Faculty Spotlight — Meet Dean Sandra Sperino

Dean Sperino joined the Mizzou Law faculty in 2022 and has already hit the ground running as associate dean of research and faculty development.

By Anna Sago

A first generation undergraduate and law student, Sandra Sperino applied to law school not quite sure of what her life would look like as a lawyer, or where her career in the legal field would take her.

Though Sperino, now an associate dean and Elwood L. Thomas Missouri Endowed Professor at Mizzou Law, spent a brief period working in journalism and public relations after college, she was looking to take on something more intellectual.

“I was looking for an academic challenge,” Sperino said. “I just knew that law school was hard and rigorous and a good course of study. So, I got the LSAT study book, read it, took the LSAT, then applied to law school.”

Sperino graduated with a joint master’s degree in journalism and law degree from the University of Illinois, with plans to stay in the communications field as a media lawyer. After graduation, she clerked under a federal judge in St. Louis before going into private practice.

Life, however, eventually took her a different direction.

During her time in law school, Sperino worked for a professor as a research assistant. The two stayed connected, and the professor suggested that she apply for a fellowship teaching at her alma mater. Though she had never thought about a career in academia, she decided to apply.

During that fellowship, Sperino narrowed her scholarly focus to employment discrimination issues. Her scholarship explores employment discrimination law, especially where it intersects with torts, civil procedure, statutory interpretation, and alternative dispute resolution.

Before coming to Mizzou, Sperino taught full time at the Temple University Beasley School of Law and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

As the new associate dean for research and faculty development, Sperino’s primary responsibilities are teaching, scholarship and providing support to the faculty.

Mizzou has been a perfect fit so far.

“Mizzou is a wonderful place,” Sperino said. “The students and faculty are amazing. I feel lucky to be part of this community.”