From the Dean
On Milestones and the Promise of Tomorrow
photography by denmarsh
With the arrival of spring, our thoughts often turn to the promise of fresh beginnings. We look back on all that has come before as we prepare for new opportunities and challenges ahead. At this time of year, our students, too, look forward to the promise of tomorrow as they look back on the passage of an important milestone. All of our students have just completed another year of classes and research projects, bringing them closer to attaining a law degree. Most notably, our 3Ls mark a particularly significant milestone as they graduate from Pitt Law later this month.
They will take with them a solid legal foundation and many rich experiences. Throughout their legal training, Pitt Law strives to create opportunities for our students to interact and learn from leading practitioners and policy makers. Just a few weeks ago, Pitt Law students had the “uncommon” opportunity to take part in a Question and Answer session with Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Samuel Alito, Jr., and Dick Thornburgh, former Governor of Pennsylvania and Attorney General of the United States. You can read more about this extraordinary event in this issue.
Academic institutions mark substantial milestones as well. This year Pitt Law celebrates the tenth anniversaries of two major programs. Ten years ago the faculty approved the offering of a “certificate” in health law, creating the School’s first certificate program for students who wish to concentrate their studies. Today, health law is one of five areas in which Pitt Law students can pursue a certificate of concentration, and Pitt Law’s Health Law Program consistently has been recognized as one of the top health law programs in the country. JURIST (jurist.law.pitt.edu) is the award-winning, online, real-time source of legal news and information housed at Pitt Law, managed by its founder and editor-in-chief Professor Bernard Hibbitts and powered by Pitt Law students. JURIST now draws more than 100,000 readers per week from 170 countries. The School of Law celebrated JURIST’s anniversary with a daylong conference featuring four all-star panels of leading lawyers, policy makers and journalists discussing the intersection of law and the media.
Changes in the practice of law also highlight time’s passage. The alumni featured in this issue practice in areas that either virtually did not exist 10 years ago (read about Deborah Robinson’s work combating illegal music downloading and the illegal distribution of CDs) or that have grown within the last decade (as is the case with Mark Nadeau’s international dispute resolution practice).
These stories depict the continually changing face of legal education and its symbiotic relationship with the continually changing field of law. They illustrate the challenges we face here at Pitt Law—the challenge of anticipating changes that lie around the corner for attorneys so that we can prepare our students to be ready and to succeed in a rapidly changing environment, and the accompanying challenge of honoring those traditions that define who we are and what we stand for. Rising to those challenges is our daily occupation. I hope that the Magazine gives you some insight into how we do that and helps you feel connected to the School, no matter how much time has gone by since you graduated.