Anthony W. Crowell
Dean and President
Professor of Law
Anthony W. Crowell is marking his tenth year as New York Law School’s 16th Dean and President. He has served in the role since May 2012 and has taught state and local government law at NYLS since 2003.
As a first-generation student and a long-time New York City public servant, Dean Crowell proudly reintroduced NYLS as New York’s law school. His management philosophy is rooted in his experience as a senior executive in New York City government for more than a decade, where he served as Counselor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Under the Dean’s leadership, NYLS has repositioned itself as a law school for the 21st-century lawyer. It issued its first comprehensive Strategic Plan in 2013, annual progress reports on that plan, and a new 2020 Strategic Plan, An update to the 2020 Plan will soon be released to reflect the new demands and opportunities confronting law schools and the profession as a result of the global pandemic and America’s racial reckoning. NYLS also published an Institutional Diversity Plan; built an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; adopted a dynamic and successful new curriculum—known as Think BIG—and strengthened academic and bar success programs.
Dean Crowell has also led the creation of new academic centers, institutes, and leadership programs that capitalize on New York City’s fastest-growing job sectors, including those focused on financial services, technology and intellectual property, government and public interest, and in-house counsel and the business of law. Under Dean Crowell, NYLS became one of the first law schools to combine its academic planning and career development functions into a seamless unit, maximizing the student advising experience and driving more meaningful outcomes.
Consistent with Dean Crowell’s belief in the importance of place-based learning, NYLS has dramatically expanded clinical and experiential learning programs. Under his leadership, NYLS established The Joe Plumeri Center for Social Justice and Economic Opportunity. This sophisticated, high-tech training center is home to NYLS’s 20-plus clinics and experiential learning programs in the heart of Lower Manhattan. NYLS also launched its Social Justice Hub, part of the Wilf Impact Center for Public Interest Law, which provides co-working space to four national legal advocacy nonprofits, and opportunities for students to engage on the frontlines of social change.
Having earned his J.D. as an evening student and while working full-time in Washington, D.C., Dean Crowell has committed significant resources to strengthen NYLS’s Evening Division. Under his tenure, NYLS has dedicated new funding for evening student resources and NYLS is busy building a 21st-century Evening Division that meets the needs of today’s ambitious working professionals.
For its efforts, NYLS has received top rankings and accolades in clinical and experiential learning, diversity and inclusion, and a host of legal specialty areas, including government and public policy, criminal law, immigration law, family law, and corporate law. Dean Crowell has been honored as Faculty Member of the Year by the NYLS Black Law Students Association, named one of the “People to Watch in Higher Education” by Crain’s New York Business (the only law dean to make the list), and recognized as one of the 2021 “Law Power 100” and among the “50 most influential people in academia statewide” by City & State New York. In June 2020, he was named to the Crain’s New York Business list of “Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives.”
In his prior role as Counselor to New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Dean Crowell was counsel and a senior management and policy advisor to the Mayor, as well as general counsel to the Office of the Mayor. For more than a decade in City Hall, he successfully managed a broad portfolio of legal, regulatory, legislative, governance, economic development, administrative, and operational matters focused on enhancing New York City’s performance, competitiveness, accountability, and public integrity. He also worked on numerous civil rights and government-access initiatives affecting women, immigrants, and people with disabilities. He served as the Mayor’s liaison to the LGBTQ community at a groundbreaking time in the state’s history. Dean Crowell also served as Executive Director, Counsel, or Commissioner of six city Charter Revision Commissions.
He was previously an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the New York City Law Department’s Tax & Condemnation and Legal Counsel Divisions, working on an array of real property tax, eminent domain, and land use and zoning issues. In 2001, he was counsel to the city’s Family Assistance Center, aiding families of 9/11 victims and directing the city's World Trade Center Death Certificate Program. Dean Crowell began his career at the International City/County Management Association in Washington, D.C., where he managed government affairs and policy. He also served as a Law Clerk at the State and Local Legal Center assisting in the preparation of amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dean Crowell is a leader in advancing American legal education, and serves as the President of the National Association of Standalone Graduate Schools. He also is an active member of New York City’s legal and civic community, including as a member of the New York City Bar Association’s New York City Affairs Committee, as well as the Board of Trustees (former Chair) of the Brooklyn Public Library. He serves on the Boards of the Citizens Union Foundation and the Congressional Award Foundation. He previously served on the City’s Conflicts of Interest Board for eight years. And, he is currently Chair of the Tribeca Pandemic Recovery Task, which was jointly established by Tribeca’s business community and NYLS to address the economic effects of the pandemic on the local community.