Message from Board of Advisors Chair

By Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83

Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83
Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83

Dear Alumni and Friends of the College of Law:

Last year, we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the founding of the College of Law. Although we all had the opportunity to celebrate and recognize the many achievements of the College over those 125 years, for many it remained a time of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. 

While much has changed over the past year, issues that challenged us then continue to evolve even as new issues have arisen. Not surprisingly, the College has met them head-on. 

For example, historical shortcomings in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) among our political, civic, legal, and other institutions are in sharper focus. Recognizing the impact a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment can have, the College launched a cultural competency curriculum this Fall. Residential and online students will be required to take a cultural-competency course as a requirement for graduation. This effort will expand and deepen as the College community works to better understand the role of DEI in legal education and beyond.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the stuff of science fiction for many years. More recently, it has become a focus of the College’s Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL). National security decision-making long has been the province of human effort. Increasingly, however, AI not merely supports those efforts but, in fact, it may supplant those efforts. SPL explores the legal and policy boundaries between the benefits provided by AI and the need for human (ethical) control.

“I am especially proud that the College is now ranked #11

nationally in Trial Advocacy by U.S. News and World Report.”

As the College continues to rise to meet existing and new challenges, it continues to deliver high-quality legal education. Faculty are always advancing their knowledge in their respective fields through teaching and writing, generating an extraordinary number of scholarly books and other publications.  

Bolstered by externship opportunities, the College’s clinics offer proving grounds for our students who deliver much needed representation across the disciplines of bankruptcy law, criminal defense law, disability law, tax law, transactional law, and veterans law—and who gain meaningful practical skills as student attorneys. 

Finally, the Advocacy Program provides extensive and rigorous opportunities for students to develop their trial, appellate, and negotiation skills. I am especially proud that the College is now ranked #11 nationally in Trial Advocacy by U.S. News and World Report.

What the College is today and where it will go in the future is in no small measure driven by the engagement and support of the alumni and friends of the College. Your generosity enables us to lean into the challenges that lie ahead. On behalf of the Board of Advisors, faculty, and students, I thank you for your support and hope that you’ll remain engaged with your alma mater well into the future.

With gratitude,

Hallenbeck Signature

Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83