Dear CUA Law Students,
June is intended to be one of those relatively quiet months in the academic cycle. For you our students, exams are over, papers have been turned in, and many head out for summer jobs or other adventures. For our faculty, exams and papers need to be graded, and many start working on summer research and writing projects, or take vacations, or begin planning for teaching next fall. For me as dean, it is an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned from the past semester and to move forward with plans for the next one. Here is a brief report on our June activities:
1. Admissions Data. As has been widely reported, law schools have collectively suffered a dramatic decline in their enrollment in recent years, and the number of students enrolling in all law schools this coming year is expected to be the lowest in thirty years. Notwithstanding this negative trend, which greatly impacted us last year, things are looking up for CUA Law for the coming year. Last year at this time, we had received full deposits from 167 successful applicants to hold a place in our incoming class (which ultimately consisted of 141 first-year students). As of this writing, we have already received 191 full deposits for the first-year class for coming year. Thus, we are cautiously optimistic that our incoming first-year class will be at least as large as last year's -- a positive sign about the value of the educational opportunities we are offering.
2. Faculty Changes. After many years of supervising our externships and external clinical courses, Professor Lisa Lerman will be returning to full-time teaching, without the burden of these additional administrative responsibilities. Professor Mary Leary has agreed to step into this administrative role. In addition to supervising and expanding these programs, Professor Leary will be involved in the development of our recent Transition to Practice requirement and various concentrations as part of our new curricular initiatives. To more accurately reflect this new blend of responsibilities, her title will be the Director of the Experiential Curriculum. We appreciate Professor Lerman’s service, and are grateful for Professor Leary’s willingness to continue this critical work.
3. New Tenant for the Law School Building. In any University, there will often be situations where one school or department is in need of space and another one is in a position to accommodate those needs. So it is with the School of Library and Information Science, recently redesignated as a graduate level department within the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Law School. SLIS, as it is currently known, will be leaving Marist Hall over the course of the summer and joining us in the Law School building. Their faculty members and accompanying staff will be occupying space in our building in the northeast section of the 4th floor and the west side of the 3rd floor. Most of this space is currently vacant, although some relocations will be necessary. We anticipate that SLIS will be using one classroom, but will largely continue to rely on facilities outside of the Law School building for their classes. We look forward to welcoming them to the building when they arrive.
4. Poland. Some of you may know that CUA Law has a series of international programs in partnership with Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. These programs include an opportunity for our CUA Law students to study in Krakow during the summer along with Polish law students, for Polish law students taught by our professors to obtain certificates by taking courses in our American Law Certificate Program, and for foreign law students to study for an LL.M. degree conferred by our University. This summer marked the 10th anniversary of our LL.M. program, and I traveled to Krakow to celebrate the event and to learn first-hand about our programs in Poland. I had the great honor to represent CUA Law in meetings with the leaders of the law faculty at Jagiellonian University, at a two-day conference about the legal profession with leading Polish lawyers, at events with students in our Summer Program and alumni of our LL.M. program, and at a reception hosted by the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow. I also had the privilege of addressing the most recent graduates of our American Law Certificate Program as their graduation speaker. Professor Leah Wortham, who directs our American Law Certificate and LL.M. Programs, and Professor Rett Ludwikowski, who directs our Summer Program in Poland, did a terrific job organizing all of these activities. We appreciate their leadership of these important programs.
5. Courses for Practitioners. Beginning with our fall semester in August, our Law School will be offering practicing lawyers the opportunity to take our upper level courses in a wide variety of practice areas. These courses will allow attorneys to retool or to intensify their knowledge within specialty areas in which our Law School is recognized as excelling. Our courses will be open to J.D. degree holders from accredited schools or those who are in good standing with any Bar. The courses will be offered at reduced tuition rates, and the credit earned can subsequently be applied to an L.L.M. degree and for CLE credit when feasible. Information about our new Courses for Practitioners program may be found on our website at http://www.law.edu/academic/practitioners/index.cfm.
6. Alumni Visits. I am continuing my visits with groups of alumni, both at their offices and at various off-campus locations. This past month, we held a “meet the new Dean” reception at a restaurant in Chicago and at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson. Additional receptions are planned in the coming months for Annapolis, Capitol Hill, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. This has been a great opportunity for me to get to know alumni personally, to talk candidly about what’s happening at the Law School these days, and to explain how interested alumni might be able to help us with my priorities of enrollment, job placement, and fundraising.
7. Development Office. Tanya Easton joined us as the new Executive Director for Development. Tanya comes to us from Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia, where she has served as Vice President for Advancement. Also joining us as the new Annual Fund Coordinator will be Lauren Enlow, who comes to us from the Beauvoir School. Joe Ferraro, our Publications Manager, has changed from part time to full time status. Ralph Rohner, our former Dean, Professor, and Acting Director of Development, is continuing with us through the summer months as a consultant to assure a smooth transition in the Development office.
8. ABA Workshop for New Deans. The American Bar Association, as part of its role as the accrediting authority for law schools, annually conducts a two-day workshop for all newly appointed law school deans. This year I was one of over 30 new law deans who attended. It was an excellent opportunity to hear from some veteran deans about issues they have faced and to establish connections with other new deans. We all agreed that this is a very challenging time for law schools, but I came away with renewed enthusiasm for tackling the challenges head on.
Thank you for your interest and support. I welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel F. Attridge