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Phyllis Crocker


Phyllis Crocker named dean of UDM School of Law

Phyllis L. Crocker will join the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law as dean on July 1. She currently serves as a professor of Law and recently served as interim dean and associate dean for Academic Affairs at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University.

“The University looks forward to welcoming Professor Crocker to the University of Detroit Mercy community and seeing the many contributions she will make in advancing the School of Law,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Pamela Zarkowski.

Crocker has written extensively on the constitutional, historical, and cultural underpinnings of capital punishment, and she has served on many advisory committees as a nationally recognized authority on the death penalty. She chaired the American Bar Association Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Team that published Evaluating Fairness and Accuracy in State Death Penalty Systems: The Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Report (2007). In 2010, she was named to the Steering Committee of the ABA Death Penalty Due Process Review Project. In 2011, she was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio State Bar Association Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty. She also serves her community as a Commissioner on the Cuyahoga County Public Defender Commission and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

Crocker has been a co-author of the Ohio practice treatise Criminal Law (3rd edition, 2009), including annual supplements, since 2006. She has authored articles and given many presentations throughout her career primarily on the topic of the death penalty. She has received several prestigious awards, most recently the 2010 YWCA Women of Professional Excellence Award and the 2009 and 2008 Cleveland State University Administrative Merit Recognition Award. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Crocker received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

She joined Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1994 and has taught Capital Punishment, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I and II, and Externships. She was associate dean for Academic Affairs from July 2006 to July 2010 and the interim dean from March 2010 to June 2011. Under her leadership, the law school expanded the externship program, adopted comprehensive curriculum reform, completed the fundraising for and construction of a technologically state-of-the-art trial courtroom at the law school, and increased fundraising in key strategic categories, while leading the law school through a university-wide budget reduction process.

“It is an honor to join UDM as the next dean of the law school,” said Crocker. “I am excited to become part of a law school that has such a strong and longstanding commitment to preparing students to be excellent, ethical attorneys ready to represent their clients and serve their communities.”