Saturday, April 12, 2008

no Rodney Dangerfields at the "ideal law school"

Responding to an invitation by the Madisonian blog to describe the "ideal law school," UNLV Professor Nancy Rapoport (formerly dean at Nebraska and at Houston) contributed a post titled, "What kind of faculty would I want in the ideal law school?" I don't know whether she will consider becoming a dean again one day, but who wouldn't want to work for or with someone who shares the following sentiment, particularly if she will put these words into action?

A good law faculty expects some of its members to be outstanding scholars, some others to be outstanding teachers, and some of its members to be actively engaged with the bar, and it values all of these activities.  It also (and here is a huge bias of mine) values those who tend to be at the bottom of the law school caste system:  those who teach in the clinic and those who teach legal research and writing.  (In my fantasy world, these colleagues would be tenured or tenure-track.)  Both of these groups do more to turn our students into lawyers than do podium teachers, in part because of the substance of what they teach and in part because of the hands-on nature of how they teach.  And they are being Rodney Dangerfielded at too many schools.

Hey, Nancy, thank you for being one of our champions.


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