A. Gail Prudenti
A. Gail Prudenti ()

A. Gail Prudenti is the next dean at Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law.

University officials announced Monday that they have selected Prudenti to lead the Long Island school—four months after she stepped in as interim dean.

The move is hardly a surprise. Prudenti, who was the chief administrative judge of the Courts of New York State from 2011 to 2015, said at the time of her interim appointment that she would welcome the full deanship, “if the community that I’m going to be serving thinks that I’m the right person to do that.” Her predecessor as dean, Eric Lane, said that Prudenti’s availability to step into the school’s top leadership post was among the factors in his decision to step down at the end of last year. The school conducted a national search before settling upon Prudenti.

“I can’t wait to do some really wonderful things here at Hofstra with the assistance of the faculty, administration and students,” Prudenti said in an interview Monday. “I think the first four months went very well. I’ve learned a lot, and I think I have a vision of where I want to go.”

Already the school has seen a surge in interest this admissions cycle, receiving 75 percent more applications than the previous year. Prudenti attributes the increase to more strategic outreach that involved identifying promising candidates early in the cycle and maintaining contact with them throughout the year. Those efforts are yielding applicants with higher Law School Admission Test scores and undergraduate grades, she added. “The qualifications are improving,” she said.

Any improvement in the LSAT scores of incoming students would help offset recent declines. The school’s 25th percentile LSAT fell from 151 in 2013 to 146 in 2016, according to data from the American Bar Association.

Hofstra is not planning to increase the size of its entering class in response to its growing applicant pool, Prudenti said.

Prudenti is the latest in a wave of women landing law dean jobs.

Also on Monday, Duquesne University School of Law announced that interim Dean Maureen Lally-Green, also a former judge, will be the Pittsburgh school’s new dean. All together, more than half the new law deans taking over this summer are women—an unusually high number. Among them are Heather Gerken at Yale Law School; Aviva Abramovsky at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky at the University of Missouri School of Law.

Prudenti joined the Hofstra Law faculty in 2015 as the executive director of its Center for Children, Families and the Law.

“Judge Prudenti is an exceptional leader, a first-class legal talent and a gifted administrator whose commitment to public service and innovation has already helped expand clinical programs that provide valuable practical experience for our students and essential support for the community,” said Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz.

Prudenti said the law school is on an upward trajectory, with the class of 2016 having the highest employment rate of the last five years. As of 10 months after graduation, 73 percent of the class of 2016 found full-time, long-term jobs that require a law degree. Prudenti said she is tapping into her extensive network built over 24 years on the bench to create new job opportunities for students.

Bar passage has been a challenge for Hofstra of late—just 64 percent of graduates passed the July 2016 exam. In response, the school recently adopted a new academic success program that starts at orientation and continues through the bar exam. Second-year students will complete diagnostic tests to identify those in need of more support, and in the future the school’s bar preparation course will be mandatory in the third year, Prudenti said. While still voluntary, participation by current third years in that class has been high, she added.

Affordability is among Prudenti’s top priorities. To that end the school overhauled the way it allocates scholarships get more aid to high-performing and deserving students. She predicts that the school’s so-called discount rate—the amount the average student actually pays—will be about 50 percent of the nearly $56,000 list price.

“We’ve taken a good hard look at our scholarship offerings,” she said.

A. Gail Prudenti is the next dean at Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law.

University officials announced Monday that they have selected Prudenti to lead the Long Island school—four months after she stepped in as interim dean.

The move is hardly a surprise. Prudenti, who was the chief administrative judge of the Courts of New York State from 2011 to 2015, said at the time of her interim appointment that she would welcome the full deanship, “if the community that I’m going to be serving thinks that I’m the right person to do that.” Her predecessor as dean, Eric Lane, said that Prudenti’s availability to step into the school’s top leadership post was among the factors in his decision to step down at the end of last year. The school conducted a national search before settling upon Prudenti.

“I can’t wait to do some really wonderful things here at Hofstra with the assistance of the faculty, administration and students,” Prudenti said in an interview Monday. “I think the first four months went very well. I’ve learned a lot, and I think I have a vision of where I want to go.”

Already the school has seen a surge in interest this admissions cycle, receiving 75 percent more applications than the previous year. Prudenti attributes the increase to more strategic outreach that involved identifying promising candidates early in the cycle and maintaining contact with them throughout the year. Those efforts are yielding applicants with higher Law School Admission Test scores and undergraduate grades, she added. “The qualifications are improving,” she said.

Any improvement in the LSAT scores of incoming students would help offset recent declines. The school’s 25th percentile LSAT fell from 151 in 2013 to 146 in 2016, according to data from the American Bar Association.

Hofstra is not planning to increase the size of its entering class in response to its growing applicant pool, Prudenti said.

Prudenti is the latest in a wave of women landing law dean jobs.

Also on Monday, Duquesne University School of Law announced that interim Dean Maureen Lally-Green, also a former judge, will be the Pittsburgh school’s new dean. All together, more than half the new law deans taking over this summer are women—an unusually high number. Among them are Heather Gerken at Yale Law School ; Aviva Abramovsky at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky at the University of Missouri School of Law .

Prudenti joined the Hofstra Law faculty in 2015 as the executive director of its Center for Children, Families and the Law.

“Judge Prudenti is an exceptional leader, a first-class legal talent and a gifted administrator whose commitment to public service and innovation has already helped expand clinical programs that provide valuable practical experience for our students and essential support for the community,” said Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz.

Prudenti said the law school is on an upward trajectory, with the class of 2016 having the highest employment rate of the last five years. As of 10 months after graduation, 73 percent of the class of 2016 found full-time, long-term jobs that require a law degree. Prudenti said she is tapping into her extensive network built over 24 years on the bench to create new job opportunities for students.

Bar passage has been a challenge for Hofstra of late—just 64 percent of graduates passed the July 2016 exam. In response, the school recently adopted a new academic success program that starts at orientation and continues through the bar exam. Second-year students will complete diagnostic tests to identify those in need of more support, and in the future the school’s bar preparation course will be mandatory in the third year, Prudenti said. While still voluntary, participation by current third years in that class has been high, she added.

Affordability is among Prudenti’s top priorities. To that end the school overhauled the way it allocates scholarships get more aid to high-performing and deserving students. She predicts that the school’s so-called discount rate—the amount the average student actually pays—will be about 50 percent of the nearly $56,000 list price.

“We’ve taken a good hard look at our scholarship offerings,” she said.