REGINALD GREENE ’18, PRESIDENT OF THE SBA, AND MARK S. YAGERMAN ’79, MEMBER OF CARDOZO’S FIRST GRADUATING CLASS, DISCUSS FOUR DECADES OF CARDOZO LAW
hen Mark S. Yagerman ’79 arrived at Cardozo, the school didn’t even have a law library. “Oh, we had the library,” he says. “We just didn’t have any books!” That’s just one of the challenges Yagerman embraced as a member of the school’s first graduating class. But, he says, it was a challenge he relished. “It was more than just a challenge—it was an opportunity.” That was 40 years ago, and in that time, the Cardozo experience has shaped generations of lawyers with its unique blend of practical and theoretical education. As Cardozo’s 40th anniversary celebrations come to a close, Yagerman, who today is an executive member at Smith Mazure, sat down with the president of Cardozo’s Student Bar Association, 2L Reginald Greene, to talk about the ways the school has changed over the last four decades, as well as how it’s stayed very much the same. q Reginald Greene ’18 (left) and Mark S. Yagerman ’79
BY BRIAN STILLMAN
Mark, what prompted you to apply to a brand-new law school, one without the
benefit of a reputation or a history behind it? MARK YAGERMAN I found out about it through a judge who said, “Yeshiva University is starting a law school in Greenwich Village.” And I said, “Why not?” It had a great name behind it: Cardozo. And the thought was that you grow with the school—and the school is definitely going to grow. It was really unbridled enthusiasm. You had a great faculty. And as it turned out there were a lot of other people like me who said why not. People who had other careers who wanted to go to law school and gave it a shot. REGINALD GREENE I absolutely would have done it, too. I always felt like I wanted to be a part of something. I wanted to build something. I imagine you had to feel like you were you against the world. You’re a small school. You’re in New York City. You know who the big hitters are. YAGERMAN We had great start-up faculty. Dean Monrad Paulsen, he came from the University of Virginia. He was a great educator. I had him for Family Law. But you also had Telford Taylor, who was a professor at Columbia, and he was the chief prosecutors at Nuremberg; Eva Hanks, who was renowned in real property; Lester Brickman on professional responsibility and contracts; Peter Lushing, who taught Civil Procedure and Evidence. I had him for Conflicts—he was a terrific professor who made you stand on your feet and think as a lawyer while he was grilling you.
Did you envision that it would become so big?