Law School Hiring (The Faculty Meeting–Appointments)

“O.K. Let’s begin….

We have two agenda items: the  promotion of Professor X which we will deal with first and the appointments matter–Frank Wright and Mary Prescott–which we will deal with second.  Tony?”

“I would just like to say, in regards to appointments, that I favor Frank Wright.  It seems to me that his scholarship on administrative law is very much like the kind of work I do.  In fact, I would say that Frank really reminds me of me.   An earlier version of me.  By contrast, the other candidate, Mary Prescott, reminds me of other people.   Some of whom frankly really aren’t pulling their weight.”

“Yes.  Susan.”

“There are lots of problem with Frank Wright’s course package.  He seems to be a bit of luxury.   And the thing is, Frank Wright is very close in approach to Tony, as indeed Tony himself says.   One thing we need to remember here is that, at tenure, I received 4 votes against me. I think we should all remember that.”

“Why?”

“Well, that’s not the sort of behavior we really want to reward here—you know, people like Tony looking down on me.”

“But Susan, your work really does warrant looking down upon.  It’s just like our candidate’s writing.  Her work reminds me a lot of you actually.  Look at pages 34-36 of her job talk   That’s the sort of thing you would have written.”

“Well, yes, of course, I would.  But you can only understand pages 34-36 in light of what was said on pages 43-45.   The bottom line is that Mary Prescott reminds me of me.  And so she will contribute to the law school in (many) many ways.  By contrast, Frank Wright reminds me of you, Tony, and that’s an unpleasant reminder.  We don’t need more of you.   The law school should be looking to downsize you.  And simultaneously, the law school should be spending far greater resources validating what I do.”

“Could we get back to the appointments issue?  We do have limited time here.  Veronica?”

“I don’t really understand the disagreement here at all.  How is any of this about me?”

“Thank you Veronica.”

“I would like 32 credits for constitutional law.”

“Brian, please, let’s raise our hands.”

“Tony?”

“I have a suggestion just to break the deadlock.   Could we simply cut to the chase and go straight to talking about me?”

“Are you saying, Tony, that we should just skip appointments all together?”

“No.  Not at all.   I’m just saying that I (or me, depending on how you look at it) would be a good place to start.  We start talking about me and my accomplishments and move on from there.  If it leads to an appointment–good.  And if it doesn’t, well then, at least, we’ll have covered the main points.   Should I make a motion?”

“No!”

“Please, let’s raise our hands.”

“Sam?”

“If I can intervene here, I just want to make a few broad points on process.  Appointments is essentially an identity issue….”

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11 Responses to Law School Hiring (The Faculty Meeting–Appointments)

  1. Pingback: Pierre Schlag on Law School Appointments | theConstitutional.org

  2. Kathleen Flake says:

    Stunned. It was so much about me.

  3. Marvellous – and relevant to almost any social situation in which high achievers gather to make decisions. The higher the IQ, the more self-obsessed – is that the rule?

  4. David Forthoffer says:

    This is a horrible article! It did not mention my name even once!

  5. Allison Hayward says:

    I like me. I’ve done things as me. Yes, some things were left undone, but that’s because I was busy doing those other, useful things, that were important to me. How can you not approve me? After all I’ve done for . . . the university . . .? Community? Scholarship?

    Yes. And more. Me!

  6. anon says:

    As as VAP, I was a little bit surprised to be invited to faculty meetings. A semi-administrative appointment was on the agenda for the first one. Even given that it wasn’t a regular faculty appointment, this hits too close to home. (You’d need to add some shaggy dog stories about what someone did before teaching to make it fully accurate to my experience. The story need not have any relevance to anything else under discussion, though.) I was sure right then that I’d not go to another such meeting until it was obligatory.

  7. Bill Klein says:

    Someone no doubt would add: “I did not intend to speak and have nothing useful to add, but since others have spoken of themselves I feel obliged to speak of me.”

  8. Sarah Krakoff says:

    It’s excellent. I laughed out loud. But it would have been even better if it had been more about me.

  9. Pierre Schlag says:

    Thanks!

  10. Absolutely brilliant. Well done.

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