As you’ve probably heard by now, the Dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law, my alma matter as of this past May, is now the ex-Dean. You can read his whole resignation letter here (about half way down the page), and I recommend reading it carefully. Hoo boy. It’s a doozy.

Two items: first, I’d like to point out what a great guy Dean Closius is, and second, I’d like to point out that UB Law, as a facility, has fallen into utter shambles.

1. I never had a class with Closius (and from what I hear, that’s probably a good thing, because I’m so-so smart, but not that smart), but he always remembered my name, what I did at school, and the fact that I’m a law librarian and not a lawyer. In my three years at UB, he was almost always willing to listen, and even responded to my overly personal, highly inappropriate email calling him out for being to brazen with the “hey, if you don’t spend all summer not working, and solely studying for the bar, you’re going to fail and personally embarrass me” email sent to the 3Ls the day before final exams started. I blame the stress. Right.

2. No matter how much tuition increased, no matter how many bogus fees were levied (or threatened) against the law students, the quality of student life never ever improved. Some examples:

  • Professors rarely had access to the materials they needed to teach a class. The most persistent issue: no white board markers. Students started buying their own to loan to professors just to keep class going. I had the fantastic Barbara Babb for family law in my final semester, and she pioneered use of Panopto, recording her lectures for later viewing. Did UB help her out, encourage innovation? No. She had to send a student for new batteries for her microphone before every.single.lecture.
  • In the basement of the law building, fall 2010, a sewage line burst. I think it took nearly a month for full clean up, and twice as long for the smell to dissipate. That was awesome during trial advocacy. Vom.
  • My favorite, and I wish I had a picture of this, was the Nota Bene Student Hurricane Relief Network bulletin board that did not change at all in my entire 3 year career at UB. Amazing!

UB Law has a lot of potential. Yeah, it’s in a crap part of Baltimore, and yeah, it’s not the highest rated school out there (or even in Maryland), but as far as practical education delivered by practitioners, decision makers, movers and shakers, it’s top notch. At least give people the opportunity to get what they pay for. Well played, Closius.

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