Lawrence Ponoroff has been appointed the 12th dean of the Michigan State University College of Law and will begin his new leadership role on July 1.
The law school’s board of trustees approved his appointment on Feb. 23.
“Under Dean Howarth’s leadership MSU College of Law elevated its reputation and scholarly profile,” said June Pierce Youatt, who serves as provost for MSU and MSU College of Law. “We are eager to work with Dean Ponoroff to take MSU Law to even greater heights. I am grateful for the work of the search committee as we considered candidates.”
Ponoroff comes to MSU Law from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, where he holds the Samuel M. Fegtly Chair in Commercial Law and served as dean from 2009 to 2012. He previously served as dean of Tulane University Law School from 2001 to 2009. His academic career began at the University of Toledo College of Law.
“Professor Ponoroff’s experience at other esteemed institutions will help us navigate the challenges facing today’s law schools,” said MSU President and MSU College of Law President Lou Anna K. Simon. “He has great experience developing the support necessary to build momentum to move the college forward.”
Ponoroff will replace Joan Howarth, who has served as dean of the MSU College of Law since July 2008.
“Professor Ponoroff brings a broad range of experience as a very successful dean, scholar, teacher and attorney,” Howarth said. “He embodies the versatility we seek to instill in our students. His expertise in legal education will serve the law college well as it addresses the challenges of the evolving legal market.”
Ponoroff earned his law degree at Stanford University. Before entering academia, Ponoroff was a partner at the Denver-based law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen (now Bryan Cave HRO). He specialized in corporate and commercial litigation.
“The board was unanimous in selecting Professor Ponoroff to be our next dean,” said Linda Orlans, chairperson of the MSU College of Law Board of Trustees. “We are thrilled to work with him to make our law college even greater.”
He joined Tulane University Law School in 1995 and became dean in 2001. He led Tulane University Law School through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and he received the New Orleans City Business — Leadership in Law Award in 2006 for his service to the community. He is the author of seven books as well as dozens of essays and articles.
“The strength of MSU Law’s faculty, staff and students, its deep institutional roots in Michigan and its ever-increasing national and international footprint have fueled enormous growth in quality and prestige,” Ponoroff said. “In particular, thanks to Dean Howarth’s leadership, the college has become even further integrated into the university and advanced its mission, despite the challenges that legal education has been confronted with in the last several years.
“We will continue to face those challenges. However, together with the law college community and the university leadership, I expect us to continue on that positive trajectory. I’m honored and grateful to join both an outstanding law school and a world-class university.”