At the 16th annual Deans’ Cup, the NYU School of Law Violets bested the Columbia Law School Lions on the latter’s home turf at Columbia’s Dodge Fitness Center. Each spring, students from both law schools turn their attention from courts of law to the basketball court to compete in a friendly game that raises funds for public interest work.

Despite NYU Law being this year’s visiting team, the stands were filled with people who traveled uptown to support the Violets. Spectators waving noisemakers and pom-poms cheered NYU Law to a notable victory, with a final score of 81–64.

Preparation for the big game started in January, and the team, led by captains Ben Homes ’17 and Steven Leiser-Mitchell ’17, practiced every week. This dedication extends beyond the Spring semester as many students participate in the Dean’s Cup all three years of law school. “Some of my best friends from law school have been my teammates from the past few years,” says Homes. “You really get to know them.” Mike Bill ’15 and Richard Schuler ’16, who competed in the Deans’ Cup during their time at NYU Law, returned to coach this year’s team.

According to Leiser-Mitchell, the game gives students an opportunity to engage in some friendly rivalry, which isn’t always part of the typical law school experience. “It feels like a time for the whole Law School to get together and try to beat our uptown neighbors,” he says, “which is thoroughly enjoyable.” Homes agrees, adding, “It’s a night everyone can come together, show their school spirit, get loud, act crazy, and let loose.”

Following tradition, a group of faculty members and administrators from both schools, including Dean Trevor Morrison and Professor Joshua Blank LLM ’07, took to the court at halftime for a matchup of their own. Homes deems the faculty game a perennial highlight. “That might be the most entertaining part of the night,” he says. “It’s awesome to see your professors—faculty you’ve worked with—playing their hearts out, running up and down the court, diving for loose balls.” This year, NYU Law’s faculty also prevailed, with a score of 7–2. 

The captains explain that the game’s fundraising mission gives the Deans’ Cup a deeper purpose than just rivalry, as proceeds from tickets sales go toward funding public interest programs. However, Leiser-Mitchell asserts that the competition is the most memorable aspect. “The game is exhausting, and so long, and so fun,” he says. “I’m not going to forget holding the cup and dancing with my friends at the end of the game.”

Posted April 19, 2017