Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83
Dear Alumni and Friends of the College of Law:
This year, 2020, marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the College of Law. Today, as in a number of those prior years, the College faces global, societal, demographic, and technological challenges, which the coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharper focus and accelerated.
Yet, in the face of these challenges, the College has not only persevered but has grown in stature and relevance because of its pioneering efforts and a culture of innovation. The 2020 Yearbook highlights a number of innovations that have occurred over the rich history of the College, as well as the remarkable contributions alumni, faculty, and students have made to the legal profession and beyond. I would like to underscore two.
Syracuse University, through the work of disability rights pioneer Dr. Burton Blatt, has been a leader in humanizing services for people with disabilities. Today, the College of Law, thanks to
work of the Burton Blatt Institute and Director and University Professor Peter Blanck—as
well as the scholarship of professors Arlene Kanter and Robin Paul Malloy, among others—
continues to pioneer research and scholarship regarding not only how persons with disabilities
are viewed and treated by society but also how laws, such as the American with Disabilities Act, can function as a force for change.
Research by BBI has been instrumental in helping to shape policy for the promotion of
inclusion opportunities. Similarly, Professor Kanter’s Disability Law and Policy Program and the Disability Law Clinic provide hands-on experience for students, here and abroad, while Professor Malloy has written extensively on the intersection of disability law and land use, as a
way to ensure greater accessibility within our communities. The importance of these efforts to
provide a more inclusive and accessible society cannot be understated.
“JDi has enabled our faculty to develop a deeper understanding of the multiple dimensions for effective online learning, far in advance of other institutions.”
Among the communities that are facing dramatic challenges due to the pandemic are institutes of higher education in general, and legal education in particular. In fact, their challenges began
well before the pandemic. Traditional job opportunities for law school graduates have
been reduced as firms downsize, leading in part to a reduction in the number of applicants to law schools. The landscape is ever changing.
The shifting landscaping creates pressure on all law schools to find innovative ways to compete. Our JDinteractive program—developed before the pandemic—has placed us at the forefront of online legal education now that it is experiencing a paradigm shift. JDi has enabled our faculty to develop a deeper understanding of the multiple dimensions for effective online learning, far in advance of other institutions. That effort, along with the immediate success of the program, has made the College a much sought-after resource for other institutions across the country as they try to grapple with the pivot toward remote learning.
These and our other extraordinary achievements over the past 125 years could not have come
about without the dedication and persistence of the College community of alumni, faculty,
students, and friends over these years. Your unwavering commitment to the College, especially in these challenging and difficult times, is a testament to the role the College has fulfilled and will continue to fulfill in preparing generations of thoughtful, articulate, passionate, and
compassionate leaders both within and outside our profession.
On behalf of the Board of Advisors and the faculty and students at the College today—and
all those who will follow—I want to thank you for your generosity and support.
Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83