June 24, 2021 : By Office of Communications & Public Engagement
The Liberty University Office of the Provost has announced the appointment of Joseph J. Martins, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a professor of law at Liberty University School of Law, as the school’s interim dean.
Martins will begin his new role July 1. Keith Faulkner, the current dean, announced in April that he has accepted a new position as President and Dean at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., and is leaving at the end of the month after serving close to six years at Liberty.
“It is with great excitement that I welcome Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Joseph (Joe) Martins to the role of interim dean,” Faulkner said. “Dean Martins is prepared for this post, and he possesses the skill set to excel in leading the faculty, staff, and students through this period of change. Joe is a great teacher, an accomplished scholar, and a respected leader. His leadership style is very collaborative and effective, and his care for the Liberty Law community runs deep. I am thrilled he has taken this opportunity to lead an amazing group of servants.”
Martins joined the faculty of Liberty Law in Fall 2011. Before coming to LU, he spent five years in public interest law as a constitutional litigator and two years in private practice as a civil litigator. His constitutional litigation focused primarily on cases involving the freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion, and academic freedom on public university campuses. Several of the cases he litigated yielded published decisions in federal courts around the country.
Martins also serves as Director of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Liberty Law. He has lectured extensively on a wide variety of constitutional issues as well as the jurisprudential foundations of law and of America’s legal system. At Liberty, he has taught courses in Civil Procedure, Foundations of Law, First Amendment, and Jurisprudence.
Martins holds a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia and a J.D., Order of the Coif, from the University of Tennessee College of Law.
“Liberty Law has a great team of not only world-class professionals but compassionate individuals who remain focused on their students’ needs,” said Dr. Scott Hicks, Liberty’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer. “We are thankful for the fruit of their labors and look forward to continued success with Professor Martins as our interim dean.”
Martins’ new position comes at a time of sustained growth for Liberty Law. This past year marked the highest number of applications to the law school since its opening in 2004. During Faulkner’s time at Liberty, Liberty Law earned its first top 10 ranking of law schools in the nation for bar passage rates; in 2018, Liberty Law placed the highest out of all law schools in Virginia, surpassing University of Virginia School of Law and William & Mary Law School. Liberty Law has also been recognized as a Best Value Law School and noted for its success in placing graduates into jobs in the legal profession. It has become well-known for its practical skills program and experiential learning opportunities, including national wins for its competition teams, as well as for its service and outreach to the community.