William & Mary names first black dean to run its law school

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — William & Mary says it has named the first African American dean to run its law school.

The university in Williamsburg, Virginia, said in a statement on Monday that the new dean will be A. Benjamin Spencer.

The school says that Spencer is a nationally renowned expert on civil procedure and federal courts. He is currently a law professor at the University of Virginia.

William & Mary says that Spencer is the first African-American dean of any school at the university. Its roots stretch back to the 1600s.

Spencer will start on July 1. Current law school dean Davison M. Douglas will return to the faculty. He served as dean for more than 10 years.

“Since the beginning of the search process we sought a leader who values all three aspects of the law: the academy, the bar and the bench,” university President Katherine A. Rowe said in a statement. “Ben brings that broad view of legal practice, together with a deep appreciation of the ethos of the citizen lawyer that has inspired the oldest law school in the country since its founding.”

Spencer graduated from Harvard Law School and was a member of the Harvard Law Review. He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice policy from the London School of Economics. He got his bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College.