Since its existence, few have influenced the College of Law as much as professor Steven Kaminshine. In his 36 years with the institution, Kaminshine has made an impact in both the classroom and the administration, teaching courses such as Civil Procedure, Labor Law and Employment Discrimination Law and serving as the dean of the College of Law from 2004 to 2017.
Kaminshine joined the faculty in 1984, moving from New York City where he was a partner in a labor and employment law practice. He knew he wanted to switch into legal education and while there were other opportunities with schools that were more established, Kaminshine was intrigued about Georgia State’s mission and its newness.
“It was only three years old, but it had direction,” he said, “and a determination to surprise any doubters. Frankly, I was drawn to the notion of joining an institution not fully formed, free to create its own traditions virtually from scratch.”
He recalls the early years being devoted towards developing a foundation that a healthy academic institution needed to have, and true to its plan to build with purpose, the College of Law earned accreditation from the ABA in near-record time.
“Several factors fueled this success, but chief among them has always been the amazing quality of our students and alums. Smart, seasoned, and grounded, employers recognized early on that Georgia State Law graduated students with a degree of practical savviness that they didn’t always see from other law schools – an observation that we continue to hear to this day.”
Looking back on the biggest highlights in his career, Kaminshine says, highlights is a funny word, “For me, the highlight of my professional life was the opportunity to serve as dean and work with so many others to make a difference in the life of Georgia State Law. I loved the journey.”
Kaminshine says what makes Georgia State Law unique is having faculty members that are committed to effectively training tomorrow’s lawyers by being innovative in the classroom without skimping on their role to engage in academic professional audiences as researchers and scholars.
“The faculty we have today is transformative and I’m delighted that they have a high-quality building to grow in and to recruit from.”
What’s next for Kaminshine is to “figure out retirement” though he’s promising to stay busy and continue to support the College of Law in any way he can, including teaching Civil Procedure this fall.
He acknowledges it’s rare to stay at one place for 36 years and says that was never his plan. But at some point in those 36 years, he developed a passion for this place and its people, and realized he had little interest in chasing greener grass. As he takes this step away from the place he’s helped build, he says his dominant feeling is not pride, though he’s prideful. It’s gratitude, pure and simple.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities it gave me to do what I loved, with classy, talented people whom I admired and respected. That’s what I’ll miss, being at a place with people who I like being with very much.”
Written by Mara Thompson