Chapman University has tapped a former Mississippi prosecutor and law dean to lead its fledgling law school in Anaheim as it seeks to become accredited before its first class graduates next year.
University officials confirmed Tuesday that Parham H. Williams Jr., a professor at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in Alabama, will head Chapman's 2-year-old school as of June 1, succeeding founding dean Jeremy Miller, who resigned the post Friday but will stay on as a tenured professor.
Williams has 25 years' experience as dean at the University of Mississippi law school, which he left in 1985, and at Cumberland, where he stepped down last year to resume teaching at the school, which is accredited by the American Bar Assn.
A graduate of the University of Mississippi law school, he has also served as a district attorney in Mississippi and in private practice.
"I thought I was hanging it up in the administrative sense," Williams said. "But I find the situation at Chapman is intriguing. I was intrigued at the opportunity to build up the law school to one of the finest in the country."
In Williams' favor was his experience as a member of the ABA's site evaluation team, a key component in the organization's assessment of a law school for accreditation.