Nicholas Allard is in Jacksonville to take advantage of what he calls a rare opportunity.
The former dean and president of Brooklyn Law School in New York City is the founding dean at the Jacksonville University College of Law.
“Jacksonville is growing rapidly. There is a need for high-quality legal services, building on the existing legal infrastructure,” Allard said July 19 after JU announced his appointment.
“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to do something positive for the law and for the community.”
Allard, 69, was born in upstate New York. He graduated from Princeton University in 1974, Oxford University in 1976 and Yale Law School in 1979.
He was in private practice and government service before entering academia as a professor at Brooklyn, where he became dean in 2012. In 2013, he became dean and president concurrently until leaving the school in 2018 to return to private practice.
Allard said the JU College of Law philosophy as its first students begin classes Aug. 8 at JU’s Downtown campus at VyStar Tower is to “deliver the best possible school to the people who are investing.”
In May, City Council approved a $2.5 million grant to the college in the 2022-23 budget, with another $2.5 million to be appropriated in a future budget year.
Support from the local legal community and the 4th Judicial Circuit also attracted him to JU. Many attorneys in Jacksonville are JU graduates.
The Duval County Courthouse and its law library, walking distance from the classrooms, will be part of the law school experience.
“Our students will be in the courthouse, around practicing members of the Bar and judges who will be role models,” Allard said.
Allard and JU President Tim Cost met with Mayor Lenny Curry on July 18 to begin establishing the college’s role in Jacksonville.
“We have a platform for the JU College of Law to be part of this vibrant community of scholars and lifelong learners. We will give a lot and we will get a lot,” Allard said.
He is looking forward to meeting members of the business and civic communities. In addition to education, the role of a law school dean includes raising money to support the college.
While Allard was dean and president at Brooklyn, the school’s endowment quadrupled to nearly $250 million.
“I have a lot of experience in fundraising. It is a big part of the job and I embrace it because it is a worthy purpose,” Allard said.
He also will be in the classroom in front of students.
Allard said he will teach one of the first classes: Introduction to the Fundamentals and Study of Law.
“The two-day course explains what lawyers do and how they do it,” Allard said.