Illinois Appellate Court Judge Warren D. Wolfson has been named interim dean of the DePaul University College of Law, the university announced today. Judge Wolfson will assume leadership of the college Aug. 15.
"Judge Wolfson has enjoyed a distinguished career that includes extensive experience in legal education in addition to judgeships and private practice," said Helmut Epp, provost. "We are proud to welcome this accomplished legal professional, who possesses a comprehensive understanding of both the teaching and practice of law."
Judge Wolfson brings to the deanship a wealth of expertise garnered throughout a remarkable legal career that includes 33 years on the bench and extensive academic experience.
Judge Wolfson was first assigned to the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1975, elected to a full term in 1976 and retained in that position through five consecutive terms from 1982 through 2006. He also was assigned to the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, in 1994. Prior to his career on the bench, Judge Wolfson spent 18 years in private practice, specializing in criminal defense.
"I was greatly honored when DePaul leadership approached me last month and asked me to consider joining the university," said Judge Wolfson. "I am dedicated to building on the accomplishments of DePaul’s law students and its distinguished faculty, where I have a number of friends with whom I look forward to working."
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke praised Wolfson’s selection. "The Appellate Court’s loss is DePaul University’s gain," she said. "He mentored me on the court. He had a reputation as one of the state’s finest criminal lawyers when he was practicing and became one of our finest judges."
An expert in criminal law, evidence and trial advocacy, Judge Wolfson earned impressive credentials as a legal educator. He taught for 15 years at the University of Chicago and served as an adjunct professor, instructor and lecturer at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law since 1971, teaching courses in evidence and trial advocacy and directing the trial advocacy program. Judge Wolfson also has taught or conducted workshops for such organizations as the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Education and the Illinois Judicial Conference.
Judge Wolfson has written extensively on trial evidence and advocacy and is the co-author of several books, including "Materials in Trial Advocacy: Problems and Cases" (Aspen Publishers, 6th edition, 2007) and "Trial Evidence" (Aspen Publishers, 4th edition, 2009).
Judge Wolfson has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to the legal profession as both a judge and educator. Among them are the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Advocacy from Stetson College of Law in 2009; Chicago-Kent College of Law Recognition for Dedication and Commitment to Legal Education in 2003; National Institute for Trial Advocacy Distinguished Service Award in 1999; Chicago Council of Lawyers Commitment to Justice Award in 1993; and Illinois Public Defender Association Award of Meritorious Service in 1989.
A Chicago native, Judge Wolfson earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1955 and a law degree from the from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1957.
Judge Wolfson has long been an involved member of the Chicago legal community and expects to expand opportunities for DePaul law students while keeping the law school on its path as an innovator in legal education.
He was appointed to a two-year term as interim dean. A national search will be launched next summer to fill the deanship permanently.
Established in 1912, DePaul’s College of Law enrolled 1,044 students in the 2008-2009 academic year and is ranked in U.S.News and World Report’s top 100 law schools. The college’s many distinguished research centers and institutes focus on issues such as health law, intellectual property and international human rights law. Included among DePaul’s alumni are state and federal judges; municipal, county and state leaders; and two generations of Chicago mayors.