CHICAGO — DePaul University has selected a nationally recognized leader in legal education as dean for the College of Law. Jennifer Rosato Perea, an accomplished scholar in family law, bioethics and civil procedure, will join DePaul July 1.
Throughout her 25 years in higher education, which includes 11 years as a law school administrator, Rosato Perea has been an active voice in the national dialogue about legal education. She currently serves as the dean of the Northern Illinois University College of Law, a post she has held since 2009, and served as the acting dean of the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law during its first year of operation in 2006.
“DePaul is gaining a dynamic and innovative law school administrator with a stellar academic career,” said David Miller, interim provost at DePaul University. “Highly respected by her peers, Jennifer brings extensive administrative experience and a deep understanding of the current challenges faced by law schools and the legal profession.”
Rosato Perea’s legal career began with a passion for working with abused children. She felt she could make the biggest difference by becoming a lawyer. She clerked for the Honorable Thomas N. O’Neill Jr. of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania before becoming an associate with Hangley, Connolly, Epstein, Chicco, Foxman & Ewing in Philadelphia. Today, she is a sought-after public speaker and has published extensively on diverse legal issues that affect children and families.
In addition to her legal scholarship and practice, Rosato Perea was associate dean of students at two universities. She spent 14 years on the faculty at Brooklyn Law School, and in her later years was a co-director of the Center for Health, Science and Public Policy and associate dean of students. She also served as associate dean of students at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law from 2007 to 2009. She has held teaching positions at the University of Pennsylvania, New York University and Villanova University.
“My own academic career started with a love for teaching, and I am thrilled to lead a college with a strong commitment to excellence and innovation in educating law students,” Rosato Perea said. “I look forward to working with DePaul’s distinguished faculty and dedicated staff, and to contribute to the impressive work that is taking place at the college and university. DePaul's social justice mission and long history with public interest law fit perfectly with my personal and professional values."
As one of a small number of Latina law school deans in the country and the first in her family to attend college, Rosato Perea strives to enhance diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. She presents extensively on implicit bias and its effects on diversity and inclusion. In recognition of her efforts, she received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Illinois Secretary of State, the Vanguard Award from the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, and the National Latino Law Students Association Leadership Award in Education and Advocacy.
Under her leadership at Northern Illinois University, the law school earned national recognition for diversity, value and public service. Rosato Perea doubled opportunities for experiential learning, including launching a clinic in health advocacy and dramatically expanding student externship opportunities, especially in Chicago. She led the development of a mentoring program for first-year students, pairing almost the entire class with alumni and other lawyers, and initiated a first-year professionalism program required for graduation. She also collaborated with areas across the university to create accelerated degree programs, allowing students to earn a bachelor’s and law degree in six years or less.
Rosato Perea earned her bachelor’s from Cornell University and her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She was the editor-in-chief of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Business Law and won the Edwin R. Keedy Moot Court Competition. She is a member of the Association of American Law Schools Membership Review Committee and the Illinois State Bar Association Task Force on Legal Education and Student Debt. She formerly served as chair of the Association of American Law Schools New Law Teachers Conference.
At DePaul, Rosato Perea will lead a law school recognized for its world-renowned faculty and innovative academic programs with creative approaches to professional skills training. In 2014, the National Law Journal placed DePaul’s College of Law first for Best LLM Program and Best Law School Clinical Program in Chicago. DePaul has had the largest number of graduates on the Illinois Super Lawyers list for the past six years.
The Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) founded DePaul University in 1898. The university follows the ideals of St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century French priest for whom the school is named. With nearly 24,000 students and about 300 academic programs, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest.
DePaul’s tradition of providing a quality education to students from a broad range of backgrounds, with particular attention to first-generation students, has resulted in one of the nation’s most diverse student bodies. More information is online at www.depaul.edu.
Kristin Claes Mathews