Dean received his commission through Army ROTC at Stetson University in 1969. He earned bachelor’s degrees from Stetson (political science) and the University of Florida (journalism). He served in Vietnam with the Americal (23rd Infantry Div.) in 1970-71, and received his JD from the University of Florida in 1973. He was an assistant dean at UF 1974-76, and has been in private practice in Tallahassee since that time. He has taught legal ethics, served as chair of the Florida Commission on Ethics, and is presently chair of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, which provides guidance to Florida state court judges concerning the Code of Judicial Conduct.