National expert in legal education, property law named college dean

May 26, 2015 | News, UToday, Law
By Jon Strunk

A national leader in legal education and property law will become The University of Toledo College of Law’s next dean, pending approval by UT’s Board of Trustees, University officials announced today.



Benjamin Barros, associate dean of academic affairs at Widener University’s School of Law in Harrisburg, Pa., will be the college’s next leader following a national search.

“Ben Barros has extensive experience in legal education and in the practice of law at two of the nation’s top law firms, each with an international footprint,” said John Barrett, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “As dean, Ben will bring with him innovative educational approaches that respond to the changes in the legal profession and ensure our law graduates continue to leave UT a step ahead of their peers as they pursue employment.”

Barros said the strength of UT’s law school was one of the key components that attracted him to the position.

“UT’s law graduates have some of the best bar passage rates in both Ohio and Michigan and a big part of that is unquestionably the stellar faculty that comprise the College of Law,” Barros said. “Faculty are regularly advancing national legal conversations in their published scholarship and are frequently the voices media at a national level reach out to for expertise.

“The result is an alumni base that is very successful in the profession and holds many prestigious and influential positions across the country,” Barros said, also noting the college has positioned itself very competitively with its current tuition pricing.

Barros also emphasized the importance of a continued partnership with the local legal community for the college and UT’s students.

Prior to joining Widener University, Barros worked as an attorney at the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP, and before that at Debevoise & Plimpton, both in New York City. He has taught at Fordham University and Catholic University.

Immediately after graduating law school at Fordham, Barros clerked for Judge Milton Pollack of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in philosophy from Colgate University and the University of Maryland, respectively.

Barros is the founding editor of the Journal of Law, Property and Society. He was one of the youngest educators to serve on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools and has served as chair of its Property Section as well as president of the Association for Law, Property and Society.

Earlier this year, he published a textbook on property law with Aspen and Wolters Kluwer and has been published in leading philosophy journals including Philosophy of Science and Synthese.

A recipient of Widener law school’s outstanding faculty award this spring, Barros said student success is the primary goal.

“The most rewarding part of being a law professor to me is seeing the transformation of my students in law school and following their career success,” he said.

Barrett also thanked Daniel Steinbock for his service as the college’s dean since 2011. He also served as interim dean in 2010.

“Under Dean Steinbock’s leadership, UT law graduates passed the bar exam at some of the highest rates in Michigan and Ohio,” Barrett said. “From faculty scholarship, to fundraising, to community engagement, Dan is leaving the deanship in a much stronger state. I know I speak for many when I say thank you for all he has accomplished on behalf of UT.”

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