Archive for "dean search"
So what’s gonna happen in 2015?
I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen in 2015.
I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone, we’ll all be gone (unless you are doing the joint-degree thing).
“You” means current BLS students – whether friend or enemy.
The school’s tuition will be, oh $52,000? Maybe?
Most of the same teachers will be here.
The 50/50 rule will still apply*.
90% of the class will be employed 9 months after graduation.
$106,000 will be the median salary.
The time is now 5:01 PM (date: 4/15/12) and I’ve just gotten off the phone with a senior in high school from Loomis Chaffee—my alma mater. I told her, after an extremely long-winded monologue about my one-act play that was banned at Loomis, the classmates at law school that I have from Loomis, this election, and the election that took place my freshman year at Loomis, that I would give her $20 on the condition that someone at the Loomis Chaffee alumni relations department put me in touch with a Chapter 11 attorney at a big law firm in New York City for the purposes of an informational interview so that I will know (since I can’t get in their doors through OCI) how I can transition into that job in three or four years, so that I will know what I must accomplish. I told her that if no one ever got in touch with me, I would not donate next year.
If BLS does the same thing, we can solve our funding problems. The school must make an effort to implement this permanent solution to a purportedly temporary problem. If it does not, then BLS in 2015 will look exactly the same as it looks in 2012.
The Cubs will not win the World Series in 2014 (or 2015 – the image from Back to the Future Part 2 is unclear—though ostensibly, the World Series is not yet over by October 21 of any year, so it seems as if 2014 is the intended year) because the Miami Marlins will not be in the American League. However, it is not for this reason that this prediction will be inaccurate.
The prediction will be inaccurate because the Cubs are a team that is fundamentally based upon the idea of lovable losing and ridiculous drunken celebrations of victories that are inconsequential in the long run, but oh-so-sweet in the moment. The prediction will also be inaccurate because Theo Epstein is at the helm.
Theo Epstein is regarded as a wunderkind that will implement “moneyball, etc.” strategies in order to win. Profits will go up if the payroll is kept relatively low and the team is successful (though, the Cubs will always be popular).
The Cubs are basically the same thing as Brooklyn Law School. Except they are a for-profit corporation. Remember, Wrigley v. Schlensky, people [that have studied Corporations]?
We don’t want to put the lights on because we don’t see how that’s going to increase our revenue. Our neighborhood is opposed to evening games. Moreover, you haven’t provided sufficient evidence that if we put your plan into effect, we’re guaranteed to profit.
For the sake of not getting into a long-winded analytical breakdown, assume arguendo that the next sentence is accurate: Nicholas Allard is basically the same thing as Theo Epstein. However, we know less about him. Theo took the Red Sox to their first championship in many, many years. The Cubs got Theo because they wanted him to take them to their first championship in 106 years (most Cubs fans are in agreement that Theo’s “system” will “pay off” in 2014). The General Manager of a baseball team is like the Dean of a law school. You’re in charge of building the team. The Professors at law school are more like the coaches of the baseball team. Obviously, the students are the players. Some of us have to spend a bit more time in the farm system—and indeed some of us will never leave the farm system—but we will be called up when it is clear that we are able to perform at the Major League level. The President of a law school is most like the owner or controlling stockholder of the baseball team. (I am not going to follow up this sentence with anything.)
More problematic, as a friend recently pointed out to me, is that Theo came to a team that was already pretty successful. They hadn’t gone to the Series, but they had consistently battled with the Yankees for the top spot in their division (until those pesky Rays did their own “strategic overhaul”). After it seemed inevitable that Theo would be leaving, the Red Sox suffered a collapse of monumental proportions at the end of the season, thwarting their playoff prospects. The Cubs have dismantled their team (just yesterday, Marlon Byrd was traded to the Red Sox, ironically). Prospects for the future are speculative at best – so we must simply have faith that things will work out for us, eventually.
Here’s hoping the world still doesn’t suck in 2015 for the Cubs, and for BLS students.
Christopher J. Knorps is a 2L at Brooklyn Law School. He enjoys studying bankruptcy law. He is a die-hard Cubs fan.
*As of 4/19/12, the 50/50 Rule is hereby amended to the 40/60 Rule (cool students are now outweighed by un-cool students). Please note that it has not been amended to the 5/95 Rule.
The BLS Advocate sat down with Nick Allard, the incoming dean of Brooklyn Law School, when he was in town on April 2nd, for a casual lunchtime Q&A at Panera Bread. We were fortunate that he brought along his lovely wife and high school sweetheart, Marla, who helped us get to know the real Nick. This is the final part of our 4-part interview by David A. Shapiro, ’12, with additional questions from Julie Adler, ’12. Parts 1-3 are available here.
NA: Marla has three superpowers. One is that she can get anybody to talk about anything at any time. The second superpower is if we go to a restaurant or any place else, there could be a huge line—she’ll walk right in. And the third superpower is she can return any item to any store at any time without a receipt, even if the store doesn’t sell the item.
DS: That’s a powerful skill.
NA: She can return a prom dress to a hardware store.
DS: Will you guys be at the rope-line at Cipriani? Will you guys be lobbying the big firms and stuff like that on behalf of students? Where can we spot you?
NA: I don’t know what kind of mythical idea you have there, but we will be lobbying—I will be lobbying on behalf of Brooklyn Law School period, full stop. In all the different arenas. Maybe that’s why the Board and the faculty thought it was a good idea to, you know, hiring a professional advocate, it’s not such a bad thing.
DS: What do you say to a student right now who is unemployed and very worried about getting a job?
NA: It’s very hard. Don’t give up. It’s not easy and we will give you all the possible support that we can. We can’t get the job for you, can’t guarantee a job, but we understand how tough it is, and we know finding a job is not about numbers, it is about individual people.
DS: What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
NA: Why choose? Look at me—you can tell I’ve got plenty! There are a lot that I really like. I like Queen!
DS: I have not been there yet.
JA: Me neither.
DS: How many times you been there?
NA: Just look at my waist-line. Tip: The Caprese salad is to die for, but there is enough Mozzarella for the defensive line of the Jets. And, uh…
MA: We tried Noodle Pudding.
NA: Noodle pudding I like.
MA: And the Happy Diner on Montague Street.
[cross-talk about Diner’s correct name]
NA: I love Happy Days. Happy Days is well-named.
JA: I always pass by it and I’ve never been inside it.
MA: You order there and boom, it’s there. It’s like magic, you order and in three seconds, it’s there.
NA: I like Happy Days and I like the St. Clare.
MA: Oh, have you been to St. Clare Diner on Smith Street?
MA: Can you tell we like it? We’ve been there three times recently—that is how much we’ve been there.
DS: Which one is that? Is that the 24-hour one? Oh I haven’t eaten there, either.
MA: Guys, if you get a dinner there, you can take home enough for three nights.
JA: Really? I have to go [there]!
DS: So you guys have been around here.
JA: Yeah, you guys know this place better than we do.
NA: You may forget this, but first of all, my son recently worked for a summer in the Brooklyn DA’s office. I was sworn in at Cadman Plaza for the New York Bar.
MA: Our son lived in Brooklyn.
NA: Park Slope.
MA: Now he’s in Manhattan, but he worked one summer at the DA’s office.
JA: Where is he now?
MA: He’s at Columbia [Law School].
NA: My mother was born in Brooklyn and my grandmother worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She was a navy nurse.
JA: That’s where we have our annual Barrister’s Ball. The law school prom.
MA: The Barrister’s Ball! How fun is that?
DS: Yeah, you are invited to that, as well.
MA: What exactly is the Barrister’s Ball? A formal dance?
DS: Yeah, it’s our prom. Law school prom.
MA: You have a law school prom! Aww!
DS: Yeah, I wore a tux and everything.
JA: You’re going to be there next year, so get excited.
MA: Is it a real big deal?
DS: Yeah, lots of people go.
MA: We are the world’s worst dancers, I will say that.
JA: That’s okay. Normally the deans don’t dance, so…
DS: You won’t be expected to dance. You could start a tradition.
NA: A man has to know his limitations.
MA: We’re really bad dancers.
DS: That’s all right—come up with a dance.
NA: I’m like the Priest Brother in Saturday Night Fever.
MA: We’re Chatty Cathy’s. But we’re bad dancers.
JA: Yeah you’ll just schmooze at the ball, that’s okay. They won’t make you dance.
DS: I think that’s all.
JA: I think we’re done!
MA: I think getting to know the students is so fun, I really do.
The BLS Advocate sat down with Nick Allard, the incoming dean of Brooklyn Law School, when he was in town on April 2nd, for a casual lunchtime Q&A at Panera Bread. We were fortunate that he brought along his lovely wife and high school sweetheart, Marla, who helped us get to know the real Nick. This is part 3 of our 4-part interview by David A. Shapiro, ’12, with additional questions from Julie Adler, ’12. Parts 1 and 2 are available here.
DS: Brooklyn Law School also has a very vibrant public interest community, foremost after CUNY in all of New York, and one of the top five probably in America.
DS: Recently this past year they actually cut the summer grants for public service—
DS: — from 5 to $3,000. That makes it very difficult, if not impossible for several students to do public interest work. Will you be able to restore the grant size to 5,000, or will you work to make sure that happens?
NA: I know that the faculty and administration (and I) are not only very committed to the importance of public interest work, they’re very sensitive to the impact that having to reduce those funds had, and so we’ll do everything we possibly can to provide adequate funding. Finding a way to support public interest law is very important to me personally – it’s something I’ve written about. You’re talking to someone who, given my family background and our resources growing up—we had to figure out how to pay for everything, our rent and everything else—so we know about making it on a student budget. People look at my resume and they see Princeton, Oxford, Yale, and they just assume I was born with a silver spoon in my ear. But that’s not the case. And so I appreciate the importance of people helping you along the way, but also appreciate in a practical way how you have to figure out how to pay for everything while you are getting your education and training. You know, Marla and I have been at this for a long time. I asked her for some cash the other day, and she said, “what are you talking about—I gave you three dollars yesterday!” [NA and MA laugh] So, you know she has a very tight fist on the family fisc. Fist on the fisc.
DS: So we just got, I think, a million dollar gift—was it for federal judicial internships for the summer?
NA: I don’t know. I know that came in, and that’s great! The more the better.
DS: And will you continue to seek out those grants and—
NA: Fundraising is one of the things I do, and I do think that President Wexler has been very successful at that and I intend to support her and help her and the law school turn over every stone to find every dime we can. And, you know, for example, helping you with your auction.
DS: I guess, well, that leads to two more questions about your relationship with President Wexler. So as far as we understand it, she’ll be stepping down in two years time — is that accurate? — and so you’ll become the Dean and there will be no more President position?
NA: Here’s what I’m focused on—I’m going to be the Dean of the law school and, you know, she is the President of the law school. And what the future holds, I leave that to the Board. And I want to tell you that Joan Wexler has had a remarkable impact on building this law school and an impact on the community. And she deserves a tremendous amount of credit over a long period of time—I mean it’s been twenty-five years that she’s been making a contribution. And at a time when she was really a pioneer. And so I give her a huge amount of credit. I deeply respect her and I look forward to learning from her and working with her.
DS: Do you understand that many students are skeptical of her leadership?
NA: Well I have a great amount of respect for her and for her leadership.
JA: Do you think the dual power structure is a good thing, and do you understand the need to have a Dean and a President filling two different roles?
NA: I actually see it as an advantage for me in ensuring a smooth transition and so I have no problem with it, and if I did I wouldn’t be here. I’m quite enthusiastic, and she has enormous strength and savvy which I don’t think she’s given enough credit for. And so I really think there are a lot of advantages. Most independent law schools have this President and Dean structure. And often it’s one person, but it doesn’t have to be one person. I think the fact that the Board is willing to have two people, you know, work on these things—actually, it’s pretty impressive that they’re going to, at least for the foreseeable future, have somebody attend to, you know, whatever the Presidential functions are specified in the bylaws, and then have the Dean who is freed up maybe from some of the day-to-day financial management, real estate work, and be able to devote attention to career services and education, curriculum, all of that–it’s great. I mean can you imagine just starting from ground zero and not having your predecessor there. It doesn’t mean we’re going to agree on everything.
DS: If you don’t agree on things, how do you foresee that taking place?
NA: He’s such a good reporter.
DS: Thank you.
NA: We’ll find out. You know, if we don’t agree on something, we’ll work it out—we’ll keep working until we reach agreement. You know it’s—I haven’t been married for 38 years without having some experience with give and take. Though one thing Marla and I agree on is the give and take isn’t even steven. About the only thing I think I learned and remember from studying moral philosophy at Oxford is this: When I am alone in the woods and Marla is not there, and I say something, I am still wrong.
DS: Do you plan on creating or reshaping a school identity?
NA: Well here’s what I plan: I plan on facilitating Brooklyn figuring out what it wants its future to be and then getting there. It’s not for me to come in and say “this is who you should be.” It doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas. In that regard, I mean I really do believe that Brooklyn Law School can aspire to being the 21st century—the model of a 21st century law school by combining critical scholarly thinking with the very best professional training. And what I mean by that—is that BLS can produce the leaders of the future who will have the capacity not only to be leaders today, but they can anticipate how law is changing, look around corners, look ahead, and find solutions to the problems no one has seen before. And that’s a wonderful aspiration for the law school and for me.
JA: Do you feel like you have a better grasp of this, given the fact that you don’t come from a background of academia? Because I feel like a lot of, you know people from your generation who went to law school around the same time you did—if you ask them for career advice, they’ll say, “what do you mean? Just get good grades and go through OCI and get into a big firm—that’s how you do it.” And I feel like you have such a deeper understanding of how things are right now; is that because you’re so immersed in practice everyday, as opposed to somebody who’s coming in from academia?
NA: I—my DNA makes me—distrust conventional wisdom. I mean, you can’t be the author of an article titled “Lobbying is an Honorable Profession” and be somebody who just goes along with mainstream thinking. And my own career—my own career has been very fulfilling and worthwhile, but it hasn’t been traditional. When I started out after two clerkships, I went with the Washington office of a New York firm. It was at a time where everybody with my kind of background was told if you’re serious, you have to go to the main office, not the branch office. I didn’t listen. I thought there was more opportunity at the branch office. Then I went into public service from a law firm. I mean, you know, working in the Senate. And then I went from the Senate working for another Senator, which is unconventional—you usually don’t change senators—and then only back to private practice but with time off from politics. I am just giving you personal examples. I’m always sort of—have a different view about career options. And then I think the capstone of that is having the sheer audacity to believe that I could go from private practice into academics. So, you know, I’m not someone whose followed the traditional career myself. So I‘m very skeptical of narrow thinking about careers and jobs. I hope that answers your question.
DS: So you mentioned the auction—so how do you foresee participating in the auction and with other pro-bono events and longer-term projects?
NA: Well I expect, look, first of all, we’re going to be fully engaged in not just education but also the life of the law school. Now you kind of teased me—I think it was you when I first met students—about mentioning Art Fleming, which really dates me by referring to Fleming instead of Trebek. [laughter] But we’ll certainly participate in Jeopardy. I mean all of that stuff—because we like those activities—and love it because that’s the way [Marla and I] are. And so we’ll be fully engaged. But certainly for the auction, you know, it could be—Marla and I could cater and serve a dinner at your place for you, so you have two of us as caterers and servers—these are examples, don’t hold me to these—or, you know, a weekend in Washington at our place with tickets to the Shakespeare theater in Washington, and, or, you know, lunch at the Palm in Washington with three legendary lobbyists: Tom Boggs and Senator Breaux and Senator Lott. You know, stuff like that, which I’ve done in the past. I’ve participated in auctions before. Another thing that might be of interest and maybe, in fact, some alumni who [have high school-aged children might] contribute is I can auction off three college application counseling sessions—because I’ve been very involved and I do this and I’ve written about “Navigating the College Admissions Process”—so three one-hour counseling sessions for a student. So David and Julie, you can buy that for a brother or sister…
DS: Don’t feel limited. Feel free to donate all of that.
NA: Well we might, we might do that. I mean I have to spend some time being your Dean. I mean, those are just some ideas. We understand the concept. It’s fun, it’s fun to do.
[We explain that the auction already happened this year.]
NA: Good because [Marla] was getting nervous about catering and me dropping dishes.
DS: Next year, next year.
The BLS Advocate sat down with Nick Allard, the incoming dean of Brooklyn Law School, when he was in town on April 2nd, for a casual lunchtime Q&A at Panera Bread. We were fortunate that he brought along his lovely wife and high school sweetheart, Marla, who helped us get to know the real Nick. This is part 2 of our 4-part interview by David A. Shapiro, ’12, with additional questions from Julie Adler, ’12. Part 1 is available here.
DS: In terms of your relationship with professors, there are some young professors rumored to be considering leaving, either because of family or for other reasons. Do you have ideas to keep them here or raise salaries or do anything like that? Have you heard the same rumors?
NA: So, the prospect [of departure] and the attractiveness of the faculty [to others] is a healthy worry to have. If that wasn’t a possibility or concern, then you’d have a big problem. And I don’t mean to be flip—[it is] just like [the way] I’m leaving my law firm, and my firm is completely embracing that. They’re not happy to see me leave, but they say that it reflects well on them, and that we’re going to continue to have a positive relationship. The fact that other law schools want the Brooklyn Law School faculty is an emblem of respect. But, now having said that, I will tell you as a law dean, two things that will keep me up at night and have already kept me up at night, [are:] one, how to retain and attract top legal scholars, and two, how to make career services work even better for the students. Those are the two—there’s many, many things, but those are the two big things [that might cause sleepless nights]—and so, I will tell you, and without getting into great, great details, that I have already had several conversations with leadership in the faculty and administration, about faculty retention and recruiting, and I’ve also, the very first meeting I’ve had since they made the offer—this morning, [for my] very first meeting I went over to career services, sat down with them [and discussed the future]—and so, this is not an idle, intellectual concept. I really mean it.
JA: Is there anything you can share about your meeting with career services?
NA: I think it was very positive. I really appreciate the challenges of this difficult time over the last three years. I think I made it clear to them by showing up that career services was a priority for me. And that I wanted to hear from them what they needed to succeed. I made it clear to them that I’d like to innovate. And I think that they were very receptive to innovation. And that includes opening up new opportunities beyond traditional ones for jobs. I can help personally with outreach. And I tend to be very hands-on in assisting, in giving additional help with that— I am very committed to helping individual students. And one of the things I liked to hear from them, which I heard from them loud and clear, and which I believe, is that career counseling and support is not about numbers—it’s about individuals, it has to be customized. And it’s quite personal. And it takes a lot of effort. So I really like that message that I heard from them. And that is something specific I can share with you: that they understand that career services is not about numbers, it’s about people.
DS: What do you feel about the lawsuit filed against Brooklyn and other law schools and especially as incoming dean, and how will you face that in the future?
NA: Um, I’m not going to comment on the litigation. I will note that in New York, the lawsuit was dismissed already [against New York Law School] — I’ll just note that, I’m not going to comment on it. What I embrace is the message that law schools need to provide effective career services, and also that you can’t just do what you’ve always done, because the nature of the legal profession and legal services is changing, and so law firms and public institutions and governments are going to be hiring law school graduates to do a different array of things than they’ve done in the past, and so how do you address that? Plus, there’s untold new opportunities. Frankly, I think that the future for young lawyers to use their legal muscle, which is their brain, is more interesting and more challenging. Because you can find more economical ways to do law research or document handling and the other kinds of tasks, and so there will be more of a premium for people who can do the three A’s—analysis, advice, and advocacy. Analysis, advice, and advocacy. Everybody thinks, oh you know, “we’ve never seen a tougher time,” and “everything is so bleak,” and for years, lawyers [have been] saying “oh, it’s no longer a profession.” And the work is more business and drudgework. Well I think that maybe because of the economics and new technology, we may be headed into an era where lawyers are the people that you rely on for using your brain, for critical thinking, for advice and counseling, and effective advocacy, and not just, you know, papering a deal, or, you know, doing document work – which, although incredibly important, [there are more satisfying aspects of practicing law that involve creativity and critical thinking.]
[At one point during our interview, Nick mentioned that there are five BLS graduates working with his law firm, Patton Boggs, and that he expects there will be more in the future and that his firm will continue to interview at BLS. We emailed him for clarification.]
NA: With respect to BLS representation at [Patton Boggs,] I would note that there are four grads and the incoming Dean at Patton Boggs, including two colleagues in D.C., the head of recruiting for our New Jersey Office and a colleague in our growing New York City office… Patton Boggs already interviews on campus at BLS and I expect that effort to expand and have already pursued that at the firm. Moreover, I have already begun to speak to colleagues at other firms about interviewing at BLS for their D.C. offices. I believe Washington practice is a good match for the skills and interests of BLS students and what the firms are looking for. I want to expand recruiting there. And this is interesting—I have heard from BLS grads working on Capitol Hill—they reached out to me on their own initiative—they want to get involved and help students find jobs in public service and I am following up with their offer immediately.
The BLS Advocate sat down with Nick Allard, the incoming dean of Brooklyn Law School, when he was in town on April 2nd, for a casual lunchtime Q&A at Panera Bread. We were fortunate that he brought along his lovely wife and high school sweetheart, Marla, who helped us get to know the real Nick. This is part 1 of our 4-part interview by David A. Shapiro, ’12, with additional questions from Julie Adler, ’12.
DS: We want to learn more about the switch from Patton Boggs to Academia. Like why? Why now?
NA: I don’t think it’s that much of a switch, [because over] my whole professional life, I’ve had a foot firmly planted in higher education, either as a teacher or a writer, as a counsel or advisor to presidents and chairmen of boards at other major universities, colleges and law schools. And I’ve got a terrific job where [I’ve] been working with the number one public policy practice in the galaxy—in the universe—and I came from Latham Watkins seven years ago in part to reinvigorate and help move the Patton Boggs public policy practice forward and we’ve succeeded and it’s been number one every year. And so, increasingly now, even though I work on exciting and challenging issues, I find that at the end of every day, what I do involving higher education and legal education, in particular, is what interests me the most—what gets me up on my toes. So I’m interested and for that reason I’ve been open for a little while to finding the right challenge in a full-time law school environment.
The second part of it—now this may seem hokey to you…[is that] I’m looking for an opportunity to give something back and make a contribution. And if I look around at the ways I might do that right now, it seems that [given] my skill set—that this is one way I can do that. And I’ve been encouraged by others that know me well, and also former law school deans and others [with experience]. It doesn’t seem that I was that off the mark as the Board here and the search committee and the fact that they were willing to take a leap on me [has demonstrated]—and the fact that they think it’s a good fit. And given the challenges facing legal education, my bag of experiences is a useful toolkit for what law schools need in the twenty-first century.
DS: And how did you find that search process to be? Was it very quick? Efficient? Do you wish you could change anything?
NA: The search process was exhilarating and exhausting.
DS: How so?
NA: It’s just—you know. You put everything on the line. To use sports metaphors, which I try to avoid, you leave everything on the field. You’ve got nothing left. And it’s not dissimilar—any search process, right—to what law students are going through. Because in a big way, you know, if you’re already a successful partner at a law firm, and you’re coasting along, you’re not really putting your heart on your sleeve. But just like a law student applying for a job, you’re putting your heart on your sleeve, and you’re either going to be accepted or rejected, so, you know, you’re putting it all out there. So it’s a—it’s a tough—it’s a tough process. It’s a very humbling process.
DS: What was the most fun you had during the process?
NA: Meeting you [laughs.]
DS: Ha, that’s the easy answer.
NA: It was. Meeting with students. Meeting everybody. It was just very energizing to meet everybody. I mean because I’m a people person and I liked engaging with everybody that I met. The students were terrific. The faculty was very impressive; the staff was unbelievably dedicated and committed. And this was not a one-way process. I’m really proud that I got picked. But I’m really happy to come here, because, you know, it’s not like I needed a job. I was really impressed and I’m very enthusiastic about the platform that’s here. I think it’s a great launching pad that’s been created for the law school to move into the next century. Further into the century—I don’t mean the next century, I mean this century.
JA: What makes you feel that way?
NA: I really think that so many of the things that are problems with legal education, that Brooklyn is already moving in the right direction or doing the right things. And I really [believe]—I was asked about this—and I said that I think that your traditions are the future, and that more law schools are going to be headed in that direction. Now [BLS is] not perfect and you can obviously do better, but you’re moving in the right direction. And when you look at what Brooklyn has a reputation for—which is producing students who are really prepared, they’re ready to make a contribution immediately, they’re practice-ready—that [answers] one of the criticisms of legal education [generally, that] when you graduate, you’re not ready to begin working. That’s not the reputation that Brooklyn has.
It’s official: Nicholas Allard will be the new dean of Brooklyn Law School beginning on July 1st of this year.
On Sunday, January 29th, members of the faculty met to discuss their preferred candidate to take over the reins from Interim Dean Michael Gerber. The faculty submitted their choices to the Board of Trustees for final approval, and inside sources told The BLS Advocate that members of the faculty submitted Allard’s name as their first choice.
Brooklyn Law School President Joan G. Wexler notified the BLS community this morning via email that Allard, partner at Patton Boggs, LLP, will be the next dean.
“Nick’s talents and experience will be great assets in helping us prepare the next generation of Brooklyn Law School lawyers,” said President Wexler. “He will be an inspirational leader.”
Allard, endorsed by the editorial staff of the Advocate on January 25th and currently leading in an informal poll of the Advocate‘s readership, had stiff competition, beating three well-qualified candidates. Russell Osgood, who had originally placed first in the poll, had already been dean of Cornell Law School, as well as one of two finalists for the deanship at Boston College Law School. Janet Levit is currently dean of the University of Tulsa College of Law. Lawrence Solan is Brooklyn’s own Don Forchelli Professor of Law.
Allard was the only candidate to come directly from private practice. His extensive lobbying experience shows through his demeanor—overtly chummy, yet serious. At his question and answer session with students, Allard spoke extensively about his family and his hopes to hold many events to get to know the students of BLS.
A Rhodes Scholar, Allard’s credentials are impeccable, having clerked for two federal judges and served on the staffs of both Senators Daniel Patrick Moynahan and Ted Kennedy. Allard was also recently named as a finalist in the University of Baltimore Law School’s dean search.
“I am not Roscoe Pound. I am not Brandeis,” he said to students during his visit.
But hopefully, our new dean will do great things for Brooklyn Law School.
Two months after the final candidate spoke to students, Brooklyn Law School is still waiting for its new dean. Although the faculty-led dean search committee has since sent its recommendations on to the Board of Trustees for approval, no decision has been announced and little information has been released on the status of the search.
Professor William D. Araiza, who is a member of the search committee and has become a liaison between students and the dean search process, said he remains optimistic: “Negotiations like these are complicated, and are conducted by very busy people; thus, they tend to take longer than one might think at first blush. We remain hopeful that things will work out.”
Yet one BLS professor, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Advocate that the search committee has no new information about the dean search to report, and that “the situation is causing frustration.”
Nicholas Allard, the last of four candidates to speak to students, answered questions on Wednesday, January 18th—in the last formal step before the faculty members in charge of the dean search sent their final recommendations on to the Board of Trustees for approval. Yet as of March 17th, the Brooklyn Law School’s official Dean Search page still lists Russell Osgood as a candidate, despite the fact that he has since dropped out of the running. Another one of the three remaining candidates, Janet Levit, is also one of three finalists for the deanship at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. ASU announced their finalists on February 28th.
Brooklyn Law School is now the only law school in New York City without a dean, and one of three in the state. Touro Law also hopes to have a dean by July, and Albany Law has also been on the hunt. Much like BLS, neither of Albany’s two 2011 finalists ended up in the position. Albany, however, made two offers to its finalists while it is unclear whether BLS has made any thus far.
On February 29th, Anthony W. Crowell, Counselor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Public Library, was named the sixteenth Dean and President of New York Law School by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees. NYLS had been looking for a dean since Richard A. Matasar announced his controversial departure in June 2011. NYLS’s search took approximately nine months – but Matasar did not leave until January 1st of this year, so the school was only without an official dean for three months. By contrast, Interim Dean Michael Gerber has served for fourteen months at BLS since President Wexler stepped down.
The BLS media relations office did not respond to a request for comment on the status of the dean search.
The current finalists for the position are Dean Janet Levit, Professor Lawrence Solan, and attorney Nicholas Allard. The Advocate endorsed Allard, a partner at Patton Boggs LLP, on January 25th.
- On Wednesday, four Brooklyn Law School alumni joined over 47 other law school graduates across the country in suing their alma maters over misleading employment data. The class action lawsuits were highly anticipated, as the Advocatereported last fall, but now it’s official. The named plaintiffs in the suit against BLS are Adam Bevelacqua, ’11, Leila Lucevic, ’11, Alan Liskov, ’09, and Greg McGreevy, ’09 . Read the complaint, which accuses the school of engaging in a Ponzi scheme to defraud students. “These claims are without merit and we will vigorously defend against them in court,” a BLS spokesperson said last week. MSNBC, ATL
- The New York Law Journal reports that the Brooklyn Law dean search is now down to three candidates: Nicholas Allard, Janet Levit, and Larry Solan.
- Finally, the Brooklyn Eagle reported on the death of Professor Estella Schoen on Jan. 25. Prof. Schoen taught Legal Writing at Brooklyn Law School. She will be sorely missed by the community.
Any of the four candidates for the Brooklyn Law School deanship would be an excellent choice for the position. Though we are endorsing one particular candidate who we feel has the potential to truly revolutionize BLS, we believe that all of the candidates would thrive here, and we would be lucky to have any of these highly qualified individuals leading our institution.
In arriving at our decision to endorse Nicholas Allard, we considered a few major qualities that we believe the next dean must possess in order to move BLS forward.
First, Brooklyn Law School needs to raise money for a variety of purposes—from improving the school’s IT services, to growing the Career Services office, to continuing to attract and keep the best teachers, to funding public service grants for all interested students—and at the same time it needs to reduce class sizes, a worthwhile goal professed by almost all of the candidates. If fundraising is to be a priority, then the next dean should be a proven fundraiser.
Second, if there is anything that brings down student morale here, apart from the general stresses of law school, it is frustration with the administration. We need someone fresh, with an outsider’s perspective.
Third, the next dean needs to be approachable. Though an affable personality may not be a priority to all members of the BLS community, as students, we want someone as dean who we feel comfortable approaching on a regular basis to discuss matters of concern. Moreover, the new dean should be someone who seems likely to make time for students.
From what we’ve gathered from our limited interaction with the four dean candidates, Nicholas Allard is the only one who appears to possess all of these qualities, and more.
Professor Lawrence Solan is a brilliant, capable, affable, passionate educator, and an asset to Brooklyn Law School. He knows the institution deeply and has a proven track record of improving the school, but in our evaluation, his best quality also worked against him. He is simply too embedded in the institution to be the likeliest candidate, in our estimation, to bring fresh ideas to BLS. In particular, of the four candidates, he was most resistant to the idea of inviting students into the administrative decision-making process, which we found somewhat disconcerting.
Dean Janet Levit seems highly approachable, and her genuine desire to interact with students makes her a tempting choice. Dean Levit is an outsider, to be sure, and she has proven herself by making Tulsa Law a better institution. We worry, though, that transplanting her ideas to Brooklyn simply will not work. BLS is four times as large as Tulsa once was, and we compete with virtually every major law school for jobs in the New York City market. We were also somewhat concerned by the lack of awareness shown by her response to questions regarding the public interest community.
Professor Russell Osgood holds much promise. As president of a small liberal arts college, he oversaw and grew an endowment of over one billion dollars. His deanship at Cornell Law School saw innovative use of the Internet at a time when there was much resistance to the emerging technology among law professionals. He has solid ideas for BLS, including expanding on our clinic programs and revamping the way we portray our school to the legal community. He would be a great fit for the school; we worry only that he seems to lack the last quality listed above: approachability.
Nicholas Allard is our choice. He set out to charm us, and he did just that. Some might say we simply failed to see through his façade, but the way we see it, someone at the helm with that kind of personality is just what this law school has lacked in the past, and needs going forward. In other words, in our opinion, a skilled lobbyist sounds like a great fit for BLS.
What about Allard’s relative lack of experience in academia? That also appeals to us. Allard’s clear ability to fundraise and easy-going style makes him adaptable enough to face down the Board of Trustees and host students for a brunch in the same afternoon. We felt his boast about his ability to obtain jobs for students was genuine—and, given how well-connected he is, we will certainly hold him to his claims.
Allard seemed receptive not only to student ideas, but also to the potential for implementing some of the innovative proposals that have been circulating in the news media for reforming the law school model. While other candidates scoffed at the ways in which the news media have been getting it wrong, Allard is not part of the law school system, and he is free to challenge the status quo without sounding inconsistent. He gave the impression that if the current model isn’t working, he would seek to fix it, and let BLS—as the “twenty-first-century law school” —pave the way for other schools to follow his lead.
Nicholas Allard has the right personality for the school and the right background to take us where we want to go. Allard would make an impact from day one, and we truly believe that our degrees will be all the more valuable with Allard at the helm.
This is the final piece in a series by David A. Shapiro, ’12, examining four new candidates for the Brooklyn Law School deanship. In this article, Dave breaks down Nicholas Allard’s question and answer session with students, held on Tuesday, January 17. For background on the dean search process, read Dave’s previous article here. Read Dave’s reports on the three other current candidates here.
“I resist being put in a box,” Dean candidate Nicholas Allard proclaimed defensively in response to the first student question on Wednesday, January 18. Allard is the one of four candidates who really hails from outside the world of academia. As a partner at the law firm of Patton Boggs, he has become widely recognized for his work as a prominent lobbyist in the field of telecommunications. At the question and answer session with students, he spoke for twenty minutes before fielding the first student question.
“I have done quite a bit of work to prepare,” he said, with a pleasantly deep, raspy voice, and a neatly folded handkerchief in his jacket pocket.
“I’m not a full time academic or dean at an institution. Guilty as charged,” he said, unapologetically. But at the same time, “if I was hired as your dean, everyone would say ‘wow.’”
Allard said that he had heard BLS students described as “outstanding scholars,” “committed, dedicated, hungry students,” “fine practitioners when they emerge from this institution,” and “well managed.” His goal was to take that talent, and the talent of the faculty, and convert Brooklyn Law School into what he calls “a 21st century institution.”
Speaking in mostly vague terms at first, he posited three questions: Who are we? What are our aspirations? And how do we get there? He never really answered those questions, but nonetheless managed to come across as genuine, concerned, highly competent, and compassionate.
Allard has some unconventional ideas for the law school. Appreciative that “eighty-five percent of all law students in this country are bearing $98,000 or more in debt,” he hopes to try to get students interested in jobs for which a JD may not be required.
He acknowledged that some of his ideas were not popular with the faculty. He believes, for example, “that the overall curriculum needs to be looked at. The third year curriculum needs to be really addressed. We need more practice/experiential training.”
“Here’s another idea worth considering,” he continued. “I would move international studies to first year, put civil procedure/criminal procedure in the second year block.”
After speaking for more than five minutes about his son who played Jeopardy on Teen Tournament, (and referring repeatedly to the host of Jeopardy as Art Fleming, who hosted the show in the 1970s), he finally got to some student questions. But he had already covered a lot of what mattered to students.
Allard appeared willing to help students obtain worthwhile positions. In response to Stuart Linder ‘12’s question about obtaining jobs right after graduation, he offered to field phone calls from students, regardless of whether he was Dean or not.
“I know people and I know where the jobs are—it’s not that hard,” he boasted. He added that if ten percent of the class had “difficulty finding positions,” he felt confident that he could help those individuals by shopping around on what he deemed a “retail basis.” He also believes that we can do a better job of getting jobs by breaking out of the OCI mold—a point that students in the audience did not push through their questions.
Allard believes that the “secret sauce to solving problems is fundraising. I happen to know how to do that.” Indeed, his skills in fundraising and networking as a law firm partner and lobbyist are valuable assets. “What I do for a living is advocacy,” Allard said. “You can expect me on behalf of the student body, when necessary, to be an effective advocate.”