Just like utility infielders in baseball, we rarely make the regular lineup of cool players, much less the All-Star team. We sit through hours of job talks on global aspects of hegemony, the distinction between norms and heuristics, complexity theory, and why all that matters to constitutional philosophy in emerging nations. When one of us tries to workshop a paper about debt or taxes or markets, our colleagues roll their eyes and clear their throats and nobody comes. Our deans know what we do only vaguely. They brag about the cool players as experts in "the philosophical and moral implications of family dynamism." They describe us as experts in 'business law' or 'tax.' We write articles that have code section numbers in the title, and student law review editors use them with glee for coasters. Our classes are analytically demanding, jargon laden and almost never evoke occasions to explore student feelings about diversity or anything else. We give real grades. We never win teacher of the year.
We have skill. We can stare down the fastball and take one to the head if necessary. We chair important law school committees, especially if "dirty work" needs to be done. We get the call when it's time to draft new tenure standards. We talk to students who simply want to know what it is like to practice law for money. We make no apologies for capitalism. We close our door and in complete confidence explain to an All Star colleague with the two course load what a junk bond is, the difference between tax and book, or the effect of the automatic stay. We stay in shape. We read advance sheets to keep up, because our law changes every day. Each semester, we teach and think about something new.
Utility law teachers take heart. We know the franchise is nothing without us. We put the law in law school.