Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hierarchies in law schools

As part of my research for Managing by Ambush (my book on goverance in flattened hierarchies), I've been reading various articles on law school governance, and I came across a marvelous one by Susan Liemer: The Hierarchy of Law School Faculty Meetings: Who Votes? This article gets at several things that bother me about shared governance, including the presumption of expertise by faculty rank alone.

I'm in the process of re-examining life in law schools, and I'm having one of those embarrassing Joni Mitchell flashbacks: without being maudlin (is it possible to reference Joni Mitchell without being maudlin???), the song Both Sides Now keeps coming to mind.
Joni MitchellI've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It's life's illusions [I] recall.
I really don't know life at all.
Rashomon seems to be a theme in today's posts. Law school life viewed from the perspective of a faculty member without tenure (and not on tenure-track) is very different from the perspective of, say, a full professor who has come in laterally to a school. For those at the top of the hierarchy, the hierarchy isn't very imposing; for those at the bottom, it may seem insurmountable.

If you want to read a refreshing view about law school hierarchy as symbolized by voting rights, take a gander at Professor Liemer's article.


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