Beginning next week, Touro Law Center will have a new leader.
Harry Ballan, a partner and senior counsel with the Manhattan-based law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, takes over Monday as dean of Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip, the school’s officials announced Wednesday.
Ballan, 56, of Riverdale in the Bronx, said he is excited about the new position and wants to help Touro grow in several areas.
“I was excited about the possibilities about being more deeply involved in law education and the possibilities for Touro,” Ballan said. He interviewed for the job after an executive search firm contacted him about the opening, he said.
He will replace Patricia Salkin, who was promoted to provost for Touro College & University System’s graduate and professional studies division.
“Mr. Ballan is the ideal choice for dean of Touro Law Center,” Salkin said in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with him in the transition. His experience in legal practice coupled with his academic interests and teaching experience, as well as his varied leadership roles in higher education, will ensure his success.”
The main objectives for the new dean are to look into creation of more paralegal programs, continue the school’s work in helping military veterans with legal issues, and expand its clinical and externship programs — geared toward developing students through such hands-on experience as drafting legal documents, developing evidence and representing clients.
Ballan said he was intrigued by Touro students’ work in helping victims of superstorm Sandy in court and the success of the disaster relief and mortgage foreclosure clinics.
“I immediately dove into the details of the clinics,” he said. “I wanted to understand how they work and how to expand them.”
Ballan said the school also will look at bolstering clinics specializing in veterans’ rights, health care and laws affecting senior citizens — with one important goal being to help Touro students think in a more civic-minded way.
“Touro has always been a school that exists for the public interest,” he said. “Touro can be a place to train citizen lawyers who can absorb the message that lawyers should think of themselves as members of public service with an obligation to those who are neglected or underserved.”
Ballan has a law degree from Columbia Law School and years of teaching experience. A former university music professor who segued into law, he previously was an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law and an associate adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School.
Ballan will retire from Davis Polk & Wardwell before starting in his new position next week. He thanked his coworkers there and the entire Touro community for their support.
“For 24 tough years, Davis Polk was a second home,” he said. “I hope they appreciate the feelings and gratitude I have towards them and to my new home away from home.”
Established in 1980 and relocated to Central Islip in 2007, Touro Law Center, part of the nonprofit Touro College, is the only law school in Suffolk County. The private school has about 18,000 students across all of its programs, according to its website, and offers a juris doctor degree and a master of laws degree.