Sudha Setty becomes first South Asian to lead CUNY Law School

New York: Indian American 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 US 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.” 

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.


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