Places Matter

Over the past year, we've settled into our new home at Court Square. We've come to understand its capabilities, its limitations, and even its quirks. Alumni and friends who visit marvel at its beauty.

Since we moved in, I've been thinking about what our new physical space means to us.

This building is more than a facility in which teachers teach and students learn. It plays a starring role in our engagement with alumni, members of the legal profession, and the broader community.

CUNY Law opened its doors 30 years ago and set out on an ambitious path to become a different kind of law school. With our new and more convenient location, it's time we invited the larger world in.

With that in mind, we are integrating the use of this physical space with our web and electronic media, and the print magazine you are holding, to unveil Public Square, an environment for communicating and interacting with those who share our passion for law in the service of human needs. We unveiled Public Square Live this fall by launching a series of public programs that explore the intersection of law and social justice. We inaugurated the series with a celebration of the new book Dressing Constitutionally, by our own Ruthann Robson, who was recently named one of the 26 best law teachers in the country in What the Best Law Teachers Do, by Michael Hunter Schwartz, Gerald F. Hess, and Sophie M. Sparrow.

The moniker Public Square resonates powerfully with our values. We are a public law school, committed to graduating students who practice public interest law and engage in public service. The name plays off our location at Court Square in the heart of Long Island City (called "LIC" by many locals). But perhaps more importantly, the proverbial public square represents the heart of a community—a space for the exchange of ideas, where we open our doors to the broader community to debate the issues of the day.

This place matters. But it's more than our physical address.

Over the past 30 years, CUNY Law has achieved a special place in the pursuit of social justice here in New York City and internationally. It has made an impact in the world that I'm not sure even the founders could have anticipated.

This first issue of Public Square highlights the recent work of our faculty, students, and alumni, those individuals behind the extraordinary impact we're having. Faculty and students are making a difference in people's lives, from the American Muslim community here in New York City to displaced women in Haiti. The role our graduates play throughout New York's HIV/AIDS community is impressive. But it's all just the tip of the iceberg.

So welcome to Public Square. Come in and join the conversation.


Michelle J. Anderson
Dean and Professor of Law

On the Cover: Pavita Krishnaswamy ('02)


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