An Announcement from Dean Erika Chamberlain

March 20, 2024


After seven years as Dean of Western Law, I have decided to step down at the end of June.

While I have a range of personal and professional reasons for this decision, it has not been an easy one to make. I have loved my time as Dean, and I have been fortunate to work with so many dedicated colleagues, students, and alumni. I am proud of what we have achieved together.

This has been an exciting time for Western Law. We have initiated many new opportunities for our students to engage with the law, including through our new Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Clinic, externship programs, and both scholarly and applied research projects. We have introduced new programming in professionalism, established a range of student wellness supports, and enhanced EDID initiatives at all levels.

This year, Western Law is launching our first-of-its-kind Summer After 1L (SA1L) program, which will provide a guaranteed 10 weeks of paid, meaningful legal experience to our students through clinic positions, research assistantships, and placements at community agencies and advocacy organizations across Canada. This is a great opportunity for our students to gain new skills and experience while providing support to underserved communities.

I am also proud to have led an extensive period of faculty renewal, overseeing the appointment of 17 of our current 39 full-time faculty members. This has included our first Canada Research Chair, two endowed Chairs, and colleagues with a wide range of scholarly and personal backgrounds. I am excited to watch the faculty build on its existing and emerging research strengths in the years ahead.

Of course, it is impossible to reflect on my time as Dean without mentioning the COVID pandemic, which presented personal and professional challenges for all of us. Western Law rose to the occasion, providing the most extensive in-person programming of any Canadian law school in 2020-21. This was only possible due to the dedication and hard work of every member of our community. I believe that our students greatly benefited from the chance to personally interact with each other and with their professors during that critical first year of law school.

One of the most rewarding parts of my job has been to work alongside student leaders, whether in the Student Legal Society or through orientation, advocacy, and community outreach efforts. I have constantly been impressed by their maturity, energy, and concern for their classmates. They make me highly optimistic for the future of the profession.

Finally, it has been a privilege to get to know so many outstanding Western Law alumni, and I have been proud to see them appointed to the bench, chosen for leadership roles in their firms or organizations, or excelling in business, public service, and the arts. They have been exceedingly generous in giving back to Western Law through their time, talents, and philanthropy. I am especially thankful to our newly-established Western Law Advisory Council and Young Alumni Advisory Council, who will help promote the interests of the law school and our graduates.

Andrew BotterellThe University will begin the formal search process for a new Dean in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I am delighted that Professor Andrew Botterell, who currently serves as Associate Dean (Academic), will be the Acting Dean for one year beginning July 1. Andrew is an experienced academic leader, having served as Chair of Philosophy from 2016-2019 and as Law’s Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) from 2019-2022. I know that Western Law will continue to thrive under his leadership.

It has been my distinct honour and privilege to serve as Western Law’s Dean since May 2017.