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Building Positive Relationships between Law School Deans and Students

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Sep 19, 2011

I recently published an article entitled “The Forgotten Constituency? Law School Deans and Students” in the LEADERSHIP IN LEGAL EDUCATION SYMPOSIUM XI of the UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO LAW REVIEW.  The essay draws some basic lessons from my experience with law students about how a law school dean might build and maintain positive relationships with students. Deans ignore students at their peril, and they cannot satisfy their entire constituency’s or any constituency’s demands, or follow all of their suggestions. As with other leadership roles, deans must work hard to listen to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other interest groups, and offer the respect, opportunity to be heard, accessibility, and transparency in decision-making that students demand, value, and in my experience and appreciate. Through collaboration with students, just as with other constituencies, deans and law schools can create an environment that ensures students receive a high quality legal education and the support that they need to thrive in law school.


Aida Macedo ’11, who served as co-chair of La Raza Law Students Association as a student at King Hall, provided able research assistance for the article as well as many useful insights.