A Message to the St. John’s Law Community
Dear Alumni and Friends of St. John’s Law,
The public health crisis in which we all find ourselves will test the mettle of every institution. For St. John’s Law, the immediate challenge was to transition quickly to a fully online educational program and to a fully remote work force. We held our last in-person class on Monday, March 9. By Wednesday, March 11, we had moved 140 classes taught by 39 full-time and 85 adjunct faculty members completely online. In just a few more days, the Law School’s Executive Staff made all of our operations—career development, student services, alumni relations, and more—fully remote.
It was a tremendous display of teamwork, and I am enormously proud that we accomplished this transition so rapidly. I am also enormously grateful to the faculty and staff who have worked so hard to make it happen and to the students who have been patient, flexible, and understanding. Throughout the process, the St. John’s Law family has responded as I expected: with resilience, dedication, compassion, and kindness.
It has been a radical transformation, but the important work that we and our students do continues. Classes will be online through the end of the semester. Students will continue all of their training remotely, including participating in externships, co-curricular, and extra-curricular experiences. The Law School building is closed, though our Law Library continues to offer virtual services daily.
With the immediate transition behind us, our attention now turns to the future. As always, our focus remains on our students. While this disruption is stressful for everyone, it has been particularly hard on our students, who, along with the normal stresses of law school, now have the added stress of a suddenly deteriorating economy. In addition to those short-term challenges, many face acute immediate needs. The disruption caused many of our students to incur unexpected costs. Many find themselves in circumstances that make studying challenging.
So, I am humbled that, recognizing the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on our students, a generous alumna has made an anonymous $10,000 gift to launch the St. John’s Law Student Emergency Fund. Similar to the temporary fund we created after Superstorm Sandy, this permanent fund will allow us to make quick-response grants to students who are facing short-term financial emergencies.
In my 11 years as dean, it has been my privilege to witness the St. John’s Law family coming together to support each other in countless ways. In the past two weeks, I have been filled with pride as I have watched our students, faculty, and staff working together to accomplish something remarkable. I am confident that, as we continue to work together, more remarkable things are in store for the Law School.
My thoughts are with all the members of the St. John’s Law community, and I hope you and your families are healthy and safe.
Michael A. Simons
Dean and John V. Brennan Professor of Law and Ethics