Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) announced Poughkeepsie High School class of 1979 graduate Jace Gatewood has been named Dean of the school. Dean Gatewood succeeded Dean Malcolm L. Morris on January 1, 2020 as Interim Dean and CEO, and has now been affirmed by the Board as the permanent Dean. Dean Gatewood became the first African American to serve in the role since the school’s founding in 1933.
Dean Gatewood, who has been a senior member of the faculty since 2008, said “I am deeply honored and humbled to be appointed the new permanent Dean of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. I am thrilled to be able to continue the rich legacy of the Law School as a school that provides opportunity for legal training to those who might not otherwise be able to earn a law degree. For much of its history, women and African-Americans were more welcome at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School than at many law schools, and I look forward to continuing this tradition of diversity.”
Since assuming his interim role in early 2020, the world experienced record events and the Law School required unparalleled leadership to maintain its stability. Chairman of the Board, Dr. Michael C. Markovitz noted “Dean Gatewood has come through brilliantly [the past six months]. The Law School is the better for it and is making plans for this coming year that include, among other things, an improved online learning platform.” AJMLS has continued its J.D. programs remotely and enrolled a strong Fall 2020 class amid the global pandemic.
Dean Gatewood has served in roles such as Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, and Associate Dean of Academic Programs. In addition to teaching, he has chaired the curriculum committee, and been a member of the admissions committee and faculty recruitment committee. Dean Gatewood has taught a range of courses including Property, Business Organizations, Sales and Secured Transactions, Wills, Trusts and Estates, and Agency and Negotiations. As a faculty member at Atlanta’s John Marshall, Dean Gatewood has authored numerous scholarly publications, with his chief research topic being the fourth amendment and an individual’s right to privacy in an increasingly technological world.
Dean Gatewood attended Georgetown University where he was a full scholarship track and field athlete. Becoming the first African American Dean of AJMLS was not his first historic moment, he was also a world and American record-holder for the Distance Medley Relay in 1980. Dean Gatewood went on to earn his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Prior to entering academia, Dean Gatewood practiced for nearly two decades in New York and Atlanta at Weil Gotshal LLP, Troutman Sanders LLP, Powell Goldstein LLP, Atlanta Housing Authority, and the Law Offices of Jace C. Gatewood. He specialized in a wide range of commercial lending and corporate and real estate finance transactions. His expertise includes the representation of lenders and foreign and domestic commercial banks in the establishment and administration of single lender and syndicated loan facilities of all kinds.
“While I understand the symbolism of my being the first African American appointed Dean of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, especially during a period of social unrest in the wake of a national antiracism movement and a global pandemic, my focus as Dean will be to move the school to be a more progressive institution by incorporating emerging technologies into the classroom to enable more innovative and engaging teaching methods and learning experiences,” said Dean Gatewood. “All while continuing the efforts of the Law School to promote diversity and inclusiveness in the legal field.”
Poughkeepsie School District Board President Dr. Felicia Watson was a high-school classmate of Gatewood. “It’s wonderful to hear of the breath of impact a fellow Pioneer is making in the world,” said Watson. “Jace being appointed the first African-American Dean, in a law school whose mission is providing non-traditional students access to legal education, is inspiring.” Dr. Watson continued to praise Gatewood, calling him “A trendsetter, record-holder, exemplary student, and the cool kid who was liked by everyone.”