David Chang Appointed Inaugural Theodore Dwight Professor of Law at New York Law School

As Law School’s 125th Anniversary Celebration Begins, New Professorship Honors Founder

New York, NY (September 17, 2015) — As New York Law School’s (NYLS) 125th anniversary celebration begins, David Chang has been appointed its first Theodore Dwight 125th Anniversary Professor of Law, announced Dean and President Anthony W. Crowell. This newly-created professorship honors the late Theodore Dwight, who was instrumental in founding the Law School in 1891. Professor Chang is an award-winning expert in constitutional law, including interpretive theory, discrimination, freedom of speech, and hate crimes.

“David Chang emulates New York Law School founder Theodore Dwight’s spirited devotion to teaching and the pursuit of excellence. In everything he does, he epitomizes what NYLS has stood for since its founding: embracing innovation, fostering integrity and professionalism, and advancing justice for a diverse society,” said Dean Crowell. “Professor Chang’s intense commitment and passion for righting society’s wrongs has inspired students and colleagues for decades. He is a tireless leader, continually focusing our institution to think critically and creatively about how we teach our students, provide them with new opportunities, and give them the tools they need for success in law school and in the profession.”

When he served as co-chair of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, Professor Chang worked vigorously to combat some of the City’s most heinous incidents of brutality and to push for legislative remedies through the passage of anti-hate crimes statutes. He is a champion of policies and practices to redress the effects of past discrimination, and has been a long-time advisor for the Black Law Students Association.

At NYLS, Professor Chang chaired the Academic Support Curriculum Committee, leading the effort to develop and implement the Law School’s Comprehensive Curriculum Program. Last year, he was honored with the Class of 2014 Teaching Award presented by the graduating class at commencement.

“Today, I feel the emotions of gratitude and humility for having been named the inaugural Theodore Dwight Professor of Law at New York Law School. The Theodore Dwight Chair marks the span of time that connects two landmarks—our founding by Theodore Dwight and his followers, and our quasquicentennial incarnation today,” said Professor Chang. “From the very beginning, our community has been about the pursuit of truth, even if against the grain; about the pursuit of justice through the creation of opportunity—especially for those most in need, and for those with the greatest potential to contribute to social progress through law, if only given the chance; and about the quest for better ways of doing what matters most in a law school—teaching our students so that each can achieve his or her full potential. And we are still about each of these qualities today.”

Professor Chang has written extensively on hate crimes legislation and the constitutionality of affirmative action policies. His scholarship has been recognized as outstanding. In 1992, New York Law School presented Professor Chang with the Walter M. Jeffords Distinguished Writing Award for his article, “Discriminatory Impact, Affirmative Action, and Innocent Victims: Judicial Conservatism or Conservative Justices?” (Columbia Law Review, 1991); in 2001, the Otto L. Walter Distinguished Writing Award for his article, “Selling the Market-Driven Message: Commercial Television, Consumer Sovereignty, and the First Amendment” (Minnesota Law Review, 2000); in 2008, the Otto L. Walter Distinguished Writing Award for his article, “Structuring Constitutional Doctrine: Principles, Proof, and the Functions of Judicial Review” (Rutgers Law Review, 2006); and in 2012, the Otto L. Walter Distinguished Writing Award for his article, “Beyond Formalist Sovereignty: Who Can Represent ‘We the People of the United States’ Today?” (University of Richmond Law Review, 2011).

Professor Chang earned a B.A. magna cum laude from Haverford College in 1979 and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1982. From 1982 to 1983, he served as Law Clerk to the Honorable W. Arthur Garrity of the District of Massachusetts, at a time when the judge began a transition from close judicial supervision of the Boston School Committee’s compliance with the court’s orders desegregating Boston’s public schools, to such supervision by the Massachusetts Board of Education.

Realizing that teaching and scholarship were his calling, he joined NYLS in 1983. For a quarter of the school’s 125 years, he has been teaching thousands of students, attending hundreds of faculty meetings, and working with his colleagues to help fulfill the Law School’s mission and move forward. His NYLS roots go back even farther, to 1956, when his grandfather graduated from the Evening Division, connecting his family to New York Law School for fully half of the school’s history.

Professor Chang’s investiture as the Theodore Dwight 125th Anniversary Professor of Law took place on April 28, 2016. Watch a video of the event here.

NYLS founder Theodore Dwight taught for many years at Columbia Law School, which he founded in 1858. Professor Dwight was a proponent of a teaching method called the “lecture” system, in contrast to the “case” system developed by Dean Langdell at Harvard. In early 1891, Professor Dwight was advised that Columbia was going to make several changes to the law school curriculum, including moving away from the lecture system. He resigned in protest, along with four out of the five professors. Many Columbia students and alumni also left, and a group of dissident alumni arranged for the establishment of New York Law School “to secure the perpetuation…of the (Dwight) method.”

The Board of Regents granted New York Law School a charter in June 1891. It opened that fall with George Chase as Dean. Professor Dwight, who was then 70, did not teach at NYLS, but he was an ardent supporter of the School in its first year. He died in 1892.

Professor Dwight is also remembered as a founder of the Association of the Bar of The City of New York, and he served as its first vice president. In addition, he served on the Commission of Appeals, formed to help the New York State Court of Appeals catch up on its docket, and he wrote roughly 70 opinions of that Court.

About New York Law School

Founded in 1891, New York Law School (NYLS) is an independent law school located in the heart of New York City’s legal, government, financial, and emerging tech centers. Known as “New York’s law school,” NYLS embraces the City as its classroom by complementing a rigorous legal education with an innovative and diverse set of “uniquely New York” experiential learning opportunities. Since opening its doors, NYLS has produced graduates who have gone on to hold high elected and appointed office in the City, lead large and small firms, and gain broad recognition as captains of business and industry. Its renowned faculty of prolific scholars has built the School’s strength in key areas of the law, including business and finance; government and public interest; and intellectual property, media, technology, and applied sciences. NYLS has more than 17,000 graduates and currently enrolls approximately 1,000 students in its full-time, part-time, and Two-Year Honors J.D. programs. The Law School also offers an advanced-degree program in Tax Law. The National Jurist rated NYLS No. 1 for clinical and experiential learning in New York State and No. 13 nationally. It also rated NYLS No. 15 nationally for its graduate Tax Law program. Readers of the New York Law Journal have ranked NYLS No. 1 for its graduate Tax Law program five years in a row. www.nyls.edu

Celebrating 125 years. Learn more at 125.nyls.edu.