NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville School of Law (NSL) today announced that Dean Joe C. Loser, Jr. will retire following a nearly 28-year tenure that has advanced the institution into one of the state’s finest law schools. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and NSL faculty member, Justice William C. Koch, Jr. will become the new dean of NSL in July 2014 following Dean Loser’s departure in June 2014.
Justice Koch is a renowned judge who has been recognized for excellent legal scholarship and advancing access to justice throughout the State of Tennessee. He has served on the Tennessee Supreme Court since 2007, and he previously served for 23 years on the Tennessee Court of Appeals where he was the presiding judge of the Middle Section of the Court from 2003-2007. He was named Tennessee Appellate Judge of the Year in 2002 and was recognized as one of the 500 Leading Judges in America in 2006. He joined the faculty of NSL in 1997 and been named 4th year “instructor of the year” three times.
“Justice Koch is one of Tennessee’s most thoughtful and committed judges, and his vast knowledge and experience assure a bright future for the Nashville School of Law,” said Thomas F. Cone, chairman of the NSL’s Board of Trustees. “As we pause to recognize the dynamic expansion of our school during Dean Loser’s distinguished era, it is very rewarding to know that Justice Koch will build on the momentum that has been established. We are honored and delighted to welcome our new dean as we pay tribute to Dean Loser’s important legacy.”
Dean Loser is a 1959 graduate of the school and has significantly advanced the institution during his term as dean. Shortly after Dean Loser’s installation in 1986, the school changed its name to the Nashville School of Law from the YMCA Night Law School. Four years later, the school moved from its longtime home at the downtown YMCA to a location on Sidco Drive. Enrollment at the school increased dramatically under Dean Loser’s leadership, and in 2005, the school moved to its current 30,000 square foot campus on Armory Drive. The new facility features advanced technology, ample classroom and library space, and easy parking and interstate access.
“It has been an honor and tremendous joy to lead the Nashville School of Law for more than a quarter of a century,” said Dean Loser. “Although our school has grown and changed dramatically during this time, the quality and enthusiasm of our students has remained consistently high. I am continually impressed by our students’ drive, insight, and dedication to the law. I will enjoy every moment of my last term as dean, and I know that my good friend Justice Koch will be an exceptional leader for NSL’s next generation of students.”
“Dean Loser has made significant contributions to NSL during his distinguished career, and I am honored to have the opportunity to build on the strong and enduring foundation he has put in place,” said Justice Koch. “My service on the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals has been rewarding and meaningful, and I was looking forward to becoming Chief Justice next fall. However, when the Board of Trustees approached me about succeeding Dean Loser, I quickly realized that I could make no better use of my time and energies than participating in the professional development of the women and men who desire to provide their fellow Tennesseans with excellent and affordable legal representation.”
Before his appointment to the appellate court in 1984, Justice Koch served as Counsel to Governor Lamar Alexander and as Governor Alexander’s Commissioner of Personnel. In addition, he served as Deputy Attorney General for the State of Tennessee. He has served on the adjunct faculty of Vanderbilt Law School and the Belmont University College of Law. Justice Koch earned his undergraduate degree from Trinity College in 1969. He obtained his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School in 1972 and his master of law degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1996. He is a founding member of the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court and the Belmont College of Law American Inn of Court. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of the American Inns of Court Foundation, and he is currently the chair of the Foundation’s Leadership Council.
Prior to his appointment as dean, Dean Loser served for 20 years as a judge on the Circuit Court for Davidson County. He is a member of many professional organizations, including the American, Tennessee, and Nashville Bar Associations and the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court of which he is a charter member. He is listed in Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World. Additionally, he has served as special judge of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Supreme Court of Tennessee. Dean Loser primarily resides in Nashville but is a part-time resident of Fort Myers, Fla.
Mr. Cone added that “Dean Loser is a steadfast, thoughtful, and brilliant leader who has established a new era for the school. We look forward to paying tribute to his work throughout the spring term. The entire Nashville School of Law family is grateful to Dean Loser for his tireless efforts to advance the school.”