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After two separate dean searches, Hofstra University School of Law has chosen David Yellen, a criminal law professor from within its own ranks, to lead the school. Yellen, 43, has been a professor at Hofstra since 1988, specializing in sentencing and juvenile justice. Hofstra Law School began a search in 1999, after Dean Stuart Rabinowitz said he wanted to become the president of the university or to teach. At that time, Yellen had not thrown his hat into the ring, and no one was chosen from among the older faculty members recommended to Hofstra University President James M. Shuart by the search committee, according to Lawrence Kessler, professor and chair of the faculty dean search committee. The faculty tried again in 2000. This time Yellen applied and was chosen over two candidates from outside the school. Yellen said that he volunteered for the job because of his commitment to the law school. “I took this job to help my institution move forward not to become a professional dean … I’ll go back to teaching and writing,” said Yellen. “President Shuart and the Trustee Search Committee have made an excellent choice. David Yellen is a solid leader with great academic and administrative strengths,” said Dean Rabinowitz, who has been dean since 1989, and will become the university’s president. Although Yellen has never held an official title other than professor, he has played key administrative roles, said Kessler. For example, Yellen has chaired the faculty hiring committee and was head of the faculty association that negotiates collectively with the university. “He is extremely good at getting people to work together,” said Kessler. WORKING WITH YOUTHS Yellen, who grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Princeton University in 1979 and Cornell Law School four years later. After clerking for District Judge C. Arlen Beam in Omaha, Neb., and working for a Washington, D.C., litigation boutique, he became assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice. But Yellen said he knew early on that what he really wanted to do was teach. A year into the job on the Hill, he became a law professor at Hofstra and moved to Long Island. Yellen said he became interested in criminal law and in particular, juvenile justice during his days at Princeton, when he tutored and mentored boys in the Jamesburg State Home for Boys, a minimum security prison for juvenile offenders. (Rubin “Hurricane” Carter spent some of his formative years at Jamesburg during the 1950s.) “There was quite a difference between Jamesburg and Princeton … I would come back both exhilarated and overwhelmed,” said Yellen. “The ride took 20 minutes and 1,000 miles.” NEW DEAN, NEW VISION Yellen’s first goal as dean is to create more opportunities for faculty to pursue scholarship and public service. He would also like to see the faculty expanded, he said. (It currently has 38 full-time and 35 adjunct professors.) He supports the theory of adding more skills components to traditional courses. For example, students could not only read cases about breach of contract claims, but also draft a contract, he said. “We would like to be known as a place where students are really taught basic skills from the beginning,” he said. Another plan is to build more coalitions with local institutions, like the one Hofstra already has with the Long Island Jewish Health Systems through the Center for Children, Families and the Law. Because of the globalization of the economy, Yellen said, he wants to expand Hofstra’s relationships with international schools by increasing their worldwide programs. And, not surprisingly, Yellen, in his new capacity as the school’s chief fundraiser, will need to raise money. He said he would like funds to go to updating Hofstra’s facilities, offering more scholarships and recruiting students from outside of the tri-state area. “Hofstra has always prided itself on doing a lot of things well, scholarship, skills and public interest. We want to further specialize in our strengths in order to stand out,” he said.

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