University of South Carolina

Robert M. Wilcox named dean of USC law school

Robert M. Wilcox, a legal-ethics scholar and the associate dean for academic affairs at the University of South Carolina School of Law, has been named dean of USC’s law school.

Wilcox’s appointment was announced Thursday (April 14) and will become effective July 1.

USC President Harris Pastides said Wilcox’s knowledge and experience as a professor and an administrator will make him a strong leader who will provide stable leadership and usher in a new era for USC’s law school.

“Rob Wilcox has built a distinguished career as a lawyer, a professor and a dean,” Pastides said. “He has earned the respect of his colleagues in the law school and the legal community, the affection of the students and the admiration of alumni. These accomplishments, along with Rob’s ability to inspire trust and forge relationships, will serve the law school well as it moves into a new era, one marked by investments in new programs, facilities, faculty replenishment and expanded student services.”

Wilcox has taught ethics and professionalism, property and wills and trusts during his teaching career. A Charleston native, he graduated cum laude from Duke University with a B.A. in economics and history in 1978 and magna cum laude from the USC law school in 1981. After working as an associate in the Washington and Atlanta offices of Dow, Lohnes and Albertson, he joined USC as an assistant professor of law in 1986. He was promoted to associate professor in 1991, professor in 2001 and associate dean in 2006. From 2003 - 08, he directed the Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough Center on Professionalism in the law school.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, an alumnus of the USC law school, said Wilcox is well positioned to lead the law school.

“I was a classmate of Rob’s and have seen him develop into one of the most outstanding law professors in the country,” Graham said. “His selection as the new dean of the University of South Carolina School of Law is a very wise choice. Rob’s teaching abilities have been recognized numerous times by the student body and his faculty peers. No one is better positioned to lead the USC School of Law to the next level than Rob Wilcox. There are bright days ahead for the USC School of Law with Rob as its new dean.”

Wilcox is highly regarded for his expertise in legal ethics and professionalism. He is co-author of the book, “Annotated South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct,” published by the S.C. Bar, and is a frequent speaker and writer in the field.

He has served as editor, managing editor and resident editor of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal, published by the American Bar Association, and is secretary for the Chief Justice’s Commission on the Profession. He is a member of the S.C. Commission on Judicial Conduct and is a judge for the prestigious Warren Burger Prize awarded by the American Inns of Court Foundation.

Philip Land, outgoing president of the Student Bar Association and a member of the Search Committee, said Wilcox will make an excellent dean.

“He is nationally recognized in legal education, well connected in South Carolina and competent to address the needs of this law school,” he said. “I look forward to watching the stature of our law school grow under his leadership.”

Wilcox and his wife, Lisa, have three sons: Ted, a resident of Washington, D.C.; Robbie, who lives in Columbia; and Alex, a student at Northwestern University.

Wilcox succeeds Walter “Jack” Pratt, who will return to teaching. Pastides said plans for the law school building will be decided with the new dean and will be announced in the next several months. The university is making a significant commitment to revitalizing the law school and its academic programs and curriculum and, with the new dean and the faculty, will identify areas for national prominence.

Established in 1866 and opened in 1867, USC’s law school is one of the nation’s oldest and counts among its alumni many former and current prominent leaders of the state’s judiciary, legislature and executive agencies. The school has 42 full-time faculty and enrolls 685 students.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 04/14/11 @ 1:40 PM | Updated: 04/14/11 @ 5:31 PM | Permalink