GROWTH THROUGH CHANGE
People often ask me about the biggest surprises in serving as dean. The past few years have witnessed great change in the legal profession, in legal education, and at Emory. But that was no surprise. When I moved into the dean’s office in 2011, the signs of change were everywhere. As I spoke with students, alumni, and employers, it was clear that change was imperative. What was more surprising to me was the enthusiasm and excitement at the prospect of that change. Facing a rapidly shifting world, students wanted to know how the law school would transform itself, how it would meet their evolving professional, social, and personal needs. Alumni had similar questions. It was great fun to connect with so many graduates, including many of my former students. They would share recollections of their times at Emory, recounting tales of notable faculty — Bill Agnor, Bill Ferguson, Don Fyr, Lucy McGough, and many more. They would ask how the law school experience differed now. What were the new programs? Who were 22
the new faculty? They encouraged and celebrated our efforts to renew ourselves and especially to diversify ourselves. It was also our alumni who enabled this renewal, by generously supporting innovations such as the John Lewis Chair in Civil Rights and Social Justice, the William and Jane Carney Chair of Transactional Law and Practice, the Volunteer Clinic for Veterans, pioneering career programming, and greatly enhanced financial aid. In keeping with the changing times, the faculty energetically established innovative projects and pursued path-breaking research in new fields. The centennial celebration helped me to see that Emory Law has been a leader of change since its founding. When it comes to engaging with vital current issues from immigration to free speech, the law school continues to lead. Transforming the lives of our students has also been central to our mission. There is no more rewarding experience than getting to know students who have overcome many hurdles to
EMORY LAWYER FALL 2017
earn admission to Emory Law, perhaps as the first members of their family to attend college. They will graduate with the ability to change the lives of many. Witnessing this transformation has been one of the greatest pleasures and highest honors of being dean. Transforming ourselves so as to continue to advance our mission has been the story of the past six years, and of the 94 years before that. We constantly change and adapt to be true to our history, to continue to maximize our relevance and impact. I step away from the deanship and back into the faculty pleased about where the school is. However, I will not be surprised when it is soon quite different. That will be a sign of our continuing success.
Robert A. Schapiro Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law