Dean’s Message

Convocation 2023
David Meyer around students
Brooklyn Law School has no greater asset than its proud and distinctive mission of access.

HERE ARE MANY ASSETS that set Brooklyn Law School apart and that make me excited for its future. There is our dynamic faculty, as ambitious and impactful as any in the country. There is our leadership in clinics and practical legal training, for which we recently ranked 12TH in the country. And, of course, there is the Law School’s location, in the heart of the world’s most important, vibrant, and creative city.

But Brooklyn Law School has no greater asset than its proud and distinctive mission of access. Nearly 125 years ago, when the broader society was rife with racism, xenophobia, sexism, and religious persecution, this institution was founded as a haven where talented students from all backgrounds, origins, and faiths could excel and prepare themselves for leadership that would transform their families and their communities. At a time when most law schools were highly exclusionary, the Law School’s first classes were composed mostly of recent immigrants, including Muslims from Syria; Jews from Eastern Europe; Catholics from Cuba, Ireland, and Southern Europe; and African Americans and women.

Throughout our history and through diverse pathways, our alumni have often overcome great hardships to find their way to Brooklyn Law, sometimes studying at night while working to provide for their families, and have gone on to careers of enormous impact, transforming the fortunes of their families and the clients and communities they serve, at the highest levels of law practice, public service, and business.

We remain that same diverse and vibrant community today, and are defined by the same values of ambition, excellence, opportunity, and service to others. At my installation as Dean, I was honored to be introduced by one of our current students, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn ’24, who has juggled night classes as a law student while also serving as majority whip of the New York State Assembly. A first-generation American and the first Haitian-American elected to public office in New York City, she drew on her own experience of hardship and loss to enter public life and champion new laws to protect women and to help people with experiences like her own confront injustice and create better lives for their families.

And, though Bichotte Hermelyn is extraordinary, she is hardly alone. I’ve met many other students with their own inspiring stories and ambitions: a veteran excelling in his studies while raising small children; a student displaced by civil war who grew up mostly in refugee camps and is now dedicating herself to a career advancing human rights in conflict zones; and many more.

At a time when our world seems increasingly fragile and buffeted by conflict and division, Brooklyn Law School’s mission of welcoming exceptionally talented students from diverse backgrounds and life experiences and preparing them for transformational leadership has never been more vital.

Our alumni, faculty, staff, and students are all essential partners in that compelling mission. I look forward to working with you in this important and exciting journey ahead!

David D. Meyer signature
David D. Meyer
President, Joseph Crea Dean, and Professor of Law