New Dean in TownMichael M. Martin in BISNOW, May 23, 2011
The face of Fordham Law is changing. We met newly appointed Dean Mike Martin (or as he'll be called whether he likes it or not, Dean Martin), who tells us a new $250M law school building should be open for classes in the Fall of ’14, as planned.
There’s so much construction in the neighborhood—the law school is part of a larger, $1.6B redevelopment of Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus—even this bobblehead of Dean Martin is sporting a hardhat. The Dean tells us the new school will more than double the existing program, office, and event space, and will be a welcome change from the current school built in ’61 when enrollment was 30% less than today. As a 39-year Fordham faculty member, Dean Martin tells us that legal education has changed (smaller classes, more clinics), but the profession is still determining what the long-term implications of the Great Recession will be. He is seeing signs of recovery (uptick in employment numbers, the return of law firm summer programs) but doesn’t expect a return to the ’07 hiring levels for a while. Meanwhile, he’s trying to help students understand that their first job should be viewed as a stepping stone in a life-long career, not the be-all end-all.
Often confused with “young Mike,” a different Mike Martin also on the faculty, the dean is a stickler for middle initials. (His is M, “young Mike’s” is W.) Once, the confusion resulted in his removal from the paycheck system (perhaps for fear of double payment). As dean, Mike says the school year isn’t as pronounced as when he was a professor of torts, civil procedure, and evidence. Nevertheless, he hopes to get to his Berkshire house for as many summer weekends as possible. For now, his hands are full, having attended most of the school’s student organization farewell dinners last month, and working hard on graduation (yesterday). Mike tells us that when his wife Ellen (Patterson Belknap employment co-chair) retires, they plan to spend time traveling, with Australia, South America, and South Africa high on their list of destinations.