Thursday, October 29, 2015

Godspeed, Larry Mitchell

Two years ago, I reported on the initial filings in the case that turned out to be key to Lawrence Mitchell's downfall as one of the great law deans, and also, in retrospect, revealed him to be a master of a bygone age, a time when men were men and the world was one giant titty.

It went somewhat under the radar earlier this school year that Mitchell resigned his faculty position and did not come back to the Case Western faculty this fall as initially planned.

I continue to believe that Larry Mitchell was unfairly railroaded by snooty, progressive nutballs infected with the disease of modern academic decorum. For example, the recent piece criticizes the dean for conduct including the following, documented in an affidavit in the court case:
Specifically, the affidavit mentions a dinner at Felice Urban Cafe attended by Mitchell, some staff, and some Chinese exchange students. Mitchell had been drinking heavily, it notes, and continued drinking during dinner. "Dean Mitchell was very touchy feely with the female exchange students, cuddling up against them. In particular, Dean Mitchell pulled one Chinese student... close to him. At one point he had his arm around her." The staff and the student made sure no students rode home with Mitchell that night.
Call me old fashioned, but I think school administrators should try to have more personal relationships with their students, particularly foreign students who need a strong male figure to welcome them to the United States and our strange customs relating to middle-aged white men and their lechery.  Really, who the fuck goes to a well-reviewed French restaurant with Larry Mitchell and doesn't plan on some connectivity?  If "touchy-feely" is now a bad thing, take me back to 1960 and smash the time machine, thanks.  Mad Men was way better in season 1, amirite?

The good news is that it appears the Case Western top brass generally agreed with this approach for quite a long time.
[T]he trouble remains that according to the tenured professor and Ku's lawsuit, many upper level staff members at CWRU, including the provost, the office of general counsel, and the right-hand man to president Barbara Snyder, heard all of the allegations and not only protected the hand-picked dean, but allegedly authorized Mitchell to dispatch with Ku.
Damn courts and journalists interfering with a good thing. Again, in the good old days, America protected its leaders.  We hushed up good and proper when they wanted to drink and ram their cocks in whatever was willing, under pressure or not.  We didn't banish them from educating the next generation.

Oh well.  If this was the quiet last hurrah in legal education, I say godspeed, Dean Mitchell.  I'll never forget the indelible impression of your words:
I’M a law dean, and I’m proud. And I think it’s time to stop the nonsense. After two years of almost relentless attacks on law schools, a bit of perspective would be nice.

For at least two years, the popular press, bloggers and a few sensationalist law professors have turned American law schools into the new investment banks. We entice bright young students into our academic clutches. Succubus-like, when we’ve taken what we want from them, we return them to the mean and barren streets to fend for themselves.

The hysteria has masked some important realities and created an environment in which some of the brightest potential lawyers are, largely irrationally, forgoing the possibility of a rich, rewarding and, yes, profitable, career.
It was true way back then and it is true today.  As enrollments continue to decline, it's clear that Mitchell's words were prescient.  This industry just wasn't made for him.

I pray the dean, now publicly using the name "Ezra" apparently, finds goodness in his new ventures, and that he continues writing and producing top-notch poetry.

I also give him bonus points for claiming resume-worthy achievements from a place that - for all practical purposes - unceremoniously canned him.


  1. Alcohol. If it were not for booze, half my criminal practice would be gone. Countless good people and good things have been ruined by alcohol.