Brooklyn Law School honors former Dean Nick Allard with portrait-hanging ceremony
The Brooklyn Law School (BLS) Board of Trustees honored former President and Dean Nicholas Allard with a portrait-hanging ceremony at the law school in Downtown Brooklyn on Wednesday.
“Clearly Nick, with the support of our faculty and staff, has moved our school forward to the benefit of the students and the profession,” said Stuart Subotnick, chairperson of the Board of Trustees. “Because of his efforts, we have developed a reputation as an innovative leader in legal education, producing young lawyers who are not only well-educated, but eager to learn and contribute to the profession.”
Allard, who graduated as a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University and Yale Law School, served as the BLS dean from July 2012 to June 2018, and its president from July 2014 to June 2018.
Nearly 100 of the school’s faculty, alumni and staff packed into the Subotnick Center on Wednesday night for the ceremony. There was a brief introduction by Subotnick, followed by the portrait unveiling by interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton and incoming Dean Michael Cahill, who takes over in July.
In his introduction of Allard, Subotnick talked about how a trip to a drive-in movie theater to see Gregory Peck star in “To Kill a Mockingbird” inspired Allard to go to law school. Subotnick then credited Allard with improving the school’s faculty, its career clinics and programs, its flexible juris doctorate programs, its connections with the community including the District Attorney’s Office and the Brooklyn Bar Association, and its alumni participation, all while keeping it competitive financially.
Subotnick also announced that the school will create the Nicholas W. Allard Chair in Global Legal Studies in recognition of Allard’s legacy of global engagement.
“Although we have been around for just shy of 120 years, Nick is only our eighth dean,” Subotnick said. “He is in an exclusive class of legal education leaders. We were fortunate to have him and I’m happy to dedicate this portrait, although I have to see what it looks like first, to our gallery of excellence.”
After the portrait was unveiled, Allard was immediately thrilled with it, even if he joked that the skinny person in the portrait looked more like how he looked in junior high school than he does today.
“It’s almost impossible to tell you what I hope you know and what I feel, which is how much I love Brooklyn Law School,” Allard said. “When I say I love Brooklyn Law School, I don’t mean the buildings. It’s the people, the community. I can’t begin, and I won’t even try, to put that in words.”
Allard then shared the story of Roman Galper, a recent BLS graduate who now works with the Brooklyn DA’s Office, and how he felt the school changed his life and helped him reach his goals.
“Every single person in this room has had a hand in helping people attain their dreams and in many instances without even knowing, appreciating it or being thankful,” Allard said. “With the deepest respect, I am so appreciative of the privilege of being with you.”
Allard then talked about the challenges the school faces, and noted that if it wants to remain excellent, it must be able to adapt and remain innovative, even if that means stumbling occasionally.
“The trick is to work collaboratively based on evidence on what to continue that is good and how to strengthen and improve what can be better,” Allard said. “That is not easy and requires fortitude and courage not to bail out on new ventures. If you like things the way they are, things are going to have to change.”
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