On November 12, Fordham Law hosted a meeting of the Small to Midsize Law Firm Leaders Dean’s Advisory Council. The group, composed of alumni in leadership roles at small to midsize law firms, discussed current issues related to the School, including the continued development of the evening program, dissemination of faculty research, and ways to engage Law School alumni at small and midsize firms.
Dean Matthew Diller recognized that the council was formed during the more difficult economic times but maintained that, given the number of our students and alumni who ultimately practice in small and midsize firm settings, it is critical that Fordham Law continue to gain insight from the council to ensure the School is preparing its graduates for success in that practice setting.
The first discussion topic of the morning was the Law School’s part-time evening program, which is consistently ranked among the top such programs in the country.
When Diller asked the council to consider how the Law School should rethink the evening program to meet the needs of the current marketplace, attendees responded with agreement on several points. Most notable was a widely shared view that the evening program should better implement technology, particularly online learning, in order to keep up with a rapidly changing legal education landscape. Another common sentiment was an increased need for flexibility in the evening program, which might entail more course offerings on weekends and the option for a faster track through the program than is currently offered.
The council next addressed how to generate more exposure for faculty research. Already, Fordham Law boasts several professors who are among the most-cited legal scholars in their fields.
“I would like to see our faculty’s work get more into the hands of those who can put it to use,” Diller said, including judges, practicing lawyers, and policy makers.
Alumnus Bill Dahill ’91 suggested exploring ways to position scholarly articles on mainstream news sites such as Bloomberg, where they would be more readily accessible. “These articles need to be available to associates and optimized in a way where they are going to get hits,” he said.
Suzanne Endrizzi, the Law School’s assistant dean for career planning, followed this discussion with a presentation on student initiatives from the Career Planning Center. Key points of the CPC plan include focused counseling and resources for students, student programs such as Lunch with a Lawyer, and connecting alumni through initiatives like the alumni advisor program.
Endrizzi’s presentation drew enthusiastic responses from council members, who emphasized the strength of the Fordham Law community and voiced their strong impressions of current students they had met through programs such as Lunch with a Lawyer.
Council co-chair William Savino ’74 closed the morning with a few remarks, calling the meeting “truly thought-provoking in every respect—as a lawyer and as a citizen of Fordham.”
At the end of the meeting, Savino and fellow co-chair Laurie Berke-Weiss ’83 stepped down from their positions and welcomed incoming co-chairs Bill Dahill ’91 and Cia Moss ’96.