The Morrison Memo

The past year has been one of unprecedented challenges, including the continuing dangers and complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increasingly alarming effects of climate change, the ongoing and painful reckoning with issues of racial justice in this country, and the presidential election and its bitter aftermath, culminating in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. It has been a difficult time, to put it mildly. 

But the past year has also underscored the value of a great legal education: lawyers, including a great many NYU Law graduates and faculty, have been at the center of efforts to cope with the challenges of the last year, and to find durable solutions to these most pressing problems. Excellence and leadership in the law have never been more important. At NYU Law, those values are at the core of what we do. 

I know our community shares this vision. This August, we brought our Lead the Way capital campaign to a successful close, having raised a record-setting total of over $530 million (surpassing our ambitious $450 million goal). I am deeply grateful to our leadership partners at the Law School and on the campaign, and to the wonderful generosity of our wider community. Thanks to you, the Lead the Way campaign has made an incredibly valuable investment in the future of NYU Law. 

It is in great part due to your giving that, even during these uncertain times, we have been able to grow the scholarships and financial aid we provide to our students—significantly increasing the number of discrete scholarships we award and the percentage of students receiving aid, as well as the generosity of our Loan Repayment Assistance Program for alumni working in public service. In the last year and a half, we have also raised significant funds to support students who have been especially hard-hit by the pandemic. None of this would have been possible without the spectacular commitment of our alumni and other supporters. 

At the same time, we have expanded and deepened the quality of our faculty, appointing new colleagues who are both world-leading researchers and deeply gifted teachers in a wide range of fields. We have also established new research centers and programs in vital areas including law and social entrepreneurship; corporate finance and governance; policing; tax law; and race, inequality, and the law, among many others. Through the work of these and other important initiatives, NYU Law is a thought leader in addressing many of this country’s—and the world’s—most important and vexing problems.

If this time has taught us anything, it is that legal education must prepare our students both for the challenges we know they will face and those that none of us can predict. We have the responsibility, and the opportunity, to offer a legal education that provides the value and mobility it promises. And seeing the inequities that exist in our legal system, we have the chance to use our expertise to make the world better.

I can’t thank all of you enough for being part of what makes NYU Law so special, and for your dedication to the future success of the Law School. It is because of you that I am so excited for tomorrow, guided by the values that make NYU Law a place of excellence, leadership, and impact.

Posted September 9, 2021