MAY 2021

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From the desk of Dean Boise

On May 7, at 1 p.m., we celebrated the graduation of both the classes of 2020 and 2021 with a beautifully rendered virtual Commencement ceremony. If you haven’t enjoyed it already, I invite you to watch the video of the ceremony at our Law Commencement website with pride and nostalgia, reflecting on your law school and career journeys.

The moving ceremony features an address by Joanna Geraghty L’97, President and COO of JetBlue; the National Anthem and Alma Mater exquisitely sung by Alicia Loomis L’19, an associate at Costello, Cooney & Fearon PLLC; and speeches by Class of 2021 President Troy D. Parker and SBA LL.M. Senator Fildous Hamid.

In addition to our virtual Commencement, on May 6 we held a virtual awards ceremony honoring student, faculty, and staff excellence. And on the morning of May 7, I donned regalia along with members of the Class of 2021 for a photoshoot in Dineen Hall. Under current conditions, these were fitting ways to recognize our students in the absence of other options prior to in-person University exercises for the Class of 2021 on May 23 (the Class of 2020 is invited to in-person exercises on September 19).

Please join me in wishing all our graduates the best of luck and in welcoming the new graduates to our law alumni family.

COL Commencement Video Still


College of Law News


I am pleased to announce two important new staff hires. First, Virginia C. Robbins (pictured, top) has joined the College as Interim Assistant Dean of Career Services, where her substantial track record as a lawyer and field builder, her people and mentoring skills, and her vast network of resources will serve us and our students well. Second, Dafni Kiritsis (pictured, bottom) will join the College of Law as Director of Externships and Career Services, leading our Externship Program and advising students on special opportunities such as clerkships and pro bono placements. 

Everett Gillison

There was another banner year to celebrate at the 2021 Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honors Society virtual banquet on April 15, as well as awards to confer, including recipients of the Lee S. Michaels L’67 Advocate of the Year Award (2L Marina De Rosa); the Emil Rossi L’72 Scholarship Award (2L Amanda Nardozza); and the Models of Excellence in Advocacy Award (2Ls Olivia Stevens and Kelsey Gonzalez), given this year in honor of Everett Gillison L’85 (pictured).

Judy Heumann

More than 250 attendees from across the globe joined the College of Law’s April 23 Americans with Disabilities Act Symposium, sponsored by the Disability Law and Policy Program and Syracuse Law Review. The symposium featured keynotes from disability rights luminaries Alison Barkoff of the US Department of Health and Human Services; international disability rights activist Judy Heumann (pictured); and Arlene Mayerson, of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. An upcoming special ADA issue of the Law Review will publish the presented papers.

Chris Baiamonte

Professor Robin Paul Malloy, Chris Baiamonte L’19 of Wladis Law Firm (pictured), and 2L Wendy Carter—along with Sally Santangelo of CNY Fair Housing—presented on Article 78 Review of Variances, Non-Conforming Uses, Fair Housing, and Disability Law to Onondaga County officials at the Ninth Annual Update on Zoning Law on April 17.


Alumni Engagement

COL Washington DC roundtable

There was an excellent turn out for the University’s Washington, DC, regional alumni event on May 6, and a strong College of Law presence. Co-hosted by University Trustee and Board of Advisors Member Richard Alexander L’82, Chairman of Arnold & Porter, and Board of Advisors Member Susan K. Reardon L’76, Alexander and Professor Nina Kohn engaged participants in a conversation on “The Civil Rights of Older Adults in America.”

Melanie Gray and Brigitte Nichols

Many thanks to Melanie Gray L’81 (pictured, top) and Brigitte Echols L’93 (pictured, bottom) for co-hosting an inspiring Women’s Leadership Roundtable on May 5. The roundtable convened Syracuse University alumnae in the Texas and Southwest region who shared their personal stories and pledged to help build a strong and supportive community of Orange women in the region and beyond.

DCEx Logo

The final DCEx externship seminar of the spring 2021 semester featured tax policy expert Rachel Stanley Nguyen L’07, Assistant Vice President at Principal Financial Group. Stanley Nguyen mapped out the path of her career from Syracuse to Capitol Hill and explained how a law degree is an excellent fit for government relations work.

Laura Grasso

On April 16, the Hon. Grant Jaquith of the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims—along with his Law Clerk Laura Grasso L’20 (pictured)—discussed law clerk careers with students from the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic and the Veteran’s Issues, Support Initiative, and Outreach Network (VISION).

Jim Southwick

The April 15 Antitrust and Competition alumni panel rounded out the Corporate Law Society’s spring 2021 semester exploration of different corporate law practice areas. Thank you to Yvette F. Tarlov L’86, Assistant Chief, Antitrust Division, US Department of Justice; James T. Southwick L’89, Partner, Susman Godfrey and a Board of Advisors Member (pictured); and David P. Wales L’95, Partner, Antitrust and Competition, Skadden, Arps. Professor Shubha Ghosh moderated the discussion.

Brittany Jones

Alums shared tips on networking, professionalism, and interpersonal skills at the April 13 Networking 101 Roundtable, sponsored by the SULAA Inclusion Network, Black Law Students Association, and Latin American Law Students Association. Thank you to Dr. Natasha James-Waldon L’94, Director of Educational Services, The Jewish Renaissance Foundation; Brittany Jones L’14, Associate Attorney, NYS Mental Hygiene Legal Service (pictured); Anthony Osborne L’14, Associate, Wilentz Attorneys at Law; and Astrid Quinones L’18, Bread for the City.


Student News

Sharon Otasowie

We couldn’t be prouder of 3L Sharon Otasowie—an Air Force ROTC Cadet and US Air Force JAG Corps graduate law candidate—who performed MC duties at the 104th Chancellor’s ROTC Review Award Ceremony on April 23. Thank you for representing Syracuse Law with such honor, Sharon!

Ryan Marquette

Many congratulations to 2L Ryan Marquette, recipient of the 2021 Syracuse University Student Veterans Organization’s Best for Vets Award, presented to the student veteran who has done the most to help student veterans succeed both on and off campus and has gone far above and beyond for his fellow students.

ABA Law Student Podcast

1L Meghan Steenburgh continues her excellent work for the ABA Law Student Podcast series, recently interviewing Professor Emeritus William C. Banks about “Critical Issues in National Security,” including geopolitical tensions with China, nuclear weapons concerns, and the January 6 insurrection.


Faculty & Department News


In case you missed it, I recently discussed my “4 Cs for Leadership”—Consult, Build Consensus, Communicate, and Course-Correct—with 

College of Law logo

Re-affirming Syracuse Law’s position as a leader in cutting-edge legal research, during 2020-2021 several top 50 law journals accepted or published faculty articles. Access our notable placements here. Articles address criminal justice reform, disability, health care, long-term care, constitutional law, climate change, and zoning.

James Baker

Institute of Security Policy and Law Director the Hon. James E. Baker has published two reports with the Center for Security and Emerging Technology, part of an extended joint project addressing the law and policy of AI: “Ethics and Artificial Intelligence: A Policymaker’s Introduction” and “A Defense Production Act for the 21st Century.”

Scholarship with Impact

Addressing issues from the Chauvin verdict to Apple’s legal challenges and domestic terrorism, our faculty continue to amplify their expertise across national and international media—including, this month, three clips in The Washington Post.

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How You Can Make a Difference


The National Conference of Bar Examiners is looking for lawyers to serve on its Content Scope Committee to be involved in developing the next generation of the bar exam. More information can be found here.


The SULAA Inclusion Network seeks nominations for the 2021 Alumni of Color Awards, which will be conferred at Law Alumni Weekend 2021, September 23-25. Nominations are due by May 21.

  • The inaugural Asian Pacific Islander Legacy of Excellence Award recognizes API law alumni for their service to the API community, accomplishments in their chosen field, and commitment to empowering and inspiring the API community through their mentorship or the work they do.
  • The William Herbert Johnson Legacy Award, named in honor of the first African American graduate of the College of Law, is granted to an outstanding individual or organization that has been a trailblazer and achieved excellence in legal service, legal education, and/or social justice through activism, leadership in diversity and equality, and support and mentorship of colleagues, students, and community members.
  • The LALSA Legacy Award recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to the community, have achieved excellence and recognition in their fields, continue to work with current and future lawyers, and dedicate themselves to overcoming the underrepresentation of Latinas/os/x in the legal field.
Nominate Here

Create a Scholarship in Your Name!

There is still time to join our proud tradition of ensuring students have the resources to fund their legal education. Open until June 30, Syracuse University is offering the opportunity to create a current use scholarship with a $25,000 gift commitment. Your gift will establish a scholarship in your name, and it can be given in $5,000 increments over five years.

As this moving video of our April 16 Scholarship Celebration powerfully illustrates, your scholarship support transforms lives and empowers College of Law students in ways even they had not imagined possible. Thank you for your support and for helping to promote new generations of Orange lawyers. For more information, contact Director of Development Melissa Cassidy.

Impact of Law Scholarships video


For Your Calendar


Alumni of Color Conversation with Dean Boise
June 24 | Noon ET

SAVE-THE-DATE: Law Alumni Weekend
September 23-25

For more information and to RSVP for events, email Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby.


And Finally …


Please join me in wishing Professor LaVonda Reed the best of luck in her new position as seventh Dean and the first African American to lead the College of Law at Georgia State University. Having served most recently as SU’s Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, as well as a professor of law, LaVonda’s impact on the University will be felt for years to come. I will miss her insights, counsel, and friendship, but I am very proud to now call her a fellow dean and look forward to working with her among law deans nationally.


For More Information


Questions? Please contact Sophie Dagenais, Assistant Dean for Advancement and External Affairs, at or 315.443.4536, or Kristen Duggleby, Director of Alumni Relations at or 315.443.9532.

Contact us at 315.443.1964 or to send us your news. Remember, you can also update your contact information on ’Cuse Community.

I’ll keep you updated on our news in future editions of the Dean’s Dispatch, and for those of you who use social media, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram for timely updates and photographs.

You also can connect with me on my own LinkedIn account.

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