“St. Mary’s has one of the nation’s great traditions in developing skills, character and leadership in the law,” said Sheppard, the William H. Enfield Distinguished Professor of Law at Arkansas, where he has worked since 1999. “I am proud of its achievements and look forward to stewarding its mission for the future.”
Sheppard succeeds Charles E. Cantú, who will return to teaching after seven years as dean.
“We are excited to welcome Steve Sheppard to St. Mary’s,” said University President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D. “Steve is a leader. And his emphasis on faculty scholarship and innovative curricula and new degrees impressed our community. We are confident he, working alongside our talented faculty and staff, will lead the law school to new heights.”
While at Arkansas, Sheppard proposed the creation of four academic programs: a non-specialized L.L.M. with student-specific course emphasis, an accelerated degree for foreign lawyers, professional post-J.D. certificates, and a nonprofessional graduate degree in law. He also was a graduate faculty member in Political Science and Public Policy and an advisory faculty member for European Studies and the King Fahd Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Before the University of Arkansas he taught at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich. He has lectured and given papers in numerous universities throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Sheppard, a member of the Mississippi bar, has practiced law with Phelps Dunbar in New Orleans; Jackson, Miss.; and London, primarily in federal litigation and environmental law. He also has served as law clerk to U.S. District Judge William Barbour and U.S. Appellate Judge E. Grady Jolly Jr.
His extensive education includes a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Southern Mississippi as well as a Juris Doctorate and Master of Laws from Columbia University. He also earned a post J.D. certificate in international law and a Doctor of the Science of Law from Columbia, plus a Master of Letters from Oxford University.
His scholarship also includes legal philosophy, constitutional law and legal history, especially the law of war and development of English law. Sheppard is an elected fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London) and an elected member of the American Law Institute. He twice won the University of Arkansas’ Outstanding Mentor Award.
The School of Law touts the nationally recognized Center for Legal and Social Justice and award-winning external advocacy programs. The school has 46 full-time faculty and 30 adjunct professors and distinguished visiting professors.
“To be dean for a school with such a talented faculty and staff, outstanding alumni and engaged students is a humbling but exciting opportunity,” Sheppard said.