Saturday, May 16, 2009

when they tell you there's no money ....

In these challenging economic times, legal writing professors may be hearing more and more that there's just no money.  No money to travel to conferences, no money to hire a teaching assistant, no money to hire the additional faculty that you know your program needs.

If you work for a public law school in the United States, the entire law school budget (and university budget) is a public record.  Absolutely anyone is entitled to see it.  It may be online.  And there's likely a hard copy in your law school library.  And there's definitely a hard copy in your university's library.  The latter is a good place to ask to see it if you want to do your information gathering quietly.

It can take a little time to learn how to read a large educational institution's budget.  All the law school salaries may be on one page, for example, or they may be spread out alphabetically by name, throughout listings for an entire university's personnel.  Additional stipends for administrators (deans, directors, etc.) may be listed in another location.  Money from a foundation or alumni fund may be listed at still another location and may be allocated to specific employees, as additional stipends, for specific projects, etc.  So it's worth taking the time to get ahold of a hard copy and flip through it.

Remember, it's never a question of whether the resources exist; it's always a question of how the existing resources are going to be allocated.


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