Sylvia T. Polo

Sylvia is an attorney and a leader in higher education administration, specializing in legal and international education. She has more than two decades of experience in higher education, most recently as dean of graduate law programs at Columbia Law School. Her areas of expertise include recruiting and admission, leadership training, curricular evaluation, diversity and inclusion, mentoring, and she enjoys dabbling in data analysis. Sylvia has served as academic advisor, mentor, guide, and overall supporter to thousands of law students. One of her greatest thrills is watching a student have an “aha moment.”

Sylvia has spoken about U.S. legal education and the U.S. legal system in law schools, bar associations and law firms worldwide. She loves learning about education in other countries, as well as about other legal systems.

Prior to entering academia, Sylvia practiced law with two global law firms, in Cleveland and Miami. She worked with very smart and generous lawyers who served as role models for her. In turn, she served as a mentor to junior colleagues.

A native of Puerto Rico, Sylvia is passionate about education and its power to transform lives, and is a firm believer in the importance of role models. She has served on the board and other leadership bodies of several nursery and elementary schools.

Sylvia earned her B.S. in economics from Georgetown University (she is a HUGE Hoya fan) and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She has two sons, one in college and one in high school. She loves to travel and to explore New York, and is always happy at the beach.