ASU begins search for next Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law dean


Following a 10-year run as dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Douglas Sylvester has decided to step down due to personal reasons. Adam Chodorow and Zachary Kramer have been named co-deans in the interim while the university searches for a permanent successor.

As part of this transition, ASU has requested that Sylvester continue with the university in a consultative capacity for the upcoming academic year.

Joining ASU Law in 2002 as an associate professor of law and then becoming professor of law a few years later, Sylvester quickly grew as a trusted, innovative leader within the college, first as associate dean for faculty research and development in 2008 before being appointed dean.

“Dean Sylvester served one of the longest tenures of any dean in the 54-year history of ASU’s College of Law, and by any measure it has certainly been one of the most transformative,” ASU Executive Vice President and University Provost Nancy Gonzales said in a message to ASU Law faculty and staff.

“Since becoming dean over a decade ago, Dean Sylvester has played an integral role in transforming ASU Law from a strong regional law school to one of the most important institutions of legal training in the world,” Gonzales said. “Under his leadership, the law school has added dozens of new faculty, almost doubled enrollment of incoming JD students nationally and internationally, increased diversity, achieved financial self-sufficiency — all while moving up to be the youngest law school in the nation ranked in the top 25.”

While the national search for a new dean is underway, interim co-deans Chodorow and Kramer bring several years of experience as professors of law and leaders at the college.

Chodorow most recently has been serving as ASU Law vice dean and the Jack E. Brown Professor of Law. Before joining the faculty in 2004, he clerked for Judge Joseph H. Gale of the U.S. Tax Court. At New York University, he won the David H. Moses Memorial Prize for having the highest cumulative academic average and the Harry J. Rudick Memorial Award for distinction in the Master of Laws Tax Program. Previously, Chodorow was an attorney at Pacific Gas & Electric Company in San Francisco, where he worked on energy-related litigation and regulatory matters, and he also practiced commercial litigation for Shartsis, Friese & Ginsburg.

Kramer most recently has been serving as ASU Law executive associate dean and the Jonathan and Wendy Rose Professor of Law. Before joining ASU Law’s faculty in 2010, he taught at Penn State and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Kramer began his teaching career as the inaugural Charles R. Williams Teaching Fellow at UCLA School of Law. A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, he served as the editor-in-chief of the University of Illinois Law Review.

“I know you will join me in doing all we can to support them in this role,” Gonzales said. “My thanks to Adam and Zak, already outstanding leaders at ASU Law, for stepping forward.”

“Dean Sylvester has been a tremendous leader in every respect,” Kramer said. “Under his leadership, the last decade has been transformative for ASU Law. It has been a huge honor for us to be a part of it.”

Added Chodorow: “We are excited to build on Dean Sylvester’s accomplishments and are looking forward to building an even brighter future. The law school will continue to provide the best possible legal education in the country at the most innovative university in the world. Classes will be live and in-person and have among the brightest and most inclusive group of students anywhere.”

media contact
media contact: 
Julie Tenney
julie.tenney@asu.edu