Brooklyn Law School Dean’s Law and Policy Forum connects classroom with real issues

October 30, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Law School and interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton are hosting a series of forums called the Dean’s Law and Policy Series that intends to connect what the students are learning in the classroom with issues facing society. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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Brooklyn Law School is always looking for ways to connect ideas and lessons from the classroom to the larger legal and political community. This semester, it has found a way to do so through a series hosted by interim dean Maryellen Fullerton called the Dean’s Law and Policy Series: Bring the World into the Law School.

“Once a month, a member of the faculty is going to talk about a contemporary issue to the BLS community,” Fullerton explained at the first forum that was hosted on Sept. 5.

“The idea of today’s presentation is that there will be a short discussion, maybe 15 or 20 minutes, setting the stage for certain issues, and then it will turn into a more interactive session where you can ask questions, brainstorm about opportunities and otherwise comment on the discussion,” Fullerton continued.

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So far this semester there have been two forums with another one planned. The first, “Structural Inequality and Social Movements” with professor K. Sabeel Rahman, took place at the start of the school year on Sept. 5.

“Our society is really a tiered one. We have various levels of membership,” Rahman said. “It’s a product of these hidden background systems of law that effectively create second-, third- and fourth-class citizenship for a lot of members in the body politic.

Brooklyn Law School Prof. Julian Arato’s series was titled, “Trade Policy and the Politics of Trade.”

Rahman is a widely published constitutional and administrative law scholar and is the new president of Demos, a public policy organization focused on equality in the democratic process and economy.

Professor Julian Arato, an international economic law expert and co-director of the Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law, led the second forum on Oct. 10 titled “Trade Policy and the Politics of Trade.”

“This is a wonderful series because it gives us a chance to talk about the basics that we teach in our classes in a context that is more relevant to the many political crisis of the day,” Arato said.

Arato explained how policy ideas are often reflected in society and warned that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

“Spoiler alert: what’s happening is bad and makes no sense,” he said.

“Trade policy intersects really nicely with some of the most vicious ideological developments, like the rise of xenophobia in America, which can only be accounted for in connection with what you often hear called economic anxiety produced, in part, by trade policy,” Arato added.

The third session of the Dean’s Law and Policy Series will be on Nov. 5 at 12:45 p.m. with prof. Susan Herman, who is president of the American Civil Liberties Union. Her upcoming talk is called “Do We Live in a Democracy?”


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