Northeastern University has appointed a new dean of the School of Law: James Hackney, an accomplished, long-serving professor in Northeastern’s law school who has also held key administrative roles in more than two decades at the university.
Hackney, who begins as dean on July 1, has served as associate dean for entrepreneurial programs and research support and associate dean for academic affairs within the School of Law. He joined the Northeastern University School of Law faculty in 1992, teaching courses in areas such as torts, corporate finance, financial institutions regulation, corporations, critical race theory, and law and economics.
Most recently, Hackney has been a member of the university’s Senior Leadership Team as chief of staff and senior strategy advisor to Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun since 2016. In this role, he has developed and executed a number of presidential initiatives and served as a primary liaison between university leaders. He was also heavily engaged in developing Northeastern 2025, the university’s academic plan.
“This is a tremendous opportunity,” Hackney said. “I believe we’re in a position to do great things and make an impact in the future. There are so many things happening at the university that tie into the exciting initiatives at the law school. Working in the president’s office really opened my eyes to the many possibilities.”
Hackney said his goals as dean include continuing the School of Law’s leadership in public interest and social justice, identifying opportunities for collaboration across the university, and building up the law school’s three centers: the Center for Health Policy and Law; the Center for Law, Innovation and Creativity; and the Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration.
As associate dean for entrepreneurial programs and research support from 2013 to 2015, Hackney directed online programs, helped faculty identify research funding opportunities, negotiated external partnerships, and led important discussions around curriculum with faculty members. His responsibilities as associate dean for academic affairs from 2006 to 2009 included managing course scheduling for faculty, developing the curriculum, conducting teacher evaluations, and providing guidance to students.
“James brings a wealth of administrative, academic, and teaching credentials to this role, positioning the school to make great strides in the coming years,” James C. Bean, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, wrote in an email to the Northeastern community on Wednesday announcing Hackney’s appointment.
Hackney has written two books: Under Cover of Science: American Legal-Economic Theory and the Quest for Objectivity and Legal Intellectuals in Conversation: Reflections on the Construction of Contemporary American Legal Theory. He has earned the law school’s Teacher of the Year award five times, and delivered the faculty address at the law school’s Commencement five times; chaired and-or participated in four separate American Bar Association accreditation teams; and presented at prominent conferences hosted by Harvard University and McGill University, among others, as well as at the AALS annual meeting.
Prior to joining the Northeastern faculty, Hackney was an associate with the Los Angeles law firm Irell & Manella. He holds a juris doctor from Yale Law School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Southern California.
Hackney succeeds Jeremy Paul, who has served as dean since 2012. Paul will continue as a member of the law school’s faculty. Bean, in his message to the university community, thanked Paul for his leadership.
“Jeremy has clearly paved the way for school’s continued upward trajectory,” Bean said.