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Mary Lu Bilek - Dean; Professor of Law

Mary Lu Bilek's faculty portrait.

J.D., Harvard Law School
A.B., St. Mary’s College

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Dean Bilek practiced for five years with the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison before joining the CUNY Law faculty in 1985. She was appointed Dean of UMass Law in 2012.

At CUNY Law, Dean Bilek served as Interim Dean of the CUNY School of Law School during the 2005-06 academic year. As Academic Dean for the first three deans of CUNY Law, she played leadership roles in developing and implementing its innovative curriculum for practice, insuring that its policies and its programs supported access to legal education for students from communities underrepresented in the profession, and moving the law school towards full ABA and AALS accreditation.

Dean Bilek's commitment to CUNY Law's values led to her participation in initiatives to promote student-centered instruction across the range of skills and values necessary for graduating excellent lawyers, promoting the social justice mission of the law school, and insisting on the access to legal education necessary to create a diverse profession. Her expertise in learning theory, best practices in teaching and assessment, developing confidence and competence in high-stakes testing (the LSAT and the bar exam), and education for the development of professionals enabled her work in these areas.

Dean Bilek presents regularly on issues related to diversity in legal education, the bar examination, and developing outcomes and assessments. She implemented an innovative Pipeline to Justice Program at CUNY Law, which provides preparation in analytic reasoning and writing skills and a second chance at law school admission for highly motivated and accomplished law school applicants who seek additional preparation to meet the challenge of a rigorous law school program. 

Dean Bilek regularly served as an accreditation Site Visit Team member for the ABA. She is a 2007 Fellow of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism and serves on the Boards of Directors of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and FairTest. She chaired the ABA Section on Legal Education Diversity Committee in 2010-11 and is a member of its Special Committee on the Professional Educational Continuum. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Society of American Law Teachers and was appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to serve on the statewide Access to Justice Commission. She serves as a Peer Discipline Reviewer for the Fulbright Fellowship Program and in 2013 was named a Top Woman in the Law by Massachusetts Law Weekly.





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