Welcome to Original Jurisdiction, the latest legal publication by me, David Lat. You can learn more about Original Jurisdiction by reading its About page, and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a reader-supported publication; you can subscribe by clicking on the button below. Thanks!
As the new academic year gets underway, I’ve been having a law-school module of sorts here on the Original Jurisdiction podcast. After interviewing Professor Amy Chua of Yale and Professor Brian Fitzpatrick of Vanderbilt about current issues facing legal academia, I thought it might be useful to get a deanly—actually, the proper word is “decanal”—perspective on these topics.
My latest guest is Professor D. Gordon Smith, who recently completed his service as dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, aka BYU Law. I’ve admired his work for years, dating back to when we both started legal blogs in 2004—Underneath Their Robes for me, and The Conglomerate for him—and I was pleased to see him become dean of BYU Law in 2016. During his seven years as dean, he was an innovator in legal education—and this was reflected in BYU Law’s dramatic rise in the U.S. News rankings, from #46 when he took over to #22 today.
In our conversation, Professor Smith discussed BYU Law’s unique mission as a school “[f]ounded, supported, and guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” as well as changes he instituted that contributed to its climb in the rankings. But we also covered broader topics like the bar exam and lawyer licensure, professional development, and our nation’s access-to-justice crisis—so this episode will interest not just legal academics, but anyone who cares about law and the legal profession. I’m grateful to Professor Smith for his time and insight, as well as his contributions to both legal education and the profession more generally.
D. Gordon Smith bio, BYU Law School
Our Mission Statement, BYU Law
BYU Law Dean to Step Down at End of Academic Year, BYU Law School
6 Questions With BYU Law School Dean D. Gordon Smith, by Rose Krebs for Law360
Prefer reading to listening? For paid subscribers, a transcript of the entire episode appears below.
NexFirm helps Biglaw attorneys become founding partners. To learn more about how NexFirm can help you launch your firm, call 212-292-1000 or email email@example.com.