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HomeAcademicsCollege of LawJeff Kinsler Named Founding Dean for New College of Law

Jeff Kinsler Named Founding Dean for New College of Law

Former Dean, Yale graduate to join Belmont faculty in 2010
JeffKinsler2.JPGBelmont University announced today that Professor Jeffrey Kinsler will serve as the founding dean for the new College of Law. Currently a professor of law and senior scholar with Elon University School of Law in North Carolina, Kinsler previously served as dean of Appalachian School of Law, which he led to full American Bar Association (ABA) approval during his tenure. Kinsler already knows Belmont well, serving as a consultant in the plans for opening the new college. He will begin his tenure at Belmont in early 2010.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “Jeff Kinsler is a perfect fit for Belmont. He is highly respected in the legal community and has previously provided leadership as dean in the creation of another law school. Most importantly, he understands our dreams and aspirations for creating a College of Law that is driven by the mission and core values of Belmont University.”
Kinsler graduated first in his class from Valparaiso University School of Law (’89) and obtained a master of laws degree (LL.M., ‘96) from Yale Law School, where he served as senior editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. The winner of nine teaching awards, Kinsler has taught at several law schools in the United States and Australia. He also has served as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Queensland in Australia. Kinsler was a partner with Katten, Muchin & Zavis in Chicago, “of counsel” at Mayer, Brown & Platt in Chicago and, more recently, “of counsel” at the Kingsport, Tennessee law firm of Hunter, Smith & Davis. A member of the Tennessee, Virginia, Illinois and Wisconsin bars, he has co-authored ten books and has published numerous law review articles in journals at law schools such as the University of North Carolina, Northwestern University, and Vanderbilt University. In 2006, he was named a “Virginia Leader in the Law” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. In September, Kinsler was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI), the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and otherwise improve the law. Election to the ALI is limited to one third of one percent of lawyers in the country and is considered by many to be the most prestigious legal organization in America.
Kinsler said, “I’m honored to have been chosen as the founding dean and look forward to helping Belmont University build an excellent law school. I joined Belmont because it is determined to create a new kind of law school, one that produces professional, practice-ready attorneys for today’s global legal market. I’m convinced that Belmont University College of Law will be able to attract first-rate faculty and students.”
Leary Davis, founding dean emeritus of Elon University School of Law, said, “Jeff Kinsler is an outstanding lawyer and legal educator. As dean at Appalachian and as a member of the founding faculty at Elon, he is fully aware of what needs to be done to establish an excellent law school while navigating the path to provisional and then full American Bar Association approval. He has played key roles in both processes at two different schools.”

Belmont announced Oct. 7, 2009 that the university is opening a College of Law, the first new law school in Middle Tennessee in nearly 100 years. Belmont’s College of Law represents the university’s seventh college and fourth doctoral program. The College will begin classes in fall 2011, and when at full capacity, it will enroll approximately 350 students.
Belmont’s College of Law provides a natural extension of the university’s mission and vision, which emphasize challenging academics, a service-minded approach, real-world experience and community leadership. Belmont law graduates will be practice-ready attorneys, empowered by their education and co-curricular experiences to provide legal counsel in a variety of settings, with commitment to high standards of expertise and ethics. The College of Law will be housed on campus in a new building that will include a state-of-the-art law library. For more information on the College of Law, visit

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