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MU Provost Announces New School of Law Dean

Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky serves as associate dean of the University of Florida law school; her research focuses on the intersection of tort law and the First Amendment

April 3rd, 2017

Story Contact: Liz McCune, 573-882-6212,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Garnett Stokes announced today that Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky, associate dean for graduate and non-J.D. programs at the University of Florida, will be the new dean of the University of Missouri School of Law, effective July 1, 2017.

“Over a career spanning 25 years, Professor Lidsky has distinguished herself through her scholarship, teaching excellence, leadership and passion for legal education,” Stokes said. “We’re excited to have her here as the School of Law enters a new era of innovation marked by collaboration that strengthens the student experience; contributes to greater scholarly success; and elevates the visibility of the School of Law and MU as one of the nation’s strongest land-grant research universities.”

In her new role as dean, Lidsky will be responsible for strategic planning and budgets; hiring faculty and staff; development activities; and building a climate of excellence in all aspects of the university’s academic mission. She will work closely with other leaders on campus and throughout the entire University of Missouri System to fulfill the school’s mission of teaching, research, service and economic development.

“I am thrilled and honored to join Mizzou Law as it continues its rise into the top tier of law schools in the country,” Lidsky says. “I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the law school’s amazing faculty, staff, and alumni, and to have the support of a state land-grant university devoted to teaching and research excellence.  I’ve always believed that our job as educators is to provide students not only with meaningful careers but with meaningful lives as they define them–whether they want to join sophisticated national or international law practices; work in the public sector; dedicate themselves to public service; develop solo practices, change the world by becoming entrepreneurs; or lead at local, state or national levels. As a dean I hope to help make the highest aspirations of our students into realities.”

Professor Lidsky joined the faculty of the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law in 1994, after clerking for the Honorable Joseph T. Sneed on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

At the University of Florida, she held the Stephen C. O’Connell Chair in Law and served as associate dean for graduate and non-J.D. programs. She has taught torts, social media and cyber law, mass media law, the First Amendment, and constitutional law.

As associate dean, Lidsky recruited students from around the world; initiated and managed a significant number of institutional relationships and partnerships at the University of Florida and abroad, worked intensively with an alumni advisory group, and helped formulate communications strategies.

“Professor Lidsky is an outstanding choice to lead the School of Law,” said Kristofer Hagglund, chair of the search committee and dean of the MU School of Health Professions. “She has a clear passion for the rich tradition of legal education and innovative ideas that will foster Mizzou Law’s success in the changing legal education environment. She is devoted to the ideals of providing an excellent and affordable education to the future legal leaders of Missouri and the region. Professor Lidsky has an impressive record of scholarship and advocacy for students. The members of the search committee and I are impressed with her accomplishments and vision for Mizzou Law. We are all enthusiastic about having her as a colleague at MU.”

Lidksy’s research focuses on the intersection of tort law and the First Amendment, and she is the co-author of the most widely adopted mass media law casebook taught in American law schools. She also has co-authored a First Amendment law casebook and a reference book on Freedom of the Press. Her research on social media includes law review articles in leading journals, with titles such as “Public Forum 2.0,” “Incendiary Speech and Social Media,” “How Not to Criminalize Cyberbullying,” and “Public Forum 2.1: Public Higher Education Institutions and Social Media.” Her research on anonymous speech online has been cited in opinions by state and federal appellate courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. Lidsky also has won several teaching awards throughout her career.

Lidsky will replace Kenneth Dean, who has served as interim dean of the law school since the fall.

“Ken Dean has repeatedly shown a willingness to step up during times of transition, and I am grateful for his willingness to serve both the School of Law and the university as a whole,” Stokes said.

Since 1872, the MU School of Law has produced well-rounded lawyers who are sensitive to ethical issues, prepared to serve clients and ready to be leaders in promoting justice for the State of Missouri and the nation. Mizzou Law alumni practice in every county in Missouri, in 50 states and in 22 countries around the world. MU was the first U.S. law school to offer a master’s of law exclusively focused on dispute resolution and consistently ranks as one of the top law schools in that field. The school is home to 37 full-time faculty and approximately 320 students.