Michael Waterstone named dean of UCLA School of Law

The UCLA alumnus, an expert in disability and civil rights law, is currently dean at LMU Loyola Law School

Sean Brenner | 

Michael Waterstone, a nationally recognized expert in disability and civil rights law, has been named dean of UCLA School of Law.

Waterstone, who currently is the Fritz B. Burns Dean at LMU Loyola Law School and senior vice president of Loyola Marymount University, will begin the new role by Aug. 15.

Since assuming leadership of Loyola Law School in 2016, he has presided over the development and growth of major new programs, including the Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic; the Coelho Center on Disability Law, Policy and Innovation; and the school’s Antiracism Center. He also led the recruitment of more than 20 law faculty, oversaw the creation of a hybrid J.D. program, appointed the school’s first associate dean of equity and inclusion, and secured some of the largest gifts in the school’s history.

“UCLA School of Law is an extraordinary community,” Waterstone said. “Our values of inclusivity and excellence are woven into the fabric of Los Angeles, felt across the country and world and known throughout legal education. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and look forward to working with all of our constituencies — faculty, students, staff, alumni and other colleagues — to build on all of our successes into what I know is an exciting future.”

The appointment brings Waterstone back to his alma mater: He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA.

“Dean Waterstone’s administrative and academic experience and achievements, coupled with his UCLA roots and strong ties to our city, position him well to lead UCLA Law at this moment,” Darnell Hunt, UCLA’s executive vice chancellor and provost, wrote in an email to faculty. “Chancellor Block and I are confident that the school will reach new heights under his capable leadership.”

Waterstone joined Loyola Law School in 2006; prior to becoming dean, he served as associate dean for research and academic centers (2009–14). He also was a visiting professor at the Northwestern University School of Law (2014–15) and professor in the global law program at the University of Haifa (2014).

Before joining Loyola, he was a member of the law faculty at the University of Mississippi; served as a litigation associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson; and clerked for the Honorable Richard Arnold on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Waterstone’s research and teaching interests include disability justice, civil rights law, employment law, and law and leadership. He has consulted on projects for the National Council on Disability and testified before the U.S. Senate on issues related to voters with disabilities and older voters. Internationally, he has worked with foreign governments, nongovernmental organizations and academic institutions on disability rights laws in Israel, Japan, China, Bangladesh, Ireland and Vietnam.

His articles have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Emory Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Vanderbilt Law Review, William & Mary Law Review and Northwestern University Law Review, among others.

Waterstone has served as a trustee for the Law School Admissions Council, a member of the Council on Access and Fairness for the State Bar of California and a commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Council on Disability Rights. He has also held leadership positions with the Association of American Law Schools. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Professor Russell Korobkin has served as UCLA School of Law’s interim dean since June 2022.

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