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Law School selects new chancellor -- 5/18/07

[Editor's Note: The conduct of LSU under former LSU law school Chancellor John Costonis is an issue in the class-action lawsuit against BAR/BRI Bar Review.  The complaint.]

New chancellor specializes in media rights, First Amendment

By Sarah Yokubaitis
The Daily Reveille

The Board of Supervisors named Jack Weiss to succeed retiring Law School Chancellor John Costonis at a special board meeting Friday in Baton Rouge.

"I believe Jack Weiss has the moral and ethical strength, the depth of knowledge, and broad professional perspective to be a great leader for our Law Center," said LSU System President Dr. William L. Jenkins in recommending Weiss' appointment as Chancellor to the Board.

After a long search, the New Orleans native Weiss was chosen over Michael Krauss, Professor of Law at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, VA, and Eric A. Chiappinelli, Professor and Associate Dean for Alumni and Professional Relations at the Seattle University School of Law. Weiss will assume his duties July 1.

Weiss, who currently specializes in media rights and the First Amendment as a partner at New York firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutche, has previously served as an as an adjunct professor of law at LSU, Tulane, and Columbia universities in addition to a long legal career in Louisiana and New York.

"The LSU Law Center has a proud tradition and a bright future. I will do my best to protect both," Weiss said in a statement "With strong support from alumni, the LSU System, the State, and Chancellor Costonis, challenges remain, but I am confident that, working as a team, we can meet those challenges together."

Weiss is considered one of the nation's leading experts on the First Amendment, and was named one of the top media and entertainment litigators in New York by Chambers USA's America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2006. He has represented The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Gannett, Inc., The Washington Post, CBS, ABC, CNN and The Associated Press, and while practicing in Louisiana, The Advocate and The Times-Picayune.

Weiss also represented Time Inc. and reporter Matthew Cooper before the U.S. Supreme Court for their refusal to reveal confidential sources in the investigation of whether White House officials illegally leaked the name of CIA official Valerie Plame to the press.

Weiss graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1968, and received his law degree magna cum laude from the Harvard Law School in 1971. While at Harvard Law, Weiss served as Managing Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Gail B. Agrawal, Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Kansas School of Law, who nominated Weiss for the LSU post, described him as "a strong and effective leader."

"Jack Weiss has strong academic credentials, substantially better than those of many full-time legal academics," Agrawal wrote in her recommendation, adding that Weiss, as an adjunct professor of law at LSU, Tulane, and Columbia universities, had taught more classes than many sitting deans.