Nick Allard is out as dean at Brooklyn Law School after six years in the job.
Allard and a law school spokesman on Friday declined to discuss the reason for his departure, but said they planned to make an announcement May 29.
Brooklyn Law School faculty received an email Thursday from the chairman of the board of trustees informing them that Allard was no longer dean, according to a Brooklyn Law professor who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the professor was not authorized to speak on the subject.
The chairman, Stuart Subotnick, did not disclose the reason for Allard’s departure in that email, the source said. A subsequent email from Allard, who was in China at the time, indicated that he was surprised by the move, the professor said. Professor Maryellen Fullerton has been named interim dean.
Allard’s abrupt departure is unusual in legal education, where law deans typically announce their intention to step down months or even a year in advance. Even when law school leaders clash with university officials or faculty, they are typically allowed to plan graceful exits out of the dean’s office.
Allard was named dean in 2012, and at the time was the chairman of Patton Boggs’ lobbying practice in Washington. (The firm has since merged with Squire Sanders to become Squire Patton Boggs.)
Allard’s deanship coincided with the national downturn in law school applications, and the school struggled with financial issues during that time. It has sold a number of its residential properties in the highly sought-after Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, and in 2016 sold off an office building across the street from its downtown Brooklyn campus for $76.5 million.
But those sales don’t appear to have been enough to keep the school in a strong financial position.
Last month, Moody’s Investors Service lowered the law school’s outlook from stable to negative, citing, “ongoing tuition pricing challenges and operating deficits that are deeper than previously projected and will continue for a period longer than anticipated, leading to a likely deterioration of spendable cash and investments.” But Moody’s also noted that the school’s unrestricted reserves give it time to “move to operating equilibrium.” Moody’s reported that the school generates $43 million annually.
Allard is currently listed as of counsel at Dentons, working in the law firm’s public policy and regulation practice—a position he held concurrently with his deanship at Brooklyn Law.