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From the Dean


From the Dean Although my view may be one-sided, I do believe that Cardozo's accomplishments continue to be astounding. We just admitted the strongest 1L class in the history of the Law School, and we did so from an unprecedented pool of nearly 4,000 applications. The faculty remains strong and dynamic, publishing articles and books, organizing conferences, and having an impact on public affairs. Student morale is excellent and the dynamism of student life is impressive. The Law School's ambitious, multi-year, $40,000,000 expansion and renovation program is nearing an end with the completion of the library and lobby. The Innocence Project is not only securing the release of innocent individuals, but its work and ideas are having an impact throughout the criminal justice system and across the nation. Our dispute resolution program is leading the way in an increasingly important area of practice. There is more, but that is enough to make the point: Cardozo's vitality and achievements are impressive.

When Cardozo opened its doors to its first students 27 years ago, its larger-than-life founding dean, Monrad Paulsen, made it plain to all that Cardozo's ambition was the pursuit of intellectual excellence for responsible professionals. The School should pursue that end by emphasizing the life of the mind while remembering that its students would become practicing lawyers. Over the years, Dean Paulsen's abstract hopes were hammered out in fine detail with courses that covered the spectrum from theory to practice.

Summer is when most students "get their hands dirty," as one student puts it. It is often the first time that they meet a client, question a witness, observe lawyers arguing in court, or watch a judge listen to aggressive advocates and weigh the relevant claims. They do this through Cardozo clinics, programs, and summer jobs, and when it is over, they are often changed individuals. Slightly more seasoned and realistic about practice, they bring fresh insights and understanding to conventional case analysis, which in turn places them in a stronger position the next time they engage in lawyering.

Cardozo's commitment to theory and practice is tantalizing. It helps students extend their own intellectual and professional frontiers and experience those precious moments when individual perception and understanding are altered and enlivened in a lasting way. It is how Cardozo helps its students make that leap from the classroom to the world.