Meet Interim Dean William McGeveran
William McGeveran, Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett Professor of Law, stepped into the role of interim dean of the Law School on July 1. To this critical role, Dean McGeveran brings 17 years of experience as a faculty member, four years as associate dean of academic affairs, and deep enthusiasm for the Minnesota Law community. His scholarship focuses on the law governing digital identity and privacy, ranging from trademark parodies to data security to social media. He teaches Civil Procedure, Law in Practice, Trademark Law, and Data Privacy Law.
Dean McGeveran recently answered some questions about his role in the upcoming year and what you can look forward to when you join the Minnesota Law community.
As interim dean, what are you most excited about for the upcoming year?
I truly love the Law School. I’m eager to learn more about it from all the people who make it run so well, and to collaborate with them in new ways. I also expect I am going to have great fun connecting with our students and alumni, hearing their stories, and listening to suggestions about what we should do to ensure Minnesota Law remains relevant to the world and welcoming to all.
What, in your opinion, are the most important priorities for the Law School this year? Dean Jenkins left things in excellent shape, so the first priority is sustaining all that momentum. We have to grow the faculty after some recent retirements and departures, so we will be seeking to hire new professors who make our faculty even broader and even better. Finally, I think we are still overcoming the lingering effects of the pandemic on the engagement of students, faculty, and staff alike. I want to do everything we can to energize a dynamic, welcoming, supportive community for everyone who works and studies here.
You joined Minnesota Law in 2006. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the Law School community in the past 17 years?
It’s difficult to pick just a few! Of course, the increased diversity of the student body and staff is a major positive development. (We are working hard on making similar strides with our faculty). While our curriculum has always been very strong in clinical education and the development of practical skills, there’s been enormous growth and ambition, with multiple new clinics and programs and a new assistant dean for experiential education. And finally, I would say our current students are even more passionate about political and social issues than those who were here when I started — which is a good thing because the challenges confronting the world today have increased a lot and we need their creative energy.
What are some of your favorite things about teaching Minnesota Law students?
I often say, who wouldn’t love nerding out about fascinating (if at times obscure) legal doctrine with a crowd of talented future attorneys?
What makes our Minnesota Law community unique?
The state of Minnesota has a strong distinctive culture, and its best attributes include high civic engagement, kindness, and not taking ourselves too seriously. I think all of that rubs off on our Mondale Hall community to make it unlike any other law school.
What are some of your favorite events at Minnesota Law and why?
TORT, obviously! We all need more of that kind of silly in our lives. Commencement makes me feel so proud of our students. And Spring Alumni Week, when we host reunions and get to learn about some of the surprising and exciting places our grads have taken their Minnesota Law degrees.
What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming 1Ls for navigating their first year of law school?
You can’t be your best if your physical and mental health are not strong. Take care of your body and mind! And in particular, get enough sleep. You might be five percent more prepared if you stay up too late studying, but you may also be 25 percent less sharp.
Minnesota Law’s community is growing! For new students, faculty, and staff, what are some of your favorite places to visit and activities in the Twin Cities?
We have an exceptional music scene here. I try to go to live music at least once a month at First Avenue or similar venues, often shows I learn about from our incredible local station, 89.3 The Current. And everyone should check out Malcolm Yards food hall, where you can order empanadas, dosa, Korean BBQ, beer, and gourmet ice cream all under one roof. You can get there on the Green Line, which stops right outside Mondale Hall; take it a few stops to Prospect Park.
Following up on that, we get asked a lot about winter in Minnesota from newcomers and prospective students. Any tips for thriving in winter?
I am devoted to my sun lamp. Thirty minutes every day from November to March, while drinking my morning coffee, reading the paper, and checking email. I’ve also found that it’s tempting not to make plans when it gets colder and darker, so it’s more important than ever to set up those brunch dates, movie nights, board game sessions, and so forth – get them in the calendar and look forward to them. Friends and loved ones warm me up in the winter.
Lastly, you’re known in the Minnesota Law community for your love of music. What top 3 songs are in rotation right now on your playlist?
Only three? All right:
Break My Soul, Beyoncé
Just the Once, Metric
The Alcott, The National and Taylor Swift
I make myself a playlist every month and anybody who follows me on Spotify can see them all.