Craig M. Boise
Dean and Professor of Law
Syracuse University College of Law
Years in current role: 5
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the variety of the things I do each day. Being a law school dean is in many respects like running a business enterprise — you deal with everything from personnel issues, to finance and budgeting, to developing innovative programs that will drive revenue. At the same time, you have the opportunity to guide students who are just learning the law as well as engage with seasoned alumni whose successful careers were launched by their legal education.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
In a word, COVID-19. The operational challenges presented by the pandemic have been numerous and particularly difficult to resolve because of the deep uncertainty surrounding the virus. How do we pivot to remote instruction? Will we be able to have students on campus? When? How will social distancing work in the classroom? What about students who don’t want to be on campus? How do we enforce compliance with health protocols? The list of issues has been extraordinary.
What do you see as the biggest changes in the legal industry in the next 3-5 years?
A major challenge for the legal industry will be addressing its startling lack of racial diversity. Just 5% of lawyers in this country are Black, a percentage that has not changed in a decade. There is hope here — more than 170 general counsel and corporate legal officers recently signed an open letter to big law firms saying their companies will prioritize their legal spend on those firms that commit to diversity and inclusion.
What are you most looking forward to doing as COVID restrictions ease?
I’m an avid sailor and normally take a week or two each year to sail with family in the Caribbean. Of course, the islands have been closed due to the pandemic so when we’re able to travel there again I very much look forward to being back on the water.