The thousands of NYU faithful crowding Washington Square park last night unleashed a torrent of cheers upon seeing plumes of white smoke arising from Furman Hall, signaling the selection of a new dean for the School of Law.
The hiring comes after former Dean Ricky Revesz announced that he was stepping down from the post he held for the last 11 years (though Revesz will remain on faculty at NYU, sort of a Dean Emeritus).
What if your law dean didn’t look like everybody else?
Have you ever noticed how law school deans are all kind of all the same guy? They’re mostly white, mostly male, mostly smart, mostly charismatic, and mostly good at getting you to part with your money.
Law school deans are usually successful academics and respected faculty members. And when they’re not, we make fun of them. The virtue of having a dean who looks and thinks like everybody else is that you don’t risk getting a weirdo who will screw up your capital campaigns. There’s a reason why guys are generally happy when they show up to a party and they’re dressed like pretty much everybody else; it means that nobody screwed up.
Of course, the downside of picking 200 people with similar backgrounds is that it’s hard to get radical change in the way law schools are run. Instead of every law school being a “laboratory” of ideas, you get every law school just trying to follow the leader — and that leader is, of course, the hated U.S. News law school rankings.
A tipster who went to a school that is looking for a new dean asked Above the Law to suggest some “outside the box” candidates. We know that the school won’t seriously consider any of our suggestions, but it’s still a fun thought experiment. Who should be dean of your law school? We’ve got some thoughts…
Big news in the land of top law schools: NYU Law School Dean Richard Revesz will be stepping down from his position at the end of the academic year. Revesz most recently revamped NYU’s 3L curriculum. He leaves behind one of the best law schools in the nation (and some swanky faculty housing).
As David Lat just put it to me over Gchat, “Revesz has been there for ten years and he has seen it all — the boom and the bust of the legal profession.” As a current NYU student wrote to us, Revesz leaves “big shoes to fill, and I just hope that the next dean is just as successful at keeping our amazing professors here and attracting top-flight talent from other schools. His record on both counts has been superb.”
Despite its overall success, Ricky Revesz’s tenure was not without controversy. Let’s review some highlights (along with some UPDATES), after the jump….
The third year of law school is an utterly useless waste of time that exists only to fatten the coffers of American law schools and we all know it. The vestigial human tail is more useful for climbing trees than 3L year is for career advancement.
Of course, the third year of law school is never going away, unless you think that law schools are in the business of giving away a third of their income just because it’s the right thing to do. Like the coccyx, it’s so integrated into the whole system that we can’t really just get rid of it. The ABA mandates it, and everybody loves it when their primary regulator requires an artificial price floor.
Today, NYU Law School is announcing an interesting solution to this problem that it has with taking money from students without teaching them anything useful: it’s going to try not teaching them anything at all! That’s right folks, NYU is “revamping” 3L year to give students more opportunities to study abroad. Because whenever you are gouging students for an additional year of education that nobody needs, you might as well make some other university actually deal with them for the year.
Oh, and this plan comes to you with the Cravath stamp of approval. So you know it’s very prestigious….
NYU Law School seems to have a problem with graffiti. Hate graffiti. Last year, NYU had to bring in the NYPD hate crimes task force to deal with somebody who scrawled “damn orthodox jews” in the main NYU Law building.
This year, there’s been another incident of hateful graffiti at the law school. Honestly, I don’t know why the kids can’t keep this stuff on the 6 train where it belongs. Or maybe they should be tagging up some phat outlines instead of defacing their school.
Apparently this graffiti was anti-gay and directed at one specific student….
We are well into February, and there are still law students who haven’t received all of their grades from first semester.
Why? I have no earthly idea. We’ve talked about this problem before: we get that professors really hate spending the time it takes to grade a bunch of exams. It’s boring. It’s arbitrary. It’s annoying to know that no matter how “fairly” you grade, you’ll have at least a few students who can’t handle the truth, waiting in your office to ambush you.
But it’s also your job. It’s your duty, owed to the students who are ruining themselves financially to help pay your salary, to provide them with grades in timely fashion. This is especially true in law school. And it’s especially true in a crappy economy. Law school grades matter, and it’s just cruel to keep students in the dark about them.
Now, if I show you a hundred professors who handed in grades late, you’ll hear a hundred different excuses about why grades were delayed: “I was preparing for a conference,” “My Commodore 64 broke down,” “I was having personal problems” — whatever. We get it; sometimes life intervenes and prevents professors from doing their jobs.
But at NYU Law School, some students are alleging that professorial favoritism is allowing some professors to turn in their grades much later than others…
Earlier this week, we discussed the discovery of potentially anti-Semitic graffiti in Vanderbilt Hall, the home of NYU Law School. Yesterday Dean Richard Revesz issued a forceful response to the law school community via email, condemning the graffiti as “highly offensive and hurtful” and declaring that “[s]uch hateful conduct is deplorable and has no place in our community.” (We’ve reprinted Dean Revesz’s message in full at the end of this post.)
Some observers, however, questioned whether the graffiti was really that bad. First, it was vague and conclusory, reading simply, “Damn Orthodox Jews.” Second, rather than reflecting animus from a non-Jew against Jews, the statement might have reflected tensions within the Jewish community itself. Several commenters raised the possibility that the graffiti was written by a less religious Jew who objects to the greater religiosity of Orthodox Jews.
Dean Revesz’s response raises another issue, namely, whether the administration at NYU Law takes anti-religious discrimination more seriously than discrimination based on sexual orientation (even though both are part of the school’s non-discrimination policy)….
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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