Dean Guernsey Letter Boasts Successful Fiscal Year

Dean Guernsey Letter Boasts Successful Fiscal Year

6/29/2006 | Facebook|Twitter|Email

Date: 06/29/2006

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I find it hard to believe that I have finished my fourth academic year here at Albany Law School. While my past letters have focused on our challenges, I think we should occasionally pause and recognize that we have accomplished a great amount. To mark that time, I recently delivered my first State of the School address.

Below I review some of the larger themes of the address. Many of these themes will seem familiar to those who have been following the progress of the school. Seen collectively, our achievements are very impressive, all of which could not have been done without the help of our alumni and friends.

What I don't mention below is our new branding campaign. This letterhead, the new Web site and address, and our spring '06 magazine which you recently received are part of a larger effort to better communicate the quality of our achievements.

I look forward to your support as we continue the mission and vision of Albany Law School.


  • We've balanced the budget while reducing the student body.
  • We've increased financial aid from $2.4 million to $4.3 million.
  • The annual fund has increased from $650,000 to $900,000. Along with the dollar amount, the participation rate has increased significantly, an important indicator that the Albany Law community supports the direction of the school.
  • For FY '05, the school received its largest amount in private gifts in its history.

Admissions & Bar Passage

  • With the new fall '06 semester, we have reached our third year of class reduction. The entire student body will number around 670 students, down from more than 800 three years ago.
  • We have increased the median LSAT score of the entering class from 148 to 155.
  • The bar passage rate has risen from 12% below the state average to 2% above the state average.
  • For the first time ever, more than 50% of our currently deposited applicants are from out of state. This reflects the school's enhanced, more far-reaching reputation.
  • Minority enrollment for the '06 entering class is 24% against 15% last year.
  • Student-faculty ratio has moved from 21:1 to 14:1. Next year we anticipate 13:1.

Student Affairs

  • Richard Ludwick has completed his first year in the newly created position of Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, emphasizing our commitment to enhance student life at the law school.
  • Our employment rate of graduates last year again reached 96%, exceeding the national average of 89%.
  • We continue to build the Loan Repayment Assistance Program to support and encourage graduates to enter public service.
  • We're in the process of hiring a Director of Diversity.
  • We continue to maintain the status as one of the most "wired" law school campuses in the country.
  • Before the fall semester we will have a full-sized bookstore located on the University Heights campus.


  • Intensive curriculum changes at numerous levels occurred this past year, including Constitutional Law II and Evidence as required courses in the second year.
  • We secured funding from N.Y. State to create a Tech Transfer Master's program, to begin in spring '07.
  • A joint J.D./M.S. in Bioethics with Albany Medical College and the Graduate College of Union University will begin next year.
  • A Financial Market Regulation Program with University at Albany is scheduled to begin this fall. The program combines the study of law, business, public policy and technology.
  • We established an aggressive academic support and pre-bar prep program.


  • Paul Finkelman, a specialist in American legal history, constitutional law, race and the law, and First Amendment issues, has been named the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy and Senior Fellow in the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. He will join the faculty in July 2006. Professor Finkelman joins Sheldon Halpern, Tyler Professor of Law, as the second endowed professor we have attracted from another law school in the past 18 months.
  • Professor Gregory Mandel was named Albany Law School's Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship, a newly created position for the school.
  • Professor James Thuo Gathii was named the Governor George E. Pataki Professor in International Commercial Law.
  • Five professors were elevated in rank from associate professors to professors with tenure: Stephen Clark, Patrick M. Connors, James Thuo Gathii, Lenese C. Herbert and Gregory Mandel.
  • Faculty members Jenean Taranto and Evelyn Tenenbaum were elevated in rank from Associate Lawyering Professors to Lawyering Professors.

As I often say, none of these changes could have taken place without the support of friends and alumni like you. If you support the direction the school is going, it is still not too late to make a contribution to this year's annual fund. Through your giving, we can make a great institution even better.

I look forward to building together the bright future of Albany Law School.



Thomas F. Guernsey
President and Dean​