Patricia D. White to Be Dean of University of Miami School of Law

President Donna E. Shalala appoints Patricia D. White as Dean of The School of Law

CORAL GABLES, FL (March 26, 2009) – The University of Miami announced today that  Patricia D. White, a nationally known leader in legal education, has been named Dean of the UM School of Law.  White is currently the Jack Brown Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University where she served as law dean from January 1999 to July 2008.  During the 2008-09 academic year White is Visiting Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and is serving as Special Counsel to Steptoe & Johnson, LLP in Washington, D.C.  White will begin work at UM in July.   She replaces Paul R. Verkuil, who has served as Acting Dean for the last year, and Dennis O. Lynch, who served as law dean for a decade before stepping down in 2008.

“The University of Miami has gained a visionary leader in the legal education arena,” said UM President Donna E. Shalala. “Her vast experience, energy, and innovative spirit will greatly enhance the law school’s national profile.” Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said “The University of Miami has made a wonderful choice for the dean of its law school. Trish White was a superb dean at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, and she will come to Miami with experience, wisdom, and enthusiasm.”

“Having served as a law school dean in the past, Trish is poised to strengthen a variety of aspects of the school, including the faculty and its academic programs,” stated UM Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Tom LeBlanc.

Professor White joined the Arizona State University College of Law faculty as dean and was the longest serving dean in the history of the College. Her leadership marked a transformative and innovative period for the law school. Its faculty doubled in size, the student-teacher ratio became the third best in the country; interdisciplinary and joint programs in medicine, philosophy, psychology, international law, and real estate development were created; a nationally acclaimed legal writing program was developed; five new clinics were added; an exceptionally active pro bono program for students was established; the faculty’s publications gained national recognition; and two centers of excellence – the Indian Legal Program and the Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology—became preeminent.

Professor White earned her BA, MA, and JD degrees at the University of Michigan. She has published widely in the areas of tax law, bioethics, philosophy of law, legal education and torts. She has taught at the Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Michigan and the University of Utah and has had extensive practice experience in tax law and in estate planning. She is a member of the District of Columbia, Michigan, and Utah bars and is an elected Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel. Professor White has won many awards. Just last week she was awarded the Judge Learned Hand Award for distinguished public service by the Arizona chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

“The University was in search of a first rate legal scholar to lead the law school and we have found it in Patricia White,” said Dr. William Green, School of Law Dean Search Committee Chair and Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education at UM. “Her commitment to academic excellence will help create one of the great academic legal centers in the country.”

This is very good.

This entry was posted in U.Miami. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Patricia D. White to Be Dean of University of Miami School of Law

  1. ' 08 grad says:

    I’m glad we didn’t jump the gun after last year’s finalists were interviewed and decided to conduct the search again. This is a much better hire that any of the 3 options we were offered a year ago.

  2. michael says:

    I don’t want to knock last year’s crowd, which included good candidates, but it’s a fact that the job was much more attractive this year, because the University administration has stepped up to the plate and made some very serious commitments to the future of the U. Miami School of law.

  3. UM Law - Still Searching for a Sense of Identity says:

    Congratulations to UM School of Law for eliminating their stopgap solution of an “acting dean” (although admittedly, any dean who was “acting” in any way trumps Lynch by far). I worry, however, about Justice O’Connor’s description of White as having “wisdom.” Is a ship captain wise if he steps aboard a vessel that is sure to sink? I suppose it is, if he wants his name to be remembered in the annals of history as a valiant sailor who tried his best. Sadly, it won’t do much to improve the length and/or quality of his life, or the ship’s, for that matter.

    UM will only improve (and probably marginally, at that, although anything is better than nothing at this point) once it takes serious, concrete, and well-planned steps to stop its slide into Tier III oblivion. Unfortunately, naming White as dean is not such a step.

  4. michael says:

    That’s nonsense. It doesn’t even have its facts right.

  5. LACJ says:


  6. Matt says:

    It seems like a very good choice to me. Do you know if her husband, Jim Nickle, will be at the law school, too? (He was joint in law and philosophy, primary in law I think, at ASU.) It would be nice for Miami to have Nickle, too, as he’s a very good scholar on human rights.

  7. michael says:

    My understanding is that he will have his primary appointment in our Philosophy dept, with a secondary appointment in the law school, and will teach one class a year for us. But I missed the meeting, so I may have the details wrong.

  8. UM Law - Still Searching for a Sense of Identity says:

    More window dressing – but, in the aggregate, perhaps these small gestures will actually help expand UM’s reputation as a serious institution beyond the boundaries of the People’s Republic of Coral Gables. All the best wishes!

  9. Michael says:

    Actually, our reputation rank among academics is already far ahead of our overall US New rank. The hope is that by adding a net of a dozen new faculty members in the next few years, we’ll make a big dent in the student-faculty ratio, which is one of our worst stats at present.

  10. UM Law - Still Searching for a Sense of Identity says:

    While I’m not sure of the importance, other than self-aggrandizement, of the reputation rank among academics (let’s face it – for better or worse, US News does carry quite a bit of weight among prospective students, current students, and the non-academia legal community at large, to name but a few groups), I am in agreement with you that hiring new faculty members would certainly help. Of course, they would have to be quality faculty members, since I don’t believe it’s the ratio per se but rather the quality of those in the teaching positions that distinguish top institutions from those not so blessed. But I hope UM does not rest on its laurels after this hiring spree, as much remains to be done. In particular, I think that UM’s infrastructure is in drastic need of improvement. Power washing law school buildings a few days before an ABA committee visit does not count as improving infrastructure. Perhaps Dean White will understand this fairly easy-to-grasp concept, and facilities will get the much-needed attention they deserve. Another idea she might consider is to try and understand that the sine qua non of a law school is its student body. Perhaps if that group were treated with a modicum of respect, today’s current students (i.e. tomorrow’s alumni) might be more inclined to donate to their alma mater. A high percentage of alumni contributions leads to a sizable endowment, and surely I don’t have to tell you what effect THAT would have on improving the quality of a school.

  11. Michael says:

    The so-called ‘reputation rank’ matters because it is an important input used by USN in making its rankings (much bigger than student/faculty ratio, although that matters for independent reasons). Otherwise, I’d agree, Who Cares?.

    If you have substantive complaints other than the inability of the faculty to give you the high grades you undoubtedly deserve, I’m happy to hear them here, or in private email, or in my office. Or, more effectively, you might take the up with the Associate Dean, who probably has much more power to do something about them.

    One way in which more faculty will help a lot, though, is that we’ll have more time to spend on each student. Part of what students currently see as an aloofness is just running to the next obligation…

  12. UM Law - Still Searching for a Sense of Identity says:

    My apologies if you’ve construed any of my posts as “complaints.” I would like nothing more than to see UM succeed as an institution, and be seen as a paragon of legal education. I just think that the mere naming of a new dean (albeit one with an impressive CV) will not take a school that has been perceived by the legal community at large, over the last few years, as being in decline, to new heights. Serious, fundamental changes must be made at UM, IMHO, in order that it may assume its rightful place in the law school echelon. Perhaps such changes do begin with such “baby steps” as naming a new dean, who is committed to academic excellence. I certainly hope this will be the case.

    As for the thinly-veiled implication that I am a student who is simply bitter over not having received the grades to which I felt I was entitled, let me assure you that this is absolutely not the cause of my feelings regarding UM. For one thing, I would like nothing more than for UM to succeed in every way possible, and I have never once advocated that UM should style itself as a “degree mill” school (i.e. just give every student the grades they each think that they deserve, give them a diploma, and send them on their merry ways). To the contrary, I sincerely believe the road to improving UM is by doing the exact OPPOSITE – keep being a serious institution, toughen admissions criteria, etc. Additionally, on a more personal level, I can also assure you that I have received the high grades I undoubtedly deserved, and am justifiably proud of my accomplishments.

    Please do believe me – my concern for UM is heartfelt, and not merely bitterness because I received a B+ instead of an A in some random 1L class. I want to see UM reach new heights, but I fear that they tread too cautiously.

    One last point – I emphatically disagree with your suggestion that the Associate Dean be contacted regarding any “complaints” (your words) or suggestions. On its face, its certainly a sound suggestion, but unfortunately the UM administration (including, inter alia, the Associate Dean) has been historically unresponsive to students’ concerns. I can only hope that this, too, will be one of the changes instituted by Dean White, as I believe that complacency has no place in the administration of any quality law school. It’s not just about soliciting big-ticket donations, schmoozing at a few rubber chicken luncheons, staging farcical town-meeting gripe sessions once or twice a year, and collecting a paycheck twice a month. It IS about fostering a serious, high-quality, tolerant environment in which we can provide a sound foundation in legal education for the attorneys of tomorrow.

  13. michael says:

    The biggest variable (in the sense of changing year to year) in our rankings is the credentials of the entering class. There’s not much a Dean can do about that in short run unless showered with insane amounts of scholarship money. There’s somewhat more a Dean can do about it in the long run (although if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, and there would be no relative benefit in the rankings…), and there’s certainly more the Dean can do to change the emphasis and yes the quality of the program; but these things don’t happen overnight. Just as some of our current problems can with partial justice be laid at the feet of the last few Deans, so too should one recognize that the next and future Deans will have more influence than any other single person — save possibly a really big donor — on the future of the institution. And that’s where the Decanal reputation comes in. Naming a marquee figure as Dean helps boost the school’s reputation with both academics and practitioners, even before the tangible results manifest on the ground. And ratings from those groups are a huge fraction (40%?) of the overall USN&WR ranking, even though they are the least objective and most self-referential of the criteria used in that index. Thus, for better or worse, Leiter’s endorsement and those of similar figures, has value.

    Your third post complained about the building. Yet, as I’ve blogged often enough, we hope and plan to build a new one — and the University has just this year (perhaps due in part to ‘stopgap’ Paul Verkuil?) committed to giving us the best remaining piece of real estate on campus for the site of our new building. We know we’ve outgrown our buildings and that despite some incremental modernizations they are not state-of-the-art. We looked into a full refurb, but it is very expensive, makes it almost impossible to run classes during (lengthy) construction, and is also harder to raise money for than new building with new naming opportunities, and at the end of the day you are constrained by our current footprint. The plan had been to have the new structure ready in 4-5 years; that’s obviously now subject to the economy as we need to raise a good chunk of money before breaking ground.

    I personally tend more towards the radical side when it comes to the degree of organizational and curricular changes I would advocate here and now. That’s partly intellectual and party temperamental. Lawyers as a class tend to be risk-averse, and law professors perhaps even more so, and this predisposes them against change. That can make change a tough sell.

    But lawyers, and law professors perhaps even more so, can be persuaded by the judicious application of facts and logic. Our strategic plan last year convinced the faculty, and then the central administration, that one of the root causes of many of our problems (not the only one, but a significant one) was that we are substantially understaffed compared to the schools we want to compete with. We had the data to prove it. And we also demonstrated that given our fixed costs, we got more bang for the buck hiring even a dozen more professors than reducing the relatively small number of students we’d be able to cut if we didn’t do that hiring. (It doesn’t take many students to pay the average professor’s salary.) So we’re going to do that. That’s extremely unusual and quite major. It has the prospect to be transformative, if only because new people bring new ideas.

    Be hopeful.

  14. John Flood says:

    I should be number 14. And well done on a really good appointment!

  15. miamigrad says:

    Based on what I’ve read and everything that I’ve heard others say (including Justice Sandra Day O’Connor), I am very pleased with the selection of Patricia White as dean. It is also my understanding that she was the all-around favorite of the four candidates, which is a strong indicator about her credentials.

    I do care about rankings. Arizona State is currently ranked as the 52 law school in the nation. It should be Dean White’s goal to position Miami similarly.

  16. disgusted3L says:

    Ok Michael,

    I have read your “discourse” between you and mr. “UM Law still searching…” Frankly I think a few things need to be addressed here.

    First off, a major problem with the school is the existing faculty. It’s the same story – a few bad apples… Don’t take this personally but its the academics who couldn’t cut it as practitioners “practice of law rejects” – who are bringing the school down. You know who I’m talking about.

    Meanwhile, your colleagues who did have previous successful careers in the law, and are great assets to the law school, feel extremely alienated. Yes we all know who these people are – Barnes, Hill, Mundstock, Widen… All very talented professors with significant real world experience, but all VERY VERY pissed off…

    Let’s get real here Michael – how does the law school treat the consumers (students). Ooops I forgot, the school (including many of your “practice of law rejects” colleages) doesn’t really care. Look at the enrollment for your classes, look at your faculty evals. Come on… get serious, face reality. Students just don’t want grades (yes I realize you might hand out some C-‘s to boost your ego but that’s another story…) What students want is to be successful lawyers and be proud of the school we go to (and pay a lotta $$$ in tuition). That means we want useful classes from skilled faculty. If Patricia White does something useful it will be holding the faculty to a much higher standard. The students pay too much in tuition to get the sub-standard service much of the faculty provides.

    Additionally Patricia White should put forth more resources towards keeping the knowledgeable, skilled profs around such as Barnes. Yeah – those members of the faculty which carry the weight for the rest of you practice of law rejects who: 1) don’t publish 2) are vastly disliked by students – with low ratings on faculty evals and low enrollment 3) don’t really have any practical knowlege or experience… you see where I’m headed with this one… Enough of the “Public Policy” snobs who did 2 years in biglaw and couldn’t hack it and are sub-standard law profs who should’ve never been tenured -they’re not who’s going to get the school back on its feet. Who will get the school on its feet are the profs who teach practical, hands on, problem solving courses. Look at lit skills – great example, yet many of the faculty doesn’t give it the credit it deserves – probably bc it’s run by real practitioners who actually know what’s going on in the real world. I recently had a conversation with a judge who teaches and said he feels a great sense of resistance from the academics – probably bc he teaches students useful skills while many of the “practice of law rejects” just teach useless garbage… I think the adjuncts are also great assets to the school – yet they get paid peanuts for their valuable time while the school spends money on frequently catered lunches for the practice of law rejects…

    Yes I’m glad Patricia White is a practitioner and academic – not a practice of law reject. Hopefully she puts the faculty’s feet to the fire and begins to give students the education they deserve (and pay for.)

    Lastly, Michael please don’t take this post personally. I think a majority of fellow students and recent alumni feel the same way I do. Feel free to take it down (censor) it if you feel like I am being unfair. I am not referring to you as a professor – I have never taken one of your classes…

    Surprising that someone “says it how it is” for once…

  17. michael says:

    I agree that Patricia White having a foot in practice and academe is a very good thing.

    I agree that many of our adjuncts are a great credit to the school, and that we pay them peanuts compared to what they give to us and to our students — I usually call them “donors” when I talk to them. (Fortunately, they are not in it for the money, but really are trying to give back to the profession.)

    There’s not much else in the post above I can agree with.

    {added} – the only reason I don’t agree we should put more resources into strategic faculty retention is that the current administration already gets this. But there are limits. And sometimes you can’t compete with being close to someone’s family or significant other.

  18. showmethemoney says:

    It’s the students, stupid. Stop this nonsense of investing in faculty. Full scholarships for students in the top 50 of their class at the end of 1L. 1/2 off for 51-150. Give that a 3 year trial and UM Law start climbing the ranks.

    You have to pay to play. Reward the top 1Ls and get them to stay. Trickle-down economics works here. When the top 1Ls transfer out (we all know they do) everybody loses.

    Nobody cares about this new guy, nor did they care when that other guy, Janet Reno, came on board. B-list legal celebrities will get you nowhere, and we both know UM Law ain’t gonna shell out for an A-lister.

    So give the students what they want (for a change).

  19. Students First says:

    Kudos to UM Law, disgusted, and showme! FINALLY – people who understand the concept that students really do matter (i.e., as something other than clusters of atoms whose parents write tuition checks).

    Michael, I agree in principle that hiring a well-regarded dean and (as UM Law stated earlier), well-qualified faculty, are certainly positive things that can go a long way towards improving a law school’s reputation. However, by way of analogy, let me illustrate why these things, in and of themselves, simply cannot be enough. Barack Obama’s election was a historic event, for a multitude of reasons, and the worldwide praise for his election is certainly easy to understand. HOWEVER, his mere election to the presidency, in and of itself, will NOT do anything to modify/change/correct the policies of past administrations. It is his ACTIONS that will do this, NOT the identity of the holder of the office itself.

    Back to your institution. Dean White will undoubtedly be a great addition to UM School of Law. But unless she breaks with past “leadership,” and makes significant institutional changes, the mere fact that she holds the office of “Dean of UM School of Law” will, I fear, have little impact.

  20. miamigrad says:

    Disgusted3L is wrong and showmethemoney would bankrupt the school.

    Disgusted3l: Students that believe that the law school should hire talented practitioners instead of the traditional law-school professors don’t quite get it. First, and this is a fact, there aren’t many top law schools that follow that model. The majority of the professors from the top law schools come from the same mold–graduation from a top law school, a clerkship on the district-court, appellate-court, or, in some cases, the U.S. Supreme Court level, and maybe a few years at a big law firm. Others may have experience in the government. Trust me when I say this (I’m a practicioner now at a well-regarded law firm in town (not that that gives me any credibility, but whatever)) practioners, although talented lawyers and although knowledgable about the law, aren’t law professors. They don’t write, and those who do rarely publish at the level of law professors. They don’t always think about the law the way professors do. And frankly, they don’t teach at the same level. Moreover, when it comes to issues that (most) pracitioners don’t think about much–e.g., whether a right to privacy exists in the Constitution–practioners often interact with them as lay persons would. With feelings or intuitions or prejudice. Not as I believe a professor should.

    I also take exception at the practice-of-law rejects premise from which you argue. Even if you could name a professor who was “rejected”–whatever that means–from the “practice of law,” that hardly would explain the experience of all of the traditional law professors at the school, must less the experience of other law professors in the nation.

    None of what I write means that practioners aren’t valuable or that they aren’t good professors. Nor does it mean that the professors you mentioned are not good professors. They are. But this idea that replacing the traditional law professor with a practitioner isn’t well grounded, and it would probably tank the school in the rankings. (And I do care about the rankings. See supra.)

    Nor is this to say that the law school shouldn’t reevaluate its situation with some professors. See, e.g., a certain professor who clerked for a certain, very well-regarded judge who sat on a certain, very well-regarded circuit that was instrumental in implementing a certain, very famous Supreme Court decision from the 50s, and who also cancels class often and gives As to students who barely show up for class. That UM pays this professor to teach *multiple* upper-level classes is beyond me. But it makes perfect sense, because, of course, many students get As out of this professor and so therefore they won’t complain. (This is sort of a side rant, but again, whatever.)

    And on to showmethemoney, the law school does reward students that do well. Not as many top law students transfer as you think. And even if the school were to give full rides to the students at the top, there’s no guarantee that they would stay. What’s more, giving up the opportunity to be on law review at Miami just to be at top 20 school doesn’t make a lot of sense. Job prospects will be the same (yes, law-review members get big-law jobs just as the top half of the class at top 20 law schools does), you’ll get less experience editing (an important skill to have as a practitioner), and you may even hurt your chances at getting some other jobs (e.g., clerkships).

    Dean White is a good addition. Miami should be ranked around 50, and I hope that she gets it there. With a new facility, more faculty hires, and yes, better standards demanded both from incoming students and from some professors, the school will improve.

  21. Fly on the wall says:

    “Actually, our reputation rank among academics is already far ahead of our overall US New rank.”

    This is the fundamental schism at the University of Miami School of Law. Professors and Deans live in this different “academic” universe that nobody else understands or can identify. But every decision made by professors is justified and analyzed according to the norms of this alternate universe.

    Supposedly, having professors be academics is beneficial because It allows them to: 1. Focus on cutting edge developing areas of the law, without having client or other responsibilities, thus, really mastering the subject. 2. Exchange ideas with others at the vanguard of developing legal issues. and 3. Focus on assisting students and guiding their careers. However, while these justifications might be true in a general sense they are not applicable as applied to the University of Miami School of law.

    Academics at the University Of Miami School Of Law are generally masters of obscure subjects, which nobody outside of the Academic Universe has ever heard of. While there are always going to be outliers, at Miami everyone is an outlier and nobody studies the core. Have any current tenured faculty members been quoted by a Florida Court? If so when? Instead the Miami Faculty focuses on Lat Crit, Philosophy of Law, Elements and other twaddle. The vast majority of lawyers, and even Miami Alumni, have no idea what Elements is, yet Miami makes every student take it. Elements could easily be converted into 1st year class that teaches students to analyze cases and compliments LRW, however that would force Stotzky to stop rambling, and since he is a master of elements he will never be challenged. If no court or practitioner cares, it is not a “cutting edge” legal issue. It is a circle of friends passing notes.

    Additionally, many Academics are not masters of anything. Our International Moot Court team was thoroughly and completely embarrassed earlier this year because Professor Rottman, their coach, did not know the law, pretended he did, and his advice was dead wrong.

    Academics at Miami do not generally exchange ideas with others at the forefront of developing legal issues, they don’t take cases they find interesting, they don’t help out on briefs, they don’t have discussions with power brokers. The school didn’t even realize Tom Rooney (Jd 99) was elected to Congress.

    Students get jobs by working on true “cutting edge” legal issues. After 2L summer, all employers care about is whether or not you can do the work, if a student has a demonstrated competence in an expanding area of the law where a firm has an opportunity that student is very likely to be hired.

    Consequentially, since Miami Academics encourage students to study Lat-crit, philosophy in the law, Shakespeare in the law and Elements instead of true “cutting edge” legal issues that are being litigated in courts and lawyers are retained to work out, Miami Academia does not help students get jobs.

    Right now Miami could offer a classes on: 1. The Florida Trust Act and its implications on syndicated mortgages, 2. The Interestate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, and 3. Wage and hour law and every single graduate would get dozens of interviews. Additionally, the best students could/would write papers on these topics and actually have an impact the development of the Law. However, I and don’t believe anyone at the law school has any experience with these issues and in any event these sorts of topics are not sufficiently academic and there is little chance Miami would ever timely offer these classes. These are the sorts of classes I assume Froomkin equates with a diploma mill tradeschool.

    The Miami Faculty almost universally went to a top 5 law school, and they falsely equate their Alma Matter with Miami. Harvard students can get jobs by virtue of being Harvard Students, unless they are going to Wachtell it really doesn’t matter what classes Harvard students take. At Miami it makes all the difference in the world.

    One of two things has to happen:

    1. The Law School has to be honest with itself and students and acknowledge that it is not a trade school, and it not designed to get students jobs. It is an academic institution designed to pump out academic writing by the faculty. This means the school has to stop lying to prospective students about job placement, starting salaries and its sports law programs and tell students straight up that “you are coming here for our reputation among academics, I hope you really enjoy our writing, because that’s what you get for the $30k/yr. more than FIU.”
    2. Or the school has to change, and acknowledge that students have to come first. This means changing the curriculum to reflect what incoming students are promised, hiring faculty with contacts and practical skills, like Florida Civil Procedure, instead of an “intellectual curiosity.”

    Right now the school is stuck between students and alumni with money and Professors that don’t want to trade their irrelevant hocus-pocus they pass off as “academic research” creating a toxic atmosphere. Students and alumni potty mouth the school and refuse to donate, while Professors undercut anyone at the school they see as a threat (Dean VanderWyden, Liz Stack, Therese Lambert, Fran Hill) leaving idiots running the administrative side of the school. Someone has to make a choice, or Miami Law will go the way of Antioch.

    I sure hope Dean White has the stones to make this choice.

  22. michael says:

    I’m curious: all the disgruntled people who want a faculty with less focus on what they perceive to be the irrelevant (a critique I think shows very little understanding of what the faculty actually does, but leave that for now) — do they have an example of a school that they would hold up as a model? Who in their view is doing it right? Because from here it sounds like they are describing a faculty like Nova’s, smart folks, good lawyers, but not in the main primarily academic. Is the claim that Miami aspire to be Nova? If, what should we aspire to be exactly?

    On the foreclosure crisis, and the law school’s response to it, I hope to have a great deal to say … in a few weeks. Stay tuned.

  23. Fly on the wall says:

    Miami Law has different resources and strengths from any other school therefore it cannot just copy another school.

    The University of Miami’s best asset is the city of Miami. Miami has to make an effort to utilize the city the way NYU uses NYC and Georgetown uses D.C. Sadly FIU is eating Miami’s Lunch when it comes to local hiring. Miami is full of brilliant attorneys, however the Law School snubs them and burns bridges every chance it gets, in that way the school should emulate anyone who has the common courtesy to return a phone call and not needlessly squander opportunities. Dean Lynch couldn’t glad hand, nor could he crack the whip when needed. However I believe Patricia White can and hopefully this should be remedied.

    Since Miami has a dozen Faculty lines open it needs to fill those positions with people that actually have and will accomplish something and don’t just show “academic promise.” There are other people out there like Bill Widen, Stephen Urice or even Charles Haar. When the school does hire pure “academics” it has to hire people that research true cutting edge issues, not just another person that writes “I was abused and/or discriminated against because I am a _______________.” Miami Law was great when Soya brought people that actually wrote about stuff people cared to read. I see UM law review, and UM professors cited all the time in Flajur, however all the citations are 20-30 years old.

    Michael you seem to suggest that Nova is a lesser school. However I see Nova students/graduates in the waiting room when I go for interviews at small/medium firms. If you are not in the top 10% of your class at Miami you are not getting a job in biglaw and the added value of a Miami degree is de minimus. Come October everyone is a licensed attorney and your work experience is infinitely more important than what school you went to. (If you have something that indicates otherwise please share it, as I am interested in knowing if anyone has actually done any sort of study on this). Miami might be better for academics but it really doesn’t matter to someone who wants a job and has student loans to pay. Incidentally, Nova is 2/3 the price of Miami which Miami really ought to copy. The way the economy is going with the collapse of biglaw and tightening credit, Miami might actually be forced emulate Nova.

    Finally, I do have “very little understanding of what the faculty actually does.” Some professors are so busy doing something so important that they don’t have time to submit grades until months past the deadline. Apparently the Faculty will be fined for this, but Coker was so busy doing something important that she didn’t even tell Verkuil. I think quite a bit of what Miami Faculty actually does is dodge administrative responsibilities (or dither endlessly) and cut down anyone that would dare regulate them. Here the school has to emulate Berkshire Hathaway and not Enron.

  24. LACJ says:

    God I wish my Alma Mater had this level of interest and debate! Serving a changing community is another important function of any law school, and you won’t see that statistic in your charts, among others.

  25. showmethemoney says:

    “showmethemoney would bankrupt the school”

    Oh, I’m sure I’d find a few overpaid professor’s salaries to cut or terminate in order to finance my scholarship scheme, nicht wahr bubule?

    I’d probably start by examining the compensation of those faculty who spend all day blogging and pretending to be experts on every subject imaginable to man. I’d keep those professors who show a legitimate passion for teaching excellence. I could put UM Law in the top 30 within 10 years once I got rid of the excess baggage and dead weight.


  26. Go Democrats says:

    [While I’m tolerant of attacks on me, and on UM, I’m not tolerant of attacks on other commentators, so in keeping with Version 1.2 of the comments policy I have disemvowelled this comment.]

    HHHHHHHHH LV T shwmthmny…. nc prsnl ttck t Frmy fr blggng ll dy nd wstng M’s mny. f nyn s sck nd trd f M, St. Thms hs grt prgrm fr dsgrntld M stdnts.

    BTW hp vryn dsrgrds LCJ’s cmmnts, h s nt vn ffltd wth th schl, yt wnts Frmkn t b hs dddy nd prtnds t hv cl bt vrythng… nd t s qt vdnt h tlks t f hs ***. t’s hlrs ctlly… Frmy hs sdkck!

    nd jst t sty n tpc s Frmy ds nt cwrdly cnsr my pstng… thnk Ptrc D. Wht shld b gvn fr sht wtht ll th prtsn ttcks. f M ws lkng t fll ny dmnstrtv pstns fr M Blggrs, thn Frmy wld dfntly bcm Dn! ll LCJ wld b hs lttl ndrpd lw clrk!

  27. michael says:

    My point in invoking Nova above was not that there’s anything wrong with it, but rather that there isn’t anything wrong with it: Nova does what it aims to do quite well. And what it aims to do is a great deal like what some of the more vociferous pseudonymous commentators on this thread seem to be asking for: a focus on practice skills to the (relative) exclusion of other things.

    What concerns me is that, in the main, the same people who advocate this model, or some form of it, fail acknowledge the inevitable consequences: none of the schools that adopt this model get high rankings in the (flawed but influential) US News survey or are most highly valued in the profession at large. Most have far less placement value outside the community in which they reside. Very few of the graduates of even the very good programs that adopt this model get the highest-paying jobs, or stand out in competitions work in government or industry that involves policy. In some markets (not so much ours) the graduates of schools with this model have an edge for local trial work, but at the cost of much else.

    I think we have, and should have, a more ambitious agenda.

    It does seem to be the case that many students don’t have much of a sense what the faculty is doing (see my papers online), something common to many law schools, but I think that is starting to change here: as of this year, students are invited to the internal faculty workshop series. The number of places is limited on a first-to-RSVP basis because the room is only so big, but it’s a start. I’m hopeful that once the law school gets its own blog running, some time next year, we’ll be in a better position to showcase some of the exciting but currently unheralded things the faculty is doing.

    As regards some of the other comments, I’m strengthened in my resolve that numeracy should be a greater part of our curriculum. I don’t know what the average faculty member makes here (it is a well-kept secret), but let’s take the most recent SALT survey for the Southeast region as a rough guide. The average of the schools reporting in the region is $150k/year for a full professor. (I suspect SALT numbers tend to be on the low side for the profession, since it’s usually people who feel underpaid who fill out the survey, but they can’t be that wrong.) Add another 25-30% for fringies, plus some generous provision for overhead, let’s say an average cost to the institution of $225K/year total per prof.

    A full scholarship lasts three years, so that’s forgone tuition of just over $100K. So, given these numbers, each professor whose tenure “showme” would cavalierly disregard (incidentally making future recruitment impossible) would buy him or her only a little more than two full scholarships per year (since they stack and you have a total of six present in each of the three classes). Even if professors were being paid at Tulane rates — which look awfully good from here — the numbers don’t change much. Even if we bought some academic superstar at, say, $350K/year, that translates into, say, five scholarships forgone.

    Much as I would love for us to have many many more scholarships than we already do, the reality is that it takes an enormous endowment to produce the kind of income that makes them possible.

    Buying more faculty is a much more cost effective way of making a big, quickly noticeable, change in not just the student-faculty ratio, but the culture of the institution.

  28. Go Democrats says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I LOVE IT showmethemoney…. a nice personal attack at Froomy for blogging all day and wasting UM’s money. If anyone is sick and tired of UM, St. Thomas has a great program for disgruntled UM students.

    And just to stay on topic so Froomy does not cowardly censure (again) my posting… I think Patricia D. White should be given a fair shot without all the partisan attacks. If UM was looking to fill any administrative positions for UM Bloggers, then Froomy would definately become Dean! lol

    And here is the clip of my LACJ posting which Froomy disemvoweled haha. LACJ if you can fill in the blanks here you will know what I said 🙂 “BTW hp vryn dsrgrds LCJ’s cmmnts, h s nt vn ffltd wth th schl, yt wnts Frmkn t b hs dddy nd prtnds t hv cl bt vrythng… nd t s qt vdnt h tlks t f hs ***. t’s hlrs ctlly… Frmy hs sdkck!”

  29. michael says:

    I hereby censure your postings.

    Until now, however, all I could be accused of is having censored one.

  30. showmethemoney says:

    1.”While I’m tolerant of attacks on me, and on UM, I’m not tolerant of attacks on other commentators”

    It’s hilarious to watch your denial in action. 99% of LACJ’s posts and you have never once censored him/her. Other commentator’s have accused him/her of brownshirting, but you do nothing.

    Getting back to the subject….

    2. Your analysis is schizophrenic with reference to USNWR rankings. You’re going to let some non-lawyers running a magazine tell you how to run a law school? You say the rankings mean nothing when talking about UM’s rank, but give them great deference when talking about Nova. Stop talking out of both sides of your mouth; either the rankings mean something in terms of how a law school should be run or they don’t.

    3. Your analysis/opinion/imagination regarding the job prospects of UM Law grads is delusional. I’m sure you had a few brown-nosing students who keep in touch with you and are doing great. But the fact of the matter is that in S. Florida Nova grads are doing just as well, and are just as high profile. Their law review students do as well or better in the interview game as UM’s. The gap, if their is one, is so small that one of two things are true with regards to rankings on this scale: either Nova is grossly underrated, or Miami is grossly overrated. The Nova bar passage rate is getting better.

    What this means:

    You live in a fantasy land as to the type of students UM is attracting. They are not much different from the Nova students. And yet you envision some kind of Yale of the South, that nobody wants and everybody but you knows will never, ever, happen. You can’t take the one or two brown-nosers in your classes that you think could compete at Yale and generalize that to the student body; you can find a few at every law school, even Nova. Put another way, nobody who could get into the type of school that UM wants to be would go to UM now, or anytime soon. So start giving a rat’s ass about the people paying your salary now, or find that sooner or later a wealthy alumni with time on his hands will call the shots. I prefer the latter, actually, because a lot of blathering fools at UM would be shown the door.

    Miami’s edge over Nova is an illusion, a bubble if you will, created by USNWR out of whole cloth.

    3. As to my budget, neither of us has access to the books. Seems to me though that 1 or 2 students’ three year tuition pays for each professor. So their are millions in tuition going somewhere.

    Also I would conduct a scientific survey and find out exactly what the school is getting for its money per professor. How many more students are coming to UM because they consider the faculty top notch? How many alumni are donating more because they think the faculty is so great? Lets figure out what we’re really getting for our money. ‘Cause sure as sh*t you haven’t managed to turn UM Law into any kind of serious tech/ip law name, so I’d be very scrutinizing of the profs who have bloated resumes and web site bios, i.e. all sizzle and no steak. Don’t you worry bubele, I’d find the money to pay for my scholarships somewhere….

  31. michael says:

    Don’t confuse marginal with average cost.

    On curriculum, the issue is whether a school has a local, regional and/or national ambition. This will affect its curriculum — what it thinks it wants to teach. UM is never going to be a “Yale of the south” if only because there will never be a “Yale of” anywhere, nor would there necessarily be a need for one. But someday I’d like to see UM as a regional powerhouse, like say Tulane or Vanderbilt.

    UM Isn’t trying to be an IP powerhouse (not that I teach IP, mind you), nor a tech one (I do teach one class that is somewhat tech-y) nor is there an obvious reason why it should try given its geography and the relative lack of non-medical high-tech industry. But any school with a national-caliber program will have serious offerings in IP and tech and indeed we do. We do need to do better in the medical area, although it is very hard to hire the best people in that field. Dean White brings relevant experience, so I’m hopeful in that area also.

    I’m sorry you find my views about USN so confusing. I thought they were quite straightforward. The rankings don’t, except in the broadest sense, mean much in reality. But they are important as a marketing device because incoming law students rely on them. So, like it or not, we are forced to pay at least some attention to them.

    My point above, however, wasn’t about my views, but rather that critics who on the one hand engage in magical thinking about waving some wand and making rankings go up, and on the other hand demand a less academic, more practice-oriented course offering (which often means trial-oriented, further missing the point that we train lots of people who do not plan to go to court) should at last be consistent and accept the near-certain negative ratings consequences (and out-of-area employment consequences) of what they propose.

    I find it is odd that a post that consisted of cheeful news — we have landed a very promising new Dean — brought out a small handful of angry and negative pseudonymous posters. Is there something about good news for UM that you don’t like? For all I know, some of the nay-sayers here may go to rival local law schools; other are bitter for reasons they have not seen fit to share here in public. Perhaps some of those reasons are justified, but without knowing the the names or the reasons I can’t speak to that. I can say with confidence, however, that the attacks on the nature of the faculty’s scholarship are pretty silly. By and large — and no group our size is perfect — the faculty does interesting work, at a national and international level.

    Here, for example, are the fifty or so most recent papers in our internal working paper series, which itself is only a subset of what the faculty has been publishing recently (the list is a bit uneven since people tend to dump a bunch of papers into the series all at once):

    Caroline Mala Corbin: First Amendment Right Against Compelled Listening,

    Robert E. Rosen: Teaching Law Students to be Business Leaders,

    Michael H. Graham: Burden of Proof and Presumptions in Criminal Cases,

    Patrick Gudridge: Implied Jurisprudence,

    David Abraham: Doing Justice on Two Fronts: The Liberal Dilemma in Immigration,

    JoNel Newman: Will Teachers Shed Their First Amendment Rights at the Schoolhouse Gate? The Eleventh Circuit’s Post-Garcetti Jurisprudence,

    A. Michael Froomkin: Building the Bottom Up From the Top Down,

    JoNel Newman: Re-Conceptualizing Poverty Law Clinical Curriculum and Legal Services Practice: The Need for Generalists,

    Michael H. Graham: Employing Hearsay Statements Improperly to Establish Authenticity of Identification and Commercial Documents Connected or Affiliated with Accused Under Fed.R.Evid. 901(b)(4),

    Michael H. Graham: Preserving Error For Appeal: Objections and Offers of Proof,

    Bernard P. Perlmutter: Unchain the Children: Gault, therapeutic Jurisprudence, and Shackling,

    A. Michael Froomkin: Anonymity and the Law in the United States,

    A. Michael Froomkin: Identity Cards and Identity Romanticism,

    D. Marvin Jones: Naratives of the Fall: On the Housing Issue, An Economic Crisis or Crisis in Perception,

    Anthony V. Alfieri: Against Practice,

    Kenneth M. Casebeer: Memory Lost: Brown v. Board and the Constitutional Economy of Liberty and Race,

    Ben Depoorter: Technology & Torts:A Theory of Memory Costs, Nondurable Precautions and Interference Effects,

    Ben Depoorter: Never two without three: Commons, Anticommons and Semicommons:

    Ben Depoorter: Allowing Plaintiffs to Select Damage Multipliers: A Proposal to Increase Access to Justice,

    D. Marvin Jones: For Michael Lee and Dukwon: Seattle, Segregation and The Rewriting of History,


    Michael H. Graham: Fostering Domestic Violence Prosecutions After Crawford/Davis: Proposal For Legislative Action,

    Bruce J. Winick: The Supreme Court’s Emerging Death Penalty Jurisprudence: Severe Mental Illness as the Next Frontier,

    Susan Haack: What’s Wrong with Litigation-Driven Science? An Essay in Legal Epistemology

    Kenneth M. Casebeer: National Labor Relations Board v. Fansteel Metallurgical Corp.

    Kenneth M. Casebeer: At-Will Employment

    Susan Haack: The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

    Susan Haack: Irreconcilable Differences? The Troubled Marriage of Sience and the Law

    Susan Haack: The Pluralistic Universe of Law: Towards a Neo-classical Legal Pragmatism

    Michael H. Graham: Crawford/Davis “Testimonial” Interpreted, Removing the Clutter; Application Summary,

    Caroline Bradley: Consumers of Financial Services and Multi-Level Regulation in The European Union,

    Caroline Bradley & A. Michael Froomkin: Virtual Worlds, Real Rules,

    Patrick O. Gudridge: A Hidden History of Affirmative Obligation,

    Michael H. Graham: Abuse Of Discretion, Reversible Error, Harmless Error, Plain Error, Structural Error; A New Paradigm For Criminal Cases,

    Anthony V. Alfieri: The Fall of Legal Ethics and the Rise of Risk Management,

    Anthony V. Alfieri: Gideon in White/Gideon in Black: Race and Identity in Lawyering


    Anthony V. Alfieri: Faith in Community: Representing “Colored Town”,

    Susan Haack: Of Truth, in Science and in Law 2008

    Michael H. Graham: Bruton v. United States: Limited Admissibility and Rule of Completeness-Jul-Aug 2005

    Michael H. Graham: Preliminary Questions of Admissibility, Fed.R.Evid. 104; Motions in Liminem,

    Michael H. Graham: Should Forfeiture of Confrontation Clause Objection and Hearsay Objection with Respect to State of Mind Accusatory Statement by Battered Spouse Apply in Spousal Murder Case?: Crawford/Davis and Fed.R.Evid. 803(3) and 804(b)(6),

    Michael H. Graham: Commentary: The State of “Doctrinal” “Practical” “Evidence” Scholarship; Ruminations of an Evidence Geek,

    Michael H. Graham: Third-Party Culpability Evidence; Holmes V. South Carolina, 547 U.S. 319 (2006) And More,

    Anthony V. Alfieri: Prosecuting the Jena Six, 93 CORNELL L. REV. (forthcoming 2008),

    Anthony V. Alfieri: Challenging on Appeal Stipulations as to Admissibility of Chemist’s Opinion: Illinois Fun and Games,

    Michael H. Graham: : The “Mere Fact” Method of Prior Conviction Impeachment: “Bringing Some Honesty and Fairness to Being Dishonest” Evidence and Trial Advocacy: Advanced Workshop,

    Michael H. Graham: Special Report: Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 124 S.Ct. 1354, 158 L.Ed.2d 177

    Michael H. Graham: Error on Appeal: Waiver of Right, Invited Error, Rebuttal, and “Door Opening”,

    Michael H Graham: Motion in Limine: Anticipatory Disclosure of Prior Conviction,

    Stephen J. Schnably: Emerging International Law Constraints on Constitutional Structure and Revision: A Preliminary Appraisal,

    Robert Eli Rosen: Endogeneity and Its Discontents: Teubner and Selznick on Legal Pluralism,

    Susan Haack: Peer Review and Publication: Lessons For Lawyers,

  32. UM 1L says:

    As a 1L at UM, I appreciate the measured and well-reasoned arguments provided by Professor Froomkin and a couple other commenters on this thread. I came to UM on a merit scholarship, and I don’t regret it for a moment. Yes, I could have attended a “better ranked” school, but relying on a relatively arbitrary measure of law school “worth” seemed like a dangerous way to make such a big decision. I admit, the deeply cynical views of a [small but loud] minority of UM students gave me pause. But I figured there are always a few grumps in the bunch who will find a way to make themselves miserable about things. As is evident from a few of the comments above, which are really dripping with a bitterness that seem unrelated to UM’s focus and strategy as it becomes the school many folks around here believe it can be.

    My first year here has been and continues to be a huge intellectual satisfaction. All of my profs were/are nothing short of very good, and some among the best teachers I have ever had. I attended an extremely selective undergraduate school (I don’t think USNews “ranks” colleges, exactly), and only 1 or 2 of the profs matched there matched the level of teaching I’ve received at UM. Granted, I have only the faintest inkling as to the level, quality and scope of the research UM faculty are doing, but then I’m just trying to get through Property. If it’s at all commensurate with their teaching however, it must be quite strong.

    As for employment prospects, I just secured a great internship in California for this summer, and feel very confident about my prospects down the line.

    Just some thoughts from a 1L very pleased they chose UM.

  33. showmethemoney says:

    UM 1L-If you make law review you should be pleased, you’re getting a good value if your scholarships are substantial. But wait and see how many top students transfer out, and then what happens to all your buds in the middle of the class and below. See how “pleased” they are when Nova grads take their jobs because your buds don’t know where the courthouse is.

    michael-its hilarious that you advocate trickle-down economics for the law school (spend on academic faculty! publishing papers really does benefit the majority of the law students…really it does!) and oppose it in the real world. How does the average student benefit from all this work spent on papers? All this “research” results in limited office hours, late grades, and otherwise disinterested professors. Oh yeah, it trickles down…sure. Sorry Charlie, but there are plenty of Nova grads doing complex motion and even (gasp!) appellate work in Florida. How can it be when their profs aren’t cranking out papers?

    And the list. Sure, Graham is great. Students like him. Why? Practical guy, practical style, practical exams. Great communication skills.

    The rest is mostly nonsense. Example:Susan Haack: The Pluralistic Universe of Law: Towards a Neo-classical Legal Pragmatism. Any legal paper titled with any of the words “universe”, “neo”, or “towards” is prima facia useless.

    I’d also think twice before I use D.Marvin Jones’s name to promote the school. (yeah, those in the know are nodding as you just got “pwnd”)

  34. anon says:

    Shwmthmny s dch bg.

  35. michael says:

    Susan Haack is a world-famous philosopher and a student of the nature of scientific evidence. Some of our students are fortunate enough to take her seminars. (To be scrupulously accurate, Prof. Haack’s primary appointment is in the Philosophy Dept.; she has a secondary appointment in the law school and we’re lucky to have her in that capacity.)

    I don’t know what sort of intellectual disasters leads a person — especially a lawyer or law student — to write such know-nothingisms as Any legal paper titled with any of the words “universe”, “neo”, or “towards” is prima facia useless but you have my sympathy. [Disclosure: I have used the word “toward” in an article title. I wanted “towards” but the journal editors insisted on the singular for some reason.]

    To repeat, spending on faculty improves our student-faculty ratio, thus addressing the root of many of our troubles. Creating a hospitable climate for research means we get really good faculty, which is good for everyone. Call it ‘trickle down’ if you like; I call it common sense. Incidentally, if you look at who we’ve hired in the last ten years or so, you can see just how well we’re doing: we’ve hired great people, both junior and senior.

  36. Dsmvwl says:

    Wow looks like the host is getting good use of his disemvowel program.

  37. Dsmvwl says:

    Mr. Froomkin how can we be sure you are not following in North Korea’s footsteps? Did you read about the two US journalists who were arrested in North Korea for speaking negatively about the government?

  38. michael says:

    I am honored by your promotion of me to the status of a government, even if it’s an unsavory one.

    I was under the impression that I’m just a private party, exercising ordinary rights over his property in a capitalist society, but perhaps you are aware of something I didn’t know. Admittedly, I have been deleting an awful lot of spam recently that says I’ve won something…

  39. Dsmvwl says:

    Since you are bringing Constitutional Law into this I feel compelled to remind you that when private parties act as government entities, then they are held to the same standards as governments. Now don’t take that to mean that is a government entity, but since you placed yourself on the government pedestal, my response is appropriate.

    Also how private people exercise rights over property should be a reflection of how they expect their government to govern (if by my comments you are promoted to the status of government as you believe I am alleging). Ex. Private parties may exclude blacks from entering the party, this is an example of “exercising ordinary rights over his property” correct? But SURELY you would not defend such actions with your belief that being a private citizen gives unfettered discretion to do as you please with your own personal property. Especially given the fact that you have opened up your “private property” to the public, then the 1st Amendment should apply. Silencing your critics is a sign of weakness. Remember that offensive speech is still protected 1st Amendment speech.

  40. LACJ says:

    Sorry Go Dems, my brain doesn’t do reverse disemvoweling. I have tried, and each time I try I throw a spanner and that’s that.

    Besides, why put it here? I am not supposed to be in this thread

  41. Go Democrats says:


    So you say you are tolerant of attacks on you but not on your commentators. I would like for you to re-read the following excerpt from your little sidekick friend LACJ

    “Piss off, jack. If you are not self-despising, you are doin it wrong… Go get your shit straight, fool, and don’t criticize others for nothing. I pity you, but barely.”

    Funny how you did not disemvowel the aforementioned post. What a hypocrite… no?

  42. michael says:

    Yes, it does look like I missed one.

  43. Go Democrats says:

    So then you will uncensor me?

  44. michael says:

    Certainly not. For one thing, you haven’t been censored. You’ve just been disemvowelled.

    But I am not going to undisemvowel your postings above for three reasons:

    1. I think you were ruder.

    2. I think you generally haven’t been a good participant here – most of what you write is derisive in tone and rather variable in substance. (And you can’t even spell my name right.) LACJ, whoever that is, is a good citizen, at least most of the time. (Is that subjective? Sure. So?)

    3. See paras 1, 2, 6 & 7 of the comments policy.

    A better question is whether I should go back and disemvowel the post you were kind enough to reprint (and your reprinting of it), but that horse seems to have bolted the barn some time ago, so I’m not sure I see the point. I’d welcome comments from other readers, however, on whether that’s the right approach.

  45. LACJ says:

    Ha ha I be good citizen. Even at my worst. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Go Dems 😉

    Your quote from me does look a bit harsh, but where is the context? I am sure I was provoked to make such scandalously rude comments.

  46. Go Democrats says:

    If I am not censored then howcome when I try to post from my work computer this message appears

    “Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

    You are not allowed to post comments.

    Please correct the error in the form below, then press Post to post your comment.”

  47. michael says:

    Er, ask your office IT people? (Assuming they are OK with your abusive behavior from a work computer.)

    If you have this problem in the future, you are welcome to email me and I’ll post your comment for you if it is not abusive or otherwise violative of the comments policy.

  48. Go Democrats says:

    Do people have this problem with perhaps a pop up blocker?

    BTW my postings are never abusive… highly critical yes, but if you are telling me that you may need therapy from being subjected to my “abusive” postings, maybe you are overly sensitive as portrayed through the eggshell doctrine?

  49. michael says:

    I think we have drifted too far from the subject of this posting.

Comments are closed.