Thursday, February 28, 2008
Dylan: Is there A Way Out Of Here
"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth."
No, I do not mean UF where I teach and have what I think is the second best job in the world -- reading, writing and talking about interesting things.
I mean the confusion of legal education. Think about it.
Those wanting to improve teaching rail against the Socratic Method. Problem: No one uses it.
Law Professors want to be regarded as academics but have become sales reps for themselves and rarely search for answers. Instead, consistent with their training, they start with the answer and research in order to prove they are right.
Schools are torn between making legal education widely available but have their national rankings depend on the homogeneity of their student bodies.
Appointments Committees talk about diversity but hire nearly exclusively from elitist school even though there is no relationship between productivity of any kind and credentials. When push comes to shove the real questions is: Will this person add to my comfort level.
Law Professors fight for tenure and waste it by being the ultimate conformists in their research, positions, and well . . . everything else.
Dean's operate schools to please faculty while the actual stakeholders -- students and taxpayers -- are largely ignored.
Law Professors talk about the rule of law and then use all the tricks of the adversarial trade -- omissions, half-truths, ambiguous words -- to avoid the rule of law. The often live by a perversion of the saying "Do not do anything you would not want reported in the New York Times" Instead it has become, "Don't write anything down that you would not in the New York Times."
Think of what legal education could be like. You cannot get there from here. Sorry Bob!