The resignation was announced Tuesday by Provost Chaouki Abdallah, who said it will be effective July 1. Herring will remain at the law school as a tenured faculty member.

“It’s just a poor fit between me and the law school faculty at this point,” Herring said. “I have certain goals that I articulated from the beginning when I joined this law school about two years ago. The faculty was excited about those goals but now they’ve changed their minds so it’s time to part ways.”

The goals he had highlighted were a “rigorous assessment of student learning outcomes” and to “create incentives for faculty to pursue interdisciplinary, empirical scholarship.” Assessments of student learning outcomes are now required by the American Bar Association for accreditation, Herring said.

The search for a new dean has already begun and the hope is to have an appointee by July 1, according to a UNM press release. Only senior law school faculty will be considered in the search for a permanent dean.

Input from leaders within the law school community will be taken into consideration, according to the press release. This is because of the dean’s multiple roles, which include participation on judicial selection and on the Judicial Compensation Committee.

“I welcome David’s continued contributions on behalf of the law school and the University as he has indicated to me how much he is looking forward to developing further his scholarship and teaching,” Abdallah said in the press release.

Deans are typically hired on a five year basis but the median amount of time that law school deans last is just over two years, Herring said.

“It’s a difficult environment right now in legal education,” said Herring. “A lot of law schools, not this law school, but a lot are shrinking both their student body and faculty so it’s just a lot of pressure. Also, because of that, a lot of faculty are trying to figure out where they should go and what the goals should be. There’s a lot of uncertainty. I think it’s a dynamic time where there’s a lot of change open.”

Before coming to UNM in 2013, Herring taught at the University of Pittsburgh for 23 years and served as the dean for seven years.

Marielle Dent is a news reporter and web editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @Marielle_Dent.