Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sure enough, when the rankings came out, in March of that same academic year, the school had slipped by a few points. It's my understanding that the same faculty member, along with a few others on the faculty, worked with some law students to use the rankings as a pressure point to get me to resign. The law students, who were certainly worried about the effect of the rankings on their employment options, allowed themselves to get worked into a dither by a few manipulative people, and I don't really blame them for getting involved in the fray (although I worry about their gullibility).
I resigned because I was tired of working at a place that was so dysfunctional that it would permit that kind of behavior from colleagues on the faculty. It's fair to say that the rankings were part of the reason that I resigned, because the rankings were used as a rallying cry; it's not, however, fair to say that I resigned because of the rankings.
Now let's talk about the good results that came from that resignation: I'm much less stressed and much happier, and I'm at a place that is one of the most collegial law schools in the country. The Boyd School of Law at UNLV proves that it's possible for people to be actively engaged in scholarship and to be good teachers--and to encourage each other on a regular basis. When I look down the hallway, I see people writing, talking to each other without jealousy, and mentoring students. It's pretty hard to beat this environment (although 115 degrees in the summer can get onerous).
And at my old post? People seem happy with the new dean, and I wish the school well. There are many talented, nice people at that school, and the school has many resources that UNLV doesn't yet have.
What was an awful time for me (and, I'm sure, not very pleasant for anyone back then) has turned into a blessing (although I miss living in the same city as my dad). I know that I'll get to rehash my relationship to the rankings for a while to come, and as long as people realize that the negative effects of the rankings can be disastrous for legal education, I guess that--on balance--I can live with that.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
Whatever a law school does in the short term [about the change in methodology], it is clear that this change will result in continued homogenization of entering classes, with law schools having an incentive to ensure that the part time and full time divisions have comparable numbers. In other words, while some law schools may game the numbers, by throwing weaker students into the part time division, other law schools likely take a more untraditional student body in the part time division, perhaps those working (in other words those likely to be older) and, particularly with schools in urban areas, perhaps more diverse. Lumping the two programs together will make it harder for the untraditional student to find a spot in law school.
(Emphasis added.) Although I might quarrel with the use of the phrase "weaker student"--the use of LSAT and UGPA, after all, only captures part of a student's ability to perform in law school--I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment.