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Much has been written about Cardozo’s founding dean, Monrad Paulsen, who came to Yeshiva University after a long career as dean of the University of Virginia Law School and as a professor at Columbia Law School. His personality and presence at Cardozo virtually assured success for the fledgling law school, while the direction he set and the road map he provided continue to be followed. He set high standards for scholarship, faculty, and student achievement.

Since his death more than 20 years ago, his widow, Jenny Paulsen, has continued to be involved with the life of the Law School, attending graduation as well as hosting students at her home following the annual Paulsen Moot Court Competition. Most of all, she has provided a way for the Law School to stay connected to Monrad and the important contributions he made in laying Cardozo’s foundation. The comments and reminiscences, collected by Mrs. Paulsen from those who worked with Monrad in Cardozo’s early days, remind us of the debt the Law School owes Monrad and Jenny Paulsen.

Hardy Cross Dillard Professor of Law
Former Vice President and Provost University of Virginia

He was a person of unusual intellectual breadth—even when compared to others in a profession known for prizing breadth of intellect. He had uncompromising standards and an understanding of the role of law schools in general that those of us who worked with him came to admire. He believed to his core in the idea of a community of scholars and teachers, and he lived that belief every day.

John S. Shannon Distinguished Professor of Law
Class of 1963 Research Professor University of Virginia

Monrad understood people’s feelings. He had such alert antennae that he could almost feel too much in some situations. At that last dinner [at University of Virginia] you could sense the love this faculty had for him. It was just a wonderful thing to feel, to sense, that their affection for him went so deep.

Former Secretary to Dean Paulsen
We started out with one desk, two wooden file cabinets, and one typewriter. The floors in the building were being gutted and they had just begun construction on the second-floor classrooms and the lobby. I was the only administrator next to Dean Paulsen who had to deal with the day-to-day functioning of the school, in addition to the other tasks. He was doing the work of eight to ten people... all with good cheer.

New York City Surrogate’s Court
Monrad was devoted to Cardozo Law School and did things for it that no one else could have done. I remember him telling me tales at one lunch of how he recruited the faculty, how careful he was with the right mix, and what he had to do to get certain people.

Professor of Law, Cardozo
In my second year of law school, I would frequent the West End Bar & Grill, Columbia’s local watering hole. Occasionally I would run into Monrad there. Our West End talk was rigorous and funny, like a class with no syllabus. I think Monrad was a great man. He was what you would call a "mensch."

Cardozo Founding Faculty
I had known Monrad Paulsen for many years because we were colleagues at Columbia, but I came to know him best when I joined him at Cardozo when the school opened. Paulsen’s energetic personality and professional experience made him ideal for starting a new institution, for creating an esprit de corps, and making the students feel they were embarking on an exciting journey.

Nassau County Family Court
If not for Monrad Paulsen, I would not have been admitted to Cardozo. I am forever grateful to him. We became close and shared a lot of special moments. He was able to speak with the most erudite and famous people as well as us of common upbringing with the same zest. He made the person he was talking to feel as if (s)he was the most important person in the world.

US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Former Cardozo faculty member Above all else was the Paulsen presence, which made him seem less a chief administrator and more a spirit-in-residence: presiding over faculty meetings in unkempt magnificence and booming, "I’ll dance at your funeral," when he caught you taking exercise.

Attorney at Law
He was the essence and the soul of the school. It was toward the end of 1979 and I knew he had asked for a search committee to look for another dean, and I asked him what he would do when and if they found one. He said, "Oh, I’ll be so happy to go back to teaching. It’s so lonely in my office on the 10th floor. I want to be with my students."