Theresa M. Beiner

Nadine Baum Distinguished Professor of Law
BA, 1986, University of Virginia; JD, 1989, Northwestern University
Room 204D | Phone: 501-916-5400 | Email

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Theresa M. Beiner was appointed as Bowen’s first permanent female dean on July 1, 2018. She previously served as the law school’s Associate Dean of Faculty Development and as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Dean Beiner is lucky enough to teach the subjects she finds the most interesting. She is interested in civil rights and how those rights are furthered or thwarted in the adjudication process. Her courses include Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Federal Jurisdiction, Employment Discrimination, Gender and the Law, and a Seminar on Sexual Harassment Law. A scholar in the tradition of the Law and Society movement, Dean Beiner researches and teaches using knowledge from other disciplines to inform and develop legal rules. Her research interests dovetail well with the courses she teaches and thereby inform her teaching. She writes in the areas of anti-discrimination law, the interaction between civil procedure and civil rights law, women in the legal profession, and federal judicial appointments. She has won the Faculty Excellence Awards in both teaching and scholarship.

Dean Beiner approaches her teaching from the premise that the practice of law is a creative endeavor and seeks to model this for her students through her approach to both teaching and scholarship. She teaches most of her courses using a modified Socratic method, whereby students are questioned about class materials and encouraged to think deeply about the implications of the law on the larger society. On a daily basis, Dean Beiner’s students have opportunities to test their knowledge of the law as well as the methods that lawyers use to solve legal problems. She models and has students practice the basics of what lawyers do – reading and understanding cases and statutes, synthesizing many cases to understand the gist of the legal rules the class is learning, and, finally, applying that rule to new fact patterns. This often involves various writing assignments throughout the semester. In addition, she engages in continuous student assessment. Aside from in-class assessment tools such as clicker exercises, she also administers quizzes throughout the semester to assess student learning.

Dean Beiner joined the faculty in 1994 from private practice as an associate with the San Francisco law firm of Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin. Her main practice area was general civil litigation, with an emphasis on employment discrimination, antitrust and environmental litigation. She also clerked for the Honorable John F. Grady, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, located in Chicago. A graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, Professor Beiner was named to the Order of the Coif and was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology. She has visited on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Dean Beiner is the mother of two sons and a daughter, which keeps her busy outside the law school.

Dean Beiner’s Scholarship and Service