UNLV is pleased to announce Sara Gordon as the interim dean of the William S. Boyd School of Law, effective July 1.
“Sara Gordon is a gifted professor and leader in the law school who is dedicated to excellence,” said Chris Heavey, UNLV executive vice president and provost, noting the Boyd School of Law consistently ranks high on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best public law schools in the country.
Gordon is a professor of law who joined the school in 2006 and has served as the associate dean for academic affairs since 2018. She teaches courses in criminal law, mental health law, and evidence and is a member of the law school’s Health Law Program. She steps in for Dean Daniel W. Hamilton, who announced in April he will be leaving the post.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the law school through this transition,” Gordon said. “The UNLV Boyd School of Law has been dedicated to developing ethical and effective lawyers and leaders since it was established more than 20 years ago. I look forward to working with our faculty, students, and community partners to ensure that our law school continues to provide a quality education to our students and access to justice for all Nevadans.”
Gordon’s research examines how psychology and mental health intersect with the criminal justice system. Her recent research examines drug and other specialty courts, which were originally intended to divert people with criminal charges out of the criminal justice system and allow them to instead receive treatment for an underlying mental illness or substance use disorder. She has written extensively about the barriers faced by people with mental illness involved in the criminal justice system. Her articles have been published in the North Carolina Law Review, the Illinois Law Review, the Cardozo Law Review, the Indiana Law Review, the Tennessee Law Review, and the Hastings Law Journal.
Prior to joining the faculty at Boyd School of Law, Gordon practiced commercial litigation and employment law at Hale Lane, now Holland and Hart, in Las Vegas. She earned her juris doctor from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers School of Law, where she was the managing editor for the Arizona Law Review. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Pitzer College in Claremont, California.
Boyd is consistently ranked among the nation’s best law schools by U.S. News & World Report, and this year rose two places to 60th out of 193 accredited programs. For the fourth consecutive year, the school’s Lawyering Process Program ranked No. 1 nationally for legal writing, and the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution moved up one place to 5th in the dispute resolution category.
The part-time juris doctor program also remained among the nation’s best, ranking 19th this year. The part-time program offers courses in the evening, allowing students who are employed full-time to earn a law degree in four years. Other top-100 law school programs in this year’s national rankings include Health Law (32), Clinical Training (40), Contracts/Commercial Law (45), Tax Law (60), Criminal Law (66), Constitutional Law (67), Intellectual Property (71), Business/Corporate Law (73), Environmental Law (73), and Trial Law (79).