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NYU Law dean to step down after nine years

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  • Trevor Morrison oversaw a historic $540 million fundraising campaign
  • He prioritized student financial aid and expanded programming

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Oct 7 (Reuters) - New York University School of Law’s longtime leader will vacate the dean’s office at the end of the academic year.

Trevor Morrison said Thursday that he will step down in May, after nine years in the job. He plans to return to teaching full-time at the law school following a sabbatical.

Morrison, 50, was not immediately available Tuesday to discuss his reasons for stepping down. The university will launch a search for his replacement.

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“Serving as the Dean of NYU Law is the best job I have ever had,” Morrison wrote in an email to students Thursday afternoon. “But strong institutions are made stronger by successful leadership transitions, and now is the right time for that to happen here.”

Morrison’s announcement comes just weeks after the law school wrapped up its eight-year Lead The Way capital campaign, which raised $540 million—well above the initial goal of $450 million. The school said it’s the single-largest fundraising push by any law school on record.

But Morrison’s time as dean hasn’t been without its challenges, particularly managing the school through the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic brought out the Manhattan law school's strengths, Morrison wrote in his Thursday email, including the flexibility of the faculty and resilience of its students.

Morrison came to NYU as dean in 2013 after teaching stints at Columbia Law School and Cornell Law School. He stayed in the deanship longer than most of his peers. According to a database on law deans maintained by former Mississippi College School of Law Dean Jim Rosenblatt, the average tenure of current deans is four years.

Morrison wrote that he is proud of the school’s expansion of faculty, programming, and financial aid during his deanship. Since 2013, the school has added 82 named scholarships and bolstered its Loan Repayment Assistant Program.

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Reporting by Karen Sloan

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