Law School Dean to Return to Teaching

University of Hawaiʻi
Lawrence C. Foster,
Carol Mon Lee
Asst Dean
Posted: Feb 27, 2002

Lawrence C. Foster, Dean of the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law, announced today that he plans to step down from his position as dean, but remain at the law school as a faculty member. It is anticipated that the effective date of the resignation would coincide with the appointment and arrival of a new dean, anticipated to be sometime in the first six months of 2003.

"This was a difficult decision," he said, "but after 15 continuous years of full-time law school administration, I want to devote substantially more of my time pursuing an interest in comparative law activities focused on the Asia-Pacific region."

In addition to his law degree, Foster holds a Ph.D. in Chinese Language and Literature and has been active in law reform issues in Japan, China and the Pacific.

During his tenure as dean, the law school: devised and implemented its first-ever strategic plan; was ranked as a Top Tier law school by U.S. News & World Report in 1998; expanded its success in national moot court competitions (including four national championships); carried out its first-ever fundraising campaign that established 13 new endowments to permanently support faculty development and student scholarships; strengthened relationships with Hawaiʻi lawyers and judges; increased applications by more than 50% since 1997; expanded its nationally ranked Environmental Law Program; founded the first web-based journal focusing on Asia-Pacific law and policy; and forged new and expanded relationships in the Asia-Pacific region.

"The people of Hawaiʻi have much to be proud of in our law school," Foster said. "The school's continued strong commitment to access, quality and service has greatly benefited our state."

University of Hawaiʻi president Evan S. Dobelle had high praise for Foster's leadership. "Dean Foster has done an excellent job of leading the law school through some difficult times. I appreciate that he will be continuing as dean until his successor is chosen to assure a smooth transition to new leadership, and I know that he will continue to be a valuable resource for the school and the University as a member of the faculty."

"There is no question that Dean Foster raised the profile of the UH law school in the legal community across the country," said interim Manoa chancellor Deane Neubauer. "This month's Jurist in Residence program with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is just one example. We have also been able to utilize our expertise in Asia-Pacific law more fully during his tenure, and the dean's own background in this area assures that we will continue to do so."

Neubauer added, "The law school has also been a model for our professional schools at Manoa in proposing differential tuition schedules that make them less dependent on state appropriations, and Dean Foster took the lead in developing and implementing that process."

Foster is a 1981 alumnus of the school. He was appointed associate dean in January 1987 and has served as interim dean and dean since January 1995.