The Law School Magazine  ·  Fall 2009 : Dean's Letter

From the Dean’s Desk

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These are extraordinary times. In today’s difficult economic environment, organizations of all types from various sectors have been forced to reexamine, reevaluate, and revise their work. Belt-tightening, retrenchment, and a reduction of activities and services have been commonplace responses to the uncertainty. But these same challenges have also led some organizations to reinvention and innovation.

The Moritz community has been working hard to weather the storm of the current economy. Thanks to the generosity and support of our alumni and friends, we have maintained our momentum and continue to pursue our mission as a great public law school. We have not needed to respond with the unprecedented tuition increases (indeed, ours was the lowest in many years) or critical staffing cuts to which some other law schools have succumbed. One of the great strengths of our law school has always been our ability to innovate. For instance, in the 1930s during another period of substantial economic upheaval, the College of Law pioneered clinical legal education.

While some green shoots of economic recovery have started to appear, the legal employment market remains deeply challenging. In fact, The New York Times called this legal market “the most wrenching job search season in over 50 years.” The upheaval pervades the legal job market in both the public and private sectors.

In light of such realities, we have stepped up our efforts to assist our students’ transition into practice. For example, our Career Services Office will soon begin promoting and accepting applications for a newly established Career Start Grants Program. Through this initiative, members of the class of 2009 will be eligible to apply for limited financial support to pursue individualized volunteer projects designed to build legal skills in a substantive area of law. Another innovation: Moritz has negotiated an agreement to expand work-study positions for our current students with public sector and government employers beyond Franklin County. This new arrangement will expand opportunities for our students to develop important relationships and gain experience with prospective employers from the Cleveland and Cincinnati markets in summer 2010. In addition to these and other new initiatives, our recently added Mentoring and Leadership Programs have turned out to perfectly fit the needs of the times.

In these times of upheaval, reorganization, and problem-solving, there is a greater need than ever for the outstanding graduates the Moritz College of Law produces. Our alumni take leading roles not only in the practice of law, but also in operating the business world, shaping the public sector, and addressing societal challenges.

As a result, despite the current climate and the challenges it presents, I remain confident that our law school will continue to move forward, innovate, and prosper well into the future. I look forward to working with you as we continue to develop the next generation of outstanding lawyers and talented leaders.

 

Alan C. Michaels

Dean and Edwin M. Cooperman Professor of Law

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