Spring 2018

Founder and director of Brooklyn Law School’s Academic Success Program inspired generations of students and colleagues

After 30 years as a faculty member at Brooklyn Law School, Professor Linda Feldman ’83 is retiring this year, leaving behind a remarkable legacy—the Academic Success Program—which she built and led for nearly three decades. As director of the program, she helped thousands of students as a teacher, an ally, a mentor, and a friend. Colleagues have praised her dedication to the Law School, her generosity of spirit, her wise counsel, and her clear-eyed perspective. In recognition of her many contributions, she was named an Icon of Brooklyn Law School and honored with other distinguished faculty and alumni at a gala on Ellis Island in 2015.

“Linda Feldman is the heart and soul of Brooklyn Law School,” says Dean Nick Allard. “Her tremendous dedication to student success has done nothing less than transform the lives of generations of our students who now have flourishing careers in the law and beyond.”

Faculty members added to Dean Allard’s praise.

“One cannot think of Brooklyn Law School without thinking of Linda Feldman,” says Carrie Teitcher, assistant professor of legal writing and LL.M. legal writing coordinator. “She personifies the principle that if students don’t learn the way you teach, then you should teach the way they learn.”

“She is an amazing educator,” echoes Professor Dana Brakman Reiser. “Through tremendous diligence, creativity, and insight, she is able to hone her teaching to best reach her students where they are.”

“Linda Feldman is a nationally recognized leader in her field,” says Claire Kelly ’93, a judge on the Court of International Trade, a member of the Board of Trustees, and a former faculty member. “But it is her selfless dedication to her students and to Brooklyn Law School that has made her one of the most respected and loved professors in the Law School’s history.”

Feldman’s former students often recall her as the faculty member who had the most influence on their law school careers.

“She recognized that everyone needs development, and she helped me make the most of myself,” says Matthew Dunn ’93, a partner and co-chair of the immigration practice at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel. “I feel indebted to her for teaching me how to think like a lawyer.”

Feldman’s ability to bring out the best in her students, and to encourage them to believe in their own abilities, has been the touchstone of her career at Brooklyn.

“Professor Feldman’s dedication and concern is ever present,” says Fr. Patrick Keating ’17, executive director of Catholic Migration Services. “She genuinely cares and is always available for advice or simply a word of encouragement. She added a very human touch to the law school experience.”

Feldman received her B.A. from American University and her M.A. in political science from the New School for Social Research. She spent nearly a decade working as a junior high school social studies teacher in New York City’s public school system. Feldman and her husband Jack Wright ’81 challenged each other to take the LSATs. Their bet: Whoever scored higher would go to law school. They both did well on the test and were accepted to—and ultimately graduated from—Brooklyn Law School. Feldman’s son Matthew Wright is a 2012 graduate. Her other son, Zachary, is a high school English teacher.

When Feldman returned to the Law School as a faculty member in 1988, after five years in private practice focusing on litigation and real estate, the late Dean David Trager asked her to create a program for students who might have trouble acclimating to the law school environment. A year later, she founded the Academic Success Program, which was among the first of its kind in the nation. Since its creation, this innovative program has helped students navigate the rigors of law school and succeed in their careers. When the summer course marked its 25th anniversary more than four years ago, students and graduates gathered at the Law School to pay tribute to Feldman and share their success stories.

Throughout her career, Feldman has been in demand as a speaker on the topic of academic success, and she has spoken frequently across the country. A former chair of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Academic Support Section, Feldman currently serves on its nominating committee. She also is a member of the Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Program and Brooklyn Law School’s Professional Development Committee.

Feldman has received numerous honors, including the Hispanic Law Students Association Award, the Student Bar Association’s Distinguished Alumna Award, and the Faculty Award from the Black Law School Students Association. Most recently, in January, she received the Section on Academic Support Award at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego.

“I look back on my career at the Law School with enormous pride,” Feldman says. “I’ve heard again and again from students that the Academic Success Program, particularly the Legal Process Course, was critical to their ability to succeed in law school. If you hear it often enough, I guess you have to believe it.”