A team of Maxwell School faculty led by Jennifer Karas Montez and Shannon Monnat have been awarded a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to support their research on geographic disparities in midlife mortality. Montez, University…
Craig M. Boise to Conclude Tenure as College of Law Dean at End of Academic Year
When Craig M. Boise stepped into his role as dean of the College of Law in the spring of 2016, he described his vision to create “a sustainable law school that leverages the knowledge, skill and imagination of its faculty and staff to expand legal education in innovative ways.” Seven years later, Boise is announcing his decision to step down as dean at the end of the 2023-24 academic year with that vision achieved. The college is on strong financial and academic footing with new, innovative programs, partnerships and modalities, and students and graduates performing at high levels during and after their legal education. Following a sabbatical, Boise will return to the College of Law to teach, mentor and continue his work as a legal scholar. Information on the search effort to identify Boise’s successor is forthcoming.
“Craig’s impact has been transformative,” says Gretchen Ritter, vice chancellor, provost and chief academic officer. “Under his leadership, the College of Law has been exceptionally strong in research, which is not traditional for law schools, and it has been innovative and entrepreneurial, particularly as it relates to evolving the legal education space to meet the needs of today’s students, increasing accessibility and opening doors to those who may come from post-traditional pathways. Craig has been an outstanding leader, partner and innovator and will leave behind an incredible success on which to be built.”
Boise came to Syracuse University from Cleveland State University College of Law during a period of great stress in legal education when there were substantially fewer law school applicants and a soft legal job market.
“Craig saw these challenges as opportunities,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “He knew that law schools that could quickly pivot and creatively figure out ways to develop collaborative, interdisciplinary, novel and relevant course offerings and degrees would stand out competitively and attract talented students and faculty. With the launching of the JDinteractive online J.D. program and other innovations in legal education, enhancing the college’s fiscal stability and expanding experiential learning and international program opportunities, Craig has propelled the College of Law to new heights. I look forward to his continued contributions to Syracuse University as a legal scholar and colleague.”
“No dean remains in the role forever—we are merely stewards of our institutions for the time that we serve, with the goal of leaving them better than we found them,” says Boise. “I’m gratified to know that the College of Law is in a strong position on all fronts and that we can embrace the future with confidence. What our outstanding faculty and staff have created together—supported by our remarkable alumni—will serve as a solid foundation on which the next generation of extraordinary Orange lawyers will build their professional lives as they, in turn, strengthen the college’s reputation and impact.”
Under Boise’s leadership, the college:
- Launched the groundbreaking JDinteractive online J.D. program, the first such program in the country to utilize virtual classrooms.
- Launched the only online J.D./MBA program in the country in partnership with the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.
- Launched the Orange Advance pipeline program with Spelman and Morehouse Colleges and Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta.
- Significantly increased both the diversity and credentials of the student body; on average, students of color have comprised 30% of entering classes, with a record 37% for the entering class of 2022.
- Sustained a three-point improvement in median LSAT scores for the last three years and an increase in the average GPA of incoming students from 3.35 in 2016 to a record 3.55 in fall 2023.
- Collaborated with the vice president for research to combine the University’s Office of Technology Transfer with the college’s Innovation Law Center (ILC), bringing together the ILC’s knowledge of the legal principles of innovations with the Office of Technology Transfer’s Universitywide portfolio. Teams of law, business and engineering students benefit from experiential learning opportunities to support successful commercialization of faculty research.
- Promoted faculty scholarship across a broad swath of legal disciplines, with faculty research grants and incentives contributing to a four-fold increase in the placement of faculty articles in top-50 scholarly law journals since 2017; publication of law review and other scholarly articles; and 52 books written, co-written or edited since 2016.
- The College of Law is one of the most successful law schools in the country in generating grant funding across such areas of distinctive excellence as disability law and national security law.
- Increased student externship placements by 55% in the last four years, including new on-campus placements in the general counsel’s office and the Office of Community Standards.
- Maintained an ultimate bar passage rate, the American Bar Association’s (ABA) metric for monitoring bar success in the two years following graduation, between 90% and 95%. The first-time New York bar pass rate for graduates who take the July exam is up 5.5 percentage points over the prior 15-year period.
In addition, Boise has significantly strengthened the college’s financial position, particularly as it relates to operating with a balanced budget and raising more philanthropic dollars than ever before. The annual fund surpassed $1 million for the first time in the college’s history and will surpass its $38 million Forever Orange Campaign goal more than one year ahead of schedule. The college also has fostered remarkable engagement of its alumni base across the United States and around the globe.
With 20 years of experience in legal education, Boise has been a sought-after leader in the field, having served on the ABA’s 21-member Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, the accrediting body for all U.S. law schools, and the inaugural Advisory Council of the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium, as well as various leadership roles with the Deans Forum of the Association of American Law Schools.
Prior to his tenure as dean at Cleveland State University, Boise was a professor of law and director of the graduate tax program at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. Boise began his academic career as an assistant professor and then associate professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He was also a visiting professor at Washington & Lee University School of Law in fall 2006.
Before beginning his legal academic career, Boise practiced law for more than eight years at Cleary Gottlieb and Akin Gump in New York and Thompson Hine in Cleveland. Before entering private practice, he clerked for the Hon. Pasco M. Bowman II of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Boise earned an LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. He received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in political science from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he also completed substantial coursework in piano performance at the university’s Conservatory of Music.