Promoting Diversity in Law School Leadership

Updated Sept. 22, 2013, with one addition Aug. 30, 2016.
Prepared by Mary Whisner.

This guide is created for the Fourth Biennial Workshop on Promoting Diversity, sponsored by the University of Washington School of Law, Seattle University School of Law, and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), held at the UW Law October 11-12, 2013.

The First Biennial Workshop on Promoting Diversity in Law School Leadership was hosted the Seattle University School of Law September 28-29, 2007. Selected papers were published in the Seattle University Law Review (vol. 31, number 4, summer 2008). The articles are listed separately below.

Links are to publicly available websites (journals and SSRN) and to HeinOnline, a commercial resource widely available in law libraries. HeinOnline is a UW Restricted database.


Sample Interview Questions

The 2016 conference offered these sample interview questions.

AALS Bibliography

AALS logo

Deans & Legal Education: A Selected Bibliography, by Ripple L. Weistling (June 2012), presents citations to scores of articles, arranged by topic, with a brief annotation for each article:


2007 Workshop / 2008 Seattle University Law Review Symposium

Kellye Y. Testy, Introduction: Encouraging Diversity in Law School Deanships, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 737 (2008)

Hon. Kristin Booth Glen, Deaning for Whom? Means and Ends in Legal Education, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 739 (2008)

I was an accidental dean. Law school deanship, or any kind of administration, was something that had never occurred to me. But after almost thirty happy and rewarding years as a constitutional litigator, state trial and appellate judge, and frequent law school professor, my dear friend, W. Haywood Burns, asked me to apply for the deanship at City University of New York School of Law (CUNY). Any request from Haywood was a good enough reason for complying. When, to my surprise, I was selected, I had to confront the more profound question of why I should become a law school dean, or, more particularly, why I should become the dean of CUNY. I do not know whether this question is so stark for other prospective deans, who mostly come from law school faculties or have already served as deans or associate deans. From the years of conversations and a quick and unscientific review of “deaning” literature, I also suspect that my reasons for becoming a dean are not those of the majority. But the answer to that question enormously influences both what you will do as dean and how happy and/or fulfilling your deanship will be. I offer my own story and thoughts as an incentive for you to think deeply about what the purpose of legal education, and of the institution you aspire to lead, are for you.

Joan W. Howarth, Recruiting Sexual Minorities and People with Disabilities to be Dean, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 751 (2008)

This Essay discusses diversity in deaning as it pertains to two identity categories: members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, and people with disabilities. Each identity is itself fluid and contested, containing such enormous variations as to render the category illusive and often obfuscating. People with visible disabilities face fundamentally different issues than people with hidden disabilities, for example. Pairing sexual orientation and disability risks false analogies, and worse.

Gail B. Agrawal, Be Careful What you Wish for: Succeeding in the Dean Candidate Pool, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 765 (2008)

My conference assignment focused on the second step of the process: how does a decanal candidate become a sitting dean? In this short essay, I share some thoughts on what I know now as a successful candidate and contented dean that I wish I had known then as a dean candidate.

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Leading Change in Legal Education: Good News for Diversity, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 775 (2008)

Two recent influential books on legal education, Educating Lawyers and Best Practices for Legal Education, come to similar conclusions about the problems with many legal education programs today. Many other suggestions for improvement in legal education programs are also similar. A major point made in both books is the need to train lawyers in their roles and skills as professionals. The books both contemplate a move from the current model of large classes taught through modified Socratic dialogue to a sequenced set of courses and experiences that build on basic legal analytical skill and provide opportunities for real life and simulated practice experience. Assessment would become more outcome-based with genuine opportunities for students to receive constructive feedback on their skill development as it evolves. Different law schools would implement these changes as appropriate for their particularized communities. While those changes would benefit all future lawyers (and future clients of those lawyers), the changes would be particularly welcome for students of color and members of groups which are under-represented in law school.

R. Lawrence Dessem, Knowing Which Deanship is the Right One, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 783 (2008)

In order to maximize the chance of a good fit between the dean candidate and law school, the candidate should (1) carefully plan her law school dean search; (2) conduct thorough discovery concerning schools of potential interest during the search process; (3) be candid and open during the interview process; and (4) take time to thoughtfully consider any offers received. Each of these steps in the dean search process will now be considered.

David A. Brennen, Succeeding in the Candidate Pool: Resources Available for Persons Interested in Becoming a Law School Dean, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 791 (2008)

This presentation covers three areas that fall under my supervision as Deputy Director of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). First, I will discuss the two Deans Databanks that I administer, which relate directly to increasing diversity among the ranks of law school deans in America: the Women Deans Databank and the Minority Deans Databank. In particular, I will address how these two databanks reflect the core values of the AALS and how the databanks function in the deanship process. Second, I will discuss the Law Deanship Manual, an AALS publication that addresses nearly every aspect of what it takes to become a dean. Finally, I will discuss the many valuable opportunities available to professors and others in the legal community; these opportunities provide a chance to gain valuable experience relevant to being a dean through service to the AALS.

William B.T. Mock, Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Find me the Perfect (Decanal) Match, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 799 (2008)

I have been asked to address the question, “How do you know which deanship is the right one?” Since I am the only panel member never to have served as the dean of a law school, this naturally involves some speculation on my part. I have interviewed for some decanal positions, and have even had my name forwarded to university presidents more than once, but I have never found the right fit premised by the panel's topic. As a result, a little further into this essay, speculation even ventures into fiction or, as law professors like to call it, a hypothetical exercise.

Kevin R. Johnson, Peter Alexander & Linda Ammons, Commentary Session 1: Deciding to Become a Dean, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 813 (2008)

Barry R. Vickrey, Commentary, Session 2: Understanding the Dean's Job, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 833 (2008)  (link is to first page of Commentary section)

W. H. Knight, Commentary, Session 4: Succeeding in the Applicant Pool, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 839 (2008) (link is to first page of Commentary section)

Linda Crane, Commentary, Session 6: Accepting the Job and First Key Steps, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 847 (2008) (link is to first page of Commentary section)

Edward Rubin, Commentary, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 853 (2008) (link is to first page of Commentary section) (discussing negotiations when job is offered)

Aviam Soifer, Commentary, 31 Seattle U. L. Rev. 859 (2008) (general remarks) (link is to first page of Commentary section)


Presumed Incompetent

Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs et al. eds., 2012). The introduction, by Carmen G. Gonzalez & Angela P. Harris, is available at

The publisher's page says:

Presumed Incompetent is a pathbreaking account of the intersecting roles of race, gender, and class in the working lives of women faculty of color. Through personal narratives and qualitative empirical studies, more than 40 authors expose the daunting challenges faced by academic women of color as they navigate the often hostile terrain of higher education, including hiring, promotion, tenure, and relations with students, colleagues, and administrators. The narratives are filled with wit, wisdom, and concrete recommendations, and provide a window into the struggles of professional women in a racially stratified but increasingly multicultural America.

The Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice held a symposium on the book in March 2013. The program is here. The papers have not yet been published.


Reflections & Advice

Gail B. Agrawal, Lessons in Leadership: A Law Student and Her Dean, 32 Cardozo L. Rev. 2183 (2011).

This issue of the Cardozo Law Review highlights the rich contributions of former Cardozo Law dean and Professor Paul R. Verkuil to the field of administrative law, both through his own scholarship and by virtue of his influence on the work of other leading administrative law scholars. . . .  I write, however, from a different perspective: as a law school dean reflecting on lessons in leadership I learned as a law student from observing “my dean,” beginning three decades ago and continuing as his career and my own have evolved.

Gail B. Agrawal, In Appreciation: Gene R. Nichol: Musings of an Associate Dean, 83 N.C. L. Rev. 1419 (2005). HeinOnline

Linda L. Ammons, The Art and Science of Deaning: Lessons from My Garden, 39 U. Toledo L. Rev. 209 (2008).

Deaning, like gardening is both an art and a science. A new law school dean offers advice on both. Knowing where you are, pests and pets, creativity, pruning, and discovering the positives in your environment are some of the lessons explored through the metaphor of planting and caring for a garden.

Linda L. Ammons, Negotiating Paths, Creepy Crawly Creatures and Things that Go Bump in the Night: The Cautionary Tale of a Fourth-Year Dean, 41 U. Toledo L. Rev. 255 (2010)

This essay on the perils and pleasures to be found on the path of a law school dean was written for the 10th Leadership in Legal Education Symposium at the University of Toledo College of Law.

Linda L. Ammons, Seasons and Sea Changes: Weathering the Storm, an Encouraging Tale, 43 U. Toledo L. Rev. 299 (2013).

Legal education is not immune to the realities of the marketplace. With declining applications, fewer jobs, and more and more demands from students, accrediting bodies, politicians, and employers (to name just a few), law schools and law deans are adjusting their expectations and programs to stay competitive and relevant. Managing the demands (realistic or not) of all of the constituencies who are a part of the greater law school universe, in good times, can be tricky. Trying to do so, when resources — some of which you control and others which you do not — are scarce can be complicated.

One thing is for sure. Change is inevitable. Predictability is not the constant, change is. No matter what we do, things will never be the same. This is a season of change. Lest you think that I am pessimistic about the future of legal education, let me go on record and say that I am not. Just as during the Great Depression, panics, and other recessions, when great companies including Procter and Gamble, General Motors, IBM, and FedEx, rose like the phoenix out of the ashes, those who know how to innovate, weather the storm, and prepare for after the storm will be great exemplars of success. I am not suggesting that this will be easy. The measure of success may not be exactly the same for everyone. However, it is time that thoughtful legal professionals and educators — who have mastered the facts and who are dedicated to this great enterprise, which has been the gold standard around the world for training lawyers — come together and set out on a course that will not only benefit the next generation of lawyers, but will also continue to have multiple dividends for communities around this globe. But first, we must get through the storm.

Annette E. Clark, Postscript to a Deanship, 43 U. Toledo L. Rev. 303 (2013).

I resigned my deanship of the Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Law on August 8, 2012, just a few months ago, and here I sit at my laptop computer trying to put into words what has happened to me and to “my” law school since that fateful day. I am certain that many of you are thinking that it is unwise to put “pen to paper” so soon after my resignation, that I risk saying something out of anger or hurt that I will regret later. I certainly understand that view and I know that I will gain more objectivity and distance, and perhaps even acceptance as the months pass, but I also fear that much of what I learned by living through the events of the past year, and particularly those last few weeks of my deanship, will be lost if I wait. As I search for some meaning, some good to come out of this debacle, it gives me a sense of purpose and a feeling of hopefulness to reflect on my experiences and to try to discern lessons that might be useful to my fellow deans.


Underrepresented Groups in Administration

African Americans

LeRoy Pernell, Reflecting on the Dream of the Marathon Man: Black Dean Longevity and Its Impact on Opportunity and Diversity, 38 U. Tol. L. Rev. 571 (2007).

[T]hese comments address, not necessarily the absolute number of African-American or Latino deans at any one point in time, but rather the implications of the lack of maintaining long-term tenure or extended experience for those of us who choose to pursue such a calling.

LeRoy Pernell, Deans of Color Speak out: Unique Voice in a Unique Role, 20 B.C. Third World L.J. 43 (2000), HeinOnline (part of a special issue of papers from the First National Meeting of the Regional People of Color Legal Scholarship Conferences).

Kamille Wolff, From Pipeline to Pipe Dream: The HBCU Effect on Law School Deans of Color, 14 J. Gender Race & Just. 765 (2011). HeinOnline

Taking the steps to become a dean requires skillful knowledge and careful preparation. Such preparation requires dedication and a sound foundation. The foundational principles are derived from years of relationship building and foresight. For several African American law school deans, this preparation may be traced to HBCUs, as institutions of higher learning that emphasize training African Americans to ascend the professional ranks while serving society.


Kenneth Oldfield, Social Class-Based Affirmative Action in High Places: Democratizing Dean Selection at America's Elite Law Schools, 34 J. Legal Prof. 307 (2010). HeinOnline

Education reformers have argued for some time that America's law schools should seek greater demographic diversity among their students, faculty, and administrators. These reformers say this increased diversity will enhance the learning environment by exposing those involved to more perspectives on important questions and issues. Diversity advocates argue that recruitment and placement policies should be redesigned so the major demographic characteristics of law students, faculty, and administrators more closely resemble those of the public. This project examines diversity in relation to the socioeconomic origins of deans at America's top fifty law programs. The survey results show that notwithstanding gains on other demographic fronts, deans at these elite programs disproportionately come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. The discussion closes by offering specific steps that schools can take to ensure greater socioeconomic integration among their deans.


Laura M. Padilla, A Gendered Update on Women Law Deans: Who, Where, Why, and Why Not?, 15 Am. U. J. Gender Soc. Pol'y & L. 443  (2007).

This article examines law school deans, how many are women, when they became deans, and what the trajectory is like for their numbers in the future. . . .

Before getting into the question of “who” our nation's law deans are, for background purposes, the article's first part asks the “what” and “how” questions. It is divided into two sections--the first addresses the “what” question: What does a law dean do? It then outlines a law dean's general job description. The second section answers the “how” question: How do you become a law dean? . . . The second part provides empirical information on law deans at AALS member and American Bar Association (“ABA”) accredited schools. It then provides a thirty-year overview, . . .
The third part considers whether there are gendered leadership styles or differences, starting with an overview of some of the extensive literature on gender and leadership. . . . This part then presents survey results from sitting deans, both female and male . . . .
The fourth part addresses the remaining barriers that exist for women considering law deanships. . . . This part closes by asking what to do about remaining barriers to women's advancement, and whether some barriers can be removed.
The article closes in the fifth part by considering the future, including the gender composition of law deans in the years to come and how well represented women will be. . . .


LatCrit XVI included a panel, Breaking into the Dean’s Office: Latina Dean Pioneers:

Margaret Montoya, Cluster Introduction - Legal Education, Social Justice, and the Law School Dean: Latinas at the Center, 48 Cal. W. L. Rev. 417 (2012). HeinOnline

Leticia M. Diaz, Hispanic Leaders for the Larger Community: The Surge in the Hispanic Population Creates Opportunities for Increased Diversity and Inclusiveness, 48 Cal. W. L. Rev. 425 (2012)., HeinOnline

As the first Hispanic dean of Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law and the first female Cuban American dean of any ABA accredited law school in the country, I face the non-unique challenge of attracting minority students and maintaining diversity in the law school community. Since that time, during my tenure as dean, the percentage of minority students in our entering class increased by eleven percent. In many ways, Barry Law School mirrors the community that surrounds it, and the school has made efforts to serve its diverse region and leverage its location. Across the nation, the demographic shift is not just in states that have traditionally had a large concentration of Hispanics, like California, Texas, and Florida. Small, rural towns in the Midwest, like West Liberty, Iowa, have seen an influx of Hispanics. These rapidly growing communities are facing challenges that come with increasing minority populations, including the blending of cultural differences and overcoming language barriers. As dean, I place a high priority in ensuring that Barry Law School produces leaders equipped with the skills to meet these challenges.

María Pabón López, Reflections About Legal Education and Justice from the Perspective of a Latina Law School Dean, 48 Cal. W. L. Rev. 431 (2012)., HeinOnline

The challenges of being a law school dean for the first time are immense, especially when trying to balance the disparate competing interests of all the component stakeholders that make up a law school. This article examines these challenges from the perspective of a new law school dean who is also Latina.

Helena Alviar García, What Does it Mean to Be a Latina Dean? Reflections from the South, 48 Cal. W. L. Rev. 439 (2012). HeinOnline (reflections by the new dean of Los Andes Law School in Bogotá, Colombia)

Jennifer L. Rosato, Reflections of a Reluctant Pioneer, 48 Cal. W. L. Rev. 445 (2008). HeinOnline

I have mixed feelings about being one of four Latina Deans in the United States. I feel quite honored and privileged to be part of such a distinguished group of Latinas, but at the same time continue to be surprised that our group is still so small--and that there were only two of us just a year ago.


Speakers' Other Articles on Legal Education

Gail B. Agrawal, Foreword, 96 Iowa L. Rev. 1449 (2011) (introducing a symposium, Rethinking Legal Education).

David A. Brennen, Race and Equality Across the Law School Curriculum: The Law of Tax Exemption, 54 J. Legal Educ. 336 (2004). HeinOnline

This article is divided into three parts. The first part discusses the long- running examination of race in areas like constitutional law where it is obviously linked. The second part turns to race discussion in tax law, demon- strating that much of the racial focus in tax law has been on race bias in federal taxes imposed on individual income and wages. The third part outlines ways in which race can be discussed in a particular area that has yet to receive a full examination of race issues-tax exempt law. It shows that issues of racial discrimination, racial diversity, and racial perspectives might inform and improve certain aspects of tax exempt law. The article concludes that the expansion of legal scholarship and law teaching about race to such neutral- looking areas as tax exempt law can provide opportunities for discovery of new and likely better visions of tax law.

Katherine S. Broderick, The Nation's Urban Land-Grant Law School: Ensuring Justice in the 21st Century, 40 U. Toledo L. Rev. 305 (2009).

For ten years I have had the honor and the privilege to serve as dean of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL), a diverse and progressive law school bent on training advocates for justice. I was delighted to accept when Dean Douglas Ray of the University of Toledo College of Law invited me to write about our unique mission and curriculum and our extraordinary cadre of social justice-driven faculty, staff, and administrators who have stayed the course through a stormy history to deliver a very different law school experience to a very different group of students.

Katherine S. Broderick, The Status of Part-Time Evening Programs? Transcript of Proceedings, 38 Sw. L. Rev. 589 (2009) (part of a symposium, The Evolution of J.D. Programs - Is Non-Traditional Becoming More Traditional?).

Okianer Christian Dark, Transitioning from Law Teaching to Practice and Back Again: Proposals for Developing Lawyers Within the Law School Program, 28 J. Legal Prof. 17 (2004).

Okianer Christian Dark, Transitioning from Law Teaching to Practice and Back Again: Proposals for Developing Lawyers Within the Law School Program, 28 J. Legal Prof. 17 (2004).

The mission statements of many law schools in the United States include some reference to the preparation of law students for the practice of law. There is some disagreement among members of the legal academy regarding the relative importance of the law school as a place devoted to providing students with the necessary skills and exposure to legal concepts to enter the practice. The fact remains, however, that the law school is the initial gateway for the practice of law. There also continues to be a debate between academics and practitioners about whether law schools are in fact adequately preparing law students for the practice. This Article will not answer that question. Rather, I hope to provide a constructive critique of ways legal education can more effectively prepare law students for today’s practice environment.

Okianer Christian Dark, Principle 6: Good Practice Communicates High Expectations, 49 J. Legal Educ. 441 (1999). HeinOnline (part of a symposium, Seven Principles for Good Practice in Legal Education)

This discussion will focus on ways to articulate and support high expectations in our classrooms and throughout the learning environment. First, teachers must clearly articulate their expectations to their students. The goals set must be attainable and reasonable. Second, we must communicate our expectations repeatedly, in a variety of ways. We must take care to communicate the goals to all students, because high expectations are important for everyone-not only the well-prepared and well-motivated students who can readily pick up a teacher's signals. To reach all the others, a teacher needs to be creative as well as persistent. Third, we need to identify possible barriers to effective communication of high expectations to students, and then identify and implement solutions. For example, a teacher might list short-term and long-term expectations and then compare the two lists to see if there is any inherent conflict between them. Finally, we must remember that our own classroom exists within an institutional framework. We must support the communication of high expectations throughout the entire learning environment.

Okianer Christian Dark, Incorporating Issues of Race, Gender, Class, Sexual Orientation, and Disability into Law School Teaching, 32 Willamette L. Rev. 541 (1996). HeinOnline

Since the beginning of my law teaching career, I have raised issues of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and disability in my classes. These diversity issues, as they are sometimes referred to, often enhance and broaden discussions in class and cause my students to re-examine substantive legal doctrines. Those discussions, however, also can challenge a professor's ability to maintain the focus of the discussion, maintain a supportive and open classroom environment, and, generally, prevent the discussion from degenerating into a brawl.

The primary purpose of this Article is to encourage others to raise these issues for the right and important reasons. Discussion of diversity issues is relevant, important, challenging, and often rewarding. Those discussions belong in law schools and, at the very least, in law school classrooms. Diversity issues affect and shape legal doctrine, application of the law, and judicial and administrative processes. Consequently, students who will practice law into the next century need to be conversant with and understand the nuanced ways in which these issues affect what they will do as lawyers.

Part I of this Article addresses some reasons why this kind of discussion is necessary and relevant in the law school classroom. Part II identifies some potential challenges that one may confront when raising these issues in the classroom. This Article, to the extent possible, suggests some responses or ways to address these potential problems.

Part III provides some feedback from students who were in an advanced torts course that I taught in the Spring of 1995. . . .

Part IV of this Article is devoted to a discussion of the principal conditions that a law professor should be concerned with if planning to raise diversity issues in the classroom. . . .

The fifth and final Part of this Article provides the reader with some suggestions on how and where to begin.

Okianer Christian Dark, Reflections on Developing Anti-Harassment Policies for the Law School, 4 Md. J. Contemp. Legal Issues 171 (1993). HeinOnline

Okianer Christian Dark, Cosmic Consciousness: Teaching on the Frontiers, 38 Loyola L. Rev. 101 (1992). HeinOnline

Angela P. Harris & Marjorie M. Shultz, "A(nother) Critique of Pure Reason": Toward Civic Virtue in Legal Education, 45 Stan. L. Rev. 1773 (1993). HeinOnline

This essay is part of a larger project in which we try to rethink the way law professors approach not only teaching but legal scholarship and faculty governance as well. We are critical of the notion that virtue in these endeavors requires that emotion be banished from them. . . .
In our view, acknowledging the role of emotion in intellectual endeavors, including the classroom experience, can enrich debate. Our point is not that people should express their feelings for the sake of self-expression. . . . Emotions are part of thought, not its antithesis. Thus, the attempt to stifle rather than utilize them exacerbates the felt thinness and irrelevance of much discussion in the law school classroom.In Part II of this article, we outline our tentative steps toward a theory of reason and emotion in the context of legal education. In Part III, we tell stories from our own experience to illumine how emotions and reason can enrich one another in the classroom. . . .

Angela Harris, Women of Color in Legal Education: Representing la Mestiza, 6 Berkeley Women's L.J. 107 (1991). HeinOnline

Angela P. Harris, On Doing the Right Thing: Education Work in the Academy, 15 Vt. L. Rev. 125 (1990). HeinOnline

Jane Korn, Teaching Talking: Oral Communication Skills in a Law Course, 54 J. Legal Educ. 588 (2004). HeinOnline

Natasha Martin, Allegory from the Cave: A Story about a Mis-Educated Profession and Paradoxical Prescription, 9 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 381 (2005).

The Article reviews and engages Professor Derrick Bell’s more recent scholarship on the nature of the legal profession and the practice of law – ETHICAL AMBITION: LIVING A LIFE OF MEANING AND WORTH – placing Bell’s work in the broader framework of the entire legal enterprise highlighting its relevance to legal ethics, the ills of the profession and legal training. The Article juxtaposes Bell’s more contemporary critique of the legal profession and practice with the observations of Carter G. Woodson in THE MIS-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO, another African-American educator largely unfamiliar to the broader legal academy. The author proposes that the contextual synchronicity of these two works has the potential to dramatically transform the faces of legal education and legal practice, and encourage honesty in ethics discourse. In the author’s view, Bell and Woodson’s works are revolutionary in scope and provide the justification and the framework for a more self-integrative approach to law practice.

Specifically, the Article examines the challenges faced by the legal academy and profession in developing ethical and effective lawyers, and offers a platform for a paradigm shift in the practice of law. It then demonstrates how the work of these two African-American intellectuals provides the justification and the framework for what I call a more self-integrative practice of law; and hence, a partial answer to the ills of the profession and shortcomings of legal education. Thus, Bell’s and Woodson’s work merely serves as a springboard for the proposed paradigm shift in the practice of law and confronting ethical and professional dilemmas. Additionally, the inquiry of this Article deserves renewed interest in light of the Carnegie Report – Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (2007), which supports my view of the centrality of the holistic development of lawyers to promoting ideals of justice and value-laden decision making towards professional formation.

The Article begins with a summary of Bell’s and Woodson’s works and demonstrates the connections between them in the context of humanizing the study and practice of law. The author then addresses some of the practical constraints of implementing a self-integrative perspective into law school curricula and legal practice, and attempts to respond to some of the more poignant questions regarding the recommended paradigm. The Article concludes by highlighting the tremendous benefits to be realized if one acknowledges Woodson’s insights and utilizes Bell’s principles as beacons to creating a new framework for training lawyers and engaging in the ethical practice of law.

Cynthia E. Nance, The Value of a Law Degree, 96 Iowa L. Rev. 1629 (2011) (part of a symposium, Rethinking Legal Education).

[I]t is important for me to make a couple of disclosures. First, despite all the negative publicity surrounding the value of a law degree, I am a believer. This is not to ignore the fact that recent events created increased financial strain for students. The realities of the loan crunch, increasing tuition, decreasing salaries, and a difficult job market have all exacerbated the financial stress our students feel. I am aware of and understand the concerns being raised by many who are unhappy with the state of the practice. However, I believe that a law degree continues to be a valuable asset to its holder, providing both economic and intangible benefits.6 Whether or not a law-school graduate chooses to practice, obtaining a law degree creates opportunities for its holder and more importantly, can change the lives of our graduates and their communities for the better in profound and lasting ways.
The second disclosure is that my fellow panelists have thought and written about this topic extensively, with a specific focus on the economic nuts and bolts of attending law school. What I offer, in the context of the continued and repeated negativity about the value of a law degree, is an alternative perspective. Too often the lens through which this topic is viewed is focused on a particular type of law school and focused on law school in a vacuum. Too often, the dialogue on the value of a J.D. degree fails to explicitly acknowledge the fact that public legal education plays a crucial role in creating access to the profession. I believe it is vitally important to recognize this role and to continue to support the unique opportunities created by the relative affordability of public law schools.

Camille A. Nelson, Toward a Bridge: The Role of Legal Academics in the Culture of Private Practice, 10 J. L. & Pol'y 97 (2001).

This article . . . explores avenues that law professors might consider to assist in the alleviation of law graduate displacement. Part I examines the exclusion of persons of color from elite firm practice and considers the pressures that lead blacks, and other persons of color, into and out of elite firm practice. Part II explores options that law professors may consider in order to ease the transition of their students into large firm private practice. These suggestions are based upon the assumption that diversification of elite firms is a desirable outcome. All of these suggestions are pointless, however, if students of color are not mentored. Accordingly, Part III addresses this need and suggests uncomplicated methods to assist with this chronic problem.

Mark C. Niles, Legal Education and Civility, Wash. St. B. News, Sept. 2011, at 44. HeinOnline

Mark C. Niles, Supporting Inclusiveness at Seattle U. and in the Law, Wash. St. B. News, Dec. 2010, at 28. HeinOnline

Carla D. Pratt, Taking Diversity Seriously: Affirmative Action and the Democratic Role of Law Schools: A Response to Professor Brown, 43 Hous. L. Rev. 55 (2006). HeinOnline

A. Benjamin Spencer, The Law School Critique in Historical Perspective, 69 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1949 (2012).

Contemporary critiques of legal education abound. This arises from what can be described as a perfect storm: the confluence of softness in the legal employment market, the skyrocketing costs of law school, and the unwillingness of clients and law firms to continue subsidizing the further training of lawyers who failed to learn how to practice in law school. As legal jobs become increasingly scarce and salaries stagnate, the value proposition of law school is rightly being questioned from all directions. Although numerous valid criticisms have been put forth, some seem to be untethered from a full appreciation for how the current model of legal education developed. Indeed, a historical perspective on legal education is sorely missing from this debate, as many of the criticisms merely echo charges that have been lodged against legal education for well over a century, but do not draw lessons from how those former critiques ultimately failed to deliver fundamental change. This Article reviews the historical development of legal education in America, including the critiques and reforms made along the way, to gain insight that will inform our own efforts to make law schools better at preparing lawyers for practice.

Kellye Y. Testy, Best Practices for Hiring and Retaining a Diverse Law Faculty, 96 Iowa L. Rev. 1707 (2011) (part of a symposium, Rethinking Legal Education).

Although in many respects the goal of hiring and retaining a diverse faculty is like other institutional goals, it will require a different approach because it is different in one important respect -- namely, that the institution must work against the structural and systemic inequality that plagues every area of our society. Part of the Iowa Law Review's symposium, “Rethinking Legal Education” (February 25–26, 2011), this presentation offers specific advice on the search process and how an institution can support the faculty of color it hires.

Kellye Y. Testy, Whose Deal Is It? Teaching About Structural Inequality by Teaching Contracts Transactionally, 34 U. Toledo L. Rev. 699 (2003).

Adding context that includes attention to issues of structural inequality, including gender, race, sexuality, class (and their intersections), will not only enhance students' interest in Contracts, it also will assure that they become more competent lawyers overall. We need to move beyond teaching about "deals" in the abstract to paying attention to "whose deal is it" and how much that often matters. That it is so easy to do so in teaching Contracts transactionally is yet another reason why more of our courses should move toward that pedagogical method of instruction.

This essay is an edited version of a panel presentation given at the AALS Annual Meeting, Contract Section (January 2003). It both discusses why teaching contracts transactionally is important and gives some examples of class exercises to do so.


University of Toledo Law Review Symposia

The University of Toledo Law Review holds an annual symposium on leadership in legal education. Some of the articles are listed above and more are in the AALS bibliography. If you would like to browse them as symposia, here are links:

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium, 31 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 4 (2000). HeinOnline. The introduction to the symposium is here (HeinOnline).

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium II, 33 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 1 (2002). HeinOnline

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium III, 34 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 1 (2003). HeinOnline

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium IV, 35 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 1 (2004). HeinOnline

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium V, 36 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 1 (2005). HeinOnline

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium VI, 37 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 1 (2006).

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium VII, 38 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 2 (2007) (includes essays by American and Australian law deans, as well as two pieces from beyond the dean's office, one on academic support and one on the role of chief operating officer).

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium VIII, 39 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 2 (2008).

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium IX, 40 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 2 (2009).

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium X, 41 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 2 (2010).

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium XI, 42 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 3 (2011).

Leadership in Legal Education Symposium XII, 43 U. Toledo L. Rev. number 2 (2013).



Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, by Brian Leiter, University of Chicago, and Daniel M. Filler, Earl Mack School of Law, Drexel University.

Class Bias in Higher Education, by Jeffrey Harrison, Levin College of Law, University of Florida.

The Faculty Lounge, group blog by a dozen law professors with a number of guest bloggers. See posts in category Deans.

Feminist Law Professors, group blog. See posts in categories Feminists in Academia; Law Schools; and Law Teaching.

Legal Scholarship Blog, group blog by librarians at University of Pittsburgh, University of Washington, Ohio State University, and University of Georgia. For announcements of calls for papers and conferences about law schools (including law school administration), see posts in category Legal Education. For lists of resources, see pages for Teaching and Research Dean.

The Legal Whiteboard, a group blog by William D. Henderson, Jeffrey M. Lipshaw, Michele DeStefano, and others. See posts in these categories: Data on legal education; Innovations in legal education; Scholarship on legal education.

PrawfsBlawg, a group blog by eleven law professors and guest bloggers. See posts in category Life of Law Schools.


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