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October 27, 2015

Professor Thomas J. Miles appointed new dean of the Law School

Professor Thomas J. Miles has been appointed as the new Dean of the Law School, and will assume the position on November 1.

He succeeds professor Michael H. Schill, who took a position as the President at the University of Oregon in July. Miles has been the Walter Mander Research Scholar since 2012 and the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics since 2013.

Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service professor Geoffrey Stone is serving as the interim Dean.

As a professor at the University, Miles’ work focuses on judicial behavior and criminal justice. He wrote the article “Introduction: Rational Choice Approach to Judicial Behavior,” published in the Journal of Legal Studies, and he edited the book Economics of Criminal Law

Despite being new to the position as the dean of the Law School at the University, Miles has a history of incorporating his economics education in his study of the law. Miles was a student at Tufts studying political science when he first became interested in economics.

“When I went to undergraduate school, I thought I was going to be a lawyer,” Miles said. “While studying political science, I had so many questions, and I ended up double majoring.”

Miles’ studies in economics propelled him to work at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston after graduation. He realized that “economists can use tools and concepts of economics to think about social behavior.”

Miles came to the University to earn his Ph. D. in economics in 2000 and continued on to get his J.D. at Harvard Law School in 2003. After Harvard, he clerked for Hon. Judge Bybee in the Ninth Circuit Court, but returned to the University to teach at the Law School.

Miles stands by his decision to continue with his work in academia instead of pursuing a career as a lawyer.

“I’m enormously happy. What you do when you teach is to remain in legal practice,” he said.

Miles considers the University of Chicago his home.

“The law school and the university are very unique in several ways, the most important being the intense commitment to intellectual inquiry and exchange,” Miles said.

As the new dean, Miles is very busy, but hopes to continue his academic research in areas such as judicial behavior and criminal justice.

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