Thank You and Transition

Dear NYU Law Community,

I’m writing to share that I have decided to step down from my position as Dean of New York University School of Law at the end of the current academic year.  This is my ninth year in the role. When I consider what the Law School has achieved over that time, I am deeply proud of and grateful for this community.  NYU Law is not only the best place to teach and study law, but a source of some of the most important ideas and consequential leaders of our time.      

Trevor Morrison
Trevor Morrison

NYU Law has long been home to a world-class faculty. In my time as Dean, we have deepened our bench of brilliant scholars and talented teachers, appointing 17 outstanding tenured or tenure-track faculty as well as several professors of practice who are leaders in the public and private sectors. During this same period, the Law School has added 15 new research centers and institutes and significantly increased support for others, while also expanding and deepening our unmatched global programming. As a result, the Law School is providing impactful thought leadership and advocacy in a broad range of areas, including racial justice, tax law and policy, corporate governance and finance, law and social enterprise, human rights, policing, national security, and diversity and inclusion, among many others.

One of my greatest priorities as Dean has been to improve the accessibility of an NYU legal education, and student success has been a pillar of our Strategic Plan. To that end, we have doubled the percentage of the incoming JD class receiving scholarships or financial aid from the Law School, and added 82 new named JD and LLM scholarships. We have renewed our commitment to students working in the public interest, significantly enhancing our Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) and increasing the size of the summer stipends for first- and second-year students working in public service. Critical initiatives such as these—and so many others—have been made possible by the unprecedented success of our Lead the Way fundraising campaign, which concluded this past August after raising a record-setting $540 million. This tremendous investment by our generous alumni and other supporters places the Law School on extremely strong footing going forward.

We also have expanded and reimagined our interdisciplinary initiatives, collaborating with other parts of NYU including the Stern School of Business, Tandon School of Engineering, and Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and launching pathbreaking new degree programs such as the MS in Cybersecurity Risk and Strategy and the just-announced MS in Health Law and Strategy. In these and other endeavors we have been fortunate to have the support of University leadership, especially President Andrew Hamilton and Provost Katy Fleming, as well as their predecessors, John Sexton and David McLaughlin. I am grateful for the University’s commitment to the continued excellence of the Law School.

The weeks and months since March 2020 have been challenging for all of us. Yet the ordeal of the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed with unmistakable clarity that the greatest strengths of this institution are the people who make up the NYU Law community. Each day of this difficult period, I have been humbled and inspired by the exceptional dedication and creativity of our administrators and staff, the brilliance, ingenuity, and flexibility of our faculty, the loyalty of our alumni, and the resilience and passionate advocacy of our students. We are also all indebted to the members of the NYU Law Board of Trustees for their engagement in the life of the school. I am especially grateful to the two Board Chairs who have served during my deanship, David Tanner and Anthony Welters, for their vital partnership and wise counsel. And I want to thank my immediate two predecessors as Dean, Ricky Revesz and John Sexton, for their inspiring examples of outstanding leadership.

Serving as the Dean of NYU Law is the best job I have ever had.  But strong institutions are made stronger by successful leadership transitions, and now is the right time for that to happen here. The future of NYU Law is dazzlingly bright.

Details regarding the search for our next Dean will be forthcoming from the University. I look forward to working with you over the course of this academic year, and then, after a sabbatical, to returning to full-time teaching here at the Law School.

Thank you for the extraordinary privilege of serving as your Dean.

Trevor Morrison