Dalhousie Law Journal


Philip Slayton


Law, Western, 968-1982, Bare facts, numbers of students, professors, budgets, courses, advantage, objectivity, colleagues


How to assess a decade or more at a law school? Bare facts - the numbers of students and professors, growth in budgets, courses added and dropped, etc. - have the advantage of objectivity (colleagues cannot disagree even were the facts uncongenial), but will leave some important things unsaid. For example, what have been "environmental" advantages and disadvantages, and how has the School responded to them? And what has been the change in the quality of the School's endeavours; especially, has the Faculty become better? These questions -and particularly the second - are not easy to address. A law school's environment is created by the interaction of several distinct and important constituencies. The main ones are likely these (I list them in no particular order): (1) students (including applicants to the school); (2) the legal profession, formally (Bar Association) and informally; (3) courts and judges; (4) the local, national and international communities of legal scholars; (5) the local, national and international general communities of scholars, particularly those in disciplines related to law; (6) branches of government concerned wth educational policy; and (7) local University management. The aims and ambitions of these constituencies overlap to some extent, but in part are contradictory and competitive. And over any but the shortest period of time, the objectives of these constituencies will change as they in turn respond to incentives and constraints from the outside. The result is a very complex and problematic context for a law Faculty.