Unlike this morning’s news of law school leadership changes, the news coming out of NYU is much less disturbing. Dean Trevor Morrison announced yesterday that he’d be stepping down from the dean’s job at the end of the school year after guiding the school since 2013. The announcement comes on the heels of the school absolutely blowing away its fundraising goal with a $540 million haul on a $450 million target. After that kind of sustained glad-handing, Morrison has earned some rest.
Which he’ll get, informing the law school community that he’ll take a year sabbatical before rejoining the faculty to teach full-time.
Meanwhile, the search for Morrison’s successor will soon kick off and doubtless prove to be the sort of academic feeding frenzy that only a top-tier law school can invite. Scholars from across the country will likely throw their hats into the ring, but don’t discount an NYU insider getting the nod. Morrison’s move from Columbia was the outlier — NYU has historically promoted from within.
But enough about the future, let’s look back at Morrison’s accomplishments:
During Morrison’s tenure, the Law School has recruited 17 new tenured or tenure-track faculty in key areas, along with a number of leading professors of practice, with more appointments to be announced this year. It has added 15 new research centers and increased support for others in areas that include national security; policing; diversity and inclusion; law and social entrepreneurship; corporate finance and governance; tax law; and race, inequality, and the law.
His work also upped the school’s commitment to financial access, boosting financial aid, reinvesting in the school’s mechanisms to assist loan repayment for public interest work, and providing a COVID hardship fund.
But, perhaps most importantly, his tenure inspired one of the best Law Revue submissions of all time with NYU’s 2016 Hamilton homage.
Enjoy the rest of the year and your sabbatical!
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.