Friday, September 28, 2007

Some Neat Things About Teaching at a Moneylaw School

1. Hiring is designed to create an intellectual and philosophical balance so faculty can debate and hone their ideas about important issues. (At the other schools, intellectual diversity is threatening.)

2. In hiring, the top of the class is valued over the identity of the school because at any school people who finish in the top 10 are smart, ambitious, and driven. (The other schools hire for credentials even though they are as reliable as cubic zirconium as an indicator of value.)

3. Discussion can be had about everything – class, race, sexuality, the Middle East – without the discussion becoming personal, or people pouting, or stomping out of the room. (At other schools these matter are taboo because of faint hearts and fears of being labeled.)

4. There is real collegiality as opposed to facial collegiality. (At other schools the appearance of being “nice” is sufficient and can be used to mask a great deal of self-dealing, externality production, and closed-door mischief.

5. The administration and faculty announce and internalize goals and stress accountability. (At other schools, the administration takes whatever happens and claims it means success.)

6. There is an on-going effort to match the efforts of the school with the needs and expectations stakeholders. (At other schools, there is no on-going assessment as long as there is any chance those assessed would object.)

7. The faculty abide by the real NYT rule: Don’t do anything you would not want reported on in the NYT. (Other schools go by the “other” NYT rule: Don’t put anything in writing that you would not want reported in the Times.)

8. The ideal curriculum is planned and professors make sure it is offered. (At other schools, teachers are asked what they are “willing” to teach and that is what is offered.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet only liberals are welcome...

9/28/2007 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff -- I like the list, but I'm curious about something. Are you saying that you in fact teach at such a school, or simply that schools should aspire to the qualities that you list? And if the former, would you venture to state how many money law schools there are and, perhaps, what their names are?


9/28/2007 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" . . . any school people who finish in the top 10 are smart, ambitious, and driven."

Actually, they were chosen, out of a pool of hard working and driven students, by the whimsy of some old man with a lot of discretionary power.

Do you understand that this tier 2 law school scam, by which you live a comfortable and cushy existence, is destroying the lives of tens of thousands of young 22 year olds?

The lack of shame in law professors is appalling. What does one do in life, when faced with malevolent people, who don't have the innate sense to see why what they're doing is wrong? How do you invoke shame in a mind so warped?

I would spit in your face if I could.

9/29/2007 1:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am starting to think that I am teaching at a MoneyLaw school, here at Boyd (UNLV). Jeff, I really liked your post (and I loved the kitten picture--since I'm now happy as a purring kitten here). It's lovely to be at a place that's supportive, rather than passive-aggressive or (worse yet) overtly hostile.

9/30/2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discussing race in making hiring decisions? I thought this was illegal.

10/01/2007 11:36 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Harrison said...

To the commentators. I do not know how many moneylaw schools exist. I think there are many partial moneylaw schools. No, I do not teach at one.

To the person who wants to spit in my face. That's pretty harsh but I think I have been misunderstood. As it stands now, when law schools hire new professors they rarely even look at students at any rank from a non elite law school. The possibility of looking at top students at non elite schools would be a huge change. Plus, like you I am not convinced that other lower ranked students are any less smart, etc, than others. But, it is worse that you think.

To the commentators on race and politics. Yes, if at all possible many law schools will reject non liberals and they absolutely discuss race and pick candidates on the basis of race. Here is the ironic thing. The political litmus test is applied more rigorously to non whites than to whites.

10/01/2007 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said "they absolutely discuss race and pick candidates on the basis of race." So you are a participant of a meeting of a group of lawyers that are conspiring to violate federal and state law. As a member of the Texas bar, don't you have an ethical obligation to do something about this? Would you feel comfortable sitting in a meeting of lawyers conspiring to fraudulently overbill clients?

10/02/2007 12:07 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Harrison said...

Anonymous: Is it really illegal to discuss race or to pick a candidate on the basis of a diverse background? As I understand it, race cannot be a litmus test but surely it is going to be important in any effort to diversify. My beefs are two-fold. First is the hypocrisy of pretending that race is not discussed. Or if not discussed the claim that it was not a basis of selection. The second is how undiverse diversity is. In particular, minorities who do not toe what passes today as a liberal line are hammered. I think they have less chance of getting a job than a white conservative or libertarian. Which gets to me to the point that the interested in diversity is no more that skin deep.

10/02/2007 2:57 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Harrison said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/02/2007 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You asked: "Is it really illegal to discuss race or to pick a candidate on the basis of a diverse background?" You're trying to change the subject. Back to the point: It really is illegal to "pick candidates on the basis of race," to use your own precise earlier words. Are you backing off your earlier claim that the faculty of UF Law School "absolutely" makes hiring decisions on the basis of race?

10/02/2007 10:12 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Harrison said...

Dear Anonymous. To but it bluntly, No, I am not backing off that and my guess is that it is true at other law schools. Still it would be incorrect to say that race was the only factor or to say that it means a lower quality of faculty.

Still, Florida's law on this is pretty strict and this year the UF law faculty had the uncomfortable experience of being instructed about the law (ironic isn't it) by university officials as it pertains to race and gender. Part of the reason given for the talk was to ward off Ward Connerly and avoid litigation.

If you read my classbias blog, you would know that the privileged never see themselves as acting outside the rules. Why? Two reasons. An infinite capacity to rationalize and the privileged think the only rules that count are the ones they make up. That all means there is massive denial. In effect, in all likelihood the biggest offenders did not hear a word of the talk.

For anything it happen, someone with standing will have to lodge a complaint.

10/02/2007 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your honesty, but I'd like a further clarification. You said: "Still it would be incorrect to say that race was the only factor...". The critical issue is whether race has been a dispositive factor (i.e., that had the race of a particular candidate been different--keeping all other characteristics the same--then the outcome would have been different). Has race, in your view, been a dispositive factor in making specific hiring decisions at the UF Law School?

You brought up gender. Has gender been a dispositive factor?

Assuming that your answers to the above questions are "yes": Is your problem with your colleagues that they are not more explicit about using race and gender as dispositive factors? Or is your problem that they are using these as dispositive factors in violation of federal and state law?

10/03/2007 9:41 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Harrison said...

Good questions, Anon. If two candidates have the same paper credentials and give a talk of the same quality, the minority candidate will get the job offer. In fact, at another School at which I have taught the standard was whether the miniority candidate was within "shouting distance" of the non minority candidate. If so, the minority got the offer. It is the reality pure and simple because it is what is done to increase diversity which no one I know of suggests is not a worthy goal.

My beef is that diversity means more than pigment and that while all faculty -- not just here -- will fall all over themselved to find a minority candidate, most of the time the candidate will be from an elite school and not represent intellectual diversity. In short they want non diverse diversity. You may want to read my blog on this:

I am not sure on the gender issue. There is talk of needed more women but whether it pans out in actualluy selections, I cannot say.

10/03/2007 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is the reality pure and simple because it is what is done to increase diversity which no one I know of suggests is not a worthy goal."

So the ends (pursuing diversity) justify the means (a bunch of law teachers violating the law by using race as a dispositive factor in deciding whether or not to hire a particular candidate)? Is this what you're saying?

10/03/2007 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So why are law schools so obsessed withe elite credentials? I work in another area of academia and where you got your degree matters very little.

10/03/2007 12:33 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Harrison said...

To Anonymous:

That is exactly right! In law faculty politics the ends often justify the means.

To the other anonymous: What area is that?

As for law, there are no objective measures of what good scholarship or teaching is and so people have the freedom to hire people from the social class that they are from and which contains people who share the same tastes, norms, etc.

10/03/2007 6:58 PM  

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