Law Schools

Pace law dean steps down, evades questions on whether the move was voluntary

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David Yassky

David Yassky. Wikimedia Commons

Pace University law dean David Yassky is stepping down at the end of the academic year, going on a sabbatical and planning to return to the school as a faculty member.

The press announcement says the university’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law is stronger since Yassky arrived in 2014 to see the school through a post-recession period of transition.

“Our goal has been to successfully launch each and every one of our graduates into the legal profession, and we are now at the top of our peer group in graduate employment outcomes,” Yassky said in the press release. “I believe we will see many law schools following the lead of Pace Law by giving students more skills education and supervised practice, alongside traditional classroom courses.”

But Yassky evaded questions about whether his move was voluntary in an interview with the New York Law Journal, the publication reports. He did say, however, that it would be good to have a new dean “who doesn’t have all the baggage.”

Two anonymous faculty members told the New York Law Journal that Yassky had clashed with faculty, beginning with a decision to cut salaries across the board in 2015. There were also faculty reductions and a short-lived bid last year for the state senate, covered by Above the Law.

Yassky said faculty numbers diminished because of attrition, and the pay cuts helped free up money for scholarships. Bar passage rates are increasing, employment prospects are improving, the school is rising in the rankings, and more students are applying, he said.

There is always debate and disagreement among people who care deeply about things, Yassky told the New York Law Journal. He added, however, that “I’m pretty confident that my colleagues and I have logged more hours in faculty meetings over the last four years than is advisable.”

The interim dean will be Horace Anderson, a law professor who is assistant dean for academic affairs.

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