Law School Deans

There’s a lot to unpack this morning about the sudden resignation of Lawrence Sager, Dean of the University of Texas Law School.

Before we get into the rumor circus — and it’s a complete circus right now — let’s get some facts straight:

A) Larry Sager was already on his way out. We reported in August that Sager had decided to step down at the end of the year.
B) Sager was forced out yesterday. UT President William Powers Jr. told the Austin American-Statesman: “We asked him to step down and he did.” Stefanie Lindquist takes over as interim dean, immediately.

If some reports are to be believed, it’s not an accident that a woman will be replacing Dean Sager. Allegations of gender inequality when it comes to pay are hounding Sager as he makes this hasty exit.

Let’s delve into it and get some student reaction…

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[Y]ou have one child who is a lawyer; you don’t think twice about it. You have two, and you write it off as a coincidence. You have three, and you begin to lie awake at night and scratch your head. You have four, you’re pretty sure there is a special place for you reserved in the hereafter.

– Dean Joseph Kearney of Marquette University Law School, recalling one of his father’s quips about his children’s career paths.

Not good times.

Earlier this week, we told you about the Northwestern Law student who made a joke about Thailand on the Northwestern listserv. The joke was in poor taste, especially given that it was in response to a solicitation for charitable donations after a deadly flood in Thailand.

I thought the penalty would be a chorus of “too soon” every time somebody saw him on campus. But the Northwestern Dean tells us that the kid is being punished….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Closing the Loop on the Case of Bro Versus Thailand”

On Friday, we told you about Michael Avery, a professor at Suffolk University Law School who objected to a school-wide solicitation for care packages for American servicemen fighting in Afghanistan.

If I were in charge of Suffolk University, I’d have just said, “Yeah, Professor Avery can be a dick sometimes, whatever,” and moved on. I mean, it’s an entire university; I think most people assume that the views of one man don’t necessarily reflect the view of the entire university.

But the powers at be at Suffolk couldn’t leave it at that. Both the dean of the law school and the president of the university had to weigh in and defend, well, everything.

I’m sure all the military guys know what happens when one defends everything….

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* Pennsylvania may have new child abuse reporting requirements by the year’s end. Apparently the key to efficiency in state government is to sully the reputation of the state’s pride and joy. [CNN]

* “There is always room for a good law school, regardless of the climate.” Say hello to Peter C. Alexander, the founding dean at the Indiana Tech law school that nobody wants. [Journal Gazette]

* The hunt for the remains of Mercer Law grad Lauren Giddings is playing out like an episode of Scooby Doo. Will the gang be able to investigate at Old Man Jenkins’s Browning’s farm? [Macon Telegraph]

* A paralegal-cum-prisoner is suing over his soy-based diet, saying it’s cruel and unusual punishment. He’s doing life for child sexual battery, so I say bring on the soy! [New York Times]

* Lat once said that lawyers are like cockroaches: you can’t kill them. Probably why this lawyer bugged out when he saw his creepy-crawly brethren on an AirTran flight. [New York Daily News]

Let a thousand law schools bloom?

Critics of the current legal-education model, including my colleague Elie Mystal, have accused the American Bar Association of failing to uphold sufficiently stringent accreditation standards. ABA-accredited law schools proliferate, even though thousands of law school graduates find themselves unemployed or underemployed.

The ABA was recently chided by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity for various alleged deficiencies in the ABA’s exercise of its accreditation power (for example, failure to consider student-loan default rates in assessing programs). Politicians such as Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Tom Coburn (R-OK) have also raised questions about whether there are too many law schools and law school graduates, especially in light of the still-challenging legal job market.

In light of this debate, I was eager to attend a panel at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention on the subject of law school accreditation….

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On Friday, we told you about the angry recent law school graduate who emailed a scathing letter to the alumni officers at his alma mater, Loyola Law School – Los Angeles. The graduate, whom we nicknamed “Loyola 6L,” called out the school’s career services office and the dean, Victor Gold.

Loyola 6L sent out his letter on Tuesday of last week. Last Thursday, alumni services decided it was time to have an alumni mixer.

Coincidence?

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I told you so.

Longtime Above the Law readers will remember the Southern New England School of Law. We extensively covered the purchase of that unaccredited private law school by the University of Massachusetts, which turned it into the state’s first public law school, renamed the UMass School of Law. I opposed the transition.

But nobody listened to me and the plans went forward, with UMass Law supporters talking about what a great thing the school would be for the people of Massachusetts. Just over a year ago, UMass Law Dean Robert Ward was crowing about the school’s re-opening and the record number of applications it received.

Today, Dean Ward is resigning, under a cloud of scandal….

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Better as a redhead.

* You know you’re screwed when law school folks are coming after you. A University of Hawaii Law dean has jumped aboard the “sue Facebook for wiretapping” bandwagon. [The Republic]

* Walk like an Egyptian? Emory Law student, Ilan Grapel — who was detained by Egypt on espionage charges — may soon be released in an exchange with Israel. [NBC New York]

* Lindsay Lohan’s probation was revoked, and she’s facing up to a year in jail. Judge Sautner doesn’t like her, so here’s hoping that LiLo’s single and ready to mingle. [New York Daily News]

* Heather Mills is being sued by her hairdresser over $80K in unpaid bills. After getting $50M in her divorce, she can’t cry poverty — she wouldn’t have a leg left to stand on. [Daily Mail]

* Being sexy and using kinky props for a song entitled “S&M” aren’t options anymore, because David LaChapelle has settled his copyright suit against Rihanna. [Rolling Stone]

* Peter Mullen, executive partner during the M&A boom at Skadden Arps, RIP. [New York Times]

Perhaps there is an everlasting reward for those who won't wantonly take advantage of law students?

You might remember the story of brave Philip Closius. He is the former dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law. He gets to be called “brave” because he went down fighting for the financial security of his students and future UB Law students in the face of another university president who treated the law school like a cash cow.

Dean Closius might have lost his individual battle with University of Baltimore President Robert L. Bogomolny, but he may have won the war.

Today, Baltimore announced a plan to give its law school an extra $5,000,000 to play with….

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