As many readers know, in each year’s magazine since I became dean in 2002, we have featured an area of law in which I am confident a peer review would say we take the lead among top law schools. Past issues have highlighted our programs in international, environmental, criminal, and clinical law; legal philosophy; civil procedure; and the relatively new fields of law and democracy and law and security. This year, we feature a subject very close to my heart, administrative law and policy.
“Building Good Government,” by Larry Reibstein, traces how NYU School of Law became the first leading law school to successfully require a 1L course that analyzes statutes and their implementation by administrative agencies. That our course has thrived for the last seven years, while it has foundered elsewhere, is a testament to my outstanding colleagues, who engage with policies and politics in their own practice and scholarship, and use those experiences to bring the subject to life in the classroom. The conversation extends beyond the classroom, too, as this year the Law School welcomed key regulatory thinkers from the Clinton and first Bush administrations, and held several spirited debates about financial, healthcare, and auto-industry reform.
Just as the administration of U.S. affairs has become more complicated, governance in the world has taken on a whole new dimension. Last year the Law School was honored to host some of the world’s leading scholars of global governance for year-long fellowships at the new Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law & Justice, directed by University Professor Joseph Weiler. For our roundtable discussion “The Shape of Global Governance,” the magazine invited the Straus fellows to join Joseph and other key faculty members for a thoughtful conversation about how to structure behavior among nations in the 21st century.
Democratic government, of course, is ultimately by and for the people. I am impressed by our alumni, some of whom have accepted leadership posts in which they must make difficult, often unpopular decisions while our nation grapples with the fallout from the global financial crisis. Don’t miss our cover story, “The Man Following the Money,” in which Duff McDonald profiles Neil Barofsky ’95, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Neil’s track record prosecuting international drug smugglers and fraudulent mortgage brokers as a U.S. assistant district attorney for the Southern District of New York now looks like a blueprint for excelling in his unprecedented role of investigating and auditing the $700 billion bank bailout. With his forthrightness, he reminds me of another alumnus who has taken a series of challenging jobs. In “A Chat with Kenneth Feinberg ’70,” the then-special master for TARP executive compensation reveals how he manages unique assignments compensating victims of 9/11, Agent Orange, and other disasters. Not three months after our interview, Ken became President Obama’s choice to oversee the BP victims’ fund.
Even in the midst of the financial downturn, here at NYU Law we are still investing prudently but optimistically in the future. In October we will officially open Wilf Hall, a state-of-the-art new academic building on MacDougal Street named after the family of our trustee donors, cousins Leonard Wilf (LL.M. ’77) and Mark Wilf ’87. And this fall we welcome six fantastic new professors. They join a stellar group of full-time faculty recruited during my deanship who are whimsically depicted in “Café Society.”
The news and ideas that fill every page of this magazine are a credit to you, our alumni, who have supported our institution as it has transformed itself into a world-class law school. I was thrilled at the March Weinfeld Gala to announce the final tally for our seven-and-a-half year capital campaign. We raised a total of $415,064,515. The annual average raised during our campaign was more than that of any other law school campaign. What a wonderful way to celebrate our 175th anniversary. Here’s to another 175 great years!