Dean’s Message
Dean Cahill sitting in his office and smiling
Our graduates are sure to serve, and lead, our profession with skill and grace for decades to come.

URING THIS LAST YEAR-PLUS of the COVID-19 pandemic, life often has seemed to transpire in a perpetual present, in which time has little meaning. So many of us labor just to plod through each day to get to the next, which will mostly resemble the previous day and the day to follow. One could start to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, or, to reach further back, like Macbeth: “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day.” Sounds about right.

Yet, with the arrival of spring, and some signs that the tide of the pandemic is finally turning, it seems there is once again occasion for us to lift up our gaze and look forward. As this issue of Brooklyn Law Notes emphasizes, the future is well on its way. Here at the Law School, we’re ready for it, and helping others prepare for what lies ahead.

I often think of my faculty colleague Frank Pasquale as an emissary from the future, sent here to advise us on what our modern tools for gathering and analyzing massive quantities of data might do for us, and to warn us about what they might do to us. He is among the leading contemporary scholars thinking through the complex relations between science and law to ensure that humans can exploit the uses of technology while preventing the use of technology to exploit humans. The excerpt from his important new book, New Laws of Robotics, featured in this issue, offers his vision of how we might navigate these important issues in a productive and ethical way.

I’m also certain that when you meet the class of 2021 graduates in our second feature story, you will share my belief that the future is in good hands. The abilities and achievements of our graduating class would be impressive under any circumstances, but after taking into account what they have endured and overcome, you will find their accomplishments nothing short of extraordinary. I have seen firsthand their resilience, dedication, passion, and aptitude—not to mention their patience with me and my colleagues, as we have done our best to manage the Law School through these difficult months. Our graduates are sure to serve, and lead, our profession with skill and grace for decades to come.

As we look ahead and begin to contemplate our return to campus, I sincerely and quite literally hope to see you, our alumni, and dare to anticipate a time when we can gather again in groups large and small. I have been delighted and deeply appreciative to witness how many of you have remained engaged with the Law School from afar by attending virtual events, offering individual mentorship, and continuing to help us and our students with your professional support and personal philanthropy. I am eager as well to hit the road when it is safe to travel and meet you in gatherings around the country.

Until then, all best, stay safe, and be well.

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