Bok Selects Albert Sacks As Permanent Law Dean

Albert M. Sacks, acting dean of the Law School since January, is the new dean of the School, succeeding President-designate Derek C. Bok.

The Corporation approved Sacks' appointment at its weekly meeting yesterday. The appointment marks the end of a two-month selection process, during which Sacks was widely mentioned as Bok's probable successor.

Sacks was associate dean of the School during Bok's two years as dean. As associate dean, he was one of the most influential spokesmen among Law School faculty and was instrumental in assuring passage of Bok's curriculum reforms.


In conversations during his brief tenure as acting dean. Sacks said he views the role of Law dean primarily as one of leadership rather than one of policy making.

Yesterday he vowed to "do all I can to discharge the [leadership] function of the dean in dealing with a variety of faculty and student groups at the Law School."

When asked whether he had any doubts about accepting the dean's post, Sacks said, "In this day and age, any deanship causes one to ponder." He added he could not imagine a term as dean extended "beyond 10 or 12 years."

"After that length of time, a dean becomes a consolidator of the past," he said.

Two Major Problems

Sacks cited a financial squeeze and pressures to reduce legal education from three to two years as the most important problems facing the Law School during the next few years.

"We have to develop fields of concentration in which students can focus on a particular area during the second and third years," he said. This may include more interchange with the College curriculum and more emphasis on clinical work during these years, Sacks said.

Another of his chief goals as dean, Sacks says, is to "develop new standards to bring about better understanding between students and faculty."

President-designate Bok made the decision to make Sacks permanent dean last week after consulting with President Pusey, Law School faculty members, the School's Visiting Committee and its student-faculty Committee on Governance.

Sure Bet

At times, the selection process took on a perfunctory air because few people at the Law School doubted that Sacks would become permanent dean.

In the guessing game of who else might be the next dean, however, four Harvard professors of Law-Paul M. Bator, Robert E. Keeton, David L. Shapiro and James Vorenberg-and Yale's Alexander Bickel were frequently men-tioned as likely choices.

Most Law students-who for the first time had an acknowledged role in the selection of the dean-preferred Sacks to any of the other candidates from within the School.

Sacks is well known at the Law School for his contact with the student body over the past several years. During the University-wide strike in the spring of 1969, Sacks spent until 5 a. m. one morning discussing grading and governance issues with Law students who were "occupying" the School's library.

It was during that incident that Bok ordered coffee and donuts sent to the library for the students who occupied it.

Sacks, who is also Dane Professor of Law, teaches constitutional law and the legal process. He said yesterday he will continue teaching "half-time" and that he will continue to give his course on the legal process.

At age 50, Sacks has been a member of the Law faculty since 1952. He became professor of Law in 1955 and Dane Professor in 1969. After graduating from City College of New York magna cum laude in 1940, he received his LL. B. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1948.

Sacks served as law clerk to U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Augustus N. Hand for a year after graduation from the Law School, and then clerked for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter from 1949 to 1950.

Also at yesterday's meeting, the Corporation confirmed the appointment of Robert Shenton, registrar of the College, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as secretary to the President and Fellows and secretary to the Board of Overseers.

Shenton succeeds Sargent Kennedy '28, secretary of the governing boards since 1965, who is retiring on August 31. Kennedy, 63, asked the Corporation for early retirement in January.

Shenton succeeded Kennedy once before in 1965, when Kennedy moved from registrar to become secretary to the governing boards. Before that, Shenton had served for three years as assistant to the registrar.

From 1967 to 1969, Shenton was secretary of the Faculty, and last year he served as administrator for the Fellows in the search for a new president.

Shenton, 46, is a graduate of Stanford and of the Stanford MBA program. He also spent two years in the Harvard MBA program before deciding to concentrate instead in History. He earned a Ph. D. in History here in 1962.