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Joseph D. Kearney, dean of the Law School and professor of law, joined Marquette as an assistant professor in 1997. He became an associate professor in 2001 and a professor and dean in 2003. As dean, he led the project of Ray and Kay Eckstein Hall, which opened in 2010.
Kearney is a nationally recognized scholar. His recent book, Lakefront: Public Trust and Private Rights in Chicago (with Thomas W. Merrill), was published in 2021 by Cornell University Press. He continues to teach each semester, with classes ranging from Advanced Civil Procedure to the Supreme Court Seminar.
In the 1990s, Kearney practiced law for six years at Sidley & Austin in Chicago, with an emphasis on appellate and regulatory litigation. He also served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court and to Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Portland, Oregon. Kearney is admitted to the practice of law in Illinois, Wisconsin and various federal courts.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in classics, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1986, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a law degree with honors from Harvard University in 1989.
Kearney is a native of Chicago’s South Side and attended St. Ignatius, the city’s Jesuit high school.