In my few years as a professor I have been fortunate to have mentors who allow me to chew their ears and then offer their views on the many aspects of being a law professor. Although the issues and insights vary, one topic “What Kind of Institution Do We Want A Law School To Be?” seems to encompass a large range of the discussions.
There are many levels to this question. Some may see it as a matter of the nature of teaching; others as a research institution versus training ground question. Still others may ask what business model works. A few may even consider the possibility of disaggregating the law school into distinct institutions. No matter which perspective I have heard, it is encouraging that all wish to improve legal education.
Mike Madison was a key person in listening to my thoughts and refining the question. So I suggested that a mobblog on the topic might yield insights about the views and factors that go into answering the question. Thankfully, he agreed and allowed me to take over Madisonian for the event. Although it does not capture the depth of my gratitude to Mike for his guidance, mentorship, and his generosity, I will simply offer my deep thanks to him here. In addition, the entire Madisonian crew has been great in helping me sort how to make this endeavor work.
So Madisonian will host a mobblog starting this Monday, April 7. So far of deans, former deans, and soon to be deans, Erwin Chemerinsky (Duke, named founding Dean at U.C. Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Law), Jim Chen (Dean, Louisville), Nancy Rapoport, (UNLV, former dean at Houston), and Rodney Smolla (Dean, Washington & Lee, former Dean at Richmond) have agreed to participate. In addition, Professors Ann Bartow, Al Brophy, Jack Chin,Dan Filler, Brett Frischmann, Christine Hurt, Rick Garnett, Greg Lastowka, Orly Lobel, Mike Madison, Nate Oman, Frank Pasquale, Larry Solum, and Fred Yen will also share their thoughts on the topic.
My hope is that the best part of academia, what I like to call intellectual rugby, will manifest itself in this space. Many questions will be posed. Many views will be offered. Many goals will be pursued. Many disagreements will ensue. All will have kernels of truth. And after it is done, a better picture of what we want law school to be will emerge for all to enjoy (perhaps over a virtual beer).