Royal Furgeson, a former federal judge, will step down as dean of the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law next summer.
Furgeson will continue working with UNT on fundraising for the downtown Dallas law school he helped establish and push toward accreditation.
The young law school struggled to get that accreditation; it earned provisional approval in June after getting a second chance from the American Bar Association last November. The full accreditation process takes about three years, but students can still take the bar exam.
Furgeson was named dean in January 2012 and started the job in June 2013 after retiring from the bench.
He spoke with KERA last year when the school’s accreditation was on shaky ground. He talked about UNT Dallas’ efforts to build a different kind of law school — one that’s more affordable and targets diverse and nontraditional students.
“The state of Texas saw an opportunity to let us do something different, so they let us come. We’ve got to do something to make sure modest means people and small businesses get lawyers. And people say, ‘There are too many lawyers.’ Well, there may be too many lawyers, but they’re all kind of situated in the wrong place. We need lawyers everywhere. This is a great challenge, and we need to address it.”
Now, with initial approval from the ABA, the law school is focused on growing and moving into its new home, the former Dallas City Hall at 106 South Harwood, in 2019.
The school will conduct a national search for Furgeson’s replacement in the coming months. He'll leave the job on June 30, 2018.
More about Furgeson
Furgeson is the former Senior U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Before that, he served in the El Paso, Midland and San Antonio Divisions of the Western District of Texas. He served as a federal judge for over 18 years.
He’s a native of Lubbock and graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in English. He earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.
After law school, he served the U.S. Army for two years. Following a tour in Vietnam, he returned to Lubbock as law clerk. He was a practicing trial lawyer for 24 years before receiving a presidential appointment to the federal bench.