Drexel University has named Daniel M. Filler dean of the Kline School of Law. A highly accomplished legal scholar, practitioner and academic, Filler will ensure Kline Law’s position as a national leader in training law students to be resourceful advocates, while expanding the reach of its programs to attorneys and legal scholars around the world.
Filler is a nationally recognized expert on criminal law, the death penalty and sex offender community notification laws, whose work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A member of the law school’s inaugural faculty and the senior associate dean for academic and faculty affairs, Filler played a vital role in building the faculty and spearheading the creation and execution of a variety of new programs: the Master of Laws in American Legal Practice, the Master of Legal Studies program and the Global Access JD—a program that prepares graduates of international law programs to practice in the United States in as little as two years.
“Dan enjoys the highest respect from colleagues in the legal community. They view him as someone who builds networks, encourages collegiality and brings out the best in new scholars and teachers,” said Drexel President John A. Fry.
Filler has more than 18 years of teaching experience and a wealth of legal practice experience in addition to his scholarship.
“Dan Filler is an exceptional scholar and established leader at the Kline School of Law, and one of the original architects responsible for the rapid rise of our law school’s reputation both locally and nationally,” said Thomas R. Kline, for whom the law school is named. "Filler is uniquely qualified to advance our mission to educate experientially trained national and international law students."
Filler has been appointed to numerous prestigious posts, most recently when the Pennsylvania Joint State Government on Capital Punishment asked him, in 2012, to serve on the Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment. He chaired an American Bar Association team that assessed the fairness and accuracy of Alabama’s death-penalty system—resulting in a report that the U.S. Supreme Court cited in a 2012 ruling that favored a death-row inmate in Alabama. His path-breaking research on sex offender community notification laws was cited by the Supreme Court in its 2016 ruling in Nichols v. the United States.
“Dan was chosen for this leadership role from a list of excellent finalists after a national search that solicited applications from across the country,” said Drexel Provost M. Brian Blake. “We couldn’t be more proud to have found the most qualified candidate was already within our Drexel community.”
Filler practiced for a number of years with the internationally renowned law firm Debevoise & Plimpton and as a public defender with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, as well as with the Bronx Defenders in New York. He has published in leading law journals, including the California Law Review and the Virginia Law Review, among others. In 2008 he created the “Faculty Lounge” blog, which was honored by the American Bar Association’s “Blawg 100” —a listing of the most impactful legal-related blogs.
Before his years with Drexel, Filler was a professor of law at the University of Alabama School of Law, where he established the school’s Capital Defense Clinic.
Filler will assume his new role starting Jan. 1, 2017, succeeding founding dean Roger J. Dennis, who ably served Kline Law and Drexel since 2006. In addition to his continued commitment to maintaining the Kline School of Law’s role as a leader in integrating theory and practice, he plans to expand scholarship and research and place a special focus on new interdisciplinary initiatives. Deeply committed to Kline’s profession-centered civic engagement, Filler also plans to expand the school’s existing focus on diversity and pro-bono work.