A number of fresh faces and new positions have appeared at the NYU School of Law in recent months, and notable transitions are occurring as the Law School looks toward a new academic year.

Vice Deans

Barry Friedman, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law, and Liam Murphy, Herbert Peterfreund Professor of Law and Philosophy, stepped down from their vice dean positions at the end of the Spring 2010 semester after three years of service. During his vice deanship, Friedman revamped orientation for incoming students, both introducing innovations and extending the program throughout the academic year to provide ongoing guidance to new J.D. and LL.M. candidates. He also guided students in numerous endeavors, including the development of a legal writing website, and created the NYU Law Forum, a weekly event where panelists analyze current events, intellectual ideas, and professional training. Friedman worked to improve the Law School’s clerkship process, academic careers programs, and public spaces as well.

In the past three years Murphy has overseen complex logistical issues such as the management of class scheduling both in New York and in the Law School’s Singapore Program, reducing first-year section sizes. He has helped launch LL.M. degree programs in both legal theory and environmental law, as well as a master of studies in law and Jewish civilization. Murphy also spearheaded efforts to put course evaluations online and implement a new student registration system, and, with Friedman, worked to create student advising pages giving curricular advice to students from different area groups.

Stepping in as the new vice deans are Jeannie Forrest, formerly the associate dean of development and alumni relations, and Professor Randy Hertz. Forrest, who joined NYU Law in 1995, just concluded a $415 million capital campaign, the most successful launched by any law school. As vice dean for student services and alumni relations, Forrest will focus on furthering the quality of the student experience by developing synergies among student services offices and working with faculty committees to enhance NYU Law’s intellectual life for both students and faculty. She will continue to oversee the Law School’s alumni relations and special events functions.

Hertz, faculty director of the Clinical and Advocacy Programs since 2002, also chairs the Clinical Personnel Committee and the special review committee for NYU Law’s Lawyering Program. He recently finished a term as chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the accrediting agency for U.S. law schools. A highly active teacher and mentor, he will oversee the Law School’s curriculum in his vice dean position.

Assistant Dean for Development

Assuming Forrest’s previous role as assistant dean for development will be Stephen Ackley-Ortiz, currently the director of principal gifts at Yale Law School. At Yale, Ackley-Ortiz was instrumental in revamping the development operation and in recruiting new staff members as the development office grew. He played a key part in the creation of a strong major and principal giving program and a planned giving office for Yale Law School. A graduate of the school, Ackley-Ortiz worked in private practice in Connecticut before beginning his administrative career at Yale.

Faculty Director of the Lawyering Program

NYU Law’s nationally recognized Lawyering Program also experienced a transition when Peggy Cooper Davis, John S.R. Shad Professor of Lawyering and Ethics, stepped down after 11 years as the program’s faculty director, handing the reins to the former associate director, Andrew Williams ’02, a well-regarded teacher and academic. Davis will direct the Law School’s new Professional Pedagogy Laboratory, whose purpose is to design experiential teaching strategies, research the effects of those methods, and promote experiential learning in the profession. She will also coordinate the development and teaching of second-level simulation courses at the Law School. Under Davis’s leadership, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized the Lawyering Program as among the best of its kind, and the National Jurist named Davis, a former family court judge, one of the three most influential people in legal education.

Williams focuses on criminal law and collateral consequences in his academic work. He was a staff attorney for the Bronx Defenders’ Civil Action Practice on a Skadden Fellowship after graduating from NYU Law, where he had been a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar and managing editor of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change. At the Bronx Defenders he provided training for criminal defense attorneys, supervised interns and clinical law students, and consulted with defense attorneys on plea negotiations.

Faculty Director of the Graduate Tax Program

At the beginning of the Spring 2010 semester, Joshua Blank, formerly both an acting assistant professor and an adjunct professor at the Law School, was appointed an associate professor of the practice of tax law as well as faculty director of the Graduate Tax Program, succeeding Deborah Schenk, Ronald and Marilynn Grossman Professor of Taxation. Blank, most recently an assistant professor at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, had also worked as a tax associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. His academic interests include tax compliance and administration, tax privacy, and corporate taxation.

Chief Information Officer and Assistant Dean for Information and Technology

NYU Law’s new chief information officer (CIO) and assistant dean for information and technology, Tolga Ergunay, comes to the Law School with 16 years of information technology experience in academia, most recently as the Yale School of Management's CIO. At Yale, Ergunay augmented the existing administrative systems encompassing admissions, course bidding, enrollment, grading, and career services, and oversaw the development of constituent-specific portals for the school’s website as well as enhancement of user-support services.

Posted on June 16, 2010