April 1, 2014 - Dean Matthew Diller has announced that Edward Stein will step down from his role as Vice Dean on July 1, 2014, and Professor Melanie Leslie will become the first Cardozo School of Law graduate to take over the Vice Dean position.

Dean Stein will continue at Cardozo as a Professor of Law, and as Director of the Gertrud Mainzer Program in Family Law, Policy and Bioethics.

Dean Diller thanked Dean Stein for his service to the law school, saying, “Ed is a brilliant problem solver, a calming presence, a supportive colleague and friend, and an amazingly efficient administrator.” 

Dean Stein has served as Vice Dean for five years. During that time, he played a critical role in hiring new faculty and administrators and has worked tirelessly to advance numerous curricular additions at the school, including new courses, clinics, and externships programs.  He also established new collaborations and partnerships with The New School, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and with the broader Yeshiva University community. He has been instrumental to the development of the Israeli Supreme Court Project at Cardozo Law, organized and led Cardozo’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) program with China. Dean Stein brings a tremendous energy and commitment to student life, and has been a key participant in organizing many events at the school each year.

As a key member of the university administration, and while teaching large classes, Dean Stein consistently offered support and leadership to the community in times of difficulty, personally checking on students in Cardozo housing when the power was lost in lower Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy. He painstakingly reorganized class schedules during that storm, when a water-main break shut down the school, and during one of the most difficult winters on record in 2013-14.

Dean Stein came to Cardozo in 2000 as an Associate Professor of Law, became a Professor of Law in 2005, and has served as Vice Dean since 2009. Previously, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and Mount Holyoke College, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at New York University, and a Visiting Instructor of Philosophy at Williams College. He has also been an Adjunct Professor of Law at NYU Law School and a Visiting Scholar at UCLA Law School. Dean Stein will start a yearlong sabbatical in the fall. He is looking forward to working on his scholarly pursuits over that time.

Dean Stein is the author of three books; the most recent titled The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation. His work on sexual orientation and the law is considered groundbreaking. His interdisciplinary writings also include work in family law, bioethics, philosophy of science, and theory of knowledge. He has also organized numerous conferences and scholarly workshops, and is a sought-after speaker on these topics in various contexts. Dean Stein holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a B.A. from Williams College.

“It has been an honor to work with Dean Diller and the rest of Cardozo’s terrific administrative team and faculty to provide our students with a high quality legal education,” said Dean Stein. “I am proud to have been part of all that the school has accomplished during this time.”

Professor Leslie received her J.D. magna cum laude from Cardozo in 1991, and served as Executive Editor of the Cardozo Law Review. She began her teaching career at Cardozo in 1995 as a Visiting Professor of Law, and has been a tenured professor since 2002. In addition, she has been a Visiting Professor of Law at New York University and Columbia Law Schools, and has taught as an adjunct at both schools. She has held numerous leadership positions at Cardozo, including heading the committee charged with overseeing ABA reaccreditation.

A prolific writer, Professor Leslie specializes in estates, nonprofits, and fiduciary responsibility in the trust, corporate and nonprofit contexts. She teaches Property, Trusts and Estates, Nonprofit Governance, and Evidence.

Her most recent article, published in the NYU Law Review, reveals problems with the current system of managing retirement accounts, which could impact millions of Americans. The paper, titled “Accidental Inheritance: Retirement Accounts and the Hidden Law of Succession” was co-authored with Professor Stewart E. Sterk, with whom she also wrote a leading trusts and estates casebook and Concepts and Insights in Trusts and Estates (published by Foundation Press).

Professor Leslie is a Legal Fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel (ACTEC) and on the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. She was a member of the New York State Bar and NYC Bar Joint Committee on the Uniform Trust Code, Chair of the AALS Section on Trusts and Estates, and the New York City Bar Association Committee on Trusts, Estates & Surrogate Courts. Before entering academia, Professor Leslie clerked for Justice Gary S. Stein of the New Jersey Supreme Court and was a litigation associate at the law firm of McCarter & English.

Dean Diller praised Professor Leslie’s scholarly work, her exceptional teaching skills, and her many contributions to the life of the law school.

“We are fortunate to have had amazing people in this position,” Dean Diller said. “I am delighted that this tradition of excellence will continue under Melanie’s leadership. She has already proven herself an outstanding leader in our community as well as a highly respected and praised teacher.”

For more information, contact:

John DeNatale
Assistant Dean
Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Jacqueline Reeves
Assistant Director
Office of Communications and Public Affairs