- As Dean of Western New England University School of Law, she made history in 2018 as the first woman of South Asian descent in the U.S. to serve as dean of an American Bar Association-accredited law school.
Scholar and legal leader Sudha Setty has been appointed dean of the CUNY School of Law, effective July 1. She is the first person of South Asian descent to lead a CUNY school. She succeeds Eduardo R.C. Capulong, who served in an interim capacity since March 2021.
Setty has been the Dean of the Western New England University School of Law since 2018, when she became the first woman of South Asian descent in the U.S. to serve as dean of an American Bar Association-accredited law school, according to a CUNY press release. She previously served as the school’s associate dean for faculty development and intellectual life. A member of the school’s faculty since 2006, she was named Professor of the Year in 2009, 2016 and 2018.
“I am thrilled and honored to serve as the next dean of CUNY School of Law,” Setty said in the press release. “This law school was founded with the mission of public service, social justice lawyering, inclusiveness and accessibility,” said Setty. “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.”
At Western New England University School of Law, Setty’s deanship has focused on enhancing the social justice work at the school and its commitment to racial justice and diversity, equity and inclusion. She led the creation of its Center for Social Justice in 2019, which provides an organizing framework for the faculty and student work in social justice lawyering; engaging in economic justice, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, immigrant rights, access to justice, and other social justice lawyering work, and drawing support from foundations, alumni, and individual donors.
The CUNY appointment brings her back to New York City, where she previously lived for 10 years, seven of them as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell. There she litigated antitrust cases in federal and state courts and served as defense counsel in pro bono matters challenging terrorism sentencing guidelines and upholding prisoners’ civil rights.
She received her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and her bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University. A recipient of the National Conference for Community and Justice 2021 Human Relations Award, she was on the Lawyers of Color Power List in 2020, among other honors.