Appointment of Jennifer L. Mnookin as Dean of the UCLA School of Law

June 3, 2015

UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

To: Administrative Officers, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Vice Chancellors, Vice Provosts, and Faculty and Staff in the School of Law

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer L. Mnookin as Dean of the UCLA School of Law, effective August 1, 2015.

A member of the UCLA law faculty since 2005, Professor Mnookin is the David G. Price & Dallas P. Price Professor of Law. In addition to her current service as the founding faculty director of the law school’s Program on Understanding Law, Science, and Evidence (PULSE) and as chair of UCLA’s Academic Senate Committee on Development, Professor Mnookin has also served as vice dean for external appointments and intellectual life (2012-13) and vice dean for faculty and research (2007-09). Prior to joining UCLA, she was a visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School (2003-04) and a member of the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law from 1998 to 2005, serving most recently as the Barron F. Black Research Professor. Professor Mnookin regularly teaches Evidence and Torts, as well as courses in expert and scientific evidence; wrongful convictions; and law and popular culture. She received the law school’s Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014.

A nationally renowned evidence scholar, with a particular focus in the area of expert and scientific evidence, Professor Mnookin is a co-author of two widely cited treatises, The New Wigmore, A Treatise on Evidence: Expert Evidence and Modern Scientific Evidence: The Law and Science of Expert Testimony. She has published more than a dozen articles on issues relating to forensic science, including latent fingerprint identification, handwriting expertise and DNA evidence, and has advocated for the need for a “research culture” in these areas. She has also written on a wide variety of other evidence-related subjects, including the history of expert evidence; expert evidence and the Confrontation Clause; the rise of photographic and other forms of visual evidence; documentary films and legal evidence; and theoretical and epistemic dimensions of the use of evidence in court. Some of her current research explores innovative ways to increase access to expert social science evidence to educate juries about the potential for eyewitness misidentification and false confessions. She has also written op-eds for a variety of major news outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.

Professor Mnookin is a leading expert on a variety of law and science issues outside the academy. She is currently a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science, Technology, and Law. She has served on a variety of federal and national working groups on issues relating to forensic science and evidence law, including a National Institute of Justice (NIJ)/National Institute of Standards and Technology expert working group on human factors in fingerprint identification; a National Academy of Sciences committee on the Daubert standard and alternatives; and an Office of Science and Technology interagency working group on research issues in forensic science. She has spearheaded amicus briefs on behalf of a group of evidence professors in several recent Confrontation Clause cases before the Supreme Court, and she was the primary investigator on a major grant from the NIJ to investigate the relationship between difficulty and error rate in latent fingerprint identification. She is a member of the American Law Institute, and she received an A.B. from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in the history and social study of science and technology from MIT.

I want to thank the search/advisory committee for assembling an outstanding pool of candidates and for its role in recruiting Jennifer. The committee was chaired by Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Other members were: Stephen M. Bainbridge – William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law; Clarence H. Braddock III – professor of medicine, chief medical education officer and vice dean for education; Scott Cummings – professor of law; Laura E. Gómez – vice dean and professor of law; Marjorie Kagawa Singer – professor of public health and Asian American studies; Alicia Miñana de Lovelace – member of the UCLA Law Board of Advisors; Alexandria Ruiz – UCLA Law Class of 2016, vice president of the UCLA Law Student Bar Association and co-chair of La Raza Law Students Association; David O. Sears – distinguished professor of psychology and political science; and Seana Shiffrin – Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice and professor of philosophy.

I also want to recognize and thank Dean Rachel Moran for her dedicated leadership of the school since October 2010.

Chancellor Block and I are confident that UCLA Law will reach new heights under Jennifer’s leadership. Please join me in congratulating her and welcoming her to this new role.


Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost