Fordham Law Dean Matthew Diller to Deliver 2021 Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture

Since 1950, Hughes Hubbard has sponsored a lecture in conjunction with the New York County Lawyers Association on the ideals of public service and the education of lawyers and the public. This year, Matthew Diller, dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, will deliver the [VIRTUAL] 56th Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture. The lecture topic is Stress-Testing American Democracy: An Initial Assessment of the Health of our Democratic Institutions in the Trump Era.   CLE: 1 NY Credit: 1 PP

About Dean Matthew Diller

Matthew Diller is a prominent scholar of social welfare law and policy. He has lectured and written extensively on the legal dimensions of social welfare policy, including public assistance, Social Security, and disability programs and on disability law and policy. His articles have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, Texas Law Review, and Michigan Law Review.

Dean Diller began teaching at Fordham Law in 1993. He was the Cooper Family Professor of Law and co-director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics.

From 2003 to 2008, he served as the associate dean for academic affairs. He has received the Louis J. Lefkowitz Award for the Advancement of Urban Law from the Fordham Urban Law Journal (2000), the Eugene J. Keefe Award for outstanding contributions to the Law School (2002), and the Dean’s Medal of Achievement (2009). Prior to being appointed dean at Fordham Law, he served as dean at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law from 2009 to 2015.

Dean Diller is a member of the New York State Permanent Commission on Access to Justice and is chair of the commission’s Committee on Law School Involvement. He serves on the board of the Legal Aid Society of New York and is a member of the executive committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He is also a member of the Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

He served as a member of the board of directors of Legal Services NYC from 1999 to 2009, and he was vice chair from 2003 to 2007. He was a member of the executive committee of the poverty law section of the Association of American Law Schools and was chair in 1999–2000. From 2000 to 2008, he was a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. He was also a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Task Force on New Lawyers in a Changing Profession. In fall 1999, he was scholar-in-residence at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

He received an A.B. and a J.D., both magna cum laude, from Harvard University, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He then clerked for the Honorable Walter R. Mansfield of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He worked for the Legal Aid Society in New York, where he was a staff attorney in the civil appeals and law reform unit.

In 1991, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York honored him with a legal services award. In 2014, the AALS Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities awarded him the Deborah L. Rhode Award for his leadership in legal education and public service.


On Nov. 8, 1948, the Board of Directors of the New York Country Lawyers' Association (NYCLA) established the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture. Hughes Hubbard assumed sponsorship of the lecture series in 2007.

The Series was instituted by NYCLA to honor Justice Hughes for his "devotion to the betterment of the law and the maintenance of its supremacy," and "for his service as President of our Association where he endeared himself to us by his fine qualities of mind and heart, and as an inspiration to the members of our profession whose high ideals and noble traditions he upheld and strengthened throughout his long and distinguished career."

Few lawyers in the first half of the 20th century had a more distinguished career or a greater impact on the evolution of law and public policy. Charles Evans Hughes's service as Governor of New York State, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, presidential candidate, Secretary of State, Judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice and Chief Justice of the United States reflected a lifelong dedication to the legal profession. Justice Hughes served as NYCLA's eighth president from 1919-1921, leaving to serve as United States Secretary of State upon his appointment by President Warren G. Harding. In 1930, Justice Hughes received his appointment as Chief Justice from President Herbert Hoover.

Chief Justice Hughes was reluctantly unable to attend the dedication ceremonies on May 26, 1930 because the Supreme Court was in session, but sent a message that President William Nelson Cromwell read to the gathering.

In that message the Chief Justice illuminated the highest aspirations of the organized bar and the legal profession:

“As books and office furniture do not make a lawyer, so a library and reception halls do not make a bar association. The significance of such an association is found not merely in a common technique, but in the reinforcement of the standards of sound learning, loyalty to the law and fidelity to trust, and the readiness for expert public service, which have given a peculiar dignity to the profession of the law.” Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes

Past Speakers

For more than half a century, the men and women who have delivered the Charles Evans Hughes Lecture have embodied those aspirations. 

The series has had speakers from the highest levels of the profession including U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

2019 - Henry M. Greenberg
2018 - Dean A. Gail Prudenti
2017 - Hon. Robert A. Katzmann
2015 - Hon. Jonathan Lippman
2014 - Loretta E. Lynch
2013 - James R. Silkenat
2012 - Hon. Judith S. Kaye
2011 - Hon. Denny Chin
2010 - Preet Bharara
2008 - Hon. José A. Cabranes
2007 - Kenneth C. Frazier
2005 - Robert MacCrate
2003 - Hon. John S. Martin
2000 - Hon. Seth Waxman
1999 - Dean Kristin Booth Glen
1998 - Hon. Joseph M. McLaughlin
1997 - Dean David W. Leebron
1996 - Dean Rudolph C. Hasl
1995 - Dean Joan G. Wexler
1994 - Hon. Jack B. Weinstein
1993 - Dean Harry H. Wellington
1992 - Dean Lance Liebman
1991 - Prof. Curtis Berger
1990 - Dean John D. Feerick
1989 - Dean John E. Sexton
1988 - Dean Monroe E. Price
1987 - Hon. Andrew J. Maloney
1986 - Hon. Frederick A.O.Schwarz Jr.
1985 - Dean Norman Redlich
1984 - Dean Patrick J. Rohan
1983 - Prof. Benno C. Schmidt Jr.
1982 - Dean Albert J. Rosenthal
1981 - Hon. Lawrence H. Cooke
1979 - Dean Harry H. Wellington
1977 - Dean Monrad G. Paulsen
1975 - Dean Joseph M. McLaughlin
1974 - Dean Michael I. Sovern
1973 - William T. Gossett
1972 - Dean Robert B. McKay
1971 - Hon. Shirley M. Hufstedler
1970 - Whitney North Seymour
1969 - Hon. Sheldon S. Cohen
1968 - Hon. J. Edward Lumbard
1967 - Hon. Charles S. Desmond
1965 - Dr. Russell D. Niles
1964 - Prof. Leon Lipson
1963 - Hon. Henry J. Friendly
1961 - Prof. Paul A. Freund
1960 - Hon. John Clark Knox
1958 - The Right Hon. Lord Nathan, T.D.
1956 - Hon. Harold Medina
1954 - Hon. Arthur T. Vanderbilt
1952 - Hon. John T. Loughran
1951 - Hon. Bernard Shientag
1950 - Dean Roscoe Pound