Thursday, February 15, 2007

Heading South

With mixed feelings all happy, but mixed nevertheless I tell you, dear blog readers, that approximately 100 days from today I will leave my post as Dean of Students and Academic Support Program Director at Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island. 

In June, Kristy (my wonderful wife) and I will fly to Montevideo, Uruguay, to begin the next exciting chapter of life.  After twenty years of practice in California, a few years in secondary and university education, and these most fulfilling eight years in law school academic support and student services, I am ready to make the move.  We are both excited about life in South America.

Kristy will continue to work part-time from home as a legal secretary for LawDocsXpress, performing outsourced legal secretarial services.  Because the work is all digital and via the internet, she  can work wherever the internet reaches! 

I will be working part-time.  Among other endeavors, I will be teaching lawyers to prepare for the Cambridge University International Legal English Certificate (ILEC) examination.  The ILEC is a new addition (2006) to the Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) suite of certifications.  Typical ILEC examinees are lawyers interested in employment in an international law context or intending to obtain a further degree from an English-only law school. 

Upon arrival in Montevideo we will begin our intensive Spanish lessons, to augment our existing basic language capabilities.  We have spent a few weeks in Montevideo and have through personal contact and the amazing internet developed supportive relationships with a number of folks there, including those I will be working with.

About those mixed feelings . . .

Job satisfaction is a product of several components, not the least of which are whom we work for and whom we work with. 

As a group (a large group) the students I have worked for at Vermont Law School, at Roger Williams Law School, at the many schools I’ve visited, and as a CLEO presenter have been extraordinary.  Because of the nature of the work of academic support and student services through the Dean of Students office, many of the students I have come in contact with have been students suffering from disabilities or difficult circumstances of many sorts.  So many of these dedicated students, in my view, are heroic persevering despite (sometimes enormous) odds.  Who could ask for a better group to serve?

For more than five years I have worked with a terrific group of people the administration, staff and faculty here at Roger Williams.  Each year it seems to get better.  I couldn’t ask for a more dynamic, spirited, generous and understanding dean than David Logan … and he has a knack of attracting others of substance and verve to this school. The colleagues, the co-workers, and friends I have made in my years working in Vermont and Rhode Island have made my work a pleasure.

Those of you who have been active in this amazing field of law school academic support know what I mean when I say that this nationwide close-knit community of academic support professionals is remarkable.  The combination of who you are and what you do and what is important to you works a powerful magic. I was so lucky find this corner of the law school academic world.

The other side of the mixed feelings is Kristy and I are headed to a new continent, new climate (goodbye snow), new endeavors, new language, etc., etc. … everything new and different.  Whoa. I think no more need be said.

In addition to leaving my law school position, I will be resigning as contributing editor of this blog and as contributing editor and columnist (“The Adviser”) for the ABA’s Student Lawyer magazine.  Dan and Liz, Senior Editors of this blog, will be looking for a replacement, as will Ira Pilchen, Editor of Student Lawyer.  I’m sure Dan and Liz would welcome new talent to the blog. I’ll check with Ira to find out how he wants to go about finding a new columnist (my final column will appear in the May 2007 issue).

The administration at Roger Williams is considering restructuring the combination position I have been holding ... I’ll notify you blog watchers when a determination is made and a job description is posted (applications, I’m told, would be premature at this point).

With warm feelings and gratitude,

Dennis (djt)

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