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Jim Roth Named Dean of OCU Law School

Jim Roth has been named Dean of the Oklahoma City University School of Law. He will begin his term on July 1, 2018. Jim is an OCU School of Law alumnus and has spent his professional life dedicated to public service. We sat down with Jim for a Q & A.

What made you want to return to Oklahoma City University?

The Oklahoma City University Law School changed the trajectory of my life by instilling new values like servant leadership. I have always admired that OCU is committed to helping create lawyers with a consciousness and a solemn responsibility for upholding the rule of law and for doing good in the broader community. We educate lawyers from communities large and small, in all types of legal roles. Each day, they are confronted with every aspect of American life. I well recall as a law student in the Gold Star Building on the main campus in the early 1990s that every day I would walk past a framed picture of a lawyer defending widows and orphans, and it conveyed a lasting message to me: to walk the walk as a lawyer and do good things for those in need. That’s the school I am excited to serve.

What are your immediate goals as the new Dean of the Law School?

My hope is that the law school, through its vision, hard work and its location, becomes the beating heart at the center of our city and our state, for the sake of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community. And even beyond the legal community, where I hope we expand our very important, close ties, I believe we have a role to assume, a beating pulse or vibe if you will, in the broader economy and social fabric of this community. I believe that Oklahoma City University is uniquely situated to do these things for all communities for many years to come. I want to improve upon the student experience and help the law school train great lawyers and leaders that greatly move their own lives, and in turn, our city and state, forward.

Do you believe being an alumnus will impact how you approach the job? If so, can you elaborate?

As a kid growing up in Kansas City I wasn’t very familiar with Oklahoma, but during the site visit to OCU Law School, the recruiter assured me that the university could teach me critical thinking and “the theory of law,” in addition to the practice of law. I was exploring law schools throughout the Midwest, but I am forever grateful for that recruiter promising to broaden my horizons. I was curious then, and am even more curious now, thanks to OCU. Plus, my dad told me to go south because the people are friendlier.

I believe that being an alum will give me a unique, special connection with those attending and serving the school, because we have a shared experience and a connection deeper than any job. It’s more like a family feeling and I want everyone in the family to succeed.

Do you view the school as Oklahoma City’s law school? If so, what do you think that means for the future?

Yes and even more than that. The Oklahoma City University Law School is firmly rooted in the hearts and minds of Oklahoma City and we are home to that same robust spirit that has made the city great. The can-do Oklahoma City attitude that sets us a apart from other parts of America, is also that special attitude that brings focused learning, world-class ideas and practical, hands-on experiences integrated into OCU Law in the heart of this city. Our doctrinal education certainly goes and grows beyond any geography, but when paired with experiential skills in the surrounding judiciary, business, industry, government and Oklahoma’s non-profit sectors, our graduates are job ready and destined to do well, and to do good. That reality bodes well for everyone’s future.

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