Anthony W. Crowell
Dean and President
Professor of Law
Anthony W. Crowell is marking his 12th year as New York Law School’s 16th Dean and President. He has served in the role since May 2012. He has taught state and local government law at NYLS since 2003.
As a first generation student and a longtime 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 and a leader in New York City and State government. It issued its first comprehensive Strategic Plan in 2013. The School’s latest Strategic Plan reflects 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 is developing best in class 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. The School recently introduced a semester-long Washington, D.C. Honors Externship Program. NYLS also launched the 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 is deeply committed to the NYLS Evening Division and instituted its new NYLS Pro program which meets the needs of, and embraces the modern post-pandemic realities confronted by, 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. He is consistently named each year to the “Law Power 100” and “50 most influential people in academia” statewide lists by City & State New York. And, Crain’s New York Business named him to its lists of “People to Watch in Higher Education” and “Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives.”
In his prior role as Counselor to the Mayor, Dean Crowell was counsel to the Mayor, a senior management and policy advisor, 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. Dean Crowell 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 in constitutional federalism cases.
Dean Crowell is a leader in advancing American legal education. He is a member of the Executive Committees of the Association of American Law Schools as well as the Board of Trustees of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York. He also is the Founding President of the National Association of Standalone Graduate Schools.
Dean Crowell also is a highly visible leader in the New York City and State legal and civic communities. He is a Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission. He is Chair of the New York State Independent Review Committee for Nominations to the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. He serves on the Executive Committee (and was Chair for five years) of the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Public Library. He is a member of Board of Directors of the Citizens Union Foundation. And, he is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s New York City Affairs Committee. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and as a member of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board for nine years. Further, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Congressional Award Foundation in Washington D.C.