The next morning we started bright and early at the LSAC Dean’s Breakfast, with a breakfast buffet. As you know, I serve on the LSAC board, and it was fun to see Dan Bernstein (CEO) and Ellen Rutt (Chair of the Board). A couple of former LSAC Board members sat with us too, including Dean Dennis Lynch of Miami and Dean Dennis Shields of Phoenix (my hero). Len Strickman, my first Dean, currently Dean of FIU joined us as well. Dan presented information on the current test administration and application information, and Ellen talked about new LSAC initiatives.

LSAC Breakfast

AftDean Weidnerer the breakfast, the deans attended a plenary session on the personal challenges of deaning. The presenters wereDean Broderick Katherine Broderick, University of District of Columbia School of Law; Veryl Miles, Catholic University of America School of Law; Donald Weidner, Florida State University College of Law; and Susan Prager, Professor and former Dean of UCLA School of Law. The session was entitled “The Stages of Deaning.” Each dean shared the personal challenges they had encountered when stepping into their position, and reflected upon where they were in their deanship and how they viewed what they had accomplished, as well as their thoughts about the future. Dean Miles gave some very simple advice: to be fair, firm and friendly. Dean Weidner pointed out that over time a dean will mature in your job, but initially there is a very steep learning curve. One way to deal with the stress, he said, was to be engaged in activities outside of the job. Dean Prager said she was fortunate before assuming the deanship to have worked closely with the former dean and felt she has been able to complete their shared vision for the law school during her deanship. Deanplenary session Broderick shared the challenges of the accreditation process. One thing that was very plenary session1interesting was that all the deans on that panel agreed when a dean leaves office is important to for her to think about how she feels about the transition, and how others—the faculty, central administration and alumni—feel about it and to work through those emotions. They suggested that deans think about teaching or researching in new areas, and that sometimes former deans find that it’s much more mundane to go back to a regular schedule without all the various tasks one juggles as dean than one might expect. Also a few of the deans expressed that the sentiment that it is sDean Rick Matasarurprisingly lonely for deans who return the faculty.

Lunch was hosted by the Access Group. Frankly, for a conference meal it was a very nice one with surf and turf,Access Group and a terrific chocolate dessert. The presentation, given in part by Dean Rick Matasar (my former civ pro teacher) addressed the recent investigations into the student loan industry and what that meant for the industry and students. The session also highlighted the changes in congress affecting student lending as well as the new student loan forgiveness program.

After lKaren Rothenbergunch, the plenary session was on managing conflict and stress and finding joy in our work. The panelists were Jerry Parkinson, dean of the University of Wyoming College of Law, Karen Rothenberg, from the University of Maryland School of Law, Earl Martin, dean of Gonzaga University School of Law and myself. The tone of the panel was very personal. Each of the speakers gave their reaction to how the stress of the job, its effects and how they cope with those stresses. Dean Parkinson suffered some pretty serious health challenges, and he talked about how he has backed away and had more balance in his life. I talked about the journey from being a faculty member to the deanship and the ways that I deal with stress: developing an exercise program, having friends outside the law school and making sure to set reasonable hours. Dean Rothenberg talked more specifically about the stresses of fundraising.

plenary session3

The last breakout session focused on the joys and concerns of deans. Small groups of deans sat together and talked about the challenges they were facing and also shared their success stories. Each dean talked about one problem they’d Peter Alexanderlike help with, and folk in the groups shared their ideas. of Southern Illinois University concluded the workshop with a few closing remarks. Thanks very much to Peter for putting together such a wonderful program in that it dealt not only with the professional challenges of being a dean but the personal costs as well.

That evening the Bar Foundation Fellows’ Opening Reception was held in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza over in Los Angeles. Established in 1955, the fellows are an honorary organization of attorneCarolyn Witherspoonys, judges and law professors whose professional careers have demonstrated remarkable dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of legal education. I was invited to become a bar fellow this fall after being nominate by Judge Stroud and Carolyn Witherspoon. It was quite a long wHyatt logoay across town in the traffic. In fact it took the greater part of an hour to arrive. The reception was held in the X Bar of the hotel and the fellow fellows I met were all interesting and welcoming. A number of the conversations I found myself involved in focused on increasing awareness of the need for pro bono service.

The next day was Saturday. I got up, went back to Curves, worked out, I had a bit of time to walk arounParamount Picturesd Santa Monica and have lunch with Deans Alexander and Juarez. Then it was time to get dressed for the Fellows Awards Reception and Banquet which was held at Paramount Pictures which was a pretty neat setting. We took buses from the Hyatt which turned out to be quite a ways. The logistics of this meeting were overall a bit of a challenge. Everything in L.A. was really far and spread out. As we got off the bus, actor dressed as Rhett Butler and Mae West greeted us, along with a string quartet, bars and the tall heaters. We had a reception around the beautiful fountain and then we went inside for dinner. The dinner was very nice. All you foodies out there should try not to drool when you hear what was served. Our first course began with a chopped salad of romaine and arugula, tomato, white beans, olives and mozzarella cheese. Our entree was grilled Chilean sea bass and petit filet of beef, served with sundried tomato and potato galette and steamed baby broccoli. It was fabulous!

Paramount Pictures Dinner

After dinner the American Bar Foundation handed out awards to outstanding members in their 52nd annual awards ceremony. The Outstanding Service award went to James R. Ellis of Preston Gates & Ellis LLP, the Outstanding Scholar award was given to professor Judith Resnik of Yale Law School, and the Oustanding State Chair award was actually given to the Oklahoma State Chairs collectively. Congratulations to all the winners. After dinner, we went into the theatre for the awards ceremony, and Professor Paul Bergman’s discussion of the image of the lawyer in film. That was a really neat presentation, very interesting. He’d selected films that I hadn’t seen before and made a number of poignant, funny comments. Afterwards there were desserts served in the area we’d dined in. Then it was time to board the buses back to the Grand Hyatt and from there I caught a cab back to my hotel.Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Mount Olive Lutheran Church2Sunday I visited Mount Olive Lutheran Church. After church it was back to the hotel to check out and head for the airport!

I always enjoy getting together with and learning from my fellow deans from across the country, and this trip was no exception.