August 20, 2009

McGreal named law school’s interim associate dean

by Pete Rosenbery

Paul McGreal

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Paul E. McGreal, a constitutional law scholar and professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, is the law school’s interim associate dean for academic affairs.

McGreal fills the position previously held by Interim Dean Frank G. Houdek.

“Paul has an outstanding background as both a teacher and a scholar and has a substantial amount of experience in legal education,” Houdek said.

McGreal joined the law school faculty in fall 2006. He came to SIUC from South Texas College of Law, where he was a professor and director of the law school’s Corporate Compliance Center.

McGreal “has done a great job since he’s been here. He has the respect of all of our faculty,” Houdek said.

As associate dean, McGreal will oversee the law school’s academic programs, dealing with a wide range of student-related academic issues, in addition to working with faculty. McGreal will continue to teach a section of constitutional law, Houdek said.

“I am honored to serve as interim associate dean for academic affairs for the SIU School of Law, and I look forward to working with Interim Dean Frank Houdek and the faculty to implement the initiatives that we articulated in the self-study produced during our recent re-accreditation process,” McGreal said.

McGreal earned a bachelor’s degree cum laude in economics from Williams College in 1989, and his law degree magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. He earned his master of laws degree from Yale Law School in 1994.

In addition to McGreal’s appointment, Heidi E. Ramos is a visiting clinical assistant professor in the law school’s Legal Clinic. Ramos is filling the position as clinical professor in the civil practice clinic held by John F. Erbes, the current clinic interim director.

Ramos was a staff attorney in the legal clinic and director of the law school’s Self Help Legal Center from 2005 until earlier this year. Financial considerations prompted elimination of the alternative dispute resolution clinic and her position was cut.

Before returning to SIUC, Ramos worked as an assistant state's attorney prosecuting methamphetamine cases in both Jackson and Union counties.

Ramos’ appointment was effective Aug. 16. She is familiar with clinic operations, worked with students and clients, and taught clinic courses previously, so is able to “step in and be ready to go” without a learning curve, Houdek said.

“We are very pleased to have someone with her background and substantial experience, both as a teacher in the clinic and as a practicing lawyer,” he said.

Ramos is a 1988 SIU School of Law graduate. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from SIUC in 1985. Prior to coming to the law school in 2005 Ramos worked 16 years in the public defender’s office in Jackson County.

“I’m very pleased with both of these hires,” Houdek said.

Houdek said he anticipates the search for a permanent dean will begin later this month or early next month. The goal is to have a new dean in place by July 1, 2010. If that occurs, a likely scenario is that he will return as associate dean and McGreal will return to his faculty position, Houdek said.

In addition, over the next year the law school expects to conduct a national search for a new clinic director who will assume additional responsibilities. The new position, tentatively titled, “Director of Experiential Learning,” will not only oversee the clinic program but also experiential learning opportunities offered through individual classroom courses.