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 Professorship. Dean Treanor joined Georgetown in 2010 and was reappointed to serve a third term beginning July 1, 2020.
Under Treanor’s leadership, Georgetown Law has hired 43 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 a record of over $40 million in annual giving in 2019.
As dean, 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 $20 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.
Georgetown Law’s motto is “Law is but the means; justice is the end,” and Treanor has focused on increasing opportunities for students to pursue careers in public interest law. The newly-established 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 100 graduates to work in public interest jobs, and, in combination with the law firms Arent Fox and DLA Piper, it has launched the DC Affordable Law Firm, a “low bono” law firm where recent Georgetown Law graduates provide legal representation to people of limited means.
Dean Treanor has worked to develop Georgetown Law’s world-class program in law and technology. Currently, the Law Center has 19 faculty experts in law and technology and offers 70 courses in this area. During the dean’s tenure, the Law Center has established the Institute for Technology Law & Policy; the Center on Privacy & Technology; the Technology Scholars Program; and the Georgetown Law Technology Review.
In 2012, Dean 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. National Jurist magazine has named him one of the most influential people in legal education four times. He is a member of the Morristown (N.J.) High School Hall of Fame.
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 and an upper-level course on the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. 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 recently 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,” his doctoral dissertation, has focused on the emergence of judicial review and on constitutional interpretation in the early republic. His forthcoming 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, will be published in the October 2021 issue of the Michigan Law Review.
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 has 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 B.A. from Yale College (summa cum laude), and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
"Kamala Harris’ husband, lawyer Doug Emhoff, to teach next semester at Georgetown," coverage in The Washington Post, December 13, 2020, featuring Distinguished Visitor from Practice Doug Emhoff, Professor Naomi Mezey, Associate Dean Paul Ohm and Dean William M. Treanor.
"Incoming second gentleman Doug Emhoff to teach entertainment law at Georgetown University Law Center," coverage on CBS News, December 10, 2020, featuring Distinguished Visitor from Practice Doug Emhoff and Dean William M. Treanor.
"Kamala Harris’s Husband Named to Faculty at Georgetown Law," coverage in Bloomberg News, December 10, 2020, featuring Distinguished Visitor from Practice Doug Emhoff and Dean William M. Treanor.
"Ahead of the Curve: Teaching Leadership in Law School," coverage by Law.com, December 8, 2020, featuring Dean William M. Treanor, Associate Dean Hillary Sale, Associate Dean Paul Ohm, and Professor Paul Butler.