Law Center dean pushes vision
Having the UH Law Center becoming one of the top 40 nationally recognized law schools is just one of Dean Raymond Nimmer’s goals.
Nimmer, who was interim dean from 2006 until that label was removed in April 2008, began his academic career in Indiana and went on to become a research attorney at the American Bar Foundation. After teaching at several different universities, he ended up at UH in the late 1970s.
“I came to UH because the law school was expanding and trying to achieve a national reputation,” Nimmer said. “I had choices to come here or go other places and thought the (UH) law school and the city were perfect places to be.”
Nimmer has been approached with an offer for dean position on two occasions.
“Once 16 years ago, I was acting dean for two years, but I declined the invitation to stay on permanently because I had more academic stuff that I wanted to do,” Nimmer said. “The second time, we had a dean that left abruptly, and I was asked to take over almost four years ago and (then) became permanent dean two years ago.”
He has also has been the author of more than 20 books.
“One of my books in the 80’s won a national book award as the best new book in law. It was called The Law of Computer Technology,” Nimmer said.
Four years ago, Nimmer was distinguished chair in international commercial law, which involved teaching and participating at a Catholic university law school in Portugal.
As dean, Nimmer has many plans and ideas to improve the law center itself, its students and its faculty.
Nimmer said that one of his plans is to reduce the size of the law school, even though in the last few years it has seen a 10 percent increase in applications.
“The goal is to increase the quality of the student body and to improve the student/faculty ratio,” Nimmer said. “We have over 3,800 applications, and our next class will be only 250.”
Nimmer said he strongly believes that in order to raise the reputation of the law center, increased alumni participation is necessary.
“We have moved the law school very aggressively to be nationally prominent,” Nimmer said. “We have hired a bunch of new faculty, 12 or 13 in the past four years, and have experienced a much needed increase with the support of our alumni.”