The Conversation 2023

Voices at NYU Law

Lively intellectual debate remains at the core of NYU Law’s identity. The Law School hosts a wide variety of discussions that explore the most pressing legal issues of our time. This past year, judges, government officials, practitioners, and scholars were among the speakers who brought their ideas and expertise to the conversation on campus and online.  

Melissa Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry

“Every time I’ve made change... it hasn’t been in a safe space. It was somebody being like, ‘No! Do better,’ ‘Push yourself,’ or ‘Read this.’”

At an event marking the renaming of the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Melissa Harris-Perry, the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University, argued that while a classroom should provide security from physical, emotional, or spiritual harms, it should also challenge students to leave their comfort zones. Read more about Harris-Perry's remarks.

Bryan Stevenson 

Bryan Stevenson

“The thing about law and narrative is that without attention to narrative, the law will shift, the law will drift, the law will actually be a tool of oppression, and there’s no area where this is more evident than when it comes to race.”

America must confront its troubled racial history, Aronson Family Professor of Criminal Justice Bryan Stevenson said in the lecture that marked his designation as University Professor. Read more about Stevenson's University Professor lecture.

Lisa Monaco

“If a cooperating company discovers hot documents or evidence, its first reaction should be to notify the prosecutors.”

Lisa Monaco

In remarks at NYU Law, Lisa Monaco, deputy attorney general for the US Department of Justice (DOJ), announced several new priorities in DOJ enforcement actions targeting corporate crime. Read more about Monaco's announcement.

Daniel Roth

“It wasn’t because I had some burning conviction about the separation of church and state…. I just didn’t want to say [the prayer] because I didn’t have any connection to it.”

Daniel Roth

During a Life in the Law discussion, Daniel Roth, whose parents were plaintiffs in Engel v. Vitale, described how his refusal to recite a prayer led to the landmark Supreme Court decision that school-sponsored prayer in public schools is unconstitutional. Read more about the Life in the Law panel discussion.

Kathy Jennings

Kathy Jennings

“We have to have the courage to sit down at the table with people who don’t necessarily agree with us.”

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings discussed building consensus for change at the 26th annual Attorney General Robert Abrams Public Service Lecture. Read more about the Abrams Lecture.

David Katz


David Katz ’88

“The only thing I would ask is that as you graduate from here…as you move forward, remember how NYU Law helped shape your practice, your approach to the law, and try to pass some of that on.”

David Katz ’88, a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and an NYU Law Trustee, was inducted as an honorary member of the Order of the Coif.

Lourdes Rosado ’95 

Lourdes Rosado

“The only way you can address this space of inequity is to be keenly aware of it and provide the resources and thoughtfulness that’s needed.”

Lourdes Rosado ’95, president and general counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, delivered the Latinx in the Law Lecture, exploring how inadequate representation has created less positive economic and educational outcomes for the Latinx community. Read more about the Latinx in the Law Lecture.

Roy McLeese III ’85

“To be clear, I don’t suggest that each sentence in an opinion should end with the words, ‘But we might be wrong’—but I do suggest mentally adding those words as you write opinions.”

Roy McLeese III

Judge Roy McLeese III ’85 of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals offered 13 reminders to help judges write fair opinions during the Brennan Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice. Read more about the Brennan Lecture.

Jonathan Lippman ’68

“[Judge Kaye] really started the revolution in high courts around the country in recognizing that sometimes state constitutions have far better, stronger guarantees of rights than under the federal Constitution.”

Jonathan Lippman

As a portrait of the late New York Chief Judge Judith Kaye ’62 was unveiled in Greenberg Lounge, her successor Jonathan Lippman ’68 described Kaye’s continuing impact in the law. Read more about the event.

Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz

“The idea that information might be imperfect totally changed all of our views about economics. Adam Smith’s invisible hand was shown to be wrong.”

Economist Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia University, made a case for stronger antitrust regulation during a conference that examined anticompetitive behavior in the technology sector.

David Barron

David Barron

“Predicting the future is sometimes easier than discerning the past.”

In the James Madison Lecture, Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit David Barron discussed originalism’s strengths and limitations. Read more about the Madison Lecture.




Photo credit: Tory Rust LLC (Rosado)

Posted September 11, 2023

Betty Huber ’96

Betty Huber

“When I talk to my European colleagues, they’re shocked to hear that this [ESG backlash] is happening. To them, they’re thinking ESG disclosures, ESG strategy, actually leads to longterm value.”

Latham & Watkins partner Betty Huber ’96 and other participants at an NYU Law Forum discussed criticism leveled against investing concerned with environmental, social, and governance factors, commonly known as ESG. Read more about the panel discussion on ESG.