As I look back on the 2012-13 academic year, I am encouraged by the many great things we have accomplished at USD School of Law despite the challenges facing our economy, the legal profession and legal education.
Let me just touch on some of the highlights of the past academic year:
- The success of our Dean’s Scholarship Initiative in achieving our goal of raising $500,000 for scholarship support;
- The positive impact that the availability of these additional scholarship funds had on the quality and diversity of our 1L class, on our ability to reward more of the leaders and retain more of the top academic performers in our 2L class, and in assisting with the recruitment of some strong transfer students from other law schools;
- The most recent SSRN rankings that places our faculty among the top 25 worldwide and 21st among American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools;
- The appointment of several new faculty members, including lateral hires Vic and Miranda Fleischer (from Colorado), Adam Hirsch (from Florida State) and Howard Abrams (from Emory), who will be joining us as Warren Distinguished Professor and Director of Tax Programs in 2014-15, after a year as Visiting Professor at Harvard, and two outstanding entry-level professors, Dov Fox and Mila Sohoni;
- The promotion of Margaret Dalton and Michael Devitt to tenured Clinical Professors and the increased faculty resources committed to our legal clinics, externship and internship programs, mock trial and other competitions;
- The expansion of our exchange programs to include eight leading international law schools in Argentina (Torcuato de Tella), China (Peking School of Transnational Law), Denmark (University of Copenhagen), Germany (European Business School), Israel (Hebrew University, Jerusalem), Great Britain (Kings’ College, London), Singapore (Singapore Management School) and Spain (ESADE Law School, Ramon Llull University, Barcelona);
- The establishment of our new Institute for Law and Religion that brings outstanding scholars of diverse religious and secular perspective to USD to address issues of great constitutional importance and public interest; and
- The successful launch of our Semester in Washington D.C. Externship Program in Spring 2013 with the students completing internships in government agencies and non-profits, including the SEC, EPA, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education & the Workforce, D.C. Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Solicitor General, and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Despite what you may read in the news about the mood at law schools, there is an optimism and vibrancy here at USD that comes from the shared commitment to our mission of training our students to be great lawyers and to serve the legal needs of our communities. If you have the chance to meet our new faculty (and I hope you will), just ask them why they have chosen to come to USD at this time. What you hear will make you even more proud of our law school!
As the faculty works on our new strategic plan, my highest fundraising priority remains increasing scholarship funding to enable us to recruit and retain highly qualified students and to ensure access to legal education for capable students from all backgrounds. To do so, it is essential that we once again achieve our goal of raising at least $500,000 for our Dean’s Scholarship Initiative. I hope that all of you who contributed to the Dean’s Scholarship Initiative last year will do so again. Please also consider increasing your contributions, making them earlier and encouraging others to contribute to this critical initiative. For those of you who have the financial means, I am again asking that you consider funding a named scholarship in the amount of $5,000 or more for one of our worthy students. You will find, as my wife Julie and I do, great satisfaction in sharing in the success of the scholarship recipient.
As we continue to “right size” the law school and adjust to our budgetary constraints, we depend upon donations to support the important research and public interest work being done by our centers and institutes, including the new Institute for Law and Religion; to expand our clinical program to train students and serve unmet legal needs, such as assisting members of the military with educational benefits in our new Veterans Legal Clinic; and to offer our students new curricular options that will enhance their employment opportunities, such as our Semester in Washington D.C. Externship Program.
I am confident that our new strategic plan will establish ambitious goals for USD School of Law. Achieving those goals will require your continued support. I know we can count on your generosity and good will.
With my sincere thanks and best wishes,
Stephen C. Ferruolo
Dean and Professor of Law