Senior Associate Dean Alan D. Woodlief, Jr., a founding member of the Elon Law administration and faculty, will serve as interim dean through May 31, 2022, as Elon University recruits a successor to current Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman.
Woodlief takes over for Bierman, who will return to the faculty effective January 1 after serving as dean since 2014 and overseeing the successful adoption of Elon Law’s curriculum into a 2.5-year, seven-trimester program.
With assistance from the global executive search firm WittKieffer, Elon University is now conducting a national search with the goal of identifying Elon Law’s fourth dean by early spring.
Woodlief brings 26 years of legal education experience to the role of interim dean. He joined Elon Law in May 2005, serving as an associate professor and associate dean for admissions and administration. He currently oversees the law school’s admissions efforts, facilities, budget, and other administrative functions.
Woodlief has directed a variety of administrative and academic roles and developed knowledge about all facets of the law school’s operations, including student life, career services, academic support, and the law library. He has chaired or served on numerous law school and university committees, including strategic planning and American Bar Association accreditation committees.
He established Elon Law’s nationally recognized Moot Court Program in 2008, coaching numerous award-winning teams and guiding the Moot Court Board in hosting the annual Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition, one of the nation’s largest competitions.
In 2015, Woodlief founded the school’s Guardian Ad Litem Appellate Advocacy Clinic, through which Elon Law students represent the interests of abused and neglected children in the North Carolina appellate courts. He is a scholar on damages, civil trial practice and appellate practice, authoring treatises that are widely used by North Carolina practitioners and judges and frequently cited by the state’s appellate courts.
Woodlief has been active in the North Carolina Bar Association, serving on its Appellate Rules Study Committee. In the past, he has served on the editorial board to the North Carolina State Bar Journal.
For many years, he has also served on the Board of Directors for the Legal Education Assistance Foundation, and since 1999 has served as the Reporter to the Criminal Subcommittee of the Pattern Jury Instruction Committee of the North Carolina Conference of Superior Court Judges, assisting the trial courts with jury instructions that are used in criminal trials throughout the State of North Carolina
“Alan will build on Luke’s remarkable legacy since Elon Law adopted its pioneering, highly experiential 2.5-year curriculum in 2014,” said Elon University Provost Aswani Volety. “This includes a 50 percent increase in enrollment; a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, with students of color accounting for one third of the student body; a nearly 30 percent reduction in average student loan debt at graduation; and successful bar exam passage and career placement rates, which have hovered at 90 percent in recent years.”
Volety praised Bierman for Elon Law’s achievements through a disruptive period in American legal education and described Bierman as “an effective and enthusiastic teacher, a knowledgeable scholar, a helpful colleague and a successful law practitioner.”
“His distinctive credentials, experiences and accomplishments over the past 40 years made him the right leader at the right time, and Elon Law is better for it,” Volety said. “As the school awaits its full reaccreditation by the American Bar Association in the coming days, members of the Elon Law community — including its upcoming dean — can expect continued success in the next decade.”