This summer, Dean Nicholas W. Allard announced the appointment of four new deans at the Law School: Professors Michael Cahill and Dana Brakman Reiser, as Vice Deans; Professor Stacy Caplow, as Associate Dean for Professional Legal Education; and Jennifer Lang, as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. These appointments are designed to reorganize and strengthen the administration of operations, academic and scholarly work, practical education and training for practice, and student services.
“We are assembling an exceptionally strong and experienced administrative team with the talent and dedication to build on the Law School's achievements and to enable the Law School to reach significant new heights,” said Dean Allard. “These appointments reflect both the growth and increased complexity of law school operations, and the need to adapt to the new world of law. Business as usual is not an option.”
“Dean Allard has already instituted changes, with more on the way,” said Vice Dean Cahill, who served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the past three years. “As those changes are taking place, it is critical to have the kind of administrative support and oversight to ensure that we are not only making the right decisions about how to change, but managing the changes well. We also must make certain to implement new initiatives prudently and carefully. The Dean’s reorganization maximizes the best of our personnel and our programs.”
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In his new role, Vice Dean Michael Cahill will function as the Law School's "Chief Operating Officer.” He will assist Dean Allard with external affairs, development, financial planning, supervision of Law School staff and administrators, and management of the Law School facilities. Vice Dean Cahill, who will continue to teach Criminal Law and Property (co-taught with Vice Dean Brakman Reiser), said he is extremely excited about the opportunity to be a significant part of the Law School’s future. “I’m enthusiastic to be shifting gears from managing the curriculum to taking on other challenges, issues, and opportunities. I’m also thrilled, personally and professionally, to be working with Nick, Dana, Jennifer, and Stacy, all of whom are tremendously dedicated and capable, and perfect fits for their roles.”
A noted criminal law scholar, Vice Dean Cahill joined the faculty in 2003 after spending a year at Chicago-Kent College of Law as Visiting Assistant Professor of Law. Prior to teaching, he was the staff director of the Illinois Criminal Code Rewrite and Reform Commission, helping to draft and revise criminal code provisions. He also served as a consultant for the Penal Code Reform Project of the Kentucky Criminal Justice Council. After earning his J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as a Note Editor of the Michigan Law Review, Vice Dean Cahill clerked for Judge James B. Loken of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He also received an M.P.P. from the University of Michigan School of Public Policy and holds an undergraduate degree in Ethics, Politics & Economics from Yale.
Looking ahead, Vice Dean Cahill said he hopes to “support Dean Allard in managing internal resources, and strengthening our external relations with alumni and others who are in a position to help the school or our students, so that our graduates emerge from BLS in a position to flourish and thrive in their careers.”
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Vice Dean Dana Brakman Reiser will function under the direction of the Dean as the Law School’s “Chief Academic Officer,” coordinating faculty responsibilities, working closely with the Registrar's office, managing the curriculum, and generally promoting the intellectual life and scholarly mission of BLS. She will also teach courses in Trusts & Estates and co-teach Property with Vice Dean Cahill.
“My goal as Vice Dean is to promote the excellence of the academic program at BLS, both for the present and the future,” she said. “In doing so, I hope to balance our proven methods with emerging opportunities, such as the new Public Interest/Public Service Fellowships, called ‘PipS,’ and the Center for Urban Business and Entrepreneurship, or ‘CUBE.’ I want to ensure that our academic program equips students with the knowledge, intellectual tools, and skills they need for the evolving legal profession.”
A leading expert in the law of nonprofit organizations, Vice Dean Brakman Reiser joined the Law School in 2001. Earlier, she was a legal fellow in the Office of the General Counsel of Partners HealthCare System, Inc., and served as a law clerk to Judge Bruce Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In law school, she was a Note Editor of the Harvard Law Review. Her recent scholarship focuses on social enterprises — firms that pursue both profits and social good. In the past few years, about half of U.S. states have enacted legislation establishing specialized legal forms for social enterprises. She has critiqued the utility of these efforts from the very beginning, most recently in a piece in Emory Law Journal. Her most current work, with Professor Steven Dean, turns from a focus on organizational form to one on financing social enterprises. They argue that hybrid debt instruments and crowd funding can be shaped to broaden capital access for these innovative firms.
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For nearly 40 years, Brooklyn Law School’s Clinical Education Program has stood among the most respected training grounds for lawyers. Every semester, hundreds of students receive high-quality practical training in its varied clinics and externships, taught by nationally recognized clinical educators.
Behind this success is Professor Stacy Caplow, Associate Dean for Professional Legal Education, who has served as the program’s Director since 1984. In her new role, she will continue to run the Law School’s clinical education programs, but will also lead simulation courses, the Office of Public Service Programs, and other aspects of professional skills and career development.
Beyond shepherding the Law School’s 30 clinics and externships, Associate Dean Caplow has spent the last year developing the PipS Fellowship program in which third-year students work full-time at one of the Law School’s 12 public interest or government partner agencies. She also played a key role in the development of both the new 2-year J.D. program and CUBE.
A pioneering clinical teacher, Associate Dean Caplow teaches immigration law, criminal law, international criminal law, and immigration law-related seminars, as well as co-directs the Safe Harbor Project. She is a prolific writer and recently co-authored a treatise on federal criminal law and procedure. Her forthcoming article about expanding pardons will be published in the Boston University Public Interest Law Journal. She was twice named a first-prize winner in the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) creative writing contest.
Outside of the Law School, she is a member of the Judge Robert A. Katzmann New York Immigrant Representation Study Group. She serves on the board of editors of the Clinical Law Review, as consultant on clinical education to law faculties at Hong Kong University and University College Cork (as a Fulbright Fellow) and in Armenia and Georgia, and on 10 site inspection teams for the American Bar Association.
“Brooklyn Law School has always been a home for exceptional students who seek real-world legal experience,” said Associate Dean Caplow. “They have been lucky to start their careers in clinics taught by energetic and dedicated clinical faculty members. Today, students have more opportunities than ever to gain experience as lawyers before graduation. This is an exciting time in the Law School’s history, and I am delighted that experiential education is being given so much prominence in our future plans.”
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Jennifer Lang, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, was previously the Law School’s Director of Campus Services, where she was responsible for housing, dining and student life. Over the course of her nearly nine years with campus services, she created many new programs for students, including Thursday Night Alternatives — which provided students with tickets to theater, music, and sporting events, all at a discounted rate.
In her new role, she will continue to oversee student life within the residence halls, but will also work with student organizations to create new programs and will serve as a resource for students who require counseling or special accommodation.
Assistant Dean Lang, who holds a Master of Social Work degree, hopes to continue bringing students together to develop a greater sense of community. Her goal is to reach smaller groups of students — those who do not live on campus or in the area, as well as evening, transfer, and LL.M. students. To accommodate the varying schedules of the student body, she has extended the hours of her office from 7:30 am until 8 pm.
“These students can get lost in the shuffle,” she said. “I want them to know that my office is there for them too. I love my new position and I want my office to be a friendly place that all students can come to and get a quick response, share their concerns, and bring ideas to help make the Law School a better place for all students.”