Downtown

Brooklyn Law School president and dean Nicholas Allard resigns

May 29, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nick Allard was in China when the news broke that he would step down as dean of Brooklyn Law School. He will resign at the end of June after leading the school for the past six years. Eagle file photos by Rob Abruzzese

Allard spent six years at the helm

After six years serving as president and dean of Brooklyn Law School, Nicholas Allard is set to resign at the end of June, he announced to faculty and staff last week.

Allard was in China when the school made the official announcement, which led many to speculate that he was fired. However, he had explained to faculty and staff through an email that the decision was a long time coming.

“In recent months, my wife Marla and I have been intensely thinking about where we are in our lives and the ways in which we would like to use our time,” Allard wrote in an email obtained by the Brooklyn Eagle. “There are many exciting opportunities that we want to pursue and feel we can now do because the law school is in such a strong position.”

According to the law school, Allard will serve as dean until June 30, 2018 and professor Maryellen Fullerton will serve as interim dean while a search committee finds a permanent replacement.

Because Allard’s departure was made when he was out of the country, there was speculation that he was fired over financial concerns. The New York Law Journal reported that the school has struggled with financial issues in recent years. As the Law Journal reported, Moody’s Investor Services recently lowered the school’s outlook from “stable” to “negative.”

School officials have denied that Allard’s departure has anything to do with financials, but members of the school’s board of trustees did not return requests for comment.

“We were incredibly fortunate to have Nick lead the law school through a volatile period in legal education,” Stuart Subotnick, chairman of the board of trustees at the school, said in a statement. “His many talents were just what we needed to move the law school successfully forward.

“He has a great rapport with our alumni, and our students love his energy and desire to always do what is best for them,” Subotnick continued. “He will be difficult to replace, but we are thankful for all that he has done and respect his desire to pursue other opportunities at this time in his professional life.”

Subotnick pointed out that the school’s endowment has “quadrupled” to approximately $250 million while Allard was president and dean of the school.

Professor Maryellen Fullerton will take over as interim dean while Brooklyn Law School searches for Allard’s replacement.

Allard has been extremely popular among the students and the staff, as many have referred to him as an inspiration.

“As a mentor and leader, [Allard] consistently motivates and encourages me to think creatively and innovatively to help all our students tap into their authentic advocacy voices, not just those students who come to law school already knowing what their eventual role will be in our legal system,” said professor Heidi Brown. “On numerous occasions, it was Nick who reached out to me to figure out ways to help students who were particularly struggling with their writing or other aspects of law school.”

One professor, Jonathan Askin, even went as far as to say that he was ready to quit his job at the school prior to Allard’s arrival.

“Nick understood the role of the law school to train the next generation of lawyers to work with the hackers, the startups, the policymakers, and the would-be entrepreneurs and innovators,” Askin said. “[Shortly after meeting him], I knew we were getting a dean who shared my vision of the role of the lawyer, and the role of the prescient law school to train the lawyer for the digital age.”

Professor Susan Hazeldean explained that Allard’s legacy will be the innovated learning opportunities that he expanded upon like the creation of the LGBT Advocacy Clinic, Criminal Defense & Advocacy Clinic and the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE).

Allard’s influence went beyond the walls of the school as he was often seen at courthouse and bar association events throughout Brooklyn next to his wife Marla. He even coordinated with the Brooklyn Bar Association and President Aimee Richter to ensure that the annual Hon. Theodore T. Jones Memorial Scholarship, worth $5,000, is given to a BLS student each year.

In his email to the staff, Allard speculated that he and Marla are considering a move back to Washington, D.C., where he previously worked as chair of the Public Policy Department and co-chair of the Government Advocacy Practice Group at Patton Boggs.

Allard also suggested he could write a book or work as a professor. One source within the school told the Brooklyn Eagle that he could even stay on as a professor at the school.

“Despite the economic pressures and the persistent uncertainties of the law school market, Brooklyn Law School will continue to thrive, as it has done for the last 117 years,” Allard wrote in his email to the staff. “I leave the law school after six years as dean in a very strong economic and operational position, and with our world-class faculty and exceptional staff, we are well-positioned to tackle the challenges ahead. It has been an extraordinary privilege to lead this law school.”

 

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