Message from SULAA Board President

By Mark O’Brien L’14

Mark O'Brien L'14

Dear Alumni and Friends  of the College of Law:

You don’t need me to tell you that so much has changed in legal education during the last year, let alone the last five years that Dean Boise has been at the helm of our College of Law. 

When I think about the adaptation that law schools and other institutions of higher learning have had to make during the pandemic, I cannot help but take pride in knowing many of them turned to Syracuse as a leader in that realm.

Frankly, it’s easy to see why. For one, JDinteractive has set the bar for the future of legal education. The growth of our online option for a J.D. has been phenomenal, from hosting 32 students in the first cohort in 2019—who will graduate this coming spring!—to 97 students this year. 

Witness also the continued expansion of international programs, which under the stewardship of Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall L’10 saw the largest matriculating LL.M. class in 2021, along with the development of groundbreaking partnerships such as the 3+3 Program with Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Atlanta.

“How can you help young alumni land that first job or

make the transition to a more meaningful career path?”

Additionally, Dean Boise’s promotion of Professor Suzette Meléndez as the law school’s first-ever Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion speaks to the College’s commitment to equity and inclusion. So does the College of Law’s agreement with AccessLex Institute to offer a robust bar preparation program free of charge and ensure that all students have the tools they need to pass the bar exam upon graduation.  

I am delighted to see the expansion of these and other opportunities for our current and future students. The growth of opportunities is so critical not only for their success but also for ours as an institution. The Syracuse University Law Alumni Association has been busy, too. See how you can help:

  • In April, outraged by the torrent of anti-Asian racism and acts of violence around the country, SULAA issued a statement in solidarity to stop Asian hate and called on all alumni to condemn the discrimination and xenophobia. 

My question to our alumni family is: How can we use our influence to take a stand for justice and healing?

  • In May, SULAA welcomed the Class of 2021 to our alumni family. Like the Class of 2020, these graduates faced remarkable circumstances, including the inability to celebrate together in person their hard-earned accomplishment of graduating from law school and having to take socially distanced remote bar exams. We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to their impacts on the legal profession, their communities, and our law school. We also recognize the challenge of launching a career is far from over.

How can you help young alumni land that first job or make the transition to a more meaningful career path?

  • In June, SULAA hosted “Tips for Tackling a Remote Bar Exam,” a special panel discussion for the Class of 2021 featuring Aubre Dean L’20Natalie Switzer Maier L’20, and Delaney Rose Moore L’20, organized and moderated by Lauren Blau L’17.

What experiences can you share with fellow alumni to help smooth the path for those who follow in your footsteps?

  • Also in June, SULAA welcomed six accomplished alumni to its Board of Directors: Sonia Worrell Asare L’06BreAnna Avery L’17Brittany Jones L’14Benita Miller L’96Sean Palmer L’01, and Kathleen Turland L’95. Additionally, throughout the year, we have welcomed alumni participation across our many committees and initiatives. 

There are many ways to get involved in our alumni network—how will you participate?

  • In September, SULAA, the SULAA Inclusion Network, and the College honored eight distinguished alumni and faculty during the annual Syracuse Law Honors and Alumni of Color awards ceremonies during Law Alumni Weekend. They included Seuk Joon Lee L’99as the inaugural recipient of the Asian Pacific Island Legacy of Excellence Award. This award would not have been possible without the vision and leadership of SULAA Board Members Kimberly Lau L’06 and Astrid Quiñones L’18, Professor Mary Szto, and the student leaders of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, the Korean Law Students Association, and the South Asian Law Students Association. Nominations for next year’s recipients are already being received (email Director of Alumni Relations Melissa Cassidy at to learn more). 

How will you reconnect and reengage with the law school and your former classmates?

  • In October, building on the success of our partnership in 2020, SULAA and the College of Law Board of Advisors launched another dollar-for-dollar fundraising challenge, to match the first $10,000 donated by law alumni during Boost the ’Cuse

Which College of Law programs or initiatives will you support through your financial generosity?

SULAA is committed to engaging and empowering our alumni through communication, knowledge, and resources. How would you like to see SULAA advance our mission of linking the past, present, and future of our College of Law family? I don’t ask these questions rhetorically. On the contrary, I welcome your input and participation. SULAA is your law alumni association (remember, all alumni become members upon graduation).  

If you have not done so already, please join the conversation on our LinkedIn page (search for Syracuse University Law Alumni Association), and please don’t hesitate to reach out to any Board member at any time. We would love to hear from you.

Go Orange,

Mark O'Brien L'14 signature

Mark O’Brien  L’14 
President, Syracuse University Law Alumni Association