Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dean Dobranski's law review article on founding of AMSOL

Dean Dobranski wrote an excellent article on the founding of AMSOL in the Fall 2004 edition of the University of Toledo Law Review. The Dean lays out in a very clear and engaging manner the unique mission and character of AMSOL that would make it stand out from other law schools. He also lists the many outstanding accomplishments the law school had achieved in such a short time. The Dean recognized the critical role the faculty, in particular the founding faculty, had in creating and building the school. Another point of interest is the discussion of AMSOL as employing the engagement model rather then the insular model. I've highlighted a few critical areas below, with my discussion following.

As regards faculty, we have also been blessed from the beginning with an extremely talented group of academic leaders with distinguished careers in academia and the practice of law. In our first year, among those on the faculty were four of the original five founding faculty who suggested the creation of a new Catholic law school to Mr. Monaghan in 1998, nationally renowned Judge Robert Bork, one of the nation’s leading legal scholars and practitioners, and Professor Howard Bromberg, who joined us from the clinical faculty of the University of Michigan Law School. We were also graced that first year with the presence of Professor John Dolan, a visiting professor from Wayne State University Law School and one of the nation’s most distinguished commercial law teachers and scholars.

The model we developed for the law school during the discussions is one of engagement and is best described as follows: In this time of great challenges to legal education, there is much debate over how best to train men and women for the practice of law. We believe that our approach has much to offer legal education and we want to participate in that debate. We are confident that what we have to say is important for the future of legal education and fully expect that it will be received in a respectful manner, even by those who do not agree with it. At the same time, we do not wish to be defensive or apologetic about what we have to offer, nor do we wish to present it in a strident fashion. We expect to engage in the discussion with civility and respect for the views of others and expect the same in return.[iii]

[iii] The basic idea for the engagement model was first articulated by Professor Robert George, who holds the McCormick Chair of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and directs its James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. Professor George is also a member of the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors and participated in most of our discussions about the shape and direction of the law school.
Before selecting the engagement model, we rejected two other possible models for the law school. One was termed the insular model where the law school, in essence, would pursue its religious mission in an inward looking fashion and seek not to sully itself by engaging the outside, secular world.

Dean Dobranski's article clearly confirms Professor Safranek's talk on the founding of AMSOL earlier this year in regards to the fact that it was the founding faculty who came up with the idea of the law school and presented it to Tom Monaghan.

I also noticed that in that first year, the Dean highlights the contributions of two faculty, Professor Bromberg (visiting from U-M) and Professor Dolan (visiting from Wayne State). Both of these professors were at law schools that were within a forty minute drive of AMSOL in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, there are no law schools within even an hours drive of the new AMU campus in Immokalee.
And continuing with that point, the Dean emphasizes that AMSOL was built on the engagement model rather than the insular model. This was a wise choice, and a necessary one, as Ann Arbor and U-M are very liberal institutions. However, AMSOL has repeatedly engaged these institutions in a way that they have earned respect and have even collaborated on several fronts, even including a joint hockey team with U-M!
Unfortunately, if AMSOL were to move to the AMU campus near Immokalee, it would be transformed into the insular model, by the mere fact that there would be no nearby secular community to engage! Ave Maria town will be an almost exclusively orthodox Catholic community which will be completely isolated from the secular, academic and legal worlds.


At 5:36 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

This is an excellent point (engage vs. insulate).

What if the proposal was to move AMSL to Miami?

Then question that follows is, why bother? The only strong reason I've heard articulated for moving to Florida is "free money for life" thanks to the land bubble created by having AMSL in Ave Maria Town.

Alternatively, I have some land for sale on the Island of Misfit Toys, if anyone is interested.


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