and Gas Law, which has been a cornerstone of my cases. In law school, I lived with Uncle Maurice and marveled at his longhand scrawl which was literally final copy in its first draft form. In my mind, he will always be ten times the lawyer that I ever became.