Fordham University is pleased to announce the appointment of Matthew Diller as the dean of the Law School after an exhaustive national search, chaired by former Fordham Law Dean John D. Feerick ’61. Diller has served as dean at Cardozo Law since 2009. He was previously a member of the Fordham Law faculty for 16 years and served as the School’s associate dean for academic affairs from 2003 to 2008. His appointment at Fordham will begin in the 2015-2016 academic year.
“Matthew Diller possesses a rare combination of vision, practicality, experience, integrity, and a deep (and proven) commitment to justice and the service of others that makes him the ideal dean to lead Fordham Law School into the future,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “In Dean Diller we have someone who has met many of the challenges facing legal education in the current climate and who has built a reputation as a strong fundraiser. Moreover, he is a consensus builder who can bring people together to move an institution forward. We are delighted to have him back home at Fordham.”
A scholar of social welfare law and policy, Diller has published articles in leading law reviews including Yale Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, Texas Law Review, and Michigan Law Review. His service to the legal profession includes membership on the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York, for which he chairs the Committee on Law School Involvement. He is also a member of the Board of The Legal Aid Society and the Executive Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY). He served on ABCNY’s Task Force on New Lawyers in a Changing Profession from its inception in July 2012 through November 2013, when the Task Force issued its report. In addition, from 2000 to 2008, he was a member of the board of directors of The National Center for Law and Economic Justice.
Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, said, “He is one of the truly exceptional deans in our state and in the country. … Matt is a great thinker and an example of someone who understands what being a lawyer is all about. He is writing the script of what deans should be doing today.”
Diller received his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in European History from Harvard College in 1981 and his J.D., also magna cum laude, in 1985 from Harvard Law, where he was an editor at the Harvard Law Review. He clerked for the late Honorable Walter R. Mansfield on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Before coming to the Fordham Law faculty, a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society’s Civil Appeals and Law Reform Unit in New York City.
He came to Fordham Law in 1993. Diller was named the Cooper Family Professor of Law and served as co-director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics. While at Fordham Law, he received the 2000 Louis J. Lefkowitz Award for the Advancement of Urban Law from the Fordham Urban Law Journal and the 2002 Eugene J. Keefe Award for outstanding contributions to the School. In 2009, he was recognized with the Dean’s Medal of Recognition, the highest honor bestowed by the dean for outstanding contributions to Fordham Law.
“Matthew Diller has earned respect for his scholarship on social welfare policy and his strong leadership in legal academia,” said Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost of the University. “He is primed to engage and inspire the faculty, alumni, and students of Fordham Law to new heights of innovation and achievement.”
Michael M. Martin, who has served as the dean of Fordham Law since 2011, will return to the Law faculty in 2015. Martin joined the faculty in 1972. In addition to serving on numerous Law School and University committees, he was associate dean from 1995 to 2001, and interim dean from 2010 to 2011. In 2001 and 2010 he received the Dean’s Medal of Recognition, and in 2005 he was named Teacher of the Year.
“Fordham owes a debt of gratitude to Mike Martin. Under his tenure the Law School completed its fundraising campaign and moved into a new state-of-the-art building at the Lincoln Center campus,” Father McShane said. “He has seen the Law School through tremendous upheavals in the legal profession and legal education while ensuring that a Fordham Law education retained its integrity and focus on ethics and service. I know the Law School and the University communities are thankful for his steady leadership and unstinting devotion.”
During his tenure at Cardozo, Diller initiated new programs designed to better prepare graduates for practice in the new environment, strengthened the clinical and experiential programs, and worked with the alumni leadership and the Yeshiva University community to advance the school’s mission in a difficult climate for the legal profession and legal education.
“I have loved being part of the extraordinary Cardozo community. Returning to Fordham where I began my career in teaching has special meaning to me and am honored to have the opportunity to follow Mike Martin and other great academic leaders who have served as deans at Fordham Law,” Diller said. “I look forward to working with Father McShane, my colleagues on the faculty and in the administration and with Fordham’s vibrant students and alumni.”