DETROIT, Mich. – February 4, 2014 – The University of Detroit Mercy announces the appointment of Phyllis L. Crocker as the Dean of the School of Law, effective July 1, 2014.
Crocker joins UDM from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, where she is a Professor of Law and recently served as Interim Dean and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. "The University looks forward to welcoming Professor Crocker to the University of Detroit Mercy community and seeing the many contributions she will make in advancing the School of Law," said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Pamela Zarkowski, J.D., M.P.H.
Professor Crocker has written extensively on the constitutional, historical, and cultural underpinnings of capital punishment, and she has served on many advisory committees as a nationally recognized authority on the death penalty. She chaired the American Bar Association Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Team that published Evaluating Fairness and Accuracy in State Death Penalty Systems: The Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Report (2007). In 2010, she was named to the Steering Committee of the ABA Death Penalty Due Process Review Project. In 2011, she was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio State Bar Association Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio's Death Penalty. She also serves her community as a Commissioner on the Cuyahoga County Public Defender Commission and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
Crocker has been a co-author of the Ohio practice treatise Criminal Law (3rd edition, 2009), including annual supplements, since 2006. She has authored articles and given many presentations throughout her career primarily on the topic of the death penalty. She has received several prestigious awards, most recently the 2010 YWCA Women of Professional Excellence Award and the 2009 and 2008 Cleveland State University Administrative Merit Recognition Award. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Crocker received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. After graduating law school, she clerked for the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Subsequently, she was an associate for three years in a Chicago law firm specializing in complex federal civil litigation, including civil rights and commercial class actions. From 1989 to 1994, she was a staff attorney at the Texas Resource Center, a federally-funded community defender organization that represented indigents on death row in their post-conviction appeals. While there, she served as co-counsel on Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993), challenging the constitutionality of executing one who is innocent.
Crocker joined Cleveland-Marshall in 1994 and has taught Capital Punishment, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I and II, and Externships. She was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from July 2006 to July 2010 and the Interim Dean from March 2010 to June 2011. Under her leadership, the law school expanded the externship program, adopted comprehensive curriculum reform, completed the fundraising for and construction of a technologically state-of-the-art trial courtroom at the law school, and increased fundraising in key strategic categories, while leading the law school through a university-wide budget reduction process.
"It is an honor to join UDM as the next dean of the law school," said Crocker. "I am excited to become part of a law school that has such a strong and longstanding commitment to preparing students to be excellent, ethical attorneys ready to represent their clients and serve their communities. I look forward to working with the students, faculty, staff, graduates and friends of the law school to build on the school's traditions and accomplishments."
About University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Founded in 1912, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is a Catholic institution sponsored by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The School is approved by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.
Jesuit and Mercy values blend together at UDM Law to create an open-minded learning environment that focuses on intellectual rigor and service to others. At UDM Law, the ideals of ethics and professionalism are emphasized, demonstrated, and practiced throughout every aspect of the curriculum, both inside the classroom and in off-campus settings.
UDM Law is a diverse, collegial community where students explore differing thoughts and perspectives in an inclusive setting committed to the principles of equal educational opportunity. As part of this supportive environment, students readily access the help of faculty and staff and enjoy networking with and learning from alumni.
For more information about the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, please visit www.law.udmercy.edu.