Dean's Dispatch for Alumni

From the desk of Dean Boise

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to remind oneself and each other of the many reasons for our gratitude. I am grateful to be spending my first Thanksgiving close to friends and family in my new home of Syracuse. As Dean of your law school, I also appreciate having so many other communities that I can call family and friends—ever-widening circles of students, faculty, staff, and alumni that extend beyond Syracuse to every corner of the globe.

As many of you intimately know, friendships developed in law school can last a lifetime, and I was reminded of those lasting bonds at the Reunion Weekend in October. It was inspiring and humbling to meet the Class of ’67 who were laughing and telling stories just as they would have 50 years ago as students. Here’s to many more reunions for that class!

Most of all I was grateful to see many of you return home to your alma mater to befriend, mentor, and network with the newest generation of Syracuse lawyers. Through your actions, commitment, and generosity, you show them what it means to be part of our alumni family and encourage them to do the same for generations behind them when they are established in their careers.

In other words, giving back is a way of giving thanks, as President Theodore Roosevelt reminded the nation in his 1901 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation: “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

College of Law News

This fall was possibly the busiest, most important season that I’ve spent at the College of Law, with the ABA’s reaccreditation site visit, news of student successes, Reunion Weekend, giving initiatives, and mission-critical announcements throughout October and November.

October 24, in particular, was a banner day as we learned that 91.6% of our first-time bar exam takers passed the New York State bar exam, by far the best performance by College of Law grads in decades. Read about it here.

The bar passage rate is important to us in many ways. First, it signals to prospective students that we successfully prepare our graduates for the bar exam. Second, bar passage influences our post-graduation employment statistics. And, as we know, bar passage and employment numbers—both of which are trending upward at the College of Law—affect our U.S. News & World Report ranking.

Before the bar results were released, we hosted a terrific Reunion Weekend. Over the course of two days, more than 100 alumni from around the country attended several events, including a networking breakfast with students, lunch with the judiciary and the substantive program on the US Supreme Court’s new term that followed, and a Syracuse football game viewing party. The Law Honors program continues to be the centerpiece of the weekend, and I encourage you to view the Law Honors video to hear first-hand from the honorees how much the College has influenced their lives. Thank you to all alumni who were there on October 20 and 21. Your engagement makes a real difference in the lives of our students. It’s not too early to think about your nominations for the 2018 Law Honors Award!



Leading up to Reunion Weekend, the University conducted its first ever campus-wide day of giving on October 17. Donors responded to our call to Boost the ’Cuse with enthusiasm, helping both the College of Law and the entire University exceed expectations. Thanks to the generosity of alumni, faculty, and staff, I am proud to report that in that 24-hour period the College of Law received more than $72,000 in gifts from 300 unique donors, 62 of them first-time donors. In addition, the College of Law secured more than $28,000 in matching funds, including an award for the “first gift of the day” and an award for the “greatest social media reach.” I am particularly pleased that 100% of our Board of Advisors participated in Giving Day, as did 77% of our SULAA board. Amazing results! Thanks to all of you who helped Boost the ’Cuse.

In the midst of all this excitement, Heidi Hart-Gorman joined the College as our new Director of Budget and Facilities Administration. Heidi comes to us from Cornell University, where for the last three years she was Director of Fellowships and Finance at the Graduate School. She brings a great deal of experience in areas that are key to the College of Law’s success, including budget and finance, human resources, IT management, and facilities management. She will oversee each of these areas, working closely with Budget Manager Barb Heitzman and our two newest directors, Director of IT Ian Brown and Assistant Director of Facilities and Events Sarah Valenti.

On October 26, Wohl Family Veterans Legal Clinic Director Yelena Duterte and I joined Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. in Utica, NY, to announce our partnership to expand legal services to Oneida County veterans through the Clinic. County Executive Picente announced the County would commit $150,000 over three years to enable the Clinic’s operations in the County Office Building in Utica, as well as in Rome. The announcement followed a successful fundraising event in September, which brought in more than $100,000 for the Clinic. This news is an excellent example of strategic collaboration in the service of our mission. We are providing our students with opportunities to complement their legal education in the classroom with practical experience, and expanding access to much-needed legal services in our community.


During the weekend of October 27, we hosted the New York State Bar Association’s inaugural Advanced Trial Academy. Building on the basic Trial Academy at Cornell Law in the spring, this advanced workshop provides New York practitioners an opportunity to deepen their trial skills. As a partner in the Academy with the NYSBA and the Young Lawyers Section, we secured the opportunity for our students to compete for a slot in the program. That slot went to 3L Ryan Lefkowitz who participated in the Academy alongside practitioners. Congratulations to Ryan!

Expanding our engagement with the New York State legal community, on November 18 we hosted the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York Board of Directors meeting. The Hon. Rosemary S. Pooler addressed the audience on the “State of the Judiciary.” More than 130 attorneys from across the state participated in a number of meetings throughout the day in Dineen Hall. This kind of engagement with the practicing bar is another way the College creates opportunities that help students and graduates expand their professional networks.

Moot Court Competitions

It’s been a busy two months for our Trial Advocacy program, with teams reaching the Final Four in four competitions and with students bringing home individual awards.  As always, thank you to all alumni who serve as coaches, judges and mentors, and congratulations to the student teams for some impressive results against stiff competition.

Advancing to the final four (with Hofstra, St. John’s, and Denver) at the Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Competition at the UB School of Law were 3L Tom DeBernadis, 3L Stephanie Martin-Thom, 2L Jennifer Pratt, and 2L Matt Wallace. Adding to the team’s success, Jenny Pratt was named best overall advocate through the Preliminary Rounds! Jeff Leibo L’03 coached the team, and 2L Ahmed Khattab served as the alternate and practice partner.

The National Board of Trial Advocates Tournament of Champions Competition team of 2L Adam Carey, 3L Christopher Clark, 3L Annie Millar, and 2L Dennis Scanlon advanced to the semi-final round of its trial competition at Loyola Law School, losing to Georgetown. The #2 ranked Syracuse team was coached by Joanne Van Dyke L’87, with 2L Sara Fitzpatrick serving as the team alternate and practice partner.

The National Moot Court Competition team of 3L Anna Pinchuk, 2L Erika Simonson, and 3L Erin Shean participated in the Boston Regional round of the New York City Bar’s National Appellate Competition on November 18-19. Coached by Professor Richard Risman, this team advanced to the semifinal round and brought home the award for Best Brief.

Coached by Professor Yelena Duterte, the team of 2Ls Olivia Fontana and Ryan Harrison advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition in Washington, DC. They lost that round in a split decision.

At the Judith Kaye Arbitration Competition in New York City, a 2L team of Sophie Bober, Sarah Knickerbocker, and Ursula Simmons brought home two awards: Best Cross Examination and Best Brief. James Sonneborn and Casey Johnson of Bousquet Holstein PLLC coached the team.

The team of 3L Michelle Futch, 3L Aidan Scott, and 2L Porsche Skenandore-Wheelock took part in the St. John’s University School of Law Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon. Coached by Professor Gary Pieples, this team competed through three rounds of arbitration, negotiation, and mediation.

The Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby L’85, Chief United States District Judge, Northern District of New York, presided over the finals of the 40th Annual Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition, won by 3Ls Melissa Green and Christopher Clark. Clark also received the Frank Armani Advocacy Award, which was presented by award namesake and distinguished guest Frank H. Armani L’56. Hon. Margaret Cangilos-Ruiz, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge, Northern District of New York; William Fitzpatrick L’76, District Attorney, Onondaga County; Hon. Mae D’Agostino L’80, United States District Judge, Northern District of New York; Lisa Peebles L’92, Federal Public Defender, Northern District of New York; and Professor of Law Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin joined the bench as evaluators.

Employment Outcomes: How You Can Help!

In March, I reported on a remarkable success for the Class of 2016. Its rate of employment in full-time, long-term bar-required or J.D.-advantaged positions was 74.1%, which was an increase of 8.5% over the Class of 2015 and the highest employment rate ever submitted to U.S. News & World Report for its law schools rankings.

You can help us achieve new heights when we submit the data for the Class of 2017 in March 2018. As of today, 65.5% of Class of 2017 graduates are employed in full-time, long-term bar-required or J.D.-advantaged positions, 10% ahead of where we were this time last year. I know we can do better heading into 2018 and far surpass last year’s result.

By mentoring, networking with, helping to place, or even hiring a College of Law student or graduate, alumni can positively influence our employment outcomes and move the needle on our law school ranking.

These are some of the more direct and crucial ways that you can give back to your alma mater. Reach out to us today to learn more about how to help a Syracuse graduate take his or her first step on the career ladder or how we can help your firm meet its employment goals. Call Stacey Wiley, Director of the Office of Career Services at 315.443.1941 or email

Faculty News

Earlier this month, Associate Dean for Research and Online Education and David M. Levy L’48 Professor of Law Nina A. Kohn was a Plenary Session Speaker at The Arc New York 2017 Annual Guardianship Training Symposium in Bolton Landing, NY. Kohn discussed “New Paradigms in Decision‐Making: Guardianship Reform and Supported Decision‐Making” as part of the symposium’s “Changing the Story: Guardianship and Evolving Alternatives” theme.

Associate Professor of Law Lauryn Gouldin’s paper “Defining Flight Risk” has been chosen as the first runner-up in the 2017 Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Criminal Justice Section (CJS) Junior Scholars Competition.

Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence and Director of the Disability Law and Policy Program Arlene Kanter and Associate Dean for Research and Online Education and David M. Levy L’48 Professor of Law Nina Kohn both shared their expertise—in disability law and fiduciary law, respectively—at Harvard Law School. Kanter delivered the lecture “The Difference a Treaty Can Make: The Case for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” while Kohn spoke as part of a conference organized by the editors of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law.

Professor of Law and Director of Legal Communication and Research Ian Gallacher has been awarded the 2018 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing by the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) and the Legal Writing Institute (LWI).

Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism William C. Banks has published his essay “Developing Norms for Cyber Conflict” in the Research Handbook on Remote Warfare (Edward Elgar).

Crandall Melvin Professor of Law and Director of the Technology Commercialization Law Center Shubha Ghosh has published his two-volume research handbook Intellectual Property and Innovation (Edward Elgar), and on September 30, discussed protecting intellectual property (IP) at the IP Workshop for North Texas Inventors and Entrepreneurs.

Teaching Professor William C. Snyder addressed the “Internet of Things” on a panel at Albany Law School’s “Cybersecurity and the Law” conference, which took place in mid-October.

Alumni Events

In late October, I traveled across the state to meet with alumni in Albany and downstate in New York City. My meetings in New York City covered wide-ranging topics, including our plans to develop a Juris Masters in compliance, the expansion of our externship program, and fundraising for the College of Law.

In early November, Vice Dean Keith Bybee hosted a New York City alumni event at Syracuse University’s Lubin House. In mid-November, I traveled to Washington, DC, to join the annual Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism alumni event. With more than 80 INSCT alums present from the College and Maxwell School—and with University Trustee Richard L. Thompson G’67, H’15 in attendance—this was a joyful celebration of Professor William C. Banks’ distinguished career and leadership of INSCT. It also was proof to me how valuable College of Law graduates are to the security and intelligence community in our nation’s capital. The College is well-represented in the offices of legal counsel at many three-letter agencies, thanks to INSCT’s and Bill’s reputation for producing graduates with a keen sense of the rule of law and knowledge of national security legal issues.


Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Atlanta: Cocktails and Conversation with Dean Craig M. Boise: Wednesday, November 29, Capital Grille, 255 E. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305
  • NYC: Metropolitan Black Bar Association Fireside Chat with Dean Craig Boise: Tuesday, December 5, Syracuse University’s Lubin House, 11 E 61st St, New York, NY 10065
  • Coming in 2018: Alumni events in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Florida, Phoenix, and Connecticut.

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 315.443.1964.

Contact us at 315.443.9533 or to change your address or to send us your updates!

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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.

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