From the Dean, Spring 2019

Dean Chris Guthrie (Vanderbilt University/Joe Howell)

This edition of Vanderbilt Law highlights our Law and Business Program and its outstanding faculty, including Randall Thomas, the John S. Beasley II Professor of Law and Business. From the time he joined the law school’s faculty in 2000 to direct the Law and Business Program, Randall has helped raise the program’s national profile. His hard work with faculty at the law school and the Owen Graduate School of Management to develop the program and design a curriculum that meets the needs of students who want to practice corporate law has paid off by attracting top students who choose Vanderbilt because of its appeal to legal employers nationwide. About a third of our J.D. class each year now earns an additional credential, either the Law and Business Certificate awarded by the program or an M.B.A. or master of science in finance from the Owen Graduate School of Management. In short, the program is a resounding success.

Former Vanderbilt Board of Trust chairman Mark Dalton ’75 has been a strong supporter of our Law and Business Program since its inception. Mark provided the program’s initial funding and input on the curriculum, and endowed the John S. Beasley II Chair in Law and Business in honor of John Beasley ’54, a beloved admissions dean who, along with former Dean John Wade, guided Vanderbilt Law School to national prominence in the 1970s.

In January, Vanderbilt announced a new $12.75 million gift from Mark and his family that opens an exciting world of possibilities for the Law and Business Program. The commitment includes a bequest that will endow the program in perpetuity and also continues the Daltons’ leadership support for the Annual Fund, giving the law school the flexibility and means to innovate and adapt so that Vanderbilt Law students are prepared for a rapidly evolving legal marketplace.

In addition to the certificate and joint degree programs, the Law and Business Program produces annual conferences, both domestically and internationally, at which prominent scholars, lawyers and business leaders present their work and discuss current legal trends. For the past three years, Vanderbilt has collaborated with the Finance Research Group of the Indira Gandhi Institute to host a conference focusing on emerging market finance. The 2019 conference, organized by Professor Yesha Yadav, was held in Mumbai, India, and featured presentations by legal scholars from Vanderbilt and the universities of Chicago, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oklahoma, Southern California and Sydney, among others, and from universities in China and Hong Kong, Australia, Denmark and England.

The program also hosts guest speakers throughout the year, introducing key legal and business issues to the law school and campus communities. By encouraging knowledge across disciplines, the Law and Business Program prepares students to become leaders in the
legal profession with advanced expertise. Its curriculum is based on the principle that students who graduate with a solid understanding
of how businesses work are able to partner effectively with executives from day one, helping them navigate the laws and regulations governing their activities.

Mark knows firsthand the importance of having curriculum that broadens one’s horizons. As co-chairman of Tudor Investment Corp., he still embraces the lessons he learned in classes taught by two former adjunct faculty members at Vanderbilt Law School: Tom Sherrard, a founding partner of Nashville law firm Sherrard and Roe, and Douglas Hawes, a nationally renowned practitioner. Both sparked his interest in corporate finance and business law. He credits his experience as a Patrick Wilson Scholar for inspiring him to give back to Vanderbilt.

I am deeply appreciative of Mark’s dedication to the law school. His generosity has had an immeasurable impact on Vanderbilt, particularly at the law school, and for that I’m sincerely grateful. The endowment of this program helps secure our standing as one of the preeminent law schools in the nation.

Our outstanding array of academic programs, our world-class faculty, and our engaged, supportive alumni are among the reasons
I was pleased and proud this spring to be reappointed to a third term as dean of Vanderbilt Law School. I am grateful to be at Vanderbilt because of our collegial culture and commitment to producing graduates who are good lawyers and good people.

Sincerely yours,

Chris Guthrie

Dean and John Wade–Kent Syverud Professor of Law

Spring 2019 Vanderbilt Law Magazine