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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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No Asshole Rule Redux – When to Fire a Client

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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I blogged recently on No Asshole Rule, a question of whether firms should take proactive steps to eradicate unreasonable behavior in the work environment by forcing offending employees to change their ways or getting rid of them, even when they’re otherwise profitable performers.

On a related note, the WSJ Law Blog asks the question from a different angle – Does a “No A–holes Policy” Work in the Law? – profiling a corporate strategist who decided to ‘fire clients whose expectations were out-of-line.’ You don’t have to look far to find expectations out of line in legal practice. My favorite story illustrating this point is from Judge Criss in Galveston who had a defendant complain to her that his lawyer ‘wasn’t lying for me.’ Classic.

It makes me wonder if this kind of situation presents issues for law schools, especially with tenured professors whose tenure has outlasted their love of teaching and whose tenured status makes them somewhat untouchable. I’ve been lucky enough not to have run into this problem at Houston yet, but it has to be inevitable.

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Category: law practice


One Response

  1. While I like the tenure system for what it aims to do: give professors academic freedom, I wonder whether tenure unchecked is far too much of a long leash.
    I remember hearing in another time and another place, the head of an academic department saying, ” student feedback is very important, particularly for adjuncts. With tenured professorts there’s not much I can do however”.
    That scares me. While I think that tenure overall is a good thing, I have known and am sure will know it ( in law school) to be the equivalent of gross pedagogic inertia.
    I’m not sure what the University of Houston or any other school for that matter does to address negative student feedback that says their professor simply failed to perform the task at hand. A law professor might argue that the student is not his client and that the school is. However, the student is very clearly the 3rd party beneficiary of the employment relationship.
    Fast Company recently featured the No Asshole rule in one of its issues as well. Seems like the Asshole is making a comeback.
    Personally I await the Nerd Rapture!

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