Like Mr. Banks, law faculties discount students' view of the perfect faculty member for good reasons. We know what students really need (castor oil). We know that in most jobs that must be done there is no element of fun whatsoever. We want colleagues that will push students to face their shortcomings, perform beyond their own expectations, and develop the discipline they will need for a career filled with sacrifice for clients. We want these traits in each other even though our students don't because we know that firmness, consistency, high standards and and tough love makes students stronger and delivers a bankable return for their tuition dollars.
In the movie and in the Mary Poppins books, Mr. Banks at first views Jane and Michael solely as a project to be managed by the right sort of agent, out of his sight and mind. Mary Poppins arrives and changes everything. She is a catalyst. She draws Mr. Banks into the lives of his children and helps him see that they long for his approval, deserve his respect, and need his attention. Mary Poppins knows, as we all do, that although she is magical, she is no substitute for a father.
Mary Poppins would probably make a bad law teacher in the long run. With Mary at the podium, law students would quickly experience the diminishing marginal returns of sweetness and singing. I think that all of us, students and faculty, idly dream about the magical hire that will change us all for the better. I am too cynical to sustain the fantasy. Mary Poppins never seemed to me to be a good investment, even though she surely charmed the Banks. With the next change of the wind, she left -- for a higher ranked school.