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Mary Lu Bilek is UMass Law's new dean

June 7, 2012

Mary Lu Bilek Mary Lu Bilek, Associate Dean and Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law, has been appointed Dean of the University of Massachusetts School of Law.

"Professor Bilek brings expertise in strategic planning and innovation in legal education, and a passion for making legal education accessible," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack.

Dedicated to increasing access to justice

"She is committed to ensuring that law graduates are prepared for the profession and practice with a high degree of competence, integrity and dedication to increasing access to justice. She will lead the School's talented faculty as they develop justice in the classroom, in the community, and through their scholarship. With strong and innovative leadership, faculty and students, UMass Law will be known for its quality legal education at an affordable price, but also for its efforts to improve the quantity and quality of delivered justice."

"I am honored and excited to be appointed to lead the UMass School of Law," Professor Bilek said. "This is a unique opportunity to join with an innovative and dedicated faculty, aspiring students, and a world class university to shape a new public law school in a Commonwealth with a deeply rooted commitment to justice.  

"I am heartened by the strong support the University and the community have demonstrated to the Law School and will be devoting my efforts to insuring that the Law School becomes a leader in legal education's renewed commitment to developing a vital relationship with the bench and bar."

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

At CUNY Law, Professor 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.

"This is a unique opportunity to join with an innovative and dedicated faculty, aspiring students, and a world class university to shape a new public law school in a Commonwealth with a deeply rooted commitment to justice."

- Mary Lu Bilek

Professor 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.

Professor 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.  

Professor Bilek regularly serves 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 also serves on the Society of American Law Teachers Committee on [Re]Visioning Legal Education.

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