Friday, June 19, 2009

UNBELIEVABLE!!! DePaul University FIRES Its Law School Dean for Reporting Truthful Information to the ABA!!!

Weissenberger, Glen On Thursday, DePaul University in Chicago FIRED Law School Dean Glen Weissenberger, one of the best deans that school has ever had. 

He was fired apparently because of a letter he sent to the Consultant on Legal Education for the American Bar Association, disclosing that certain information given to the ABA Accreditation Committee was no longer accurate.  He sent the letter now because the ABA Accreditation Committee is meeting next week. (Won't THEY have an interesting meeting now!)

We've obtained a copy of the letter he sent that got him fired, and we're posting it here for you.  Download Askew Letter June 16 2009  In that letter, Dean Weissenberger stated his belief (quite correct) that he was under an obligation to promptly advise the ABA Accreditation Committee of any statements in its June 22, 2008 report that were inaccurate.  He also stated that an earlier submission to the committee "did not address the pertinent issues, and as such, it communicates the erroneous proposition that the University and the College of Law have reached an agreement on the matter of 'Margin Agreement.'"  Read the full letter to see more. 

So DePaul University, in response to the Dean's truthful disclosure to the ABA Consultant on Legal Education, fired him yesterday.  Got that?  He sent the letter on June 16th and got fired on June 18th.

The DePaul website people work quickly. His bio on the law school website removed the title of Dean and now says this: "Weissenberger served as dean of DePaul’s College of Law from 2002 to June of 2009, when he returned to the faculty."

Thate website previously said that he had been given a five-year contract in 2002 and that his contract was renewed for another five years in 2007, so his contract was supposed to have run until 2012.

I cannot imagine that the faculty or students at DePaul are going to take this well.  The law students have started a petition drive, but it is only for members of the law school community.  (I think there are hundreds of professors from other law schools who would sign such a petition as well!)  

None of us can be happy about this.  This is a dean, standing up for the rightful finances of his law school, who gets fired because he truthfully reports to the ABA Consultant on Legal Education that information before the Accreditation Committee was incorrect.  Dean Weissenberger correctly noted that he had a duty to report that the information was false and that's what he did.

Here's a link to a story in the Chicago Tribune on all of this. 

Here is a post about this on Brian Leitner's Blog.

Here is a post from the Tax Prof Blog.

Here is a post from Above the Law, which ALSO INCLUDES a letter from the DePaul University College of Law Student Bar Association.  Above the Law also wonders who would want to be the NEXT dean at DePaul . . . maybe former Illinois governor Rod Blogojevic?

Will Kellen started a Facebook Group in support of Dean Weissenberger.  At the end of its first day it had already 166 members.

Now here is something else I´m wondering about . . . DePaul University College of Law was meant to host a meeting next month of EVERY LAW SCHOOL DEAN IN THE UNITED STATES!!!  Here´s a description of that meeting from the website of the Clifford Law Offices:

Deans from across the country will be gathering at DePaul University College of Law at a program sponsored by Clifford Law Offices entitled, "Vanishing Act: Legal Education in a World Without Trials."

The two-day symposium will be held July 31-Aug. 1 at the law school in Chicago in conjunction with the American Bar Associaion's Annual Meeting that will be held here at that time.  The symposium was profiled in a recent story in the National Law Journal.

DePaul College of Law Dean Glenn Weissenberger has invited 185 fellow deans from law schools to attend the event.

Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, said his personal injury firm sponsored the event in support of his alma mater and for his concern in promoting intelligent discussion on a topic that is of interest to him as a trial lawyer.

An all-star panel from the law schools at University of Chicago, Yale and Duke are among the panelists who will be speaking.  The keynote speaker is Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington, D.C. attorney and Special Master of the September 11 Victims' Compensation Fund.

So I am wondering how DePaul is going to handle this meeting now . . . .  Really, what WERE they thinking by firing Dean Weissenberger when EVERY LAW SCHOOL DEAN IN THE COUNTRY is going to be visiting their law school NEXT MONTH!!!



Here's a link to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times

Here's a link to The Faculty Lounge Blog.

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I am an alumnus of DePaul College of Law. Everyone I know has credited Dean Weissenberger with increasing the quality and reputation of the law school. I for one will not be giving any money to the college unless this matter is resolved to my satisfaction.

Under Dean Weissenberger's watch, the College of Law LEAPED from a fourth tier school to a second tier school. Is Helmut Epp crazy???

Posted by: Rey Lopez-Calderon | Jun 19, 2009 8:51:31 PM

I have tried to be a loyal alumnus, donating modest sums to the College of Law for several years and naming DePaul a contingent residual beneficiary in my current will.

Consequently, I shall watch with interest to see how the University's shabby treatment of Dean Weissenberger is resolved.

Posted by: James R. Pancheri Law'75 | Jun 21, 2009 9:59:38 AM

Based on the tremendous backlash (including threatened resignations and picketing) from students, faculty, and alumni, it sounds like the only party pleased with this is Epp.

Posted by: Jim | Jun 22, 2009 1:57:01 PM

Leiter, could you please clarify what the evidence is for thinking that this letter was the cause of Dean Weissenberger's firing? A DePaul spokesperson was quoted as saying that the decision was made prior to the letter. Is there any evidence besides Weissenberger's own say-so that that isn't the case?

Posted by: Comment | Jun 24, 2009 8:25:57 PM

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