Talk of the Law School
A Court of Record
Last fall the Institute of Judicial Administration (IJA) at NYU Law inaugurated a historical collection of interviews memorializing the contributions and influences of prominent members of the US judiciary. The project, the IJA Oral History of Distinguished American Judges, features a range of federal and state judges as well as US Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sandra Day O’Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, and John Paul Stevens. In these video interviews, the featured judges discuss their education, influences, and work, and their views of the judicial role. The principal interviewers are former clerks, many of whom are NYU Law faculty and alumni. “We are hoping that this will be a resource, not only for lawyers and legal historians, but for Americans,” says IJA faculty co-director and Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law Samuel Estreicher.
New Book Celebrates Bell Lectures
In November 2020, Carving Out a Humanity: Race, Rights, and Redemption—a collection of the first 24 Derrick Bell Lectures on Race in American Society—was published to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Bell Lecture. Honoring the life and legacy of the late civil rights lawyer and NYU Law professor Derrick Bell, the annual lecture brings a preeminent scholar or activist to the Law School community to discuss the future of racial justice in the United States. Assistant Professor of Clinical Law Vincent Southerland and activist Dr. Janet Bell, Derrick Bell’s widow, coedited the book.
A Guide to Government Patent Use
NYU Law’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic partnered with PrEP4All, an HIV advocacy group, to publish a user’s guide on Section 1498, an obscure law that allows the federal government to bypass privately owned patents to increase access to medications through accelerated licensing and distribution of generic versions (see “The Clinical Experience”). Three of the clinic’s students—Joseph Adamczyk ’22, Adrienne Lewis ’22, and Shivani Morrison ’21—authored the 46-page guide. “Government patent use is a really powerful tool that already exists, and yet there is so much internal resistance or lack of knowledge, even among government officials, of the power of 1498,” says Morrison.
Love and Reunion
One couple got engaged in the NYU Law Vanderbilt Hall Courtyard. Another met in a JD/ MBA class at NYU Stern. And a third pair started seeing each other after reconnecting in a crowd of NYU Law alumni at a wedding.
All three couples received degrees from NYU Law in 2001 and later served as co-chairs for their 20th Reunion Committee.
Top to bottom: Heather Weine Brochin ’01 and Gregg Brochin ’01, Chérie Schaible LLM ’01 and Damian Schaible ’01, Henrik Patel ’01 and Donna Goggin Patel ’01.
A Voice for Black Justice
In December 2020, Law Alumni of Color Association president Rafiq Kalam Id-Din II ’00 was announced as a recipient of a Black Voices for Black Justice Fund award from the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation Social Justice Fund. Kalam Id-Din, founder and managing partner of Ember Charter School for Mindful Education, Innovation and Transformation in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, was recognized for his work addressing systemic racism in schools (see “A New Model for Education”).
Alumni Win Elections
The November 2020 election saw NYU Law graduates elected or reelected to public office around the country.
Thomas Abinanti ’72
New York State Assembly, 92nd District
Diana DeGette ’82
US House of Representatives, CO, 1st District
Bob Ferguson ’95
Attorney General of Washington State
Hakeem Jeffries ’97
US House of Representatives, NY, 8th District
Todd Kaminsky ’03
New York State Senate, 9th District
Brandon Lofton ’04
North Carolina House of Representatives, 104th District
Bridget McCormack ’91
Michigan Supreme Court, Chief Justice
Scott Peters ’84
US House of Representatives, CA, 52nd District
Mimi Rocah ’97
District Attorney, Westchester County, NY
Danny Tenenbaum ’15
Montana House of Representatives, 95th District
William Timmons IV MS-CRS ’21
US House of Representatives, SC, 4th District
Berkman Becomes Storybook Hero
A new children’s book, Send a Girl!: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY, tells the story of how Brenda Berkman ’78 fought the City of New York to obtain a job-related exam so women could become firefighters. Berkman retired as captain in the New York City Fire Department in 2006, after serving the city for 25 years.
Stevenson Performs at Lincoln Center
IIn May 21, Aronson Family Professor of Criminal Justice Bryan Stevenson appeared as guest narrator and pianist for a special performance, titled “Freedom, Justice and Hope,” with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Stevenson played alongside Wynton Marsalis, trumpeter and artistic director of the orchestra, on selections addressing the legacy of inequality and injustice in America: “Honeysuckle Rose” and “We Shall Overcome.”
Getting the Third Degree
After a nationwide search, Safeena Mecklai ’21 was selected as one of three law students to co-host former prosecutor Elie Honig’s Third Degree podcast, produced by CAFÉ Studios. Mecklai joined Honig approximately every three weeks to discuss issues such as remote lawyering, serving on a jury, and the Derek Chauvin trial.
Dealmaker of the Year
Sabrina Conyers LLM ’10, a partner in the Charlotte, North Carolina, office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, was named a 2021 Dealmaker of the Year by American Lawyer magazine. Conyers led the creation of the NWK FAM Fund, a first-of-its-kind investment vehicle that aims to attract $100 million in capital for Black and Latinx business owners in Newark, New Jersey.
NYU Law Professors Offer Speaker Series and Art Installation Explore Role of Surveillance
In a new installation by artist Sam Durant, a sculpted fiberglass drone appears to hover over Manhattan’s High Line Plinth. An accompanying online speaker series sponsored by High Line Art, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, and the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU Law probes the history of surveillance and drone warfare in the United States and discusses surveillance in daily life. The series, “The Normalizing Gaze: Surveillance from Drones to Phones,” runs through October 2021.
Appiah Wins Quinn Prize
The American Philosophical Association (APA) has awarded Professor of Philosophy and Law K. Anthony Appiah the 2020 Philip L. Quinn Prize, given yearly in recognition of service to philosophy and philosophers. Dominic McIver Lopes, chair of the APA board of officers, said Appiah’s contributions “catalyzed the mainstreaming of philosophy of race and Africana philosophy within the discipline.”
Docuseries Features NYU Law Voices
Several members of the NYU Law community, including Professors Alina Das ’05, Melissa Murray, and Bryan Stevenson, and alumni Vanita Gupta ’01 and Sherrilyn Ifill ’87, offer commentary in Amend: The Fight for America, a six-part documentary series on the 14th Amendment that premiered on Netflix on February 17.
Strandburg Secures NSF Grant
Alfred B. Engelberg Professor of Law Katherine Jo Strandburg is a principal investigator on a three-year National Science Foundation grant to establish a Research Coordination Network (RCN). The RCN will assemble an international network of researchers in different fields who will use the Governing Knowledge Commons framework to study how communities create and share a wide range of intellectual and cultural resources, including medical and health data, privacy and cybersecurity information, and critical scientific knowledge relating to climate and the environment.