Letten to take Tulane law post

Jim Letten, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, will join the faculty of the Tulane University Law School this month, according to an announcement made by the university Thursday.

Letten will be the assistant dean for experiential learning, a newly created position. Letten graduated from Tulane Law School in 1979.

Letten resigned from his post as the area’s top prosecutor in December amid a controversy in his office that resulted in the resignation of Jan Mann, his second-in-command, and former federal prosecutor Sal Pericone. The two admitted to using aliases to post comments on NOLA.com stories related to cases they had or were prosecuting.

Letten was the longest-serving U.S. attorney in the nation at the time of his departure.

According to a news release from Tulane, Letten will “lead a major effort at Tulane to expand practical skills training for law students” through coordinating existing skills programs and spearheading new programs to reach out to employers and alumni in the legal world, thus creating more opportunities for students to learn through simulation courses and supervised real-world experiences.

Hiring Letten is a bold statement of the school’s intention to lead legal education reform nationwide, Law School Dean David Meyer said.

“Tulane is already at the forefront of innovative efforts to give students a stronger grounding in law practice while in law school,” Meyer said in the news release.

“With his deep experience and national leadership, Jim Letten is uniquely qualified to spearhead that effort and ensure that Tulane continues to be recognized nationally for its innovation in skills training.”

In January 2011, Tulane Law School launched a “boot-camp,” which gives students a simulated experience of being a young lawyer, earning the school recognition as of the country’s “20 Most Innovative Law Schools” by National Jurist magazine.

“The opportunity to serve in a new and innovative leadership role at my alma mater — especially in forging and advancing innovative strategies to enhance the practical skills of young lawyers facing the ever-changing challenges of the profession — is an honor for which I am extremely grateful,” Letten said in the release. “Moreover, working with Law School Dean David Meyer and his tremendous team of professionals is a privilege for me both personally and professionally. My thanks go to university President Scott Cowen, Dean Meyer and those educators at Tulane who have extended this trust and opportunity to me.”

Meyer said that new initiatives will be launched in coming months to give students more practical lawyering skills, “and Jim Letten is ideally qualified to guide those efforts. We are ensuring that Tulane lawyers are recognized everywhere as both globally sophisticated and able to deliver value to clients from the very start of their careers,” Meyers said in the release.