COVID-19 Update: Community Message from the Dean



3.24.20 — A message to students, faculty and staff:

As many of you know, I practice yoga daily. Yoga transforms breath and body, helping to steady the mind and provide focus. In any crisis, let alone a global one, it’s hard to find that steadiness and focus. As we collectively confront a global health pandemic, we struggle to reduce our levels of stress and anxiety, to remain calm, to connect with one another even while maintaining our social distance, to look forward without the reassurance of plans that only a few weeks ago seemed set in stone. It’s hard to take a deep breath when we feel the weight of the unknown bearing down on us. 

But this is what is certain: The Northeastern Law virtual community reflects the very best of our bricks-and-mortar and the very best of you. There have certainly been challenges in transitioning to the online world, and these challenges have been greater for some than for others. However, faculty and students continue to make a remarkably smooth transition to online learning. Co-op students are working remotely, supported by staff and employers. Employers value our students’ contributions and place trust in their ability to nimbly navigate the difficulties of a remote working environment. Our students who found their lives further upturned by having to move out of their residence halls handled these disruptions with resilience and remarkable fortitude — and some found safe harbors with classmates who offered to share their homes. Our staff continues to rise up in the face of the uncertain and the unknown as they provide academic and co-op counseling, supporting our students in achieving their goals.

As a law school community committed to social justice, we also must lead by example and guard against intolerance. We are appalled by recent attacks on Asian Americans. As a community, we must stand up against bigotry. As we step back from our normal daily lives, we must continue to collectively embrace our values. We must always champion the rights of the most vulnerable members of society. We must be advocates for those who will be devastated by loss of jobs and income. We must provide compassion to those who will lose loved ones to this deadly disease.

 Advocating for what we believe in requires us to reach deep within our better selves and to reach out in fellowship to one another. I feel very fortunate to serve as dean of a law school community that does not, in this moment of crisis, need to find its core. Our core is one another, and we already know how to collaborate and to cooperate, to serve our clients, to promote the public interest and to lead with humility. We need not dig deep to be a community that supports one another because we built our foundation on strength of character.

Over the course of the next few weeks we will contact you with ideas to enhance our virtual community outside of the classroom and welcome any ideas you may have to do so. Of course, I’m sure you join me in anticipating the day when we can all reconvene on Huntington Avenue and turn our virtual greetings into in-person connections.

In the meantime, please remember to take those deep breaths, to take care of your bodies and minds, and to reach out to your law school community for support. 


James Hackney

Resources Available to Students

617.373.7591 (between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm EDT)
International: +1-617.373.7591 (this email address is monitored 24/7)

24/7 mental health support
International: +1-781-457-7777

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Well Connection (for students with the NU Student Health Plan)

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers

All NUSL COVID-19 Updates

Northeastern University is closely tracking the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and university leaders are making contingency plans and decisions in accordance with global public health authorities. To view communications for the Northeastern University School of Law community (ordered chronologically beginning with the most recent) with information and resources, please visit

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.

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