Margaret Sova McCabe, professor at the University of New Hampshire School Of Law, has been named dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law. Her hiring is effective July 1.
Sova McCabe will replace Stacy Leeds, who has served as dean since 2011. In 2017, Leeds was named interim vice chancellor for economic development and is expected to remain in the position.
“We are grateful to Dean Leeds for her seven years of leadership to the law school,” Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said. “Her dedication to students, commitment to diversity, interest in faculty development and inclusion of our alumni and members of the bench and bar have created a tangible legacy. I know she will bring the same energy and rigor to her role leading the university’s economic development efforts.”
Sova McCabe will be the third consecutive woman to be dean of the law school and 13th since it was founded in 1924. Based on the recommendation of a campus search committee, Provost Jim Coleman selected Sova McCabe after a nationwide search, making the UA law school the second in the United States to be led by three consecutive women deans, according to the UA.
“We are grateful to the search committee for finding professor Sova McCabe and bringing her to Arkansas to lead the law school,” Coleman said. “She is a nationally recognized expert in food and agriculture law and policy, a highly regarded classroom teacher and an effective administrator with a proven track record.”
Sova McCabe has been active in university, community and professional committees, task forces and work groups in her career, according to the UA. She’s served in leadership roles for national professional organizations, such as the Academy of Food Law and Policy, Food and Drug Law Institute, Association of American Law Schools Agriculture and Food Law Section and Food Solutions New England.
“I’m excited to move to Fayetteville and to become part of the U of A family,” Sova McCabe said. “I’ve seen the University of Arkansas School of Law transform under the leadership of Dean Stacy Leeds and Dean Emeritus Cynthia Nance. They have been instrumental in the school’s maturation, and I look forward to expanding on their success through a commitment to collaboration, communication and excellence.”
In 2007, Sova McCabe become a faculty member at the University of New Hampshire, and she’s been a tenured full professor since 2012 for the public, land-grant, flagship university. She also spent five years in two associate dean roles there.
From 2014 to 2017, she was associate dean for academic affairs, and from 2012 to 2014, she was associate dean for academic administration and special projects. She oversaw the school’s transition from a standalone private law school to part of a public research institution, was responsible for compliance with external accreditation standards and developed a culture of proactive engagement, according to the UA.
She has published doctrinal, interdisciplinary and pedagogical articles and blogs. She’s taught administrative process, agriculture and food law, writing for practice and administrative law clinic in partnership with New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. She’s taught law and graduate students and was an affiliate faculty at the university’s Carsey School of Public Policy, a Food and Society Initiative faculty fellow at the university’s Sustainability Institute and a faculty fellow at the law school’s Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Service.
She’s also served as an attorney for New Hampshire Department of Safety and had a private practice. She is a member of the Maine Bar and the New Hampshire Bar. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College in 1992 and law degree from the University of Maine School of Law in 1995. There she served as articles editor for the Ocean and Coastal Law Journal.