Professor Edward Iacobucci appointed dean

Brett Hughes (2L)

On October 23, students received a seemingly innocuous email from the Office of the Dean with the text “Please see the attached announcement from Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost.” With that, the six-month international search for the Faculty of Law’s tenth dean came to a close. Professor Edward Iacobucci will commence his renewable five-year term on January 1, 2015.

Iacobucci is a prominent law and economics scholar. His research interests include corporate law and competition law. He has a longstanding affiliation with U of T Law, completing his LLB at the Faculty in 1996 (as Gold Medalist), and returning as a professor in 1998. His father, former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, served as Dean from 1979 to 1983.

Although there is no formal campaigning for the position, particularly in light of the in camera selection process, Iacobucci and his supporters successfully positioned him as the frontrunner in the eyes of many Faculty members and University administrators as early as mid-summer.

Regehr’s announcement lauded his “lengthy history of service to the University and the community.” She referred to his membership in the University’s Governing Council, being a Fellow-in-Residence at the CD Howe Institute (an economic think tank), and serving as past President of the Canadian Law and Economics Association. He has also served on the boards of directors for two large insurance companies and a self-regulatory organisation for the investment industry.

Three weeks prior to the announcement, the Students’ Law Society (SLS) held a town-hall meeting about the dean search. Interested students and four members of the search committee attended. Committee members present at the meeting indicated that the job posting was still open at that time and that feedback on “everything,” including candidate nominations or proposing questions to ask in the interview process, would still be valuable.

The indication that candidate nominations and interview questions were still welcome in the final three weeks of a six month process suggests several possibilities, including that the committee was willing to change its decision if the right alternative candidate was put forward, or that its decision-making accelerated significantly in the subsequent weeks.

The defining features of former dean Moran’s tenure are likely to be her successful $50 million fundraising drive for the new building, and decisions to increase tuition by more than seventy percent throughout her time in office—from $17,280 in 2006-07, to $30,230 in 2014-15. There will be significant interest in what Iacobucci says in the coming months as he articulates his vision for the Faculty, and what he hopes to achieve during his tenure.

At present, the leading suggestion for the new name of the Dean’s monthly snack morning comes from Jordan Stone (2L): “Iacobucci’s Fiduciary Snack Duty.”