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Valerie Couch selected as new OCU law school dean

U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Couch, of Oklahoma City, has been selected as the new dean of the Oklahoma City University School of Law.
BY RANDY ELLIS Published: December 4, 2011

U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Couch of Oklahoma City, has been selected as the new dean of the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Couch will be the university's 12th law school dean and first woman to serve in that position.

“This is a remarkable Christmas present for OCU,” said OCU President Robert Henry. “Judge Couch will be an exceptional dean. She has been involved with our law school as an adjunct faculty member for a decade and her rapport with students and faculty is sterling, as is her reputation within the legal community.”

Couch, 60, was selected after a yearlong, nationwide search. She will succeed Lawrence Hellman, who elected to step down as dean to head the law school's Oklahoma Innocence Clinic, which is dedicated to identifying and helping people wrongfully convicted of crimes.

Couch said her love for OCU and appreciation for the university's many contributions to the community are among the many factors that prompted her to accept the job.

“The other thing that influenced me was just their own aspirations to grow and develop as a law school, and they are really poised to move forward in an upward trajectory,” she said. “I knew that I would love to be a part of that effort.”

Couch said she has a number of ideas about ways to improve the law school experience that she would like to discuss with faculty and students.

“I think the development of more clinical experience there is going to be a big part of the task ahead,” she said.

“There are also opportunities to create centers of excellence like in natural resources and energy law. I think that might be a direction the faculty will want to go. It takes a lot of planning and a lot of collaboration to make decisions like that, but there are great opportunities.”

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