The Law School Magazine The New York University School of Law

The Morrison Memo

Of the many defining traits of NYU School of Law—and there are indeed many—one I return to often is the sheer energy of the place. Our faculty, students, and alumni are always in motion. Whether conjuring new solutions to seemingly intractable legal, social, and economic problems; identifying shifts in law, business, and policy trends; or posing provocative questions that challenge assumptions underlying the status quo, the members of our community shape discourse, drive innovation, and inspire others with their leadership and ingenuity.

In this year’s magazine, you’ll learn about some of the outstanding thought leadership shown by our faculty, students, and alumni. In “Pros in Con,” we highlight the myriad ways our faculty in constitutional law and related areas are influencing that evolving field. For example, Richard Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, is reshaping voting rights in theory and practice. This year, he argued a groundbreaking case before the US Supreme Court, earning the first win for African Americans in a racial gerrymandering case in over 55 years. Meanwhile, Rachel Barkow, Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy and faculty director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, is rethinking the president’s constitutional clemency power and urging fundamental changes to its application.

We also celebrate NYU Law’s long history of innovation in global legal education. Two decades ago, the Law School launched the first truly international program for the study of law—the Hauser Global Law School Program. The Hauser program has brought leading thinkers and practitioners from around the world to teach here, including former judges of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. It has sponsored scores of fellowships for academics, attorneys, and public servants from abroad, and now includes 10 to 20 scholarships per year for foreign-trained lawyers pursuing LLMs here at NYU. The Law School has extended its leadership in global legal studies with the recent establishment of study-abroad programs in Buenos Aires, Paris, and Shanghai, among other initiatives. NYU Law continues to bring a cutting-edge approach to the study of law in our globalized era.

In addition, we highlight in the magazine alumni and students who are transforming their chosen fields. Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson ’92 is pursuing justice through his district’s beefed-up Conviction Review Unit, which already has freed more than a dozen wrongfully convicted people. As head of the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta ’01 is working to address tensions between police and the communities they serve. Second-year students—and identical twins—Raymond and Richard Diggs are charting paths that will enable them to effect change in their hometown of Detroit. Alma Asay ’05 is changing legal practice through the software she developed as founder of Allegory Law. And Steve Ross LLM ’66, the trailblazing developer behind New York’s Hudson Yards project, is breaking ground again, having pledged $20 million to the Law School—the largest individual gift in the school’s history. These are just a few examples of how the leadership and creativity of NYU Law faculty, alumni, and students are reshaping the world.

This past year, the Law School lost two dedicated leaders. Jack Slain ’55, professor of law emeritus, was instrumental in building our law and business programs and pedagogy. He was a brilliant corporate attorney and beloved teacher whose commitment to his students was legendary. Jay Furman ’71 was one of the Law School’s most generous, engaged, and visionary supporters. A longtime member of our Board of Trustees, Jay pursued remarkable philanthropy that enabled, among other things, the construction of Furman Hall, the creation of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, and the establishment of the Furman Academic and Public Policy scholarship programs. Jack and Jay each left indelible marks on this place. I am deeply grateful to have known them.

I would be remiss if I ended without noting two people whose leadership has profoundly reshaped the Law School: NYU President John Sexton and chair of the NYU Board of Trustees Martin Lipton ’55, both of whom are stepping down this year. Since 1988, when John was appointed dean of the Law School and Marty was elected the chair of its Board of Trustees, they have worked together to raise the Law School’s profile, expand its resources, deepen and extend its excellence, and chart a pioneering course for its future. NYU Law is infinitely better for their commitment and vision.

I hope you enjoy this year’s magazine. As always, I welcome your thoughts at