DePaul Law dean tapped to lead ABA accreditation effort

Jeff Carion
DePaul University

Rosato Perea, who has served as dean of DePaul University College of Law in Chicago since 2015, will be the new managing director of accreditation and legal education for the American Bar Association effective June 1, 2024.

Rosato Perea is in her second term at DePaul and 16th year as a law dean. A longtime advocate of student engagement and professionalism, Rosato Perea is one of only a small number of Latina law school deans in the nation and would become the first woman to serve as head of ABA legal education, which includes the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, its governing council and an ABA program that approves paralegal programs.

She will replace Bill Adams, who has served as managing director for accreditation and legal education since spring 2020. His tenure included managing through the pandemic, which forced most law schools to adopt online course work among other changes. The managing director also is responsible for managing relations with several other legal education organizations and the U.S. Department of Education, which recognizes the council as the sole accreditor of 196 U.S. law schools.

“Dean Rosato Perea brings to the table 16 years of successful experience as a dean at three very different institutions, including a new law school, a public law school and private law school with a religious affiliation,” said Leo Martinez, a former law dean who chaired the nine-member search committee.

“We are thrilled that someone of her accomplishment and experience will be the new managing director.”

Rosato Perea, who has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, will be based in Chicago, overseeing a staff of 20. She also served as law dean at Northern Illinois University and acting dean at Drexel University.

“I have spent over 30 years of my professional life seeking to improve legal education, and I am very excited to continue to pursue that passion as managing director — especially during this crucial time for legal education, higher education and the legal profession,” Rosato Perea said.

In July, Adams announced his intention to leave his position in May 2024. Martinez explained that the search firm Isaacson Miller culled the prospects to about a “dozen promising candidates” and the search committee forwarded three names to the council leading to its selection of Rosato Perea.