Letter to the community from NYU President John Sexton

I am very pleased to announce that Trevor Morrison, currently a chaired professor at Columbia Law School, will be NYU Law’s next dean. He will succeed Ricky, who will step down from the deanship on May 31, after an extraordinary 11-year run in the position.

Trevor has excelled in all aspects of his professional life—as a scholar, a practitioner, a teacher, and an institutional citizen. I also know him to be an enormously warm and caring person, and people who have worked with him in a variety of settings describe him as a treasured colleague. These personal and professional qualities make him the right pick to lead NYU Law, and to take an already exceptional institution to new levels of excellence.

Trevor is currently the Liviu Librescu Professor of Law at Columbia, where he is also faculty co-director of the Center for Constitutional Governance and faculty co-chair of the Hertog Program on Law and National Security. He spent 2009 on leave from Columbia, serving in the White House as associate counsel to President Barack Obama. Drawing on both his scholarship and work experience, he has developed particular renown for his expertise on constitutional law as practiced in the executive branch.

From 2003 to 2008, Trevor taught at Cornell Law School, and he was a visiting associate professor at NYU Law in 2007. Before entering academia, he was a law clerk to Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1998-99) and to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court (2002-03). Between those clerkships, he was a Bristow Fellow in the U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Solicitor General (1999-2000), an attorney-advisor in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (2000-01), and an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) (2001-02).

Trevor, who is 41, grew up on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. He received a B.A. (hons.) in history from the University of British Columbia in 1994, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1998. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the U.S. State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law. In May 2011, he was awarded the Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching by the Columbia Law School Class of 2011. His wife, Beth Katzoff, is currently a librarian in the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University. They have two daughters.

The selection of Trevor as dean marks the end of a process begun in November, when a search committee began combing through dozens of names, before winnowing the list down to a final slate of candidates that they presented to me in March. An enormous effort went into this process, and I want to thank the search committee members for their dedication and diligence. The committee members were: Rachel Barkow, Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy; Lauren Benton, Professor of History, Affiliate Professor of Law, and Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Science; Evan Chesler ’75, Partner and Chairman, Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Trustee, School of Law Foundation; Florence Davis ’79, President, The Starr Foundation and Trustee, School of Law Foundation; Jeannie Forrest, Vice Dean, NYU Law; David Garland, Arthur T. Vanderbilt Professor of Law; Lewis Kornhauser, Alfred B. Engelberg Professor of Law; Daryl Levinson, David Boies Professor of Law (committee chair); Lance Polivy ’13, President, NYU Law Student Bar Association; and Kim Taylor-Thompson, Professor of Clinical Law.

As we look forward to welcoming Trevor to Washington Square, I also want to express my gratitude to Ricky for his exceptional service as dean. From faculty recruitment to greatly expanded funding for scholarship programs, loan repayment assistance, and more, Ricky has strengthened the law school in so many ways. (You can read more about what he accomplished in a memo I sent to the Law School community in October.) Happily, Ricky won’t be leaving us—he will remain a member of the Law School faculty and serve as director of NYU’s newly formed Marron Institute on Cities and the Urban Environment. In coming weeks, as Ricky’s deanship draws to a close, I hope all of you will join me in honoring and thanking him.


John Sexton

Posted on April 4, 2013