Many of you will remember struggling in your first year over Pennoyer v. Neff and Erie v. Tompkins. So you also know that civil procedure is the point where theory meets practice, where conceptual brilliance and sensible street smarts are equally necessary.
In “The Rules of the Game,” on page 24, we trace the formation of a truly outstanding team of men and women who influence the administration of law in this country through their own remarkable scholarship, but never lose enthusiasm for initiating lawyers into the ways of their profession. While most of them don’t go so far as Professor Burt Neuborne—who burns his notes each year so that he can approach the classroom with a fresh take each fall—every one of our civ pro professors admits to being somewhat addicted to teaching this important subject. As regular readers know, since I became dean, each issue of The Law School has featured an academic area in which the NYU School of Law has excelled: International Law (2002), Environmental Law (2003), Criminal Law (2004), Law and Philosophy (2005) and now, Civil Procedure (2006). I’m confident that, in each of these areas, an objective panel would agree we have the strongest faculty among the leading law schools.
A related story, “Heads of the Class,” on page 36, showcases an edited discussion of a much-maligned tactic, the class-action lawsuit. We invited eminent alumni who often represent clients in mass tort cases to join our faculty experts for a sometimes heated, always nuanced and often amusing conversation about the whys and wherefores of this legal instrument. I am grateful to all of the featured faculty and the esteemed graduates who lent their expertise and gave generously of their time to make both civil procedure stories come together. Visiting Professor Arthur Miller, who moderated the roundtable with aplomb, deserves a special note of appreciation.
It’s impossible to imagine a more timely and engaging choice for our cover profile than alumnus Mohamed ElBaradei (LL.M. ’71, J.S.D. ’74, LL.D. ’04), who won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize in December. The director general of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, a multilateral organization charged with the formidable task of forestalling nuclear weapons proliferation, consented to a rare interview in the midst of a particularly difficult period—as tensions over Iran’s nuclear activities continued to mount. “What Price, Peace?,” on page 12, provides a chance to get to know ElBaradei, who tells writer Daniel Benjamin, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that while his role is technical in nature, he has to “look at the big picture.” He adds, “I feel I owe it to the member states to tell them how I see things from where I sit. I have to do verification, but I also have to see how the international community can use this for a peaceful resolution.” Benjamin came away from his interviews with and about ElBaradei enormously impressed with the man. “He’s an international civil servant in the best sense,” says Benjamin, who traveled to Vienna to meet with his subject. “ElBaradei isn’t afraid to do what he thinks is right—and he’s got a very tough job.”
As you make your way through the rest of this issue, you’ll also get to know the seven faculty members who joined us this year; their profiles begin on page 52. I’m excited to report that we’ve hired 18 outstanding professors in the four years since I became dean. As a result, the size of our full-time faculty has increased significantly, improving our student-faculty ratio and solidifying our preeminent position in many fields of law. For a taste of the academic work a handful of my colleagues have published, please turn to the excerpts of recent scholarship by Professors Oren Bar-Gill, Rachel Barkow, Daniel Hulsebosch and Katrina Wyman, starting on page 65.
Throughout this magazine, you’ll find stories that bring you up to date on campus activities, and showcase the accomplishments of our students, alumni and faculty, many of whom garnered medals, grants and other honors this year. There is much significant news, and a great deal to celebrate. Enjoy the issue!