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School of Law

From the Dean

This page showcases written pieces by University of Baltimore School of Law Dean Ronald Weich, including op-eds, speeches, position papers and other works of relevance to the legal community.

Op-ed: "Fixing the filibuster," The Baltimore Sun, March 10, 2013:

The filibuster is back in the news, thanks to Sen. Rand Paul's nearly 13-hour talkathon on U.S. drone policy last week. Putting aside the merits of Mr. Paul's national security views, his feat of endurance was in the best tradition of the Senate. He used his right to unlimited debate on the Senate floor to draw the attention of his fellow citizens to an issue of profound national importance.

Other recent filibusters are less noble. Last month, senators used the rules to delay, for little apparent reason, confirmation of their former colleague Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense. And more recently, the Senate minority blocked indefinitely the nomination of a highly qualified woman, Caitlin Halligan, to the D.C. Court of Appeals, the second most important court in the country and one to which the Senate has yet to confirm an Obama nominee.

The fact is, some filibusters are good and some are abusive. The rules should be reformed, but reformers should be careful not to go too far. Happily, the Senate earlier this year passed two resolutions by broad, bipartisan margins that will speed work on widely supported legislation and nominations without gagging the likes of Senator Paul or others inspired by Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Read the entire op-ed.

Letter to the editor: "'Leveling the Wings' of Legal Education," The Daily Record, Feb. 21, 2013:

Note: A version of this letter appeared in the newspaper.

By Ronald Weich
Dean, University of Baltimore School of Law

The Daily Record's February 7 editorial ("Legal Education—Stopping the Graveyard Spiral") likens law schools to distressed airliners. While the comparison is extreme, the current challenges in legal education are real. At the University of Baltimore School of Law, we take these concerns very seriously.

It is certainly true, as every practicing lawyer knows, that the legal profession is changing in ways that have affected the employment prospects of recent law school graduates. Some of those changes may be attributable to the economic downturn in recent years, but others are structural. For example, technology has streamlined activities typically assigned to law firm associates, and new client billing arrangements have altered the economics of law firm hiring. Meanwhile the budgets of many government agencies and non-profit organizations are stretched thin. It is no wonder that would-be law students are wary of entering the profession when lucrative employment upon graduation is no longer a sure thing.

But law schools are still engaged in a fundamentally valid enterprise. Throughout our society, lawyers are needed to help people and institutions resolve disputes, tackle complex problems and advance the quality of life. There are many tasks lawyers perform that only properly trained and licensed lawyers can do, or do well. And in general, over the course of a career, lawyers earn a very good living doing those things. So legal education remains valuable—but it needs to stay relevant to contemporary legal practice.

Read the entire letter.

"Newsmakers" Interview with Dean Ronald Weich in The Daily Record:

An interview with Dean Weich was featured in an April 17, 2013, front-page story in The Daily Record. (Article is in PDF format.) Watch the accompanying video:

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