Monday, September 6, 2021
Labor Day is a holiday where we celebrate workers, an off-shoot of the industrial revolution and the labor unions that formed to help workers get fair treatment and to prevent child labor in the 19th Century. It started as a bit of a grassroots idea that caught on in some industrial centers, but it only became a Federal holiday in June, 1894 when Grover Cleveland signed it into law after hugely bungling his response to the Pullman Strike earlier that year. Before that, only Oregon, Colorado, New York and Massachusetts had their own versions of the holiday. We owe those labor unions a lot: weekends, paid holidays etc.
But what about the labor of academic support and bar prep folks? Sometimes it seems that our status is unclear. Are we labor or management? We tend to operate at the junction of faculty and staff. Sometimes we are faculty adjacent (as the Gen Z folks would put it). Sometimes, the people we work with have absolutely no idea what we do and seem pleasantly surprised that the school has people who “do that.” Bar prep folks work all summer and finish up just in time for a few scant days of rest before orientation kicks in. By this time, academic support folks have already planned and possibly conducted orientation classes. For people who do both, there is no break. Except, perhaps, for today.
So, in that spirit, I am calling for a celebration of Academic Support and Bar Prep folks, so:
Whereas, Academic Support/Bar Prep (“AS/BP”) folks are the first and last people students will know in law school, and;
AS/BP folks teach students to be successful by teaching (among other things) case briefing, outlining, study skills, exam skills, exam IRAC, legal writing templates like IRAC and CREAC, the MBE, MPTs, and MEEs, and;
AS/BP folks will track students down or be tracked down for all of the above and many other questions, issues, crises and panics, and;
AS/BP folks relish student success and suffer student failure at a deep, deep level, and;
AS/BP folks may not be faculty or tenured faculty, and may not have job security for more than a year at a time, and;
AS/BP folks are the people that will meet a student at a rest stop on the Mass. Pike (or insert your favorite Interstate here) at 2:45 a.m. to turn over a form that needed a non-electronic signature;
It is therefore ordered that on this and every following Labor Day we shall celebrate the labor of these individuals.
To my colleagues in this venture: I hope this is indeed a day of rest, and for those who will be celebrating later today and tomorrow: Shana Tovah.
Now we just need to fill up the tank, head out to the rest stop, and get this baby signed.