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Dean Broderick to Step Down After 20 Years

Monday, January 29, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
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Dear Alumni and Friends of UDC Law,

For 20 years, I have had the honor of serving as Dean of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. This week, I informed our university president that I will be stepping down as dean this summer and rejoining the faculty after a sabbatical.

President Mason's announcement can be read HERE.

This was not an easy decision to make, but change is good for every institution, and twenty years at the helm is ample, even for me. The time is right, as we secured re-accreditation without conditions from the American Bar Association last April, we enjoy great support from the university and from the District of Columbia, and we have an exceptionally strong faculty and administrative team in place. I am attaching the president’s very generous, even over-the-top, statement, which includes more than you will ever need to know both about me and about the School of Law’s achievements over the last two decades.

As I reflect back, it has been quite a time. I was hired by founding Antioch School of Law Deans Jean and Edgar Cahn in 1979. Since then, I have had the extraordinary privilege of serving with and being mentored and supported by Jean and Edgar; by Bill Robinson, founding dean of the successor school to Antioch; and by people like Joe Rauh, John Pickering, Vince Gray, Fred Abramson, Inez Smith-Reid, Joe Libertelli, Michael Rauh, Jack Olender, Dan Edelman, and so many more who provided leadership on the school’s Foundation Board.

It has not been a cakewalk, as many of you know. We faced Antioch’s closure for financial reasons. The District of Columbia Council’s adoption of Antioch and establishment of the DC School of Law was thrilling, but was soon followed by the District’s near-bankruptcy. With strong leadership and a focused and hard-charging faculty and staff, we weathered calls for closure by members of the US Congress, zero budgeting by two DC mayors, 17 American Bar Association site visits, 19 negative Washington Post editorials, and more. With passionate support from DC Council Chair Dave Clarke, DC Council member Hilda Mason and her husband Charlie, and UDC board chair Michele Hagans, we merged with the University of the District of Columbia during the fiscal crisis when massive layoffs were taking place and our budget was cut in half. We lived to fight another day.

In 1998, my stalwart predecessor, Bill Robinson, led us to provisional ABA accreditation. After describing our wonderful school to the ABA Council of the Section on Accreditation, Bill brandished a Washington Post headline proclaiming that the District had balanced its budget. Finally, with stable funding, the school was able to focus on rebuilding its outstanding academic and clinical programs, recruiting larger, stronger and more diverse classes, and serving increasing numbers of District of Columbia’s most vulnerable residents. Our school not only survived, but also thrived, through extraordinary challenges.

Now, 20 years later, not a day goes by that I don’t revel in the news of an amazing achievement by our alumni, who have taken challenging leadership roles across the nation and the world, especially in the District of Columbia. UDC Law is strong, and it will have a bright future with new leadership. I have the utmost confidence that our talented and committed faculty, staff, students and alumni will come together to help my successor stay laser-focused on our missions and achieve grand success going forward. As we launch the search for the next dean, I ask each and every one of you to continue your support for the little law school that could. Please continue to send your family and friends as members of the student body, hire our students and alumni as interns, summer public interest fellows, and postgraduate attorneys, and continue to work with us in the ongoing struggle to make the world a fairer and more just place for all.

In closing, I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for your generous and caring support of me through some tough personal times of loss, and of our school as it grew into the most diverse and best public interest law school in the nation. I am so looking forward to my next chapter at UDC Law, teaching, writing and, of course, disrupting!

Very truly yours,

Shelley Broderick
Dean and Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Social Justice

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