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BC Announces Odette Lienau as New BC Law Dean

Odette Lienau will serve as the new dean of Boston College Law School starting in January 2023, according to a University release

“I am thrilled and honored to join the Boston College Law School community, as I have long admired its fantastic and engaged faculty, student body, and alumni,” Lienau said in the release. “I also believe that this is a very significant moment in legal education—a moment in which BC’s mission and heritage speak to me so deeply.

Lienau will succeed Diane Ring, who served as interim dean after former dean Vincent Rougeau left BC Law to become president of the College of the Holy Cross. Lienau is currently a professor at Cornell Law School, where she formerly served as the associate dean for faculty research and intellectual life. 

“Odette Lienau is an absolutely outstanding choice for our next dean,” Vlad Perju, BC Law professor and search committee member, said in the release. “With erudition and skill, she has shown how law can be used in the area of international finance and beyond as an instrument of emancipation and justice rather than a tool for oppression and domination. We simply could not have hoped for a better dean.”

Lienau graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 2000, receiving a bachelor’s degree in social studies. She then received her law degree from New York University School of Law in 2006 and a doctorate in government and political science from Harvard in 2009.

According to the release, Lienau is an internationally renowned expert on sovereign debt issues. Her research focuses on international economic law, debtor-creditor relations, international politics, and political and legal theory.

“My own work is very interdisciplinary, and I am especially interested in strengthening ties between the law school and the university as a whole,” Lienau said in an email to The Heights. “There clearly is so much going on at BC, and I am excited to collaborate across all the different schools and departments.”

The release said Lienau has worked as a consultant and expert for the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. She is also a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the American Society of International Law, American Political Science Association, and Law and Society Association.

David Quigley, provost and dean of faculties at BC, said that Lienau’s vision and knowledge will help her lead BC Law into the future. 

“Odette Lienau stood out as an accomplished scholar and educator who offered up a compelling vision for the future of Boston College Law School,” Quigley said in the release. “I am excited to welcome her to campus next academic year and to work together to educate the kinds of lawyers our society needs.”

Before working at Cornell, Lienau served as an associate at the New York law firm Shearman & Sterling, L.L.P. She is also the Martin R. Flug Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the Nomura Visiting Professor of International Financial Systems at Harvard Law School.

The release said that while at Cornell, Lienau worked to recognize faculty achievement, support diversity, equity, and inclusion, address COVID-19 challenges, and more. 

“These last several years have seen such upheaval for individuals, the nation, and the world—in struggling with racial justice, the meaning of democratic rule, and the management of a global pandemic and its fallout.” Lienau said in the release. “It is an incredibly important time to educate lawyers who are dedicated to developing their talents to the fullest and finding meaning in their work.”

Lienau’s husband, Aziz Rana, will also join BC Law. He will serve as the provost’s distinguished fellow in the 2023­­–2024 academic year, and then as the J. Donald Monan, S.J., chair in law and government starting in 2024, the release said.

In the release, Lienau said she is excited to start at BC Law and to return to the Greater Boston Area.

“I have heard amazing things about the intelligence, dedication, and commitment to others of BC Law’s students and graduates,” Lienau told The Heights. “I so look forward to meeting and working with all of them, either as students or as recent alums.”

Correction (5/9/22, 2:50 p.m.): This article was updated to correct misspellings of Lienau’s last name.

May 6, 2022
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