Beatrice Silverstein Frank

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Beatrice Silverstein Frank


Peter W. Martin

Resource Type

Video Interview

Date of Recording





From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. The interviewer is Peter W. Martin; the videographer, Jaesuk Yoo. This video covers Bea Frank's experiences as a law student and the path that led her to work on issues of consumer protection and clinical law teaching at NYU.

Beatrice Silverstein Frank was born in Rochester in 1928. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1950 Beatrice entered Cornell Law School where she was one of only two women in her class. She graduated in 1953 and practiced law in New York City while also editing law books.

Her career took a turn after maternity leave when she returned to the workforce as Associate Director and then Director of the Channel 13/ NYU Law School Consumer Help Center. She began teaching at NYU Law School in 1973 as a member of the Lawyering Faculty and as Director of the Consumer Protection Clinic. She retired in 2000.

Beatrice Frank was Vice President of the New York City Bar Association also chairing many committees; she served on the Mayor's Committee on the Judiciary under Mayor Koch; and served on the Boards of Directors of many non profits including the Children's Law Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and Washington Square Legal Services.

She was a tireless advocate for the underserved and was most proud of a 1990 report co-authored with the NYU Law Dean Robert McKay on the decline of the rule of law in Singapore and Malaysia.

Beatrice Frank died in 2016. She helped design the Lawyering Program at NYU that had just launched when she joined the school. She was known for her steadfast committment to experiential learning. Her obit in the New York Times says she possessed a unique blend of empathy and vigilance, a sensitivity to human suffering combined with meticulous attention to detail. She had above all an unwavering belief in justice and the importance of striving for it.


Cornell Law School, Cornell Law School alumni


Consumer Protection Law | Legal Education


The initial phase of this project was sponsored by a generous grant from the law firm of Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP.