Dear Alumni and Friends:
For the cover story of the spring 2017 issue of this magazine, we reported on the recently launched LL.M. program in law, technology, and entrepreneurship at Cornell Tech and proclaimed that “a revolution in legal education is underway.” Now, six years later, I’m happy to report that the revolution continues.
Since the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic in 2018 by Celia Bigoness, we have been transforming the way we teach transactional law. That same year, our journey continued with the launch of a semester-long J.D. program in information and technology law at Cornell Tech in New York City, which complemented the LL.M. program. And now, as you’ll read in the cover story of this issue, we are thrilled to announce the next step in our collaboration with Cornell Tech.
Thanks to the generosity of Franci J. Blassberg, A.B. ’75, J.D. ’77, and Joseph L. Rice III, P ’16, we are launching the Blassberg-Rice Center for Entrepreneurship Law. This center expands our Entrepreneurship Law Clinic to Roosevelt Island, adds two new practitioners to the faculty, and gives Cornell J.D.s the opportunity to work with New York City start-ups for the first time. This is an exciting development that we believe will deeply benefit our students and the communities they serve.
We are grateful to Franci and Joe for their generous gift, which ensures we can continue innovating and providing our students with the skills and experiences needed to excel in today’s rapidly changing legal environment. Our focus on transactional law, technology, and entrepreneurship is more important than ever, and this center will provide our students with unparalleled real-world experience.
Among the other developments we cover in this issue, I am proud to share that the Law School will be launching a Veterans Law Practicum in the fall of 2023. As you will read in our second feature article, members of the Cornell Law Veterans Association teamed up with Michaela K. Rossettie Azemi, director of Pro Bono Services and Externships, to design and launch this innovative effort. This practicum will enroll ten upper-class law students each semester who will practice under the supervision of two adjunct professors, both attorneys with backgrounds in disability claims and veterans benefits. The Veterans Law Practicum will serve as a hub for eligible veterans seeking legal information, advice, and representation. We know that there is a wide gap in legal services available for veterans, and we are proud to provide our students with the opportunity to make a real difference in their lives.
The third feature article is a tribute to Judge Paul Crotty, LL.B. ’67, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and his legacy of pragmatism, justice, and mentorship. For almost two decades, a steady stream of Cornell Law students have launched their legal careers in Judge Crotty’s Manhattan chambers. Crotty has made it a habit to always recruit a Cornell Law School graduate as one of his clerks, recognizing the value of extraordinarily well-prepared graduates who are also collegial and collaborative. In turn, Crotty has been deeply dedicated to making each of those clerkships a rewarding and formative experience.
Our final feature article highlights the inaugural Mary Kennedy Brown Society Women’s Summit, which we were thrilled to host on March 10 in New York City. This event brought together a broad cross-section of Cornell Law’s male and female graduates to celebrate the pioneering impact of Cornell women in law, business, and education, and to discuss how we can increase diversity, expand opportunities, and develop networks in a post-pandemic world. It was an inspiring day, and I was honored to recognize the Law School’s oldest living alumna, Muriel Kessler, Class of 1948, who continues to practice at ninety-eight years old. We stand in awe of her accomplishments as a lawyer and know that she will inspire future generations of women lawyers.
We are grateful for the support and achievements of our Cornell Law School community, and we hope that these exciting developments inspire you as much as they do us. We look forward to continuing to innovate in legal education and practice and to share our progress with you in future updates.
Jens David Ohlin
Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law