Page 13 - Autobiography of a Law School
P. 13

INTRODUCTION

         The University of Houston Law Center is sixty-five years
old. This narrative is my interpretation of the sixty years the Law
Center and I spent together. It is based on personal memories,
shared collective memories, and the few surviving artifacts that
reveal other versions of truth. Personal memories, mine and others,
are necessary to the story, but not entirely reliable. Written accounts
are hard to come by. Death has silenced many voices that could
have told more about the Law Center’s early years. Obituaries,
when found, seldom reveal more than basic dates and honorable
achievements.

         I have undertaken to tell the Law Center’s story by
describing some of the heroes and heroines whose struggles and
ideals produced the Law Center’s current, unfinished form. It is
hard to find a villain in the piece if the definition requires evil
intent. I am convinced that every soul who advanced a position
within the law school believed at the time it was best for the
institution.

         The book focuses on people who served the law school as
deans. Deans are not all-powerful, but in the Law Center’s case,
they provide a significant constant for describing the ups and downs
of the institution. Deans are essential players in any law school
history, particularly in the formative years. They set the tone for the
school by directing internal budgeting, hiring, and promotion. They
control what passes for faculty governance by selecting committees
that reinforce their policies. They have power of the purse to
determine faculty salaries, within some limits. Deans alone can deal
with university administrations and the outside world where they
have to make the case for funding and institutional priorities.

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