APRIL 2021

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From the desk of Dean Boise

I am pleased to report that we have risen nine places in the 2022 edition of the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. Among drivers of this improvement, our median LSAT rose one point to 155 and our Undergraduate GPA increased from 3.33 to 3.53—we were among just 25% of law schools that improved both LSAT and UGPA, and we tied for the largest increase in UGPA. Our selectivity also improved by seven percentage points, our bar passage rate climbed from 85% to 88%, and our Judges/Lawyers Assessment Score—a difficult factor to move—went from 2.9 to 3.0.

Notably, our Advocacy Program has leapt again from #15 to #11, marking a 16-place rise in the rankings in the last two years.

The U.S. News rankings are just one way to measure our success. Despite their pervasiveness, we remain singularly focused on our mission, which is to graduate extraordinary law students who go on to lead extraordinary lives enriched by all they learn and experience at the College of Law. Thank you for all you do in support of our mission.

Law Advocacy Program Ranking #11


The University recently announced that all schools and colleges convocation and commencement ceremonies will be high-quality video productions rather than in-person events. The College of Law’s virtual commencement will be aired on May 7. During the program, members of the classes of 2021 and 2020 will be individually recognized and Joanna Geraghty L’97, President and COO of JetBlue, will deliver our Commencement Address.


College of Law News


Law Alumni Weekend 2021 is set for September 23-25, and—late-breaking—I am pleased to announce that LA Times SCOTUS reporter David G. Savage will be this year’s Supreme Court Preview guest lecturer!

  • We are currently recruiting Class Agents (for graduation years ending in 1 and 6) to help plan class reunions. Interested? Contact Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby.
  • Please don’t forget to nominate candidates for the 2021 Law Honors and Alumni of Color Awards!
  • NEW! Nominations are now open for the inaugural Asian-Pacific American Law Student Association Legacy Award to recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander law alumni.
ADA Symposium 2021

Join us via Zoom for what will be a star-studded Americans with Disabilities Act Symposium on April 23, commemorating the ADA’s 30th anniversary; our Disability Law and Policy Program’s 15th anniversary; and the Syracuse Law Review ADA Special Volume. Speakers include disability law luminaries Alison Barkoff, Judy Heumann, and Arlene Mayerson.

Transatlantic Negotiation Competition 2021

Students and alumni volunteers literally did a world-class job hosting—along with Queen’s University, Belfast—the inaugural Transatlantic Negotiation Competition across March 19-21. The coach of the winning Liberty University team praised the “seamless international tournament … a testament to the excellence of your program and the hard work of all the people who made it happen.”

Sarah Reckess

I recently joined a timely discussion about “Policing and Reform” in Onondaga County and beyond, sponsored by the College’s own Syracuse Civics Initiative and featuring Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner; Lisa Kurtz, Georgetown Law; Jimmy Oliver, Syracuse Police Director of Community Engagement; Sarah Reckess L’09 (pictured), Director, Center for Court Innovation, Syracuse Office; and Vernon Williams Jr., Onondaga County Legislator.


Alumni Engagement


Spring is a busy time for alumni events with College of Law students, as many of you offer essential advice on succeeding in law school and a rapidly evolving profession. Thank you for sharing your perspectives! Click on links to view Facebook photo galleries.

  • Alums from Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas joined our Southeast Regional Focus on Careers roundtable on April 8: Ben Sidbury L’01, General Counsel and Chief of Staff, Wingate University; Angela Santos L’09, Partner, Duane Morris LLP; Noah Schechtman L’11, Assistant US Attorney, Atlanta, GA; and Paula Buzzi L’13, Associate, Akerman LLP.
  • On April 5, University Trustee Michael D. Wohl L’75 was a special guest of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic class. Wohl discussed his advocacy for military veterans and in turn learned about the clients students represent.
  • On April 1 Melanie Gray L’81, Retired Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP, moderated a panel discussion on careers in Bankruptcy and Restructuring, with Joseph J. Wielebinski L’83, Shareholder, Winstead PC; Michael D. Sirota L’86, Co-Managing Shareholder, Cole Schotz PC; Wendy A. Kinsella L’95, Partner, Harris Beach PLLC; and William M. Wolfe L’20, of Harris Beach PLLC.
  • On March 25 Anna Castillo L’16, Attorney, VA Office of General Counsel, and Katie Becker L’19, Associate, Chisholm, Chisholm & Kilpatrick Ltd, offered insight into women’s involvement in veterans’ law and policy to the Veterans Issues, Support Initiatives and Outreach Network.
  • The Hon. Michele Pitman L’88, Circuit Court of Cook County; Anthony Calabrese L’93, Managing Director, EY; Marty Ruhaak L’07, Partner, Ropes & Gray LLP; and Jane Zhao L’12, Attorney, McDermott Will & Emery, met with students in a March 25 Focus on Careers Chicago-area panel.
  • Tax practitioners from top law firms joined our March 18 Corporate Tax Focus on Careers panel moderated by Professor Robert Nassau. Thank you Kim Boylan L’86, Partner, White & Case LLP; Cisco Palao-Ricketts L’03, Partner, DLA Piper LLP; Susan Dahline L’06, Of Counsel, Dabbs Law Firm LLC; David Pope L’07, Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP; and Joshua Wu L’07, Counsel, Latham & Watkins LLP.
  • The First Generation Law Students Association hosted a March 18 Q&A—”Orange You Glad You Survived as a First-Gen!“—and welcomed first-gen alums Marlana Shaw-Brown L’17 of Netflix; Adam Shoshtari L’17 of Shook, Hardy, and Bacon; and Aubre Dean L’20 of Warshaw Burstein LLP.
  • On March 16, Kevin Belbey L’16, VP of Sports Broadcasting, The Montag Group, shared how he became a “sports agent for broadcasters” with the Entertainment and Sports Law Society and gave tips and tricks for networking in his industry.
  • Also on March 16, Lisa Peebles L’92, Federal Public Defender, Northern District of New York, joined colleagues to discuss judicial clerkships with students from the Criminal Law Society.

Engaging with your alma mater strengthens connections within our Orange network and gives our students an edge! If you’d like to get involved, please contact Assistant Dean for Advancement and External Affairs Sophie Dagenais.


Student News

Joseph Jasper and Mazzy Kaila

Syracuse University continues to profile our remarkable students and their paths to Syracuse Law on its Syracuse Stories website. Meet 1L Joseph Jasper (pictured, top), an active-duty soldier and father of six in our JDinteractive program, and Black Law Students Association President 2L Mazaher Kaila, who is becoming a powerful voice for change and equity.

Grossman Trial Winners Alex Eaton and Tyler Jefferies

Congratulations to 3Ls Alex Eaton and Tyler Jefferies (Best Advocate), who won the 43rd Annual Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition, held virtually for the first time in its history on March 25. Thank you to the Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby L’85, US District Court Judge, Northern District of New York; the Hon. Rodney Thompson L’93, New Jersey Superior Court Judge; and the Hon. Bernadette Romano-Clark L’89, New York State Supreme Court Justice, for judging the final round and to all alumni who judged preliminary rounds, quarterfinals, and semifinals.


Faculty & Department News

Cold Case Initiative Jackson Project

To honor the sacrifice and memory of two civil rights activists from Natchez, MS, Professor Paula Johnson and students in the Cold Case Justice Initiative helped launch the Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project with a two-day virtual symposium for public junior and senior high school students in both Natchez and Syracuse on March 26-27.

Mary Szto

Professor Mary Szto is an important voice during a troubling rise in attacks on Asian Americans. On March 26, she joined Maxwell School sociology Professor Yingyi Ma for a community forum on “Confronting Anti-Asian Racism,” part of the Renée Crown University Honors Program.

Scholarship with Impact

From #FreeBritney to the 1918 sedition act—thank you for sharing our faculty expertise and commentary across your social networks …

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How You Can Make a Difference


Please share this job announcement with your networks: The College of Law is hiring an Executive Director/Assistant Dean of Career Development to provide innovative and comprehensive career placement assistance for current students and alumni.

Create a Scholarship in Your Name!

The College of Law has a proud tradition of ensuring students have the resources needed to fund their legal education. To support students during this unprecedented time, Syracuse University is opening an opportunity for donors to create a current use scholarship with a $25,000 gift commitment by June 30.

Your gift will establish a scholarship in your name, and it can be given in $5,000 increments over five years. We hope you will consider this unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of exceptional students from diverse backgrounds. For more information, contact Director of Development Melissa Cassidy.


For Your Calendar


Virtual Scholarship Support Celebration
April 16 | Noon – 1 p.m. ET

Americans with Disabilities Act Symposium
April 23 | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

DC/Capital-Area Alumni Event, with Professor Nina Kohn
May 6 | 4 – 5 p.m ET

SAVE-THE-DATE: College of Law Virtual Commencement
May 7

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.


In Memoriam

Doug Barclay

The College of Law mourns the loss of H. Douglas Barclay L’61, University Life Trustee and former Board of Trustees Chair, who also served as a College of Law Advisory Board member. Ambassador Barclay was a larger-than-life figure whose distinguished career in public service spanned many years and who made significant contributions to the University, the College, our state, and the nation. The College of Law community extends our deepest condolences to his son, New York State Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay L’95, and the entire Barclay family.


And Finally …

Dean Boise Greets Pacific Northwest alumni

I enjoyed catching up with our alumni family in the Pacific Northwest on April 6—an extraordinary group from Oregon and Washington with strong connections to, and great memories of, Syracuse Law. Thank you to Nelson Atkin L’74 for being our MC and for sharing the insightful questions that alums posed. I look forward to visiting your beautiful corner of the country in person soon!


For More Information


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

Contact us at 315.443.1964 or alumni@law.syr.edu 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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