Paul L. Caron

Monday, November 16, 2020

Miami Law Prof Weighs In On Controversy Over Colleague's Pro-Trump Tweets

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Michael Froomkin (Miami), Thoughts on L’Affaire Ravicher:

Miami Law (2020)Daniel Ravicher started and runs a successful entrepreneurship clinic (the “Startup Practicum”) at the University of Miami School of Law.  His office happens to be in the same pod as mine, so back in the days when people saw people I would see him from time to time. Like an increasing number of the people who teach students in law these days, Ravicher is not a tenured member of the faculty, and indeed was not hired for his scholarship. Instead he was hired for his skills, and has a term renewable contract.

He’s recently taken to social media — and even Fox TV — to claim he’s been fired for his pro-Trump tweets and other speech, or is about to be, or may not have his contract renewed when it expires. As far as I have been able to ascertain, at least the first two of these claims are simply false. The fate of the third lies well in the future.

While Ravicher has behaved badly — lying about your employer counts as behaving badly in my book — the University has, with one exception (discussed rather far below), behaved quite well, and held, so far at least, to its fundamental commitments to academic freedom. ...

From the narrow perspective of keeping his job, Ravicher’s biggest problem is that he’s going around saying something false about his employer, which damages the enterprise’s reputation.  I’d put the rest of his statements under rubrics of bad taste, stupidity, and error, but none of that is a firing offense, at least if you do it on your own time and in your own name.

From the broader perspective, it looks to me like Ravicher’s problem is that he’s bought into a narrative in which he is, or wishes to become, the heroic victim of the PC Police. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for all the rest of us, the University has failed to actually martyr him.  And, so far, other than lying about it, he’s not, in my free-speech-supporting view, done anything else to trigger it.

I’m not Ravicher’s buddy, but if I were then I’d tell him that when you are in a hole, you should stop digging.  He ought, I think, to take a week or two off Twitter to allow himself, and everyone else, to calm down.


Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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Thank goodness the author made it clear at the outset that Ravicher is part of the underclass ... the non-scholar, non-tenure-earning hoi polloi hired for their "skills." No tenured philosopher-king could ever do such a thing (Amy Wax, COUGH), so it must be those dreaded skills people! [*Shudder*]

But seriously, what other purpose is there for that sentence, other than to distance himself from the lowly ranks of those with "term renewable contracts"? (Scoff!) Is the proletariate rabble legal writing instructor somehow more likely to spew the nonsense "articulated" by this twerp?

Posted by: Tenured/ Senior Faculty | Nov 18, 2020 3:44:47 PM


Miami Law Professors Challenged Over "Unethical Behavior"

U of Miami law profs have been challenged to back up their published claims that a colleague violated his "professional obligation" as a lawyer, and engaged in "unethical behavior," for posting Tweets to which they objected.

Even if he made highly controversial statements, it does not seem to violate any "professional obligation" he might have, or constitute "unethical behavior" for attorneys.

If those attorney/professors believe that a lawyer colleague has engaged in unethical behavior, they have a duty to file a proper complaint with bar authorities, backed up by whatever evidence and legal arguments they might be able to present, so that it can be properly investigated, and appropriate disciplinary action taken, if their colleague’s conduct did actually constitute unethical behavior or violated any professional obligation he might have had.

Simply writing a polemic in a limited circulation student newspaper, with no attempt to cite any relevant authorities for the propositions they assert, is hardly an effective or sufficient response if these professors truly believe that a colleague has engaged in "unethical behavior," and violated his "professional obligation" as a lawyer.

Posted by: LawProf John Banzhaf | Nov 16, 2020 3:46:02 PM