NIU’s College of Law has announced that Associate Dean Malcolm L. Morris will serve as interim dean starting Jan. 1 until a permanent dean is appointed.
Morris will fill the vacancy left by LeRoy Pernell, who will assume the deanship at the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando. Pernell has served as the NIU Law dean since 1997.
Morris has been a professor at NIU Law since 1978 and has served as associate dean of academic affairs since 2003. His areas of teaching include trusts and estates, estate planning, property and e-commerce. He has authored numerous law review articles as well as many practitioner-oriented works.
Morris also directs the Sophomore Summer Institute, a program hosted at NIU Law in partnership with the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO).
Designed for undergraduates interested in attending law school, the primary goal of the program is to help low-income, minority or disadvantaged students succeed in law school. Previously the only program of its kind for the past five years, the Institute at NIU Law is used as a model by CLEO to develop similar programs at other institutions.
An active participant in the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), Morris twice has received a Certificate of Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Association. In 1998, he was the recipient of the Association’s Austin Fleming Award.
Morris is a past chair of the ISBA’s Business Advice and Financial Planning Section Council and editor of “The Counselor,” an ISBA publication. Additionally, he is chair of the ISBA’s Committee on Legal Education, Admissions and Competence. On the national level, Morris served on the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education Bar Admissions Committee and chaired the Donative Transfers Section of the Association of American Law Schools.
Morris also has the distinction of being named among the National Notary Association’s (NNA) list of “The 50 Most Influential People in Notarization in the Last 50 Years,” which was printed in the May 2007 issue of its professional magazine, “The National Notary.”
He distinguished himself in the notary area by teaching the first law school class on notarization and co-authoring the first law school text on notarial law and practice.
Morris was the first editor of the NNA’s legal professionals’ publication. He also serves on the drafting committee as reporter for the Revised Model Notary Act, which will have proposals designed to foster electronic business transactions. He also was the reporter for the Model Notary Act of 2002, as well as the Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility (1998). Last year, Morris was a witness at a Congressional hearing considering a notary bill, and in 2001, the NNA honored Morris with its Achievement Award.
Morris received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He also holds an LL.M. from Northwestern University.