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November 29, 2023

ABA selects DePaul law dean as new managing director of legal education

CHICAGO, Nov. 29, 2023 — Jennifer Rosato Perea, who has served as dean of DePaul University College of Law since 2015, will be the new managing director of accreditation and legal education for the American Bar Association effective June 1, 2024.

Rosato Perea, a nationally recognized leader in legal education, is in her second term at DePaul and 16th year as a law dean. A longtime advocate of student engagement and professionalism, Rosato Perea is one of only a small number of Latina law school deans in the nation, and she would become the first Latina to serve as head of ABA legal education, which includes the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, its governing council and an ABA program that approves paralegal programs.

She will replace Bill Adams, who has served as managing director for accreditation and legal education since spring 2020 and who managed through the pandemic, which forced most law schools to adopt online coursework among other changes.

“Dean Rosato Perea brings to the table 16 years of successful experience as a dean at three very different institutions, including a new law school, a public law school and private law school with a religious affiliation,” said Leo Martinez, a former law dean who chaired the nine-member search committee. “Her decanal chops are without question, and we are thrilled that someone of her accomplishment and experience will be the new managing director.”

Rosato Perea, who has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, is an expert on family law, bioethics and legal ethics, having published extensively on a variety of legal issues affecting children and families. As managing director, she will be based in Chicago and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the section, overseeing a staff of 20. The managing director also is responsible for managing relations with several other legal education organizations as well as the U.S. Department of Education, which recognizes the council as the sole accreditor of 196 U.S. law schools.

“I have spent over 30 years of my professional life seeking to improve legal education, and I am very excited to continue to pursue that passion as managing director — especially during this crucial time for legal education, higher education and the legal profession,” Rosato Perea said. “Although I will greatly miss DePaul, the focus on student success, the value of community and the importance of always asking ‘what must be done’ will guide me in my new role.”

In July, Adams announced his intention to leave his position in May 2024. Martinez explained that the search firm Isaacson Miller culled the prospects to about a “dozen promising candidates” and the search committee forwarded three names to the council leading to its selection of Rosato Perea.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on X (formerly Twitter) @ABANews.