Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner, an Assistant Professor of Law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law with more than 15 years of law practice experience in the country, has been appointed Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, the nation’s only law school and the University of Liberia’s first professional school founded in 1954, the University of Liberia said in a press release issued over the weekend.
Cllr. Warner was appointed by Dr. Emmet A Dennis, President of the University of Liberia, replacing Cllr. David A.B. Jallah, who has been promoted to the position of University Counsel, heading the University Legal Unit of lawyers and paralegal personnel. Cllr. Warner’s appointment took effect on July 1, 2016. At a well attended turning over ceremony held on Friday, July 1, in the Conference Room of the Law School, Counselor Warner told the gathering, which included the Chief Judge of the Commercial Court Eva Mappy Morgan, officials from the University Administration, the leadership of the law school student body, among others, that he was both humbled and challenged by the preferment. “I feel both humbled and challenged by the confidence reposed in me and by the goodwill expressed by others before here and even by you through your presence here and by the remarks that are being made,” said Counselor Warner, as he took over the deanship. In humility, Counselor Warner acknowledged the presence of the faculty, some of whom he said taught him in law school, and explained heartily how Dean Jallah, the man he was replacing, wrote recommendations on his behalf as he (Warner) sought advanced study. He paid tribute to Dean Jallah and promised to build on what he said has been achieved ‘very remarkably’ by the outgoing Dean. “And in that respect, I see myself reaching out to everyone to see how we can build on three pillars that should be carrying us toward two key objects that I see,” Counselor Warner added. “So I am taking on this position with both the sense of humility and awareness and what it takes to be a team leader to build the school,” he continued. “And in that way, I imagine that my own focus as I work with you would be toward intervention in three areas: ‘our people,’ ‘our processes’ and ‘partnerships.’” He defined ‘our people’ to mean the faculty, staff and students of the law school, and likened the law school to a management firm with an objective that focuses on staff development, processes and partners to improve its products and its place in the market place. For his part, the outgoing Dean said he was glad that one of the products of the law school was taking over from him. “I am happy today for one fact that the person who is succeeding us is one of us, Dean Jallah said with smiles. “I have always told my faculty—and they will attest to that, even Negbalee—‘I say I am developing a faculty that if I walk away today, any one of you can replace me.’ And this is evident by the fact that Professor Negbalee Warner is coming. I am happy that after he has been confirmed all of the other faculty members are with him and will work with him. And I appeal to them to give him greater support than you gave me.” As Dean, according to Counselor Warner’ letter of appointment, he will serve as the administrative supervisor with direct responsibilities for academics and operations of the law school; and he must develop and transform the school's curriculum to meet local and regional demands as necessary, while maintaining international academic standards, values and excellence. Additionally, he must efficiently and effectively implement a high quality curriculum as well as supervise, monitor and evaluate the school’s faculty whose instructional competence would be beyond reproach. Faculty development has been designated as another key focus area that must claim the new Dean’s attention, and this should take him by no surprise, because since the ascendancy of President Dennis, the University’s academic profile has been strengthened in several decanal units, including the law school, where more than 22 Law faculty between 2009—’15 were sent abroad and returned with advanced degrees. As such, the new Dean must now tower endlessly to increase the proportion of law faculty who will attain the LLM degree or above and promote research and other relevant activities of the faculty that will enhance their scholarly growth and promotion, among others, the letter admonished. Prior to his appointment, Counselor Warner served as Assistant Professor of Law at the Law School, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2000. A number of key positions and consultancies have followed since: Assistant Counsel and Executive Director of Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of Liberia; First head of the Secretariat of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) and, in that capacity, led the drafting of the LEITI Act; Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Justice; Consulted widely for public and private institutions, including the World Bank Group, UN Agencies, and the Carter Center and Founding Partner, Heritage Partners and Associates Law Firm. Counselor Warner is a member of the Liberian National Bar Association, the New York Bar Association, Board of Examiner of the Supreme Court Bar, Republic of Liberia, among others.