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Michael J. Yelnosky became the dean of Roger Williams University School of Law on July 1, 2014.

Dean Yelnosky is a founding member of the RWU Law faculty. He served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for four years, and he was named Distinguished Service Professor in 2011. He has also...



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Ending 2014 with an Exclamation Point; Looking Forward to January ...

Posted by Michael Yelnosky on 12/23/2014 at 11:58 AM

RWU Law Dean Michael Yelnosky and Providence Mayor-Elect Jorge ElorzaOn December 19th, the RWU community gathered at One Empire Street  to announce the signing of a lease that will provide the School of Law with more, better, and new space to pursue its mission.  We were joined in the celebration by Providence Mayor Angel Tavares, a long-time supporter of the School of Law, and Mayor-Elect Jorge Elorza, who was a member of our faculty for almost ten years before his election in November. 

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and RWU President Donald Farish

The new building will serve as the hub of our experiential education programs and permit our students to continue to provide access to justice to Rhode Islanders in need.  We will move into the new space in June of 2016, but the sense of momentum and excitement is already palpable. 

Our students are taking a well-deserved break, but a truly amazing series of events is being planned for their return in January.

On January 14th, a panel of professors, prosecutors, defense lawyers, police officers, and community activists will gather to discuss the recent events in Ferguson, MO and New York City and what they can teach us about grand jury practice, race and the criminal justice system, and policing. 

Less than a week later we will celebrate the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King.  The centerpiece of that celebration will be the annual Martin Luther King Lecture, which will be delivered on January 20th by a very special guest – Paulette Brown. In August, Ms. Brown became the first African-American woman to become President-Elect of the American Bar Association.  Her term as President will begin in August 2015.

We will welcome another special guest to the School of Law the next week, on January 28th - Donald Verrilli, Jr., the Solicitor General of the United States.  Mr. Verrilli has argued over 40 cases before the United States Supreme Court, and he will address the entire second year class in Constitutional Law as well as other interested students.  Professor Jared Goldstein, who was a fellow in the Solicitor General’s office after graduating from law school, will lead the student session.  Mr. Verrilli will also spend some time with the faculty during his visit. 

January 30th, just two days later, is the date of the 12th Annual Public Interest Law Auction, a rousing affair that raises money to support students who work in public interest positions in the summer. This year is extra special because it is the inaugural year of the Champions for Justice reception and dinner, which will precede the auction.     (The Champions for Justice event begins at 5:00, and doors open for the auction at 7:00).  That Champions for Justice event will raise funds for the full array of experiential and public interest programs at the law school and honor three “Champions” – Linn Foster Freedman, Deborah Gonzalez, and the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

I am writing this on the shortest day of the year, but it occurs to me that the days may be short and the nights might be long, but the RWU Law light continues to burn bright and hot.

See you in January.