Message From the Dean: Reflecting on Our Community

Dean Crowell Shares Seasonal Reflections on the NYLS Community

Dear NYLS Community,

This time of year traditionally brings a sense of hope, reunion, and reflection. I have been thinking about our community and the adversity we face. Our response has made me proud and quite certain that renewal and togetherness are possible even in the face of hardship and distance. 

It has been five weeks since we closed the School, and nearly four weeks since we shifted to online classes. I’ve heard from many of you that you’re adjusting to the new format and finding creative ways to support your intellectual engagement and learning, including building new skills and advocating for those in need. At the same time, a number of you have been sick and needed help, and some of you have suddenly and tragically lost loved ones and friends. The kindness and concern you have shown to each other demonstrate the values at the heart of our community: compassion and excellence.

As I’ve said before, though we are not together in person, we are together in spirit as the NYLS family. I am proud that you are looking for lessons to take from this unwelcome but nonetheless instructive moment in our history. As you try to make sense of it all, please let at least some of those lessons demonstrate why we emphasize grit, resilience, adaptability, and empathy as among the most important attributes of effective lawyers and leaders. The perspectives we will gain from this experience, despite the pain and loss, will make us stronger for our families and our communities.

Please reach out to me or Dean Harding if we can be of assistance to you, or if you just need to talk. Remember that we’re all in this together, and we’ll all move through it together. To those observing holidays this month, I wish you comfort and the chance to connect with your loved ones, even across great distances. And to all, I wish you and your families safety, health, and peace of mind.

All my best,
Dean Crowell