Dean’s Message

Dean Cahill talking with students in a crowd outside
Life here is back; and that’s something to celebrate.

UTUMN IS A SEASON of relative repose and domesticity. After the escapades, travels, and outdoor activities of summer, we begin to turn back to the local, the indoors, the comfortable and familiar. In the topsy-turvy world of the pandemic, however, to be indoors is not always comfortable and can seem oddly unfamiliar.

Here at Brooklyn Law School, the resumption of in-person classes has been, overall, a successful one, but also tempered with caution and concern. Fortunately, I am happy to report that our safety measures in this new environment have been effective. With our fully vaccinated community and indoor masking, we have as yet seen no evidence of any transmission of COVID-19 from one person to another in our classrooms or on our campus. One could hardly say that life here is back to normal; even so, life here is back, and that’s something to celebrate.

Autumn is also a time of transitions, some gradual, some abrupt. At the end of this semester, Professor Roberta Karmel, one of the true giants in our law school’s history, will retire from the full-time faculty. Her stellar career and many accomplishments are highlighted in this issue. Yet, Roberta’s ongoing plans and commitments to write and speak in various venues make clear that “retired” does not mean “inactive.” While she is in the autumn of her career, much remains, and we look forward to her continued, albeit somewhat reduced, presence and contributions as a scholar, teacher, and colleague.

Unfortunately, indeed tragically, not all departures are so measured or foreseen. Our entire community continues to grieve at the sudden passing in September of longstanding and treasured faculty colleague Minna Kotkin. Minna’s contributions to the Law School and to the wider legal community were many and far-reaching. She was a dedicated doctrinal and clinical teacher, an insightful scholar, a central member of the Law School’s Sparer community, and an active leader in the wider academic community. Her lifelong commitment to justice and equity for all was inspiring. And, of course, to her fellow faculty members and many of our students, graduates, and staff, Minna was also a dear friend. She will be remembered, and she will be missed.

Many alumni have asked how they can honor Professor Karmel and commemorate Professor Kotkin’s life and legacy. A scholarship fund already exists in Professor Karmel’s name, and we have also created a fund in memory of Professor Kotkin. If you are interested in making a contribution in support of either fund, please contact Chief Advancement Officer Annie Nienaber at

Wishing the many members of our extended community comfort, peace, and health, this holiday season, and beyond.

Michael Cahill
Michael T. Cahill
President, Joseph Crea Dean, and Professor of Law