A.B., Hamilton College
J.D., Albany Law School
Editor-in-Chief, Albany Law Review

Alicia Ouellette is the 18th President and Dean of Albany Law School.

As a leader in legal education, Dean Ouellette has championed the value of law schools as drivers of change in communities, society, and the lives of students and graduates. As President and Dean, she has presided over Albany Law School’s execution of a new strategic plan, fulfillment of an institutional affiliation with the University at Albany, expansion into online graduate programs, and completed a record-setting fundraising campaign, We Rise Together: The Campaign for Albany Law School.

Prior to her appointment as President and Dean, she served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Intellectual Life and a Professor of Law. Before joining the law school in 2001, Dean Ouellette was an Assistant Solicitor General in the New York State Attorney General’s Office and a law clerk to the Honorable Howard A. Levine at the New York Court of Appeals.

As a scholar, Dean Ouellette focuses on health law, disability rights, family law, children’s rights, and human reproduction. Her book, BIOETHICS AND DISABILITY: TOWARD A DISABILITY CONSCIOUS BIOETHICS, was published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press. She has authored numerous articles published in academic journals such as the American Journal of Law and Medicine, American Journal of Bioethics, Nevada Law Journal, Hastings Law Journal, Indiana Law Journal, and Oregon Law Review.

She has presented to distinguished audiences around the globe, including at the Yale School of Medicine and the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

In September 2020, Dean Ouellette was appointed to New York Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force.

Dean Ouellette has served in leadership positions for numerous professional and community organizations, including as chair of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section for Deans, secretary and a board member for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), secretary and a board member for the Burdett Birthing Center in Troy, N.Y., and a board member for the University at Albany’s Institute for Health and Human Rights.

An alumna of Hamilton College, Dean Ouellette graduated magna cum laude in 1994 from Albany Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Albany Law Review.

Book: Bioethics and Disability

BIOETHICS AND DISABILITY: TOWARD A DISABILITY-CONSCIOUS BIOETHICS (Cambridge University Press, 2011), takes on the tension between disability rights scholars and bioethicists. According to some disability rights activists, bioethicists focus too broadly on the concept of patient rights at the expense of the practical challenges facing individuals with disabilities.

“The book explores why this tension exists, and it takes seriously the charge that medicine in general, and bioethics in particular, would better serve people of all abilities if it were more mindful of disability issues,” explained Professor Ouellette, who is also a professor of bioethics at the Union Graduate College/Mount Sinai School of Medicine Program in Bioethics.

For example, Professor Ouellette continued, “A man who was rendered a ventilator-dependant quadriplegic via a motorcycle accident became despondent after being isolated for months in nursing homes and a hospital ICU. He petitioned a court for—and won—the right to turn off his ventilator. While bioethicists argued that the choice to end his life was his alone, disability experts intervened and found a way for him to live and work at home, which improved his life and ultimately contributed to his decision not to turn off the ventilator.”

“Working together, bioethicists, disability rights advocates, doctors and nurses can learn to look past disability to see the bigger picture, thereby developing appropriate, comprehensive treatments that ensure positive quality of life for everyone,” concluded Professor Ouellette.

A leading scholar in the field of bioethics, Professor Ouellette is co-editing the definitive Cambridge Dictionary of Bioethics (forthcoming) and contributed the article “Growth Attenuation, Parental Choice, and the Rights of Disabled Children: Lessons from the Ashley X Case” to the Houston Journal of Health Law. She has been published widely throughout her career in academic journals such as the American Journal of Law and Medicine, the Hastings Center Report, the American Journal of Bioethics, the Indiana Law Journal and Oregon Law Review.

Select Presentations

The Supreme Court Ruling and What it Means, a Panel Discussion at BlueShield of Northeastern New York, June 29, 2012.

Bioethics and Disability, Society for Disability Studies Annual Meeting, Denver Colorado, June 23, 2012.

Physicians with Disabilities: Barriers and Opportunities, Health Law Professors Conference, Tempe Arizona, June 9, 2012.

The Right to Health, at Prisoners of the Iranian Regime: Lessons for Lawyers,  a panel discussion, Albany Law School, February 2, 2012.

Health and Human Rights, World AIDS Day, University at Albany School for Human Rights, December 1, 2011.

Top Ten Legal Developments in Bioethics, ASBH Annual Meeting, Minneapolis MN, October 15, 2011 (with Arthur Derse and Amy Campbell).

Too Close to Home: Scientists Who Use Their Own Children as Research Subjects, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference, Hilton Head, SC, July 26, 2011.

Body Modification, Adolescents, and the Law, University of Maryland School of  Law, Roundtable on Acolescent Decision Making, Baltimore, April 15, 2011.

2010 Family Health Care Decisions Act: Key Provisions and Impact at the Bedside, Albany Medical College, November 19, 2010.

Shaping Parental Authority over Children’s Bodies, Law and Society Annual Meeting, Chicago.  May 29, 2010.

Disability and Health Care Resource Allocation, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at a conference sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Law and the Maryland Health Care Ethics Committee Network.  April 28, 2010.

Disability and Bioethics, National Expert presentation, Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor Disability and Medical Humanities Workshop, Syracuse NY, December 4, 2009.

Health Information Technology as Health Reform, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, Palm Beach Florida, August 5, 2009.

From Pre-implantation Genetic Modification to Plastic Surgery: Parental Authority over Children’s Bodies, Health Law Professors Conference, Cleveland, June 6, 2009.

Pre-implantation Genetic Modification, Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association, Roundtable with Kirsten Smolensky, Rhadika Rao, Jaime King, Glenn Cohen, Denver, May 30, 2009.

The Role of Professional Conscience in Healthcare, Featured Speaker, Annual Meeting of the Schenectady County Bar Association, the Schenectady County Medical Association, and the Schenectady County Dental Association, April 2, 2009.

Regulating the Cure: A Symposium on the Legal Regulation of Off-Label Drug Use, Moderator, Albany Law School, March 27, 2009.

A Disability Sensitive Response to Professor Smolensky, Hastings Law School, January 22, 2009.

Youthful Indiscretion:  Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery, Health Law Professor’s Conference, June 6, 2008.

Law and Bioethics, an Introduction, Union/Mt. Sinai School of Medicine Program in Bioethics Proseminar, August 6, 2008.

Pediatric Ethics, Albany Medical College, Bioethics Scholars Program, May 14, 2008.

Hernandez v. Robles and its Aftermath, Society, Security, and Civil Rights:  Examining Sanctioned Discrimination Across Three Generations, a symposium sponsored by The Justice Robert H. Jackson Lecture Series, Albany Law School, April 4, 2008.

Decisionmaking for Children, Ethics Grand Rounds, Albany Medical College, April 3, 2008.

Restraining Parental Choice to Size and Shape Children, The Hastings Center, December 10, 2007.

Bioethics and Law, Hospital Ethics Committees Swap Shop, a Mt. Sinai Medical College-Union Graduate College Conference, Union College, September 28, 2007.

Pediatrics, Law, and Ethics: the Ashley X Case, 19th Annual Bioethics Summer Camp, Lake George, July 2007.

Sizing, Shaping, and Sculpting Children: A Call to Limit Parental Discretion, Health Law Professors Conference, Boston, June 2007.

States and Bioethics, State Courts as Unsung Heroes, Panel Presentation, American Society of Bioethics and Humanities Annual Conference, Denver, October 2006.

Disability and the End of Life Lobby, panel presentation, Health Law Teachers Conference, Baltimore,  June 2006.

Advancing Advanced Legal Writing, lecture/workshop, Legal Writing Institute Biennial Meeting, Atlanta, June 2006.

Life, Death, and the U.S. Supreme Court, half day workshop presented to Connecticut’s High  School History Teachers as part of  the Connecticut Urban Consortium for Teaching United State Constitutional History, New Haven, July 2006.

Death and Dying in America, session chair, Politics and Bioethics Conference, ASBH summer meeting, Albany, July 2006.

The Disability Lobby and Disability Scholarship, an Uncomfortable Marriage, Politics and Bioethics Conference, panel presentation, ASBH Summer Conference, Albany, July  2006.

Federalism and Bioethics, lecture, Rockefeller Institute, May 2006.

Importing Illegal Pharmaceuticals, session chair, Albany Journal of Science and Technology Symposium, February, 2006.

Ethical Issues in Flu Pandemic, lecture, Regional Preparedness Center (200+ attendees), State of New York University, School of Public Health , June 2005.

Disability and the End of Life, lecture, Gilvary Symposium, University of Dayton School of Law, October 22, 2005.

Disability and End-of-Life Decisionmaking, lecture, Capital District Medical Decision Making Interest Group, Albany, December 13, 2005.

Supervising Student Research Papers: Guidelines for Ensuring that the Paper Course is More than the Easy “A”,  lecture/workshop,  New England Legal Writing Teachers Regional Conference, December 2005.

Abortion and the Law, lecture, Presented at Albany Medical Center Hospital March 30, 2005.

New York’s Restrictions on Family Decisionmaking: A Tragic Result and a Legislative Response, lecture presented at Medical Ethics Grand Rounds, Albany Medical Center Hospital, January 17, 2003; SUNY Albany, February, 20, 2003.

How Blind Adherence to Vitalism Forced New York, Missouri and Michigan Physicians to Torture Permanently Incompetent Adults with Nutrition and Hydration: A Proposal to Prevent the Inhumane Treatment of the Permanently Incompetent, lecture, Albany Medical Center, August 2003.

Public Speaking for Lawyers, a two day course in continuing legal education, presented at the New York State Court of Appeals February 2002.

Selected Cases, Briefed and Argued

New York State Ass'n of Criminal Defense Lawyers v. Judith S. Kaye, 96 N.Y.2d 512 (2001)
In this case, petitioners, an association of criminal defense lawyers, sought to invalidate an order of the Judges of the New York Court of Appeals that lowered the fees paid to attorneys who represent capital defendants. The Appellate Division, Third Department, dismissed the petition on the ground that the petitioners lacked standing to maintain the lawsuit. The Court of Appeals declined to reach the standing issue and upheld the legality and rationality of the order finding that the governing statute gave them plenary power over fees paid to capital counsel.  Click HERE to see full case

Hamilton v. Beretta U.S.A., 96 N.Y.2d 222 (2001) (brief only)
The Attorney General appeared as amicus curiae in this case, which was commenced by victims of gun violence against 25 gun manufacturers. The plaintiffs obtained a jury verdict in federal district court against the manufacturers on a theory of negligent distribution and marketing. The case was appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which certified to the New York Court of Appeals two critical questions of state law: whether manufacturers have a duty to use reasonable care in distributing guns; and whether liability may be imposed against the manufacturers on a market share theory of liability. The Court declined to recognize such a duty of care on this record, but left the door open for a successful lawsuit on in a future case.  Click HERE to see full case

Brown v. Wing, 93 N.Y.2d 517 (1999)
In this case, the Court of Appeals held that relevant federal and state statutes authorize the Department of Social Services to determine that a period of Medicaid ineligibility commenced on the first day of the month after which the petitioners' asset transfers had occurred.  Click HERE to see full case

Barna v. Travis, 239 F.3d 169 (2d Cir. 2001)
In this case, the Second Circuit upheld the so-called Pataki Policy, under which violent felony offenders are ineligible for parole, against challenges that the Policy violated inmates' due process rights and the Ex-Post Facto Clause. The Court held that inmates have no liberty interest in parole release.  Click HERE to see full case

Griffin v. Mann, 156 F.3d 288 (2d Cir. 1998)
In this case, the Second Circuit reversed a grant of a writ of habeas corpus, and upheld the constitutionality and the application of New York's persistent felony offender statute.  Click HERE to see full case

Board of Ed. of the Roosevelt Central School District v. SUNY Trustees, decided May and October 2001
In this case of first impression, the Appellate Division, Third Department held that municipal plaintiffs have standing to challenge the granting of a charter to a charter school. It also accepted the Agency's interpretation of the enabling statute as a valid one.

Medvedev v. Wing, 249 A.D.2d 755 (1998)
The Third Department upheld as constitutional the use of finger imaging on public assistance recipients. Petitioners argued that the practice violated their First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion because of their religious belief that finger imaging leaves the "mark of the beast" on those who are imaged and causes their eternal damnation.
Click HERE to see full case

Alicia Ouellette

Alicia Ouellette, ’94

President and Dean; Professor of Law