February 03, 2012
Associate Professor Janai Nelson has been selected as the inaugural
Granito Scholar at St. John’s School of Law. Named in honor of St.
John’s alumnus Frank H. Granito, Jr. ‘62, the
endowment affords untenured faculty members the rare opportunity to
take a one-semester leave from teaching in order to devote time to
scholarship. “St. John’s is fortunate to have alumni willing to
help the school achieve its scholarly mission. I thank them for
their loyalty to the institution and for their generosity,” said
Dean Michael A. Simons.
Frank Granito graduated from the Law School after five years as a
Navy pilot. He became a trial lawyer specializing in aviation law
and represented hundreds of victims of air disasters. Notable among
his many clients were the victims of Pan Am 103, which exploded
over Lockerbie, Scotland as a result of terrorism. “I owe my entire
legal career to St. John’s,” said Granito, “and it's wonderful that
my children have provided my alma mater with financial support to
help the faculty maintain its scholarly reputation.” Three of
Granito’s four children are graduates of the Law School --
Catherine Granito Langan ‘82; Nora Granito Harris ‘86; and Frank H.
Granito III ‘87. His two sons-in-law, Timothy Langan ‘82 and Daniel
Harris ’82, are also School of Law graduates. Granito is counsel to
Speiser Krause PC, the trial firm that he joined over four decades
ago. Granito’s son, Frank III, is a partner in the firm, which
specializes in aviation and other major disasters.
Professor Nelson, an expert on election law, said that she was
“honored to have been appointed as the inaugural Frank H. Granito
Scholar.” She will use her semester leave to research how
alternative dispute resolution can be used to enhance democracy.
Building on her previous work as a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana,
Professor Nelson said that she “is interested in exploring how
mediation can be employed to resolve election disputes in local and
“It is the obligation of every law professor to produce insightful
and thought-provoking scholarship,” said Michael Perino, Associate
Dean for Faculty Scholarship. “The Granito Scholar is a tangible
sign of St. John’s commitment to the scholarly enterprise. It will
afford each of our untenured faculty the opportunity to pursue
their research interests to the fullest extent possible.”