I was an accidental dean. Law school deanship, or any kind of administration, was something that had never occurred to me. But after almost thirty happy and rewarding years as a constitutional litigator, state trial and appellate judge, and frequent law school professor, my dear friend, W. Haywood Burns, asked me to apply for the deanship at City University of New York School of Law (CUNY). Any request from Haywood was a good enough reason for complying. When, to my surprise, I was selected, I had to confront the more profound question of why I should become a law school dean, or, more particularly, why I should become the dean of CUNY. I do not know whether this question is so stark for other prospective deans, who mostly come from law school faculties or have already served as deans or associate deans. From the years of conversations and a quick and unscientific review of “deaning” literature, I also suspect that my reasons for becoming a dean are not those of the majority. But the answer to that question enormously influences both what you will do as dean and how happy and/or fulfilling your deanship will be. I offer my own story and thoughts as an incentive for you to think deeply about what the purpose of legal education, and of the institution you aspire to lead, are for you.
Hon. Kristin Booth Glen, Deaning for Whom? Means and Ends in Legal Education, 31 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 739 (2008).