Monday, June 22, 2009
DePaul University has just named an interim dean to replace Glen Weissenberger. It is Warren D. Wolfson, a justice on the Illinois Appellate Court. Judge Wolfson will reportedly assume the position as interim dean for a two-appointment starting on August 15. A national search will be launched next summer to try to fill the deanship permanently.
Click here to read more about Judge Wolfson and his appointment on the Law Librarian Blog.
Shortly after receiving the news about the new appointment, we received this comment from Ralph Brill at Chicago-Kent College of Law. He posted as a comment to our post, but we're also posting it here to make it easier for you to read.
I understand that DePaul has appointed Judge Warren Wolfson of the Illinois Appellate Court as the Interim Dean.
Warren and I have known each other since grammar school. In fact, he was three years ahead of me at every school we both attended –grammar, high, undergraduate and law school. He was one of the best criminal lawyers --- make that one of the best lawyers (period) --- I have ever seen. He has served as a judge for about 25 years now, at the trial and appellate levels. His opinions are well reasoned, well documented, sound. He also has been the director of our great trial advocacy program since 1970. He is the epitome of the ethical attorney/judge of the highest morals and values.
In spite of all that, I think he is making a grave mistake in taking this job. DePaul’s Associate Dean, Stephen Siegal, also has resigned his position. And most of the faculty are in a state of revolt, similar to the situation in Iran. I only hope that Warren has extracted promises from the DePaul administration to immediately rectify the underlying problems that have caused this state of affairs. Knowing him as I do, I am confident that he would not have taken the position unless he knew the entire fact situation and had already laid the groundwork for a fair solution. I have left him a message offering any help I can give with advice or liaison type services.
In my opinion, it is too late to save Dean Weissenberger’s job as dean. Those who are so inclined should continue to send messages to the university administration, excoriating them or offering whatever your view is. But I think it also is important in this time to indicate to the Legal Writing people at DePaul, directed by Susan Thrower, your support in this trying time. She probably will need some advice from time to time in the upcoming weeks.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Wow! We Have a VIDEO of the Burton Award Presentation to Professor Richard Neumann for Outstanding Contribution to Legal Writing Education
Professor Richard K. Neumann of Hofstra Law School received the 2009 Burton Award for Outstanding Contribution to Legal Writing Education. It is one of the highly prestigious Burton Awards for Legal Achievment are presented annually in Washington DC at the Library of Congress. The event is a big splash
Approximately 450 lawyers, judges, and other supporters attend the presentation, a reception, and an elegant dinner. We're told that there are opera singers, an orchestra, and a ticket cost to non-award winners of $2500 each. You really have to be a fan of good writing to attend this program.
Burton established these awards ten years ago to recognize, among other things, good legal writing and those who make substantial contributions to enhance the quality of Legal Writing and Legal Writing programs. Click here to see the list of law firms and law schools that won Burton Awards in 2009. As Ralph Brill of Chicago-Kent College of Law wrote, "Mr. Burton is basically a one-man crusader for the improvement of the quality of legal writing. Law schools in general, and legal writing programs specifically, owe him a great deal of gratitude for his efforts, the publicity he generates, and the incentives he provides for improving legal writing programs."
Courtesy of Professor Karin Mika (Cleveland-Marshall College of Law), we are able to share this short video of the award presentation that was made on June 15, 2009. The video includes a charming introduction by Anne Kringel of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. That is followed by Richard's comments. This is pure Chicken Soup for the Legal Writing Professor' Soul. Enjoy the video, and thanks Karin!
Hat tip to Karin Mika.
More Posts on DePaul University's Incredibly Stupid Decision to Fire Law Schol Dean Glen Weissenberger for Reporting Truthful Information to the ABA
As we reported on Friday, the Provost of DePaul University FIRED one of the best law school deans that the law college ever had, Glen Weissenberger. Dean Weissenberger had sent a letter to the ABA Consultant on Legal Education on June 16 disclosing that the ABA committee accrediting law schools was about to review certain financial information about DePaul that was not accurate. DePaul University was supposed to be keeping only a certain percentage of student tuition and giving 75% to the law school, but the main university was keeping more than its share and was apparently lying about that in documents that were sent to the ABA.
So with his hand caught in the cookie jar, Provost Epp fired the dean two days after he sent that letter. The ABA committee reviewing DePaul is meeting this week. I suspect that they are going to have an interesting meeting.
Provost Eppobviously forgot that Dean Weissenberger was going to be hosting a meeting next month of 185 law school deans. Click here to read about that. (No word yet on what's going to happen to that meeting now, but if I were a dean at some other school I would be on the phone first thing Monday morning to volunteer that it be held at my school instead.) Provost Epp also obviously forgot that a dean who brings his school from the fourth tier to the second tier has done something right. Dean Weissenberger has been tremendously popular with his faculty, students, and alumni, and who is well respected by law professors and other law school deans from around the country.
Paul Caron at the Tax Prof Law Blog has collected several of the blog postings and news stories about the firing.
Joe Hodnicki at the Law Librarian Blog likewise has a post that goes through all of this and is well worth a read. It's called Honesty Not the Best Policy at DePaul: Law Dean Fired for Disclosing Required Information to ABA Accreditation Committee; Associate Dean Resigns in Protest
Brian Leiter's Law School Reports Blog as well as the Law Librarian Blog have some additional news, namely that Stephen Siegel, a distinguished constitutional historian and longtime member of the DePaul faculty who is currently Associate Dean, announced that he would resign "effective when the expected announcement is made that an interim dean has been appointed from outside the law school community without any faculty input or consultation."
And click here to see our own earlier report, including links to the actual documents that are at the heart of this and another link to the Facebook group started in support of Dean Weissenberger.
I'd also like to note here that Dean Weissenberger has been such a strong personal supporter of legal writing professors that several years ago he decided to marry one of them (from another law school not too far from DePaul). We wish both of them well, because this must be a really difficult time for them.
I also feel quite bad for the faculty, students, and incoming students. Brian Leiter's Blog suggests that other Chicago law schools are looking over DePaul's faculty roster to see who they can now recruit from DePaul's faculty. Here's an excerpt from his post, which also references the firing of the Dean at the University of California at Irvine:
Who will take the job of Dean at DePaul while Provost Epp remains in office? No one with any academic credibility quite obviously--all this reminds me of the Irvine Deanship fiasco, which, if Chancellor Drake had not wisely reversed himself, would have spelled the end of the new UCI law school before it began. No one serious, or with any self-respect, wants to be Dean of a law school where the Administration behaves caprciously and recklessly, whether out of incompetence, vanity, or in response to external political pressures (the latter not, presumably, an issue in the DePaul case). One imagines that many law schools in the Chicago area, as well as nationally, are looking over the faculty roster at DePaul this weekend thinking about whom they might recruit.So will Provost Epp have the wisdom of Chancellor Drake? In the midst of a severe economic downturn, including in the legal market, removing a successful Dean who is, by all accounts, well-liked and respected by faculty, staff, students, and alumni all because the Dean stood up for the interests of his College really defies belief. There is, perhaps, someone at DePaul who ought to be summarily removed from office, but it does not appear to be Dean Weissenberger.