The Law School continues to astonish me with its vitality. Having completed my second year of stewardship as dean, I feel so grateful for the privilege of learning and interacting with the various communities that comprise the NYU School of Law.
In one extraordinary week last spring, for example, I first welcomed James Wolfensohn, the president of the World Bank, to an important conference on Human Rights and Development. Next, I listened to my colleague Barry Friedman, one of the nation’s leading constitutional theory experts, deliver the inaugural chair lecture for the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professorship of Law, established by Law School Trustee Alan Fuchsberg (’79) and his family in honor of his father, a distinguished judge on the New York Court of Appeals, who graduated in 1935.
I moved on to greet the judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, who had convened to hear Professor Noah Feldman report on his experience serving as a senior advisor on constitutional law to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, before heading over to the eighth annual Hauser Lecture on international humanitarian law featuring Lord Paddy Ashdown, the high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The lecture, organized by long-time faculty member Theodor Meron, who is currently on leave to serve as the president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, drew a distinguished crowd. Antonio Cassese, also a judge on the ICTY and former President of the tribunal from 1993 to 1997 was there, as was Richard Goldstone, a judge on South Africa’s Constitutional Court and former chief prosecutor for the ICTY. My week was topped off when I presented Rita Hauser (’59) with the Vanderbilt Award; appropriately, the pathbreaking Hauser Global Law School Program, cofounded by Rita and her husband, Gustave (LL.M. ’57), had made the indelible Ashdown session possible. And then it was on to the next week, which brought similar intellectual excitement.
For those of us who work and study on Washington Square South, the constant buzz of activity makes every day memorable. At any given time, there are workshops, roundtables, panel discussions and lectures with distinguished guests attended by students, faculty, alumni, and practitioners. I hope that the Student Spotlight, Around the Law School, and Alumni Activities sections in this issue will convey some of that feeling. Our new opening section, Notes & Renderings, should get you quickly up to speed on some of the highlights. Be sure to note the exciting news that we successfully completed our $30 million endowment campaign for the Root-Tilden-Kern Program, the leading public interest program in the country, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Thanks to the incredible generosity of Jerome Kern (’60), and many others, we will, once again, offer each entering class 20 full-tuition scholarships.
The most tangible physical milestone this year—the opening of Furman Hall, the first new academic building on campus since Vanderbilt Hall was built more than 50 years ago—serves as the editorial gateway to the issue’s longer pieces including “Creative Counsel,” our profile of the accomplished and affable Burt Neuborne, the John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law, written by Joseph Berger of the New York Times. We are also proud to showcase Vanita Gupta (’01), whose tale is proof positive of the outstanding training in criminal law available to NYU School of Law students. A profile of this alumna and her battle to free 35 wrongly convicted Texans is embedded in the cover story on our criminal law program, “Partners in Crime,” written by Jodi Balsam (’86). This article continues the tradition of focusing on one substantive area of law in which the NYU School of Law has extraordinary strengths. I am confident that an independent peer review would conclude that, among the leading law schools in the country, we have the strongest criminal law program. Our international and environmental law programs, which were the focus of The Law School in the past two years, meet the same standard.
I hope you will agree that this issue reflects the intellectual energy and vibrancy of the Law School itself.