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James McGrath Named Next President and Dean

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Board of Directors announced today that James McGrath, professor of law and associate dean for academic support and bar services at Texas A&M University School of Law, will serve as the law school’s next president and dean. McGrath becomes only the third president and sixth dean since the law school’s founding in 1972. He replaces Don LeDuc, who retired after 16 years serving as WMU-Cooley’s President and Dean. 

James McGrath

McGrath’s selection is the result of a national search in collaboration with the law school’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and WMU representatives.

"The selection of James McGrath as president and dean comes as WMU-Cooley is in a strong position to enhance its standing in legal education,” said Scott Dienes, WMU-Cooley board member who chaired the President and Dean Search Committee. “The search committee, and the law school’s faculty and staff, found that his personal character and expertise in the areas of innovative legal education and performance outcomes align with WMU-Cooley Law’s School’s mission for training the next generation of attorneys.”

McGrath joined Texas A&M University School of Law as a visiting associate professor of law in 2005 and has taught various courses since that time. He was promoted to professor of law in 2013, and became associate dean of academic support and bar services in 2015.  


Throughout his career, McGrath has spoken at law schools around the country about teaching techniques and continues to focus his advocacy on serious issues facing education, healthcare and LGBTQ rights. He has had multiple works published on the topic of education and learning techniques, including: “Transparency in the Classroom: An ASP – ish Doctrinal Professor’s Perspective,” “Planning Your Class to Maximize Your Students’ Use of Highly Effective Learning Techniques,” and “Overcharging the Uninsured in Hospitals: Shifting a Greater Share of Uncompensated Medical Care Costs to the Federal Government.”

McGrath earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from San Jose State University and a Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law. He attended Harvard School of Public Health where he earned a Master of Public Health and earned a Master of Laws in graduate legal education at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. In 2011, McGrath served as a Fulbright Scholar earning a teaching fellowship at Beijing University of Chemical Technology in Beijing, China.

“I am excited for this opportunity to work with faculty and staff who are dedicated to Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s mission of access to the legal profession and modern program of instruction,” said McGrath. “We will all work together to make our law school a model for the future of legal education.”

McGrath will officially take over the office on July 1, 2019, from Interim President Jeffrey Martlew, who has held the post since Sept. 2018. He will be moving to Michigan along with his husband Anthony and daughter Kinsey. 

“The President and Dean Search Committee brought the board an outstanding candidate in James McGrath,” said Lawrence P. Nolan, chair of WMU-Cooley’s Board of Directors. “While the face of legal education experiences significant changes, his demonstrated leadership abilities and beliefs in legal education’s role in promoting and encouraging diversity, make him exactly the right choice to lead Western Michigan Cooley Law School into the future.”

Apr 23 2019