American Bar Association / ABA, Law School Deans, Law Schools, listserv

The Secret Law Dean Rules For Participating On The Deans’ Listserv

Did you know that the ABA maintains a listerv for all of the law deans at ABA accredited and provisionally accredited schools? I did. And I’ve always thought that it would be great to hack into that listserv. As far as I can recall, we’ve had just one story (although a great story) come from that listserv. I assumed it was because law deans were just really disciplined about not forwarding me threads from their private discussions.

Now I realize that their listserv is just boring as all hell.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the WSJ Law Blog obtained a copy of the “rules” for the listserv that the ABA circulated to all the law deans recently. I’ve seen law review notes that inspire more interest and discussion….

What strikes me about these rules is, as per usual, how antagonistic the ABA is to transparency. One of the the top-line rules (you can see them in full on the next page) is that deans are not supposed to talk about salaries. From the WSJ Law Blog:

“It is not appropriate to use the listserv to discuss or as a means of collecting and sharing faculty and staff salary, benefits, and perquisite data and analogous information.”

I suppose this is an attempt to keep deans from colluding to artificially suppress professorial salaries. But in this time of tight law school budgets, high professorial salaries, and general upheaval, it seems odd that deans aren’t even allowed to “discuss” the most pressing issues they face on a discussion board.

What are they allowed to talk about? From the rules document:

It is appropriate to use the listserv to introduce yourself to the list, announce your resignation, solicit nominations for your successor, and to introduce your successor.

WTF? So this entire listserv is, “Hello, I’m here. Actually, I’m leaving. Lemme introduce my replacement. New guy, say hello.”

At least we know being a law school dean doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to successfully operate your email. The ABA felt compelled to add this “reminder”:

Please use the “reply to all” function carefully and only when appropriate. If your response is a reply to the sender of the message, please use “reply to sender.” Only if your response is aimed at the entire list should you use “reply to all.”

Yeah, and if you don’t know if you should hit “reply” or “reply all,” just hit “forward” to Above the Law and I’ll help you out.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t sound like anything you are talking about would actually lead to an interesting story.

(Flip to the next page to read the rules in full.)

(hidden for your protection)

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