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Berman honored by NYU Law

August 18, 2010

Referring to the more than 25 initiatives that have been launched at the College of Law since Dean Paul Schiff Berman took the helm two years ago, New York University School of Law has named Berman (Class of 1995) its August Alumnus of the Month.

Its Office of Alumni Relations published an article about Berman that begins, “For the dean of a law school, Paul Schiff Berman ’95 has an unusual background: Just after completing degrees in anthropology and theater at Princeton University, he spent several years working as a theater director in New York City. The two occupations may seem worlds apart, but Berman says they have much in common.”

Berman says, “As a director, you want to create space in the room for everyone to be creative and have lots of ideas. And when someone brings an idea to the table, you want to put it on its feet as quickly as possible and run with it. As a dean, I'm trying to do exactly the same thing.”

The article notes that Berman was recruited in 2008 by ASU President Michael M. Crow specifically to take an entrepreneurial approach to the law school’s future. The dean was charged with inventing a new model of 21st century public legal education, which he calls Legal Education in the Future Tense.

“He said if I could dream up new ideas, he would back them,” said Berman, who at the time was on faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Among the many initiatives Berman has created is the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, which is bringing together students in law, social work, nursing, psychology and criminology to work on holistic solutions to domestic violence issues.

“Law students will realize the client’s legal problem is only one part of his or her needs,” says Berman. “That’s an important lesson for future lawyers.”

To read the full article, click here.