Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Continuing our series of responses from various legal luminaries to the question: What is the single best idea for reforming legal education you would offer to Erwin Chemerinsky as he builds the law school at UC-Irvine?
Paul Butler (Carville Dickinson Benson Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School; Editor, BlackProf blog):
Erwin, the people who did not want you to have this job are dead white men who happen still to be alive. The mission of the 21st century law school is to demonstrate that they were right to be afraid of you, of us, of the rainbow people who in this new age have come to claim what is ours. Its name is America. The new law school must help us take it back.
Architecture: Consult departments of physics and design - the atrium should remind all who enter the law school that Auschwitz was only yesterday and Darfur is across the street. Students should have to wade through Guantanomo Bay to get to Constitutional Law. In Fred Korematsu Law Library display portraits of migrant workers, the wrongfully executed, and Rosa Parks.
Appointments: A faculty like California! Having people of color as half of their professors will seem as natural to your students as having mainly white men seems to students at other schools.
Agenda/First faculty meeting: What is role of law school during despotic regimes? Spanish fluency - mandatory for admission, or only for graduation? Should "Justice and Re-distribution of Wealth" be a required course, or integrated into the entire curriculum?
Each morning students will pledge allegiance to the flag by discussing how to safely dismantle California state prison system.
On wall of faculty lounge: "The lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite." Charles Hamilton Houston.
Christopher Columbus Langdell is dead. Act like you know.