Alena Allen Becomes First African American Named Dean of LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center

LSU has named Alena Allen dean of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Allen, a Louisiana native, is currently deputy director for the Association of American Law Schools and professor of law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. She will be the law school’s first African American dean.

“Ms. Allen’s experience has the depth and breadth we need to take the Paul M. Hebert Law Center to the next level of excellence,” said William F. Tate IV, LSU President. 

Before joining AALS, Allen served as interim dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law. She had previously been a professor at the University of Memphis Law School.  She resigned in frustration in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, stating in her rejection letter:

“The law school has never had a woman of color attain the rank of full professor…During the past two dean searches, I have sat relatively quietly as the Provost declined to hire the Black decanal candidates despite being ranked higher by the faculty. In my view, a satisfactory answer for why a university that purports to be committed to diversity would do this has not been offered despite me calling the question.”

Allen earned her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Loyola University New Orleans. She is a graduate of the Yale Law School where she met her husband, Lee Harris, who is mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee. The couple has three children Lee, Claudia, and Lucien.

Allen was a law clerk for Judge Samuel H. Mays, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, then for Judge Paulette J. Delk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee. She worked as an associate in the healthcare group at Arnold & Porter’s Washington, D.C. office and the employee benefits group at Baker Botts in Houston, Texas.  

Allen will begin at LSU on July 17, pending approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors.