Best Practices and a Dean Search

I just finished the interview process for the deanship at my law school, the University of New Mexico, and I am pleased to say that Best Practices for Legal Education was all over it. In presenting my vision for the law school, I presented the concept of “Legal Education for Leadership”. This is because as the only law school in the state, we have been training many of the leaders within the state as well as well as many leaders that leave the state for decades. And, of course, almost by definition, lawyers are leaders in their communities. They show leadership as they take on the awesome responsibilities of the practice of law and they often engage in community and civil leadership.
I presented three pillars of Legal Education for Leadership: 1) Excellence and Professionalism; 2) Diversity and Civil Discourse; and 3) Building Community and Service. In my view, these pillars are all necessary components of effective leadership for lawyers. And my vision is that UNM faculty will use these concepts through the law school experience, from admission to orientation, through the curriculum and co-curricular activities, through graduation and in alumni development. In my vision, the faculty will use these concepts in their own career development as academic leaders. And, we will use these concepts in staff development as well.
In five years, I see curricular evolution, physical changes to the building that encourage community and enhanced local and national leadership in sharing the insights and research of the faculty. The law school is poised to take on this leadership role in legal education. And, the next dean (which I do hope is me) must develop additional resources to make this vision a reality.
I had more fun during the search process than I thought I would. It was interesting to be the center of attention for two solid days! And, to my surprise I learned some new things about the law school…
If you are interested in advancing Best Practices in Legal Education, I encourage you to consider taking on greater administrative leadership roles in your institution. And, as I always tell my students, prepare yourself to do what you would like to do. If you would like to be a dean, there are great resources. Seattle L. Review published a volume of different essays written by deans and associate deans last fall. Other essays and law reviews have been published and the AALS actually has a manual for the law school dean. And, I have found that deans are very willing to talk about the job and share and to mentor individuals who are interested. And, there is a new deans conference hosted by the ABA to help orient new deans…
I am exhausted, but exhilarated. I know it is odd to write about this process as a candidate, but I put myself out there by pursuing this possibility. And, I guess I just have gotten used to putting myself out there. (smile)

One Response

  1. Wonderful advice as always. I’d never want to be a dean, as there’s so much responsibility there, but for anyone wanting to be a dean, I imagine this is very helpful. improve business

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