By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Law School’s incoming class walked through Downtown Brooklyn on an August afternoon to hear the first message from their dean, Nick Allard. The 2013 convocation was held on Aug. 13 in the ceremonial courtroom of the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse located on Cadman Plaza East.
“The walk you just completed with your new classmates from the front of the Law School plaza, through the heart of the Downtown Brooklyn community and into this majestic hall of justice, drives home several important facts: that you are not alone, that you are part of many communities, that our law school is inextricably intertwined – by virtue of location and intentional design – with the center of the legal profession and institutions of justice as the only law school in the largest borough in the City of New York, that a microcosm of the world is within an arm’s-length radius of Joralemon Street,” Allard said in his address stressing the importance and significance of attending a school located in Brooklyn.
Allard commended the students for going against conventional wisdom — and “its cheap cousin, popular opinion” — that advises against going to law school during a down economy. He agreed that the legal profession has changed, and cautioned students that traditional legal jobs “will likely never return.”
As discouraging as these facts may be, “you will be needed,” Allard said. “A good legal education, which is expensive and includes demanding reading, writing, scholarly dialogue and practical training, is more necessary, more valuable than at any time before.” Allard’s reference to the expense of law school and the observation that traditional legal jobs are quickly diminishing may be viewed as a reminder to students that they should not base the cost of their education on the expectation that they will receive a traditional law firm job upon graduation.
Brooklyn Law School, along with other schools throughout New York City, succeeded against a lawsuit by former students who claimed that they were misled by the school that a job will be readily available upon graduation after spending thousands of dollars on a law school education.
A law degree may allow for a traditional law firm job, Allard alluded but it can also give students the chance to “take a company public” or represent “an entrepreneur working at one of hundreds of start-ups in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle.”
“The beauty and value of a Brooklyn Law School degree,” Allard said, “is that you may choose “all of the above.”
And attending a law school in Brooklyn will allow students to be “Brooklyn ready.” For Allard, “Brooklyn Ready means that we will make sure that you will be ready to be productive members of the 21 century profession from day one. [It means] being able to handle any curve-ball that a world of changes throws your way, being able to answer tough questions, and forging solutions to new problems that no one has seen or even thought of yet.”
Allard implored the new law school class to “use law as a weapon to fight the good fight, to correct wrongs, to uphold justice.”