Sudha Setty named as dean of CUNY School of Law



Nathan Woo Yang

The CUNY Board of Trustees voted to appoint Sudha Setty as dean of the CUNY School of Law, New York City’s only publicly funded law school, on Feb. 22.

She is the first person of South Asian descent to lead a CUNY school. The appointment will be effective on July 1.

“Dean Setty brings to CUNY a demonstrated ability to combine visionary goal-setting with deft governance, and to construct, fund and sustain the programs that realize those goals,” CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said in a press release.

Setty received her J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law and her bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University.

“I am thrilled and honored to serve as the next dean of CUNY School of Law,” Setty said. “This law school was founded with the mission of public service, social justice lawyering, inclusiveness and accessibility.”

Setty has been the dean of Western New England Law School since 2018. This made her the first woman of South Asian descent in the United States to serve as dean of an American Bar Association-accredited law school.

Previously, she served as the school’s associate dean for faculty development and intellectual life.

In 2019, she helped create its Center for Social Justice, which connects faculty and students to the field of social justice law. Setty co-hosted an inaugural workshop for Asian-American women in legal academia in 2021.

“Her breadth of experience and commitment to use legal education for the advancement of social justice will build upon the Law School’s progress as the top public-interest law school in the nation,” Matos Rodríguez said. “CUNY is fortunate to have her.”

Setty’s areas of expertise are comparative law, constitutional rights and national security, according to CUNY.

Joining CUNY will bring her back to New York City, where she previously lived for a decade.

Setty was elected as a member of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation in 2018.

“In this moment, the nation and the world have recognized what CUNY has known all along: that our society needs more lawyers who are educated with these fundamental values to take on the challenges of today and the future,” she said. “I look forward to working with all members of the CUNY community as the law school seeks to make the world a fairer, more just, and better place.”