B.A., Yale; J.D., Yale; Ph.D., Harvard
William M. Treanor is the Dean and Executive Vice President of Georgetown University Law Center, and he holds the Law Center’s Paul Regis Dean Leadership Chair. Treanor joined Georgetown in 2010 and was reappointed to serve a third term as Dean and Executive Vice President beginning July 1, 2020.
Under Treanor’s leadership, Georgetown Law has hired 69 new faculty members; tripled the number of experiential offerings for students in its clinical, externship, and practicum programs; and experienced its most successful era of fundraising, culminating in over $80 million in giving in the last fiscal year.
Treanor has worked to advance Georgetown Law’s commitment to affordability and access. During his tenure, Georgetown has more than doubled financial aid; raised nearly $24 million dollars for the Law Center’s scholarship program for exceptional students with significant financial need; and launched the RISE program, which provides academic support for students from historically underrepresented groups. The Law Center also created the Early Outreach Initiative which brings the Law Center’s dean of admissions, current law students, and alumni into urban high schools across the country to encourage student interest in pursuing careers as lawyers.
In keeping with Georgetown Law’s motto, “Law is but the means; justice is the end,” Treanor has focused on increasing opportunities for students to pursue careers in public interest law. The Blume Public Interest Leaders program provides full tuition scholarships, mentors, and specialized programs to a select group of students who wish to pursue careers in the public interest area.The Law Center has also initiated a program of post-graduate fellowships that have enabled more than 350 graduates to work in public interest jobs, and, in combination with the law firms ArentFox Schiff and DLA Piper, it has launched the D.C. Affordable Law Firm, a “low bono” law firm where recent Georgetown Law graduates provide legal representation to people of limited means.Treanor has worked to develop Georgetown Law’s world-class program in law and technology. Currently, the Law Center has 16 full-time faculty experts in law and technology and offers over 80 courses in this area. During Treanor’s tenure, the Law Center has established the Institute for Technology Law & Policy; the Center on Privacy & Technology; the Technology Scholars Program; Center on Inclusive Trade and Development; and the Georgetown Law Technology Review.
Georgetown’s commitment to equity and inclusion is rooted in its founding as a Jesuit institution. Central to this commitment has been Treanor’s work to make Georgetown Law a more inclusive and equitable place. In 2021, Treanor announced the launch of Georgetown Law’s first-ever Inclusion Council. Since its inception, the Council has reimagined and made recommendations for the structure of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, including the hiring of a new Chief Diversity Officer. The Council is also developing a long-term strategic plan for the Law Center, and designing an approach to inclusive pedagogy across research and teaching for all faculty.
In 2012, Treanor was recognized by the National Law Journal as a “Champion” because of his work to “uphold the profession’s core values.” In the same year, he received the 2012 David Stoner Uncommon Counselor Award from the David Nee Foundation for his efforts to raise mental health awareness among law students. The National Jurist magazine has named him one of the most influential people in legal education five times. He is a member of the Morristown (N.J.) High School Hall of Fame. In 2020 he was elected into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences for law and education. Most recently, he was selected for the inaugural Honorable Robert A. Katzmann Award for Academic Excellence by the Burton Awards.
Treanor’s areas of academic expertise include constitutional law, property law, criminal law, intellectual property, and legal history. At Georgetown Law, he has taught a first-year legal justice seminar, an upper-level course on the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, and, most recently, leadership courses. His writings have principally been in the area of constitutional history, and he has been recognized as one of the 10 most-cited legal history scholars in the United States by the University of Chicago Law School’s Brian Leiter. His early work largely focused on the history of constitutional protections of private property. His articles were selected three times by the Land Use and Environment Law Review as among the year’s finest, and his article “The Original Understanding of the Takings Clause and the Political Process,” 95 Colum. L. Rev. 782 (1995), was recognized by the Land Use Professors Blog as the most cited land use article of the past 30 years. Treanor’s more recent work, including “Judicial Review before Marbury,” 58 Stan. L. Rev. 455 (2005), has focused on the emergence of judicial review and on constitutional interpretation in the early republic. “Judicial Review before Marbury” was cited in the Moore v. Harper (2023) majority opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts. His latest article, “The Case of the Dishonest Scrivener: Gouverneur Morris and the Creation of the Federalist Constitution,” a study of the changes that constitutional convention delegate Gouverneur Morris and the Committee of Style made in preparing the Constitution’s final draft, was published in the October 2021 issue of the Michigan Law Review. W.W. Norton will publish his upcoming book, Fathers of the Constitution: Triumph, Tragedy, and the Creation of the American Republic.
Before coming to Georgetown, Treanor was Dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law at Fordham Law School, where he began teaching in 1991. He also served in a variety of positions in the government, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice; Associate Counsel, Office of Independent Counsel during the Iran/Contra investigation; Speechwriter to the United States Secretary of Education; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia United States Attorney’s Office; and Special Assistant to the Chair of the New York State Commission on Government Integrity. He was law clerk to the Honorable James L. Oakes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Treanor has a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a B.A. from Yale College (summa cum laude).
"Georgetown Law instills leadership development, bolsters tech law," coverage in the National Jurist, May 11, 2023, featuring Professor Hillary A. Sale and Dean William M. Treanor.
"U.S. News delays law and med school rankings amid questions about data," coverage in The Washington Post, April 21, 2023, featuring Dean William M. Treanor.
"Amid rankings revolt, U.S. News teases new list of law, medical schools," coverage in The Washington Post, April 11, 2023, featuring Dean William M. Treanor.
"U.S. News and World Report Has a New, Aggressive Defense of Its Rankings. Law School Deans Like Me See It for What It Is," an opinion piece by Dean William Treanor, in Slate, March 13, 2023 .