Tagged: Pace Law School

Pace Law School Renamed in Honor of Environmentalist

haubschooleventWe are proud to announce that Pace Law School has been renamed the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in honor of the late German philanthropist and environmental advocate, who has had a long partnership with our law school. See Press Release, below. Pace will become the first law school to be named after an environmentalist, and the second to be named after a woman (after the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State).

This is wonderful news for the entire Pace community. As for the PCJI, we look forward to expanding our role in ensuring environmental justice.



Record Gift Will Create Endowment, Expand Distinguished Environmental Law Program and Fund Research and Teaching Initiatives

NEW YORK – Pace University announced today that its law school has been renamed the Elisabeth Haub School of Law in recognition of its long-standing partnership with the family of the late Elisabeth Haub, a tireless environmental advocate and philanthropist, and a generous donation from the Haub family. The gift, the largest that Pace University has received in its history, will establish an endowment for the Law School, strengthen the school’s renowned environmental law program and fund innovative teaching initiatives.

“Pace University is thrilled to deepen and broaden its partnership with the Haub family, bolster our environmental curriculum and continue leading the progress of environmental law and regulation,” said Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman. “An extraordinary gift of this kind occurs when donors and institutions come together in support of a shared vision. We are deeply grateful to the Haub family and look forward to building on Elisabeth Haub’s admirable legacy at Pace University.”

“The Haubs’ very generous gift to the Pace University Law School underscores the family’s twin passions for environmental sustainability and education,” Pace University Board of Trustees Chairman Mark Besca said. “We are deeply honored to have the name Haub associated with our law school and will remain fervent educators and advocates for the issues they hold close to their hearts.”

“Our family has enjoyed a longstanding and successful relationship with Pace Law School, working with its world-renowned environmental law programs. We have come to admire the high-impact environmental work done around the globe by graduates of this law school, as well as the school’s deep commitment to innovation in teaching and its strong record of delivering value to its students,” Christian Haub, grandson of Elisabeth Haub, said. “We want to continue the legacy of my grandmother, Elisabeth Haub, who was a pioneer in environmental protection, and endowing this Law School in her name ensures her vision will continue to impact future generations.”

“We are enormously thankful for the Haub family’s support of our distinctive ‘path to practice’ model of legal education,” said David Yassky, Dean of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law. “At a time when many law schools are retrenching, this gift allows us to strengthen our program, especially the in-the-field learning that we believe is so crucial for students’ success in practice.”

In addition to providing an endowment, the gift will fund specific initiatives in the school’s Environmental Law program, which is ranked third in the nation: it will create the Haub Scholars program, providing reduced tuition to a select group of the most highly-qualified and promising environmental law students. The program will enable these students to study or attend conferences abroad, ensuring that the Haub Scholars have a truly global experience.

The gift also endows a Chair in Environmental Law, a Chair in Public International Law and an annual Visiting Scholar in a related field, in recognition that environmental science, informatics and other technology and other allied fields are now an essential element in formulating environmental policy.

The gift also includes funding for innovative teaching initiatives such as online courses and apprenticeships with law firms and nonprofits. “This is a pivotal moment for the legal profession and for law schools,” Yassky said. “We aim to create Law School 2.0 by connecting the classroom more directly to the courtroom and the boardroom, and this funding will help us get there.”

The Haub gift comes amid numerous calls for change in legal education. President Obama has suggested that law school be a two-year program instead of the current three-year requirement, and regulators including the American Bar Association and the New York State Court of Appeals have encouraged more apprenticeship training to supplement traditional classroom instruction.  The Haub School of Law already offers a Semester-in-Practice option for third-year students, and an accelerated “Spring-Start” program enabling students to graduate in two-and-a-half years.

The gift continues Pace University’s longstanding collaboration with the Haub family, building on Elisabeth Haub’s extraordinary legacy of promoting the progress of environmental law, with particular emphasis on activities that impact policy, promote a balanced approach to sustainable growth and reflect the global nature of environmental issues. Haub devoted much of her life to the stewardship of sustainability, forming the first foundation dedicated to establishing laws for nature conservation and environmental protection.

Since her death in 1977, Elisabeth Haub’s children and grandchildren have continued her environmental work through the family business – the Tengelmann Group, a German retail holding company – and by founding the Elisabeth Haub Foundations for Environmental Law and Policy. Elisabeth’s daughter-in-law, Helga Haub, shared her vision and continued her work by expanding the Haub Foundations to the United States and Canada. Elisabeth’s son, Erivan Haub, embraced his mother’s commitment to the environment in the family business, establishing sustainable management practices within Tengelmann long before corporate social responsibility became a professional standard. Liliane Haub, the third generation of the Haub family to focus on sustainability, has now assumed responsibility for continuing her mother-in-law’s work and has been instrumental in deepening the family’s relationship with Pace Law.

In 1997, Pace University and the International Council of Environmental Law, in collaboration with the Haub family, created the Elisabeth Haub Award for Environment Diplomacy. Given annually, the prestigious award recognizes the innovation, skill and accomplishments of diplomats, international civil servants and other negotiators who work to shape the world environmental order.

Pace University also shares Elisabeth Haub’s commitment to empowering women. The earliest Pace Law School classes were selected based in part on gender parity at a time when many law schools reserved very few places for female law students. Years later, the School launched the Pace Women’s Justice Center, a leading provider of civil legal services and training focused specifically on domestic violence. The Elisabeth Haub School of Law will become just the second law school in the United States named solely for a woman. (The Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University is the other.)

About Elisabeth Haub School of Law

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law, the law school at Pace University, offers J.D. and Masters of Law degrees in both Environmental and International Law, as well as a series of joint degree programs including a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The school, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, NY, opened its doors in 1976 and has over 9,000 alumni around the world. The Haub School is led by Dean David Yassky, who has served in a variety of public, political, academic and private sector positions over a legal career that spans four decades. The school maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory.

About Pace University

Since 1906, Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high-quality education for the professions with a firm base in liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York Metropolitan Area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, enrolling almost 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its College of Health Professions, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, Elisabeth Haub School of Law and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

The Newburg Sting: HBO Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion: Views from a Law Student

POST WRITTEN BY: Maureen F. Schnepf (’17), Pace Law School

On Tuesday February 3, 2015, some of my classmates and I attended The Newburgh Sting event – an event our professors had encouraged us to attend,  assuring us it would be a great time. I had never heard of this case prior to the event and was interested in finding out whether  this was “a classic case of entrapment.” As an American, I have always had faith in our criminal justice system. However, on Tuesday, that faith was somewhat shaken. Fortunately, there were many other valuable takeaways making up for it.

The film portrays the story of four poor black men, James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payan, who, as the movie portrays it, were all entrapped by an FBI undercover informant, Shahed Hussein. The FBI agency is tasked with the responsibility to combat terrorism, especially in the post 9/11 world. But at what cost do we as Americans support this goal? In order to turn these men into terrorists, Shahed Hussein approached James Cromitie, a low level marijuana dealer who worked at Walmart, to recruit him to bomb synagogues in Riverdale, NY and a military base near Newburgh, NY. Hussein kept pushing  Cromitie to find more “brothers” to come along. Hussein needed involvement of more than one person for a conspiracy charge to stand since Hussein was a government agent. Even after Mr. Cromitie temporarily disappeared, he was nevertheless pulled back in by the false sense of security that Hussein promised. Mr. Cromitie convinced three other men to help: one needed money to pay for his brother’s medical bills that had resulted from a surgery removing a tumor; another one was enticed by the promise of sustenance and financial stability which he so needed for his family; and the last one hoped this to be his ticket out of poverty-stricken Newburgh. All four men had exactly one thing in common – they all needed money. Hussein skillfully lured all four men, taking advantage of their low intelligence while promising financial security.

When the plot was being formulated (in Hussein’s living room with hidden cameras), Hussein was the one giving instructions.  It was Hussein who suggested using two bombs in a backpack and a stinger missile. Coincidentally, the use of a stinger missile triggers a mandatory 25 year sentence in prison. It was Hussein who continuously reminded the men that this was a jihad – a holy war for Allah. Mr. Cromitie and David Williams demanded reassurance from Hussein that they were only targeting property and that no one would get hurt. Hussein kept inciting the men to believe that this mission was for Allah; however, Mr. Cromitie always responded that “[t]hey can use the money.”

On the night of the attack, the whole group drove to Connecticut to pick up the – unbeknownst to the participants – fake bombs and the stinger missile. Interestingly enough, crossing state lines triggered federal jurisdiction. When the men returned to New York to switch the cars, they were apprehended by the police and FBI agents. The scene was flooded with an excessive number of police officers who claimed to be thwarting four “terrorists” – who they knew had two fake bombs that would never detonate. To top it all off, the FBI made public statements about this thwarted attack, stating that the FBI had been watching these four Muslim men who had allegedly met in prison for over a year. However, the men did not meet in prison; nor did I get the feeling from the video that they were devout Muslims because only one Quran was discovered when their homes were searched. The FBI put on a great show for the public. The four men pleaded  not guilty but were convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.  They lost their appeal, and their last resort, the U.S. Supreme Court, denied their writ of certiorari.

On one hand I can see how they were convicted since they followed through on the plan of committing a terrorist attack on innocent people. However, can we call this “justice”? The defendants were convicted for a crime they would have never had the ability to pull off had it not been for the government planting this idea in their minds. The defense attorneys who spoke at Pace on Tuesday shared that the trial judge, Judge McMahon, in her opinion, appeared to be setting these four men up for a successful appeal, even after the jury found the entrapment defense baseless and convicted them. That boggled my mind. In her 54 page opinion, the judge opines as if she is to find the defendants not guilty but in the last two pages she found the four defendants guilty, even Payan who clearly exhibited diminished mental capacity.

This entire situation was very sad to learn about. The families of these men who will forever be labeled as terrorists will not see them for 25 years. I can’t help but ask: would they have ever done this without the FBI? I don’t think so.

And so, what’s the lesson? Ms. Susanne Brody, Onta Williams’ defense attorney, shared that integrity is key – one must remain grounded in what is right and what is wrong – that is the key to being an attorney. Don’t just blindly follow, and stand up for what you believe is right. Another valuable lesson was to learn about the amount of time and effort invested into this case. Sam Bravermen, defense counsel for Mr. Payan, shared that his team spent close to 10,000 hours working on this case in just a few months, demonstrating the diligence, commitment, hard work, and team cooperation needed to take on a case such was this.

If there was one truth throughout the film that stuck with me the most, it was that fear is among the most potent motivators. It motivated a jury to convict these men. It motivated the FBI to plan and incite this entire “attack” in the name of security, and it appears to motivate all of us today. But perhaps we should be more fearful about the fact that our system isn’t always working as intended.  Having integrity and thus ensuring the integrity of the system we are all going to very soon be a part of, perhaps, should be our focus. Whether working as a defense attorney, a prosecutor, or for the FBI, we all should try our best to act with candor, do the right thing, and remember why we came to law school in the first place.

I urge all of you to watch this film. It speaks for itself. You may be surprised at how you feel once the credits begin to roll.

The Newburgh Sting Event Wrap-Up

On behalf of Prof. Lissa Griffin who was instrumental in making this event a reality.

What could be better than a terrific film documentary about a sensational criminal case and a panel discussion with the director and the lawyers who defended the four defendants, several of whom were Pace Law grads. That was Tuesday evening in the Moot Court Room. Many thanks to Prof. Lou Fasulo, Prof. Lucie Olejnikova, Iris Mercado, Jessica Dubuss, Joan Gaylord, Judy Jaeger, Janice Dean, Kay Longworth, Tony Soares, Glen Quillen, Ann Marie Stepancic, and of course the Criminal Justice Society and its president, Erica Danielson,  for their help in making this such a successful event. We had approximately 130 people – an interesting mix of students, CLE participants, alums, and the public – attend the screening of The Newburgh Sting HBO documentary, an almost unbelievable critique of one investigation and prosecution in the government’s “War on Terrorism.”

The government certainly has a legitimate interest in uncovering people in the United States who are intent on joining a terrorist plot against the Country.  In this case, that is what it apparently set out to do.  But here, four poor African American men from Newburgh, NY, previously unknown to the government, were induced by an FBI informant – with the most lavish kinds of benefits – to attempt to bomb synagogues in Riverdale, NY and military transports on Stewart Air Force Base. They never saw a Stinger missile in their lives – indeed, they were unemployed and owned no cars or even bicycles – until such a weapon along with non-functioning bombs were produced by  the undercover agent. As the trial judge stated, they would have done nothing unlawful or remotely terrorist-related if the government  had left them alone. Still, they were convicted as willing joiners in this plot.   The jury took eight days to convict, and the Second Circuit upheld the convictions, with a dissenting judge holding the defendants were entrapped as a matter of law. It’s a fascinating and provocative case.

The panel of lawyers addressed important issues about the nature of our criminal justice system, the role of defense lawyers and prosecutors, the law on entrapment, trial tactics, and the legitimate government interest in the prosecution of prospective terrorists, and the director, who was an attorney and ex-prosecutor himself, brought a unique perspective to the issues.

Thanks to all who made this possible!  Lissa