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Robert Berring named interim dean of UC Berkeley School of Law
11 December 2002

By Janet Gilmore, Media Relations

Berkeley - Robert Berring, a University of California, Berkeley, law professor with more than 20 years of teaching and administrative experience, has been named interim dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl announced today (Wednesday, Dec. 11).

  Robert Berring
Robert Berring

Berring, 53, will assume the post on Jan.1. Berdahl made the selection after consulting widely with members of the campus community, including faculty, students, staff and alumni from the law school.

"Robert Berring is the ideal person to lead the law school during the search for a permanent dean," Berdahl said. "He has substantial administrative experience, enjoys the widespread respect and trust of his colleagues and students, and has experience reaching out to alumni and other friends of the law school. I am very pleased to announce his appointment."

Boalt Hall, said Berdahl, has an exceptionally strong faculty and will continue to build upon a number of highly regarded programs including its clinical programs that focus on issues of great relevance to today's society.

Berring's selection follows John Dwyer's announcement two weeks ago that he will resign from the deanship effective Jan. 1, 2003.

A member of the Boalt Hall faculty since 1982 and a Boalt Hall graduate, Berring is the Walter Perry Johnson Professor of Law and serves as director of the McEnerney Law Library. He served as dean of the campus's former School of Library and Information Studies from 1986 to 1989. He has directed the law library since 1982.

Berring graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1971, receiving a bachelor's degree in government and Chinese studies. In 1974, he received his law degree from Boalt Hall and a master's degree in library and information studies from UC Berkeley.

A favorite of students, Berring is frequently asked by students to speak at their commencement ceremonies. He also is an "anonymous" advice columnist, of sorts, working under the pen name of Uncle Zeb and answering all manner of questions that students jot down on a binder inside the law library.

Berring, who received a UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award in 1987, is especially devoted to teaching. He teaches a full course load at Boalt Hall and teaches undergraduates enrolled in the campus's legal studies program.

"I am honored to be selected for this interim position, and I look forward to working with the Boalt Hall community to build on the law school's strengths," said Berring. "As someone who has been privileged to be a student, faculty member, and administrator here, I relish this opportunity to work with Boalt Hall faculty, students, staff and alumni."

Berring will be assisted by the continuing support of Boalt Hall administrators including Jan Vetter, associate dean of the academic program; David Lieberman, associate dean of the jurisprudence and social policy program; Victoria Ortiz, assistant dean of student services; and Louise Epstein, assistant dean of alumni relations and development.

Chancellor Berdahl is convening a search committee, which is expected to begin a nationwide search for a new dean early in 2003.

Berring was born and raised in Canton, Ohio. He is married and has two sons. He lives in Oakland, Calif.