Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Professor David Epstein Defends North Texas Law School

The Faculty Lounge has published David Epstein's defense of North Texas Law School.  (here)


"The continued existence of the University of North Texas School of Law (UNT Law) is important to the people of the State of Texas and to legal education. It is a special place that is boldly attempting to meet a pressing need."

"What makes UNT Law special are (1) UNT Law people and (2) UNT Law policies. Any list of “special people” should have Royal Furgeson at the top of list. Ask Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and other people in Royal’s law school class, ask people in El Paso where Royal practiced law and was not only president of the bar association but also president of the United Fund, ask the lawyers and their clients who appeared before him during his 17 years as a federal district judge."

"What is special about the UNT Law faculty is their commitment to teaching, and not their “scholarship,” their commitment to their students’ careers, and not their own While I was teaching at UNT Law, the other faculty members were in the building from early in the morning until late at night – helping students’ understand today’s class and working on tomorrow’s class."

"To me, what makes UNT Law students that I taught special was how much many of the students – black, brown, and white - had to overcome to get to law school and how hard they were working to get as much as possible out of law school. They recognize and appreciate that UNT Law is giving them an opportunity not available anywhere else."

"And, at UNT Law, unlike the other 16 law schools that I have been part of, students get regularly feedback from their professors as to how they are doing. The general law school norm is a single graded exam at the end of the semester. The UNT Law norm is weekly, if not more often, graded work. Students know how they are doing and can make an informed decision about continuing to incur the costs of a legal education."

"Texas does not need more lawyers who want to represent the people living in Highland Park1, more lawyers who want to represent the investment group trying to buy the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek restaurant2. Texas does need more lawyers who want to represent the people living in Oak Cliff3, more lawyers who want to represent the first generation Americans trying to transition from working as a waitress to buying a food truck. The continued existence of UNT Law is important to the people of the State of Texas and to legal education."

I strongly agree with David, one of my former colleagues at Alabama.  North Texas gives its students much more attention than the vast majority of law schools.  Its faculty is dedicated to educating its students.  The ABA should give it provisional accreditation so that its students can take the bar and establish the effectiveness of its approach.

(Scott Fruehwald)


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