CUNY School of Law Dean to Step Down in 2016

October 9, 2015 | The University

Dean Michelle J. Anderson of the CUNY School of Law is stepping down following the conclusion of this academic year after 10 years of outstanding leadership and service, announced Chancellor James B. Milliken today.

The Chancellor praised Dean Anderson’s role in strengthening CUNY School of Law’s national reputation and her deep commitment to the school’s mission of diversifying the legal profession and serving the underprivileged.

“Dean Anderson has done a terrific job leading the CUNY School of Law, raising its academic standards, leading the school to national recognition, and diversifying its student body,” Chancellor Milliken said.

“During the past decade, Dean Anderson has led the Law School through significant growth, renewal, and transformation in program development, the acquisition of modern facilities, and student and faculty achievement. Dean Anderson oversaw the School’s move into a new, state-of the-art building in Long Island City, Queens; launched a part-time evening program; and inaugurated the highly regarded Pipeline to Justice Program that prepares qualified students from underrepresented communities to enter CUNY School of Law.”

“It has been an honor to serve this great institution and I count the extraordinary work I have done together with our faculty, staff, students, and alumni as the highlight of my professional life,” Dean Anderson wrote in an email to the school’s faculty and staff.

Over the last five years, under Dean Anderson’s leadership, CUNY Law graduates increased pass rates on the New York State Bar Exam, reaching a high of 84%.

This year, CUNY Law ranked third in the nation in U.S. News & World Report annual rankings for “Best Clinical Training.” Over the past nine years, CUNY Law has also been ranked as the best public interest law school in the nation, the second most diverse law school student body, and among the top 10 in the nation for best law professors, most diverse faculty, and highest percentage of public service and public interest employment.

Dean Anderson is a leading scholar on rape law. Her articles have been published in the Boston University Law Review, George Washington Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, Rutgers Law Review, Southern California Law Review, and University of Illinois Law Review, among others. Her article redefining what rape should be legally was selected as the core text on rape law in Criminal Law Conversations, published by Oxford University Press in 2009.

Dean Anderson is a 1989 honors graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she earned the Chancellor’s Award for outstanding academic achievement. She graduated from Yale Law School in 1994, where she was Notes Editor of the Yale Law Journal. At Yale, she received research fellowships from the Orville H. Schell Center for International Human Rights and the Ford Foundation in Public International Law.

Following law school, Dean Anderson clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for Judge William A. Norris. She then worked at Georgetown University Law Center in the Appellate Litigation Program and the Institute for Public Representation where she earned an LL.M. in Advocacy and represented clients pursuing a range of civil rights claims and criminal appeals.

Dean Anderson was a member of the Villanova University School of Law faculty for eight years. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, a Visiting Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a Visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

Dean Anderson chaired the University-wide Task Force to establish a rigorous Common Core curriculum for CUNY undergraduate colleges.

Dean Anderson is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Task Force on New Lawyers in a Changing Profession, where she is Chair of the Committee on Unmet Legal Needs. In 2014, Dean Anderson was awarded the Bar Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award.

A national search will be conducted for Dean Anderson’s successor.