Pace University Appoints David Yassky '90 as Law School Dean
The following article was written by Ariel Kaminer for the New York Times and can be viewed here.
White Plains, NY - Law school deans are rarely familiar faces, but Pace University is getting one who should be recognizable to anyone who slid into a New York City taxi cab in the past few years. Starting in April, its law school will be led by David S. Yassky, who served as taxi commissioner under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and greeted all riders from their seat-back televisions.
Mr. Yassky, who received his law degree from Yale, has previously taught at Brooklyn Law School and New York University Law School.
“This is going to be a ball,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. “What could be more fun than working at a law school at this moment?”
Outside the classroom, Mr. Yassky was chief counsel to the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime and a member of the New York City Council before leading the Taxi and Limousine Commission. There, he introduced the Taxi of Tomorrow, a Nissan NV200 that was to be the standard model for the city’s entire fleet, undertook an experiment with smartphone apps as a tool for finding cabs, rolled out a fleet of green-colored cabs for the underserved areas of the city, approved a rate increase and helped win a seven-figure settlement from a taxi operator who had been accused of overcharging drivers.
Mr. Yassky became an unexpected reference in the mayoral race last year, when Bill de Blasio called him out as someone he would quickly replace. Mr. de Blasio’s Republican opponent, Joseph J. Lhota, replied by saying he would do the same.
Mr. Yassky’s appointment comes as law schools across the country grapple with fewer applicants and fewer jobs for graduates. He said some things remained constant: “The core point — that educating highly competent and highly ethical lawyers is a core part of our society — is true and will remain true.”
Regarding Pace, which was ranked 134 in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent survey of top law schools, he said, “The mandate is to think creatively about how Pace has to adapt with the changes in the profession.”
He plans to commute to his new job by subway from his home in Brooklyn Heights. “I think a taxi from Brooklyn to White Plains would be prohibitive,” he said.