Sunday, April 20, 2014

Should You Be a Law Professor? Sociology of Law Professors: 5

Over on Facebook I have taken a slew of quizzes that are "designed" to tell me what color I am, which TV character I would be, what country I should have been born in and on and on. I realized that there needs to be a test for whether you would be viewed as doing a good job being a law professor. Here are 10 questions. Each question has two options. You are to choose the option that is the worst between the two. I'll tell you how to score after you take the test. OK, which is worse?

1. a. Not grading your exams carefully.
b. Objecting to  not grading carefully.

2. a. Recycling old exams.
b. Objecting to recycling exams.

3.a. Posting a job opening notice for a job that is filled.
b. Objecting to posting job notices for jobs that do not exist.

4. a. Recommending to the faculty to hire someone without a search because the person is married to a current faculty member.
b. Mentioning that it is not a good practice to conceal why someone is being recommended especially if the reason is unrelated to teaching or research.

5. a. Rehiring people with consistently awful teaching evaluations.
b. Objecting to hiring people with awful teaching evaluations.

6.  a  Dropping the names of elite schools and well know people you barely know as a way of impressing people.
b. Objecting to name dropping and appeals to authority by mentioning fancy  schools whenever possible.

7. a. Deciding to reject someone's application of a job you know they would be good at because they noted you were doing something illegal.
b. Objecting to rejections of applications based on spite.

8. a. Never speaking about about illegal and irresponsible activities by the school, the administration, or the faculty.
b. Objecting to the fact that colleagues never speak up about obviously irresponsible or  illegal activities.

9. a. Name calling in a faculty meeting.
b. Objecting to name calling in a faculty meeting.

10 .a. Leaning on untenured faculty to vote for your favorite candidate for a job.
b. Objecting to leaning on untenured faculty to vote for specific faculty candidates.

Here is how to grade. Give yourself 1 point each time you selected "a." Give yourself 2 points each time you selected "b." If you engaged in a and selected b, give yourself 3 points.  A perfect score 30. If you made 30, you are as qualified to be a law professor as is humanly possible. And, what's more, you are probably lying so give yourself another 10 point bonus. You are truly elite.

A score of 20 also means you can expect to be a success as a law professor. As your scores drops below 20, your fit will diminish and, if you are below 15, I do not think you will cut it as a law professor and you might just check under your car each day for an explosive device. Do not expect raises; do not expect plum assignments.

Some people may think the scoring is backwards but it is not. The most cherished characteristic for a law professor is civility or collegiality which in the world of law professors means this: Do anything you want. Do not utter anything that would in any measure suggest anyone on the faculty ever did anything that was less than honorable.

I guess that is what elite schools teach since  graduates from elite schools are pervasive in legal education as is "civility."

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