Laura Rothstein

Dean and Professor
Louis D. Brandeis School of Law University of Louisville


Laura Rothstein J.D., Dean and Professor Louis D. Brandeis School of Law University of Louisville The Brandeis School of Law has landed one of the country's foremost experts in the field of disability law to lead the school into the new century. Laura Rothstein succeeding Donald Burnett as dean, who resigned to return to full-time teaching after ten years of distinguished service. During her 26-year legal career, Laura Rothstein has always been on the cutting edge. Although she went to law school because of a keen interest in civil rights, upon graduation from Georgetown University Law Center in 1974, Rothstein landed a job with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, becoming the first woman ever hired in her section of that division. Rothstein was ready to take on the mantle of being the "first and only," an experience that would repeat itself during her career. Georgetown had provided a solid foundation for Rothstein's work as a groundbreaker. "Georgetown was on the leading edge of diversity; my class was 16% women, one of the best rates in the country at that time. I never felt mistreated at all; it was a totally positive experience." Rothstein, whose parents were schoolteachers, soon decided that a teaching areer held the most promise. Her teaching has taken her to five U.S. law schools, where she has encountered a broad range of situations for women faculty. For five years, she was the only tenure-track female faculty member at West Virginia University College of Law in Morgantown. "It's hard to be the only one at the table because you become �the voice' of the under-represented group, if you are the only, the first, or both." Rothstein took this somewhat daunting situation and turned it into a positive one, developing her own unique leadership style as well as a deep interest in issues of race. She also formed solid alliances with women faculty in other university units and helped build the interdisciplinary Women's Studies Program at West Virginia. After leaving West Virginia in 1986, Rothstein moved, with husband Mark and daughters Julia and Lisa, to Houston, where she settled in for a fifteen-year stay at the University of Houston Law Center. At Houston, Rothstein was one of only eight women in a faculty of fifty; yet she and her female colleagues were able to wield some influence. So what was it about the University of Louisville that lured Rothstein away from her position as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Special Programs at Houston? "The key factor in my coming here was the strong commitment to diversity. It's obvious that the commitment here is real, that it's not just �lip service.' I want to build on the the ten-year effort of Dean Burnett to attract a diverse faculty, staff, and student body."