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Rudy Hasl

Thomas Jefferson dean celebrating quite a year

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This has been a landmark year for Rudy Hasl.

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law leader is finishing his 30th year as dean of an ABA-approved law school – the longest current tenure in the United States.

He also celebrated the opening of Thomas Jefferson’s sparkling new building in downtown San Diego’s East Village. The 25-month project finished on schedule and opened for classes Jan. 18 -- quite a feat considering today’s economic environment.

“We really didn’t miss a beat,” said Hasl, who’s been dean of Thomas Jefferson since 2005. “We were able to get the library moved, which was a major issue, and do all of that (transitioning) basically between the end of the first semester and Jan. 18.”

It’s been a diligent effort working with the construction company and law school team to get the project completed on time.”

The high-tech building is on target to receive a LEED Gold designation – a top environmental achievement – based on features that reduce the carbon footprint, utilize green materials, conserve water, reduce energy consumption and create a photovoltaic forest that produces energy for San Diego.

Rudy Hasl

Officials also acquired a 172-unit building about a block from the law school for student housing.

“It’s so much easier to be able to interact with students,” Hasl said. “We’ve really tried to create what is a total learning environment, with student housing, the access to the healthcare center and having more than enough parking.”

A new campus isn’t the only addition for the school this year. In the next few months, TJSL will be announcing the establishment of a Sports Law Center, centered around one of the nation’s premier authorities on the subject and the author of a nationally used casebook.

“(Athletics is) heavily regulated, and we see that as a developing area of involvement by lawyers in the years to come,” said Hasl, who noted the school’s proximity to Petco Park and a possible new Chargers Stadium makes the course a natural fit.

In late May, Thomas Jefferson is co-hosting a conference on the rule of law in China with Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. Several students from Thomas Jefferson will spend approximately three weeks in China during the course of the summer program, highlighted by the conference on May 27.

The school conducts legal educational programs in India, Brazil, Korea and Japan as well.

Additionally TJSL’s online program in international tax and financial services now enrolls nearly 200 students from around the world. But all of the school’s future progress really starts with the new building, according to Hasl.

“I think we are very nicely positioned now to continue our efforts to reach out to the bench and bar in the immediate (downtown) area and build a stronger relationship,” he said.

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