Spring 2019

Brooklyn Law Notes Spring 2019

A Time of Transition at the Law School

It has been an extraordinary honor to lead Brooklyn Law School as interim dean during the past year and guide the school in an important time of transition in its 118-year history. On July 1, we will welcome our new dean and president, Michael T. Cahill, who is returning to Brooklyn Law School after serving as co-dean at Rutgers Law School. He is familiar to many in our community, having spent 13 years on the faculty and as vice dean and associate dean for academic affairs. He is a beloved colleague, noted scholar, skilled administrator, and wise counselor. We are delighted that he is coming back to Brooklyn.

As interim dean, I have had the unparalleled opportunity to view our Law School from a new vantage point and see the significant impact of our alumni, students, faculty, and staff in a fuller way. It has been heartwarming to hear from my former students and have their support and goodwill. I enjoyed meeting with scores of alumni in New York and around the country at events and special gatherings. Your accomplishments and leadership are tremendously impressive, as is your commitment to giving back to Brooklyn Law School and being there for our students. We are grateful for all you do: from helping to recruit prospective students; to mentoring, hiring, and recommending our students for internships and jobs; and providing generous philanthropic support. Please continue to be deeply involved—your enthusiasm and generosity propel us forward.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our students outside the classroom, helping them navigate the challenges of law school and to seize opportunities for their future. Whether at my weekly office hours, during lunches with student groups and leaders, or at town halls and campus meetings, I have been impressed by our students, by their care for one another, and by their passion to use their law degrees to make a positive difference. I am thrilled to preside at Commencement on May 17 and launch the graduating Class of 2019 into successful careers.

As a longtime member of the faculty, I have found it gratifying to help advance the work of my colleagues and to support initiatives that strengthen the academic program. In this issue of Brooklyn Law Notes, you will read about some of this year’s initiatives, including the Dean’s Law and Policy series, a monthly program with our faculty experts that highlights contemporary issues in law and policy and displays the real-world impact of their scholarship. I had the pleasure to moderate these discussions, which prompted lively Q&As on topics as wide-ranging as reform of the U.S. electoral system, international trade, sex crimes in the #MeToo era, and mental health and well-being in the legal profession.

The transformative curriculum initiative that will launch this fall is a prime example of a project that came to fruition thanks to the vision and hard work of our faculty and the strong support of our Board of Trustees. This innovative program will greatly enhance students’ legal research and writing skills, which will be critical to their success. It will simultaneously help them develop their professional identities and envision their career paths. The new curriculum will enable students to see the trajectory of their legal education while they are immersed in it and guide them to make informed choices about their post-law school opportunities.

Serving as interim dean has reinforced my abiding belief in the mission of Brooklyn Law School. Our graduates, faculty, and students truly make a positive difference in a wide range of traditional and emerging legal fields—and well beyond. As I look forward to returning to my teaching and scholarship, I am confident that I am leaving the school in good hands with incoming Dean Cahill, and that Brooklyn Law School will continue to flourish in the years ahead.

Maryellen Fullerton
Interim Dean and Professor of Law