New dean appointed to law school

By Jacob Conde
NewsNet Staff Writer
23 Feb 2004

BYU academic vice president Alan Wilkins announced Kevin J. Worthen as the new dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School Friday, Feb. 20, 2004.

Worthen will officially replace the current dean, H. Reese Hansen, at the end of May. Hansen will step down after 15 years as dean and become a full-time teacher when Worthen takes over.

"I'm feeling alternatively overwhelmed and excited," Worthen said.

During the next few months, Worthen says he plans on learning everything he can about his new position. The more he learns about his new job, the more he realizes his increased responsibility, he said.

Worthen graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1982 first in his class. He has an extensive background in American Indian law, something he began exploring while attending BYU as a student.

"We had at the time a requirement to take 'Horizon' courses (courses designed to give different perspectives on the law) and Indian law was one of them," Worthen said. "I was just fascinated with the subject."

For two years after graduation he clerked for Justice Byron R. White of the U.S. Supreme Court. He developed a love for research and publishing that would later encourage him to become a professor.

Between 1984 and 1987, he practiced law in Phoenix, Ariz. His knowledge of American Indian law was helpful when dealing with clients who did business on the vast Navajo Indian reservation in Arizona.

In 1987 he became a member of the BYU faculty. He has been teaching law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School ever since, except for a semester abroad teaching in Santiago, Chile. He learned Spanish as a missionary in Monterrey, Mexico and was invited to lecture on Indian Laws.

Worthen has three children, the oldest of which is a freshman at BYU. When he is not working, doing church service or spending time with his family, Worthen likes to read and watch sports.

"But I find that I have less free time than I used to," he said.

"Worthen brings to his new assignment a remarkable combination of outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, proven administrative abilities, sound judgment and exceptional personal skills," Hansen said. "He will provide the strong leadership required for the law school to reach its full potential."

Kevin Worthen