Allison  Tirres
Allison Tirres
Jennifer L. Rosato Perea
Jennifer L. Rosato Perea
Cynthia  Fountaine
Cynthia Fountaine

The next dean of DePaul University College of Law will be the fourth woman ever to hold the top spot at a Chicago law school.

The school has named three finalists for the vacant dean job. They are, in alphabetical order: Cynthia Fountaine, dean of Southern Illinois University School of Law; Jennifer L. Rosato Perea, dean of Northern Illinois University College of Law; and Allison Tirres, a DePaul professor and associate dean for academic affairs.

The finalists are meeting with groups of faculty, staff and students this week and next. The school does not know yet when the selection will be made.

Bruce L. Ottley’s contract as interim dean — a post he took July 1 — ends June 30.

Fountaine joined SIU as dean in 2010, following 13 years as a professor at what is now Texas A&M University School of Law, where she was interim dean from 2006 to 2008.

At SIU, along with her responsibilities as dean, she teaches a professionalism course and leads student trips to Germany for the school’s legal globalization program.

A 1988 graduate of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Fountaine’s experience in Germany began during the 2009-10 academic year when she taught U.S. constitutional law and U.S. common law methods as a Fulbright scholar at University of Bayreuth.

Rosato Perea came to NIU in 2009 after helping found the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law in 2005 and serving as acting dean during its first year of operation. Prior to that, she spent 14 years as a professor and associate dean at Brooklyn Law School.

At NIU, Rosato Perea has helped open a recruitment office in Chicago and has overseen the expansion of the school’s clinical program, doubling its offerings by adding clinics in foreclosure mediation and health advocacy. She earned her J.D. in 1987 at University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Fountaine and Rosato Perea declined comment.

Tirres joined DePaul’s faculty in 2007. She teaches courses in immigration law and policy, property law and legal history.

“I care very deeply about the institution,” said Tirres, who earned her J.D. at Harvard Law School in 2004.

“I think we have a lot of potential. We have a very accomplished faculty. We have very dedicated students, very dedicated staff. And although it’s a difficult time for legal education right now, I think out of difficulty comes opportunities.”

Founded in 1912, DePaul has had 13 full-time deans. Gregory Mark announced his resignation as dean in January 2014 after three years.

Of the 69 deans in the history of Chicago’s six law schools, three have been women: Nina S. Appel at Loyola University Chicago School of Law from 1983 to 2004, the late Teree E. Foster at DePaul from 1997 to 2001 and Patricia Mell at The John Marshall Law School from 2003 to 2005.

“I think it’s exciting to be in a pool that includes two other women candidates,” Tirres said. “I think it reflects the accomplishments and the further inclusion of women in the legal profession and in legal education.”

DePaul University announced Wednesday that Marten L. denBoer — provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona — would become the university’s new provost on July 1.

The new provost will not be involved in the selection of the dean, though a university spokeswoman said DePaul will make denBoer available to the dean finalists if they are interested.