Dallas – October 2, 2017 – The University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law has emerged as an industry leader for access, diversity and innovative curriculum under the steady hand of its founding Dean, the Honorable Royal Furgeson (a retired United States District Judge). Today he announced the next phase of his leadership role with UNT Dallas College of Law – Furgeson will step down from his position as Dean on June 30, 2018, and will continue working with UNT Dallas on fundraising for the downtown Dallas law school he helped create and push toward accreditation.

“Royal Furgeson is a true icon in Texas law and his legend has only grown stronger while building our new law school and leading it to American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation,” said UNT Dallas President Bob Mong. “We have been incredibly fortunate to have Judge Furgeson serve the UNT Dallas College of Law since beginning his appointment in 2013 and we’re thrilled that he will continue to serve the students, faculty and staff he loves in a new role that will help prepare our law school for the bright future ahead.”

Working alongside Mong, Provost Dr. Betty Stewart and UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson, Furgeson was instrumental in the UNT Dallas College of Law gaining provisional approval for accreditation from the ABA in June, 2017. Now accredited, the College of Law is focused on strategic growth and will move into a new home – the historic former Dallas City Hall located at 106 S. Harwood in 2019.

“Royal believes the practice of law is a privilege in a free society that should be available to hard-working students from every walk of life,” Jackson said. “His passion for our students and their future service to our state has shaped this young law school indelibly and profoundly.”

Under Furgeson’s leadership, the young law school has been true to its mission of opening access to legal education, implementing an innovative curriculum to build practice-related competencies, and prepare students to take the bar exam, all at a more affordable tuition.  Today the school is the most affordable law school in Texas, is ranked as the third most diverse law school in America, and was recently chosen as one of America’s 20 most innovative law schools for 2017.

Innovation is found in many areas of the law school. Rather than conducting one final exam at the end of each semester, UNT Dallas law students receive multiple assessments throughout every course to identify their progress and where extra emphasis can support success. Doctrinal courses require the usual reading load to prepare for each class, plus graded assignments to challenge students in applying substantive law knowledge through practical applications like drafting documents, negotiation, advanced research, or client communication. The law school has launched two Community Lawyering Centers with students and supervising attorneys to bring legal services to eligible citizens in clinics located in underserved neighborhoods.

“Our goal at UNT Dallas College of Law has always been to equip graduates with practice-related competencies and the practical knowledge to pass the Texas Bar Exam,” Furgeson said. “I’m proud that we’ve done that and I’m proud of the fact that the ABA believes in our approach to law. But most of all, I’m proud of our students – they really are amazing people from all walks of life – and I’m excited that UNT Dallas will allow me to continue serving our law school after my retirement as Dean.”

Furgeson is the former Senior U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Prior to taking Senior Status, he served in the El Paso, Midland, and San Antonio Divisions of the Western District of Texas. He served as a federal judge for over eighteen years.

A native of Lubbock, Furgeson graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and earned his law degree with honors at the University of Texas School of Law, where he was an Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review. After law school, he served the U.S. Army for two years, attaining the rank of Captain. Following a tour in Vietnam, he returned to Lubbock as law clerk to the Honorable Halbert O. Woodward. He was a practicing trial lawyer for 24 years before receiving a presidential appointment to the federal bench.

UNT Dallas will conduct a national search for Furgeson’s replacement in coming months.

ABOUT THE UNT DALLAS COLLEGE OF LAW:
Based in downtown Dallas, the UNT Dallas College of Law was founded in 2013 in order to open access to legal education to the growing Dallas-Fort Worth region and serve diverse, motivated individuals with potential to be effective lawyers serving the community. UNT Dallas College of Law is part of the University of North Texas at Dallas, the only public, accredited University located in the City of Dallas.

ABOUT UNT DALLAS
The University of North Texas at Dallas empowers students, transforms lives and strengthens communities. Perched on a hilltop, overlooking the downtown Dallas skyline, UNT Dallas is the only public, accredited 4-year university in the City of Dallas. UNT Dallas includes the UNT Dallas College of Law in downtown Dallas and is part of the UNT System.

CONTACT:
Paul Corliss
Interim Associate Vice President
Marketing & Communications
University of North Texas at Dallas
972.338.1097 or paul.corliss@untsystem.edu