UCLA School of Law professor Russell Korobkin has been appointed to serve as the law school’s interim dean. He will assume his duties on June 13, replacing the outgoing dean, Jennifer L. Mnookin. In May, Mnookin was announced as the next chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Korobkin is the Richard C. Maxwell Distinguished Professor of Law and currently serves as the UCLA Law’s vice dean for graduate and professional education. In that role, he oversees the law school’s innovative Master of Legal Studies program, which he developed over many years and founded in 2020 to provide non-lawyer professionals with a rigorous course of study that allows them to master legal principles, along with school’s LL.M. degree program for international and domestic lawyers. From 2015 to 2019, Korobkin served as vice dean for academic and institutional affairs.
In announcing Korobkin’s appointment, Michael Levine, UCLA’s interim executive vice chancellor and provost, said, “Throughout his career, Professor Korobkin has demonstrated a deep commitment to educating and elevating the next generation of lawyers and legal scholars. He is highly regarded for his energy and enthusiasm, his collaborative leadership style, and his fair-minded approach to problem solving. Chancellor Block and I are confident that he will be a capable steward for our law school during this period of transition.”
Korobkin will serve as interim dean until a new dean is selected through a comprehensive national search. He is the third interim dean in the law school’s history, following Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Acting Chancellor Emeritus Norman Abrams, who served from 2003 to 2004, and David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus Stephen Yeazell, who was UCLA Law’s interim dean from 2009 to 2010.
“Russell is among the best leaders, educators, and scholars with whom I have ever had the pleasure of serving, and he has been a tremendous partner in the law school’s administration during the seven years of my deanship,” Mnookin says. “Those in the UCLA Law community who have not had the chance to work with him will soon learn another fundamental truth about Russell: He is a thoroughly decent person and good friend. I am delighted that he has agreed to serve as interim dean – and to see just how much the law school will benefit from his leadership.”
A member of the UCLA Law faculty since 2001, Korobkin is among the nation’s leading authorities in the fields of negotiation and behavioral law and economics. He teaches courses in negotiation, contracts, private law, and law and economics, and he has published widely on the subjects. His book The Five Tool Negotiator: The Complete Guide to Bargaining Success (Liveright) received broad acclaim, within the legal academy and beyond, when it was published in 2021. And the article that he and Thomas Ulen published in the California Law Review in 2000, “Law and Behavioral Science: Removing the Rationality Assumption from Law and Economics,” is among the most cited law review articles of this century.
Korobkin is also the author or co-author of textbooks on negotiation (Negotiation Theory & Strategy, 3d ed.) and on contract law (K: A Common Law Approach to Contracts, 3d ed.), as well as Stem Cell Century: Law and Policy for a Breakthrough Technology (Yale University Press, 2007).
Before he came to UCLA Law, Korobkin held appointments at the University of Illinois College of Law and University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. He has also served as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and the University of Texas School of Law, and he has taught courses at the University of Arizona, the University of Houston, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Pepperdine University, and Vanderbilt University as well as at law schools in Germany, Israel, and Australia.
He earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Stanford University, clerked for Judge James Buckley on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and was an associate at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.
“To say that Jennifer leaves huge shoes to fill is a major understatement, and I am honored to be able to build on her accomplishments as interim dean,” Korobkin says. “UCLA Law has been a tremendous home to me for the past two decades, intellectually, creatively, and personally. I am excited by the opportunity to give something back to the institution that I love and to try to help make it an even more excellent place. From our faculty, who are both world-renowned scholars and committed teachers, to our students, who bring passion and intellect to the study of law, to the best and most dedicated staff around, the people here truly make UCLA Law a fabulous place to be.”