Dean Michelle J. Anderson
When I think of the founding of CUNY School of Law 30 years ago, I think about the decision to make this place unlike any other law school in the United States.
The founders were inspired to create a school with a welldefined mission: to graduate attorneys devoted to the public interest and to help diversify the legal profession. Fundamentally, their commitment was to social justice, public service, and social change.
Our work at CUNY Law three decades later continues these core commitments.
Today, we send a greater percentage of students into public interest work than does any other law school in the nation. Our clinical programs, again ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, are engines of public interest law.
The National Jurist magazine ranks CUNY Law the second most diverse in the nation among law schools, based not only on our student body but also on our faculty.
Although women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population, they account for just 30 percent of its lawyers. The CUNY Law student body, however, is more than 60 percent female. Although people of color make up 33 percent of the U.S. population, they account for just 10 percent of its lawyers. Our first-year class, by contrast, is 48 percent students of color.
Our diversity encompasses more than sex and race. About 45 percent of our students are first- or second-generation immigrants. Our students also vary along the lines of, among other things, gender identity, economic background, and sexual orientation.
Our extraordinary diversity enriches everyone's experience, adds depth to the conversations we have in the classroom, and helps us graduate emotionally intelligent, cross-culturally competent lawyers who serve the public interest.
Poor and moderate-income people in the United States need the services of public interest lawyers more than ever. This need has been exacerbated by the financial crisis and the collapse of the housing market. Cuts in funding for civil legal services and growing economic inequality have limited equal access to justice.
CUNY Law was built to graduate students who will address the needs of moderate- and low-income communities. As I look to the future, I give thanks to those who built the school and developed its mission; I acknowledge the achievements of our alumni, faculty, and staff; and I applaud our current students' dedication to learning and practicing "Law in the Service of Human Needs."
Our work remains as important and vital today as when the Law School first opened its doors in 1983. We're working to make a difference in the world.
Michelle J. Anderson
Dean and Professor of Law