Posted by William Nunnelley on 2001-04-20

John L. Carroll of Montgomery, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Alabama, has been named Dean of Samford University's Cumberland School of Law.

Carroll, a 1974 Cumberland graduate with a Master of Laws from Harvard University, will join the Samford law school June 1. He succeeds Barry A. Currier, who left Cumberland last year to take a position of Deputy Consultant on Legal Education for the American Bar Association in Chicago.

A federal trial judge for the past 14 years, Carroll was appointed by Chief Justice William Rehnquist as one of seven federal judges to sit on the Judicial Conference's Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. That body recommends changes to federal rules.

Carroll practiced civil and criminal law for 10 years, arguing two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a law professor at Mercer University School of Law during 1985-86, teaching constitutional law, criminal procedure and evidence. He has been on the adjunct faculty at the University of Alabama School of Law for the past 10 years.

Carroll was also appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist as a member of the Magistrate Judge's Education Committee of the Federal Judicial Center. He now serves as chair of that committee, which plans and implements education programs for judges throughout the country.

"Few law school deans in America have the breadth of experience of Judge Carroll," said Samford President Thomas E. Corts. "He has demonstrated a devotion to altruism and to the service of others, along with his practice and teaching of law, and his judgeship. He has high principles and common sense that make Samford proud to call him an alumnus.

"We have asked him to lead an intensification of all those strengths that have made the Cumberland School of Law such a successful training ground for practicing lawyers."

A native of Washington, D.C., Carroll earned his undergraduate degree at Tufts University in Massachusetts. He was a Marine Corps flight officer during the Vietnam War, flying more than 200 combat missions.

After the war, he entered Cumberland, where he served as a member of the Cumberland Law Review staff, national moot court team and was student bar president. Graduating from Cumberland, he was named Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery.

During Carroll's tenure on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure committee, the body conducted an extensive study of the class action rules and discovery rules, recommending changes which were adopted by the Supreme Court and Congress. Carroll is currently Chair of the Advisory Committee's Discovery Subcommittee, which is studying problems associated with the discovery of computer-based data.

Carroll is a member of Leadership Alabama and the executive committee of Envision 2020, Montgomery's new long range planning effort.

Cumberland, founded in 1847, is one of America's oldest law schools. Originally part of Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn., the law school joined Samford in 1961. It is the alma mater of Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under President Franklin Roosevelt, and of two Supreme Court justices, nine senators and numerous federal and state judges, representatives and governors.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.