Mary Lu Bilek Appointed Interim Dean of the CUNY School of Law

Mary Lu Bilek has been appointed by the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York as Interim Dean of The CUNY School of Law, effective May 21, 2005.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Bilek had previously served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at CUNY Law School.

“Dean Bilek has done extraordinary work during two decades at the CUNY School of Law, where she is presently Associate Dean for Academic Affairs,” said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, who recommended the appointment. “She brings exemplary skills as a lawyer, teacher and administrator to this important post at the only publicly funded law school in New York City.”

The Chancellor thanked former Dean Kristen Booth Glen, who is stepping down after ten years of service to the CUNY School of Law to run for the position of Surrogate Judge in Manhattan.

Dean Bilek received her A.B., summa cum laude, from St. Mary’s College and her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. From 1980 – 1985 she was with the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. As a litigation associate she handled a wide variety of civil cases, large and small, including general commercial, contract, antitrust, copyright and administrative law matters. She also conducted substantial pro bono work, ranging from representation of individual clients to complex cases co-counseled with public interest groups, including representation of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and the families of five American churchwomen killed in El Salvador.

Bilek made the transition from private practice to the CUNY School of Law in 1985. She joined the faculty in time to teach members of the first graduating class, and has served as Academic Dean to each of the Law School’s three Deans. In that position she has played an important role in encouraging the development of curriculum and programs consistent with the CUNY School of Law’s mission to train lawyers dedicated to working in the public interest.

Bilek said her goals as Interim Dean are “maintaining the continuity, stability and morale necessary for a successful search for a permanent Dean; and ensuring that the School’s standards are consistent with preparing students for the formidable challenges facing lawyers who devote themselves to serving the public and the poor.

As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1986 – 1988 and again since 1997, Bilek has had primary responsibility for the School’s academic program including curriculum planning and development. She has played a major role in the faculty appointments process and in hiring and monitoring adjuncts, and has had supervisory responsibility for the Admissions Office, the Dean of Students Office, and the Career Planning Office.

Dean Bilek has also been liaison between the administration of CUNY School of Law and academic committees on curriculum, faculty appointments, academic standing, student evaluation, faculty evaluation, reappointments and promotion, and personnel and budget. She was responsible for preparing the self-study for the ABA Accreditation site visit at CUNY School of Law.

Dean Bilek has also served as First Year Coordinator, with responsibility for facilitating the integration and coherence of the first year curriculum at CUNY School of Law. This included teaching professional responsibility, leading workshops on pedagogy and skills teaching, and developing and refining simulations.

Her publications include the Draft Report for the Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, entitled “Examining the New York State Bar Examination.” She is co-author, with Bruce Green, of “Recent Federal Court Decisions in Professional Responsibility,” in Current Developments in Federal Civil Practice 2001 (Practicing Law Institute, April 2001).

She was chair of the Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 1995 – 1998. Dean Bilek has also been a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the Council of New York Law Associates, a public interest organization that trains volunteer lawyers and places pro bono cases, largely in the area of community development work. She served on the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court from 1983 – 1989.

Opened in 1983, CUNY School of Law, located in Flushing, Queens, is the only law school which, from inception, has defined its mission as training law students for public service. The Law School is a national leader in progressive legal education with the highest rate of placement of graduates in public interest and public service careers.

The City University of New York, the nation’s largest urban public university, includes 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, a graduate school, a law school and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. It serves more than 450,000 degree-credit students and adult, continuing and professional education students. An additional 35,000 students are enrolled in College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program for high school students offered at CUNY campuses and more than 200 high schools throughout the five boroughs of the City of New York.

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