Allan W. Vestal, professor of law and former dean of the University of Kentucky College of Law, has been named dean of Drake University Law School. Vestal, a native of Iowa City, Iowa, will begin his new position on June 1.
In announcing the appointment, Drake Provost Ron Troyer said, “I am absolutely delighted that Allan Vestal will be joining the Drake University Law School as dean. He brings an impressive record as an administrator, is an accomplished scholar and is well known in the national legal education community. I am confident that he will be an effective leader in helping the Law School achieve great things.”
Vestal received both his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from Yale University and is a member of the American Law Institute. He is the author or co-author of more than 30 law review articles and several book chapters, primarily in the area of unincorporated business associations. He also is co-author of the Thomson West treatise on the Revised Uniform Partnership Act.
He joined the University of Kentucky College of Law faculty in 2000 and served as dean for eight years. He returned to the faculty last July and is on sabbatical for the 2008-09 academic year.
As dean, he guided the College of Law through budgetary challenges and made substantial progress on two capital campaigns and the planning for a new building. He also secured additional funding from the state and federal government.
Vestal’s strong commitment to diversity led him to work with the Kentucky Supreme Court to create the Kentucky Legal Education Opportunities program, which provides five substantial scholarships for diverse students annually at each of Kentucky’s three law schools.
At the University of Kentucky, he conceived and secured federal funding for a program to interest diverse middle school students in becoming lawyers and to provide scholarships for diverse students at the College of Law. In addition, he worked with the Appointments Committee to increase the diversity of the faculty, adding four African-American faculty members over the past two years.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to join the Drake Law School community,” Vestal said. “Drake has a wonderful combination of an excellent traditional law faculty together with nationally recognized clinical, legal practicum and writing programs. It is truly a place where accomplished students are prepared to practice law, provide leadership for their communities and serve the public.”
Vestal began his career by practicing law at Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee, Wis., from 1979 to 1982. He went on to become an associate and partner in the Cedar Rapids law firm of Shuttleworth & Ingersoll PC from 1982 to 1989.
From 1989 to 2000, Vestal was on the faculty of the Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he taught in the areas of partnership and corporation law, commercial law and real estate. He also served as associate dean at Washington and Lee in his last year there.
Vestal will succeed Benjamin B. Ullem, a senior partner at the Des Moines law firm of Whitfield & Eddy PLC, who took a leave of absence from Drake’s Board of Trustees to serve a one-year term as dean in 2008-09.
“Ben Ullem has performed admirably this past year while a national search was conducted for a new dean,” Provost Troyer said. “His passion and hard work have been an example to all. He deserves special recognition for his excellent service to the University.”