Interviewee: Jeffrey E. Lewis
Interviewer: Denise Stobbie
Date: August 18,1988
Jeffrey E. Lewis spent his youth in Delaware, Ohio. His father was a county
prosecutor and a very influential member of the community, which made a lasting impression
on Lewis, especially in the area of public service.
Lewis began his tenure at the University of Florida in 1972. Dean Joseph Richard
Julin was very encouraging and enlightening, and afforded Lewis numerous opportunities to
work on curriculum and other matters pertinent to the law college. He himself became
associate dean in 1981 and dean in 1988. In his administrative position he continues work
on budget, alumni, and faculty and student affairs. Work on the University's Capital
Campaign is especially important to Lewis.
Although Lewis's title is administrative, he considers himself a teacher. His principal
areas of interest are evidence and procedure. However, he discusses at length the role of
an administrator, which is to encourage and support others: ". .. if you are in this position you
have both the responsibility and opportunity to see that the faculty have the resources they
need to realize their potentials as classroom teachers, scholars, and public servants." He
strongly encourages faculty to serve on bar committees, because he feels that it is a coalition
of experienced lawyers, judges, and experienced law teachers that brings about positive and
significant law reforms.
In this interview Lewis describes all of these issues. He also discusses current issues
pertaining to the law college, such as the teaching of ethics, skills training, Continuing Legal
Education, curriculum development, the law library, and the need for more faculty.
Communication between administration, faculty, students, and alumni is an important key to
the continued success of the College of Law.
S: This is an interview with College of Law Dean Jeffrey E. Lewis in his office. Today's
date is August 18, 1988. I am Denise Stobbie. Let us first go to some background. Were
you born and raised in Ohio?
L: I was actually born in Tillamook, Oregon. I was born at a naval air base on the Oregon
coast in 1944. In the midst of the War, my dad was a captain and a blimp pilot. They
convoyed warships around the Pacific. They were submarine hunters, basically--submarine
spotters and hunters.
S: But how did they [operate]? They must have been easily spotted.
L: They were easily spotted, and that made it very dangerous duty. They could spot the
submarines before the submarines could spot them. They would then radio the location of a
submarine, and the destroyers would go out after them. My dad was stationed there during
the War, so I happened to be born in Tillamook, Oregon. It is a small naval base. Before I
was two years old the War was over, so my folks moved back to Ohio. My mom had been
raised in Ohio and my dad had a lot of family roots there. They moved to what was just a
little country town, the county seat of a farming county named Delaware, Ohio. It is north of
Columbus and was then a town of nine or ten thousand. My dad opened a law practice
there in 1946.
S: Was he a lawyer when he was in the navy?
L: No, he had finished all but one semester of law school when he joined the navy in 1941,
right after Pearl Harbor. He went back after the War, finished his last semester of law
school, passed the bar, and then opened his practice in Delaware. Delaware, believe it or
not, with nine or ten thousand people, was a large town in that rural area of Ohio. His family
came from a much smaller town about twenty-five miles away called Richwood, Ohio, which
had a population of 1,500 or something like that. In a sense, my dad was going to the big
S: What kind of lawyer was he?
L: He still practices law. He was the county prosecutor for ten years, soon after he arrived
there. That was just a part time job back then. He also established his private practice.
He still practices today with one of my younger brothers. He is a trial lawyer, but he really
does everything, like most country lawyers. His greatest love is the local hospital, and he
represents the hospital and most of the doctors at the hospital.
S: Is he is still in Delaware?
L: Yes, he is still in Delaware, where I grew up.
S: How many siblings [do you have]?
L: I have two younger brothers. Scott is two years younger than I. He is a lawyer
practicing in Dallas. Jonathan is five years younger than I, and he practices with my dad in
Delaware. So I come from a family of lawyers.
S: Four lawyers in the family. What about your mother? Does she work?
L: Mom grew up in Akron, Ohio. My grandfather was managing editor of the Akron
Beacon Journal and vice president of the Knight newspapers for many years. My mom is a
musician, and she went to the University of Rochester [Rochester, New York] and studied at
the Eastman School of Music. She and my dad met in Cleveland when my dad was in law
school. He went to Case Western Reserve University. My mom was studying music in a
post-graduate program at the Cleveland Conservatory of Music. My dad has a beautiful
tenor [voice], and he put himself through law school by being a bartender and by singing on
the Cleveland radio. They got together because my mom, a pianist, happened to
accompany him one time when he was singing.
S: That is amazing. What a nice story. Does she perform?
L: No, she really devoted herself to her three boys and family. That has kept her very
busy right up to this time.
S: Three sons. You said they are still in Delaware?
L: Jonathan and my folks are.
S: What was it like for you growing up in a small rural town, even though it was the county
L: Well, it was all I ever knew, really. Like most small towns, you knew everybody and
everybody knew you. It was very friendly. Most of my friends were either sons and
daughters of farmers, storekeepers, or university professors. Ohio Wesleyan University is a
small liberal arts college in Delaware and is one of those many fine small midwestern liberal
S: When did you become interested in law? I imagine you grew up with it.
L: That is right, I grew up with it. It is hard to say that I became interested in law at any
one time. I always admired my father, of course, and the work that he did, and I still do. He
is a very prominent person in the community. Growing up, I saw [my father] as being
influential not only through the practice of law, but also as the chair of the school board, the
chair of the hospital board, the attorney for the local newspaper, and the person who advised
and counseled. I know I was influenced by his substantial role in the community.
I was also influenced by the drama of some of his cases. He was a tough prosecutor,
so tough that he had to carry a .38 with him at times. He even tried a homicide case that
was later depicted on television. He later developed a reputation as a great civil trial lawyer.
His greatness stemmed from his incredible preparation: he outprepared everybody. He
outprepared them in the library, he outprepared them in his investigation of the case, and in
his interviewing the witnesses.
The second key to his success is that he is very flamboyant, impressive, and articulate.
One of my favorite stories that he tells is one in which he was doing a land condemnation
case, representing the landowner against the State of Ohio. They were out viewing the
property that was to be taken for an interstate. The twelve jurors were on the farm property.
My dad, the judge, the other lawyer, the court bailiff, and a couple of deputy sheriffs were all
there. My dad got stung by a bee. My dad overheard one jurist say to the other, "Uh, oh.
Our lawyer got stung by a bee." In subtle ways he had caused the jury to think of him as
their lawyer! How he does that, I have never been quite sure.
I had sort of a natural interest in the law, but my intent when I went off to college was to
go to medical school. Part of that was the result of the relationship that my father had with
the local physicians in the town and the respect that we had for them. Indeed, I went off to
Duke and became a zoology major, with a minor in chemistry.
S: Is that what your undergraduate degree is?
L: My undergraduate degree is in zoology. I spent my undergraduate life in a laboratory,
from 2:00 to 6:00 every afternoon, whether it was organic chemistry or physiology or counting
fruit flies in a genetics course.
S: Planning to become a doctor.
L: Yes. In my summers I worked as a scrub nurse in the local hospital in surgery and
principally assisted the one general surgeon that was in the town at that time. [He was] my
dad's best friend. My senior year I applied to some medical schools. I think I also applied
to some Ph.D. programs in physiology, which would be part of a zoology program, because I
thought about teaching physiology (which was really my favorite course). I thought about
teaching in a university. I do not know why, but I also applied to some law schools. I think
just because I always had in the back of my mind that I was really interested in law. Lo and
behold, I ended up going to law school.
S: Was that a choice you made? Were you accepted to medical school and law school.
L: Yes, yes. I accepted law school at the University of Chicago; I was on my way to
Chicago. I do not think I had applied to these law schools until the spring of my senior year.
I had applied so late that I was put on the waiting list at Duke. I did not think that I was going
to get in, since they had already filled their classes. Well, in midsummer the dean of the law
school then, Jack Latty, a wonderful man, called me at home in Ohio and said, "Jeff, we want
you to come." I said, "Oh, Dean Latty, I have already told Chicago I am coming." He said,
"Oh, that is all right. You can tell them that you are not coming." He talked to me for about
ten minutes, and I agreed to go to Duke. So I went back to Duke for three more years.
S: Were you swayed either way by your father?
L: No, he wanted me to go to medical school. He was not unhappy when I went to law
school, but I think he really wanted me to go to medical school. I sure would not say that
either my mom or my dad pushed me in that direction because I think I had a natural
inclination in that way, as well. When it was all said and done, I just decided that law
seemed more down my alley.
S: That is interesting. Any reasons why? Any personal characteristics that made you
more suited to law?
L: No. I really love science, and I continue to love science. I did fine in it. I think I am
probably more of a liberal arts person than I am a science person, and I think I knew that. I
think that was one of the reasons, without ever making it a conscious thing, that I ended up
deciding to go to law school.
S: But you could have done either. Let me ask you about when you first went to Duke as
an undergraduate. Why Duke?
L: Well, my folks picked it out for me. I applied for early admission in my junior year and
got accepted before my senior year began. I never applied to another college or university.
I think they wanted me to go to a comprehensive, private university. They had heard a lot of
good things about Duke from people who had gone there. I remember we drove down there
during my junior year for a visit. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the campus and the
friendliness of everyone. I went there because my folks decided I should go there.
S: That is one way to make a decision. I imagine your parents stressed the importance of
L: Oh, yes, that was stressed from the very beginning. When I went to Duke I was sort of
a country kid. A great number of my classmates came from the big, eastern seaboard cities
and from big high schools. I graduated from a high school that had a graduating class of
about 100 students. It was a real adjustment for me. In many ways I was behind my
classmates when I entered at Duke, so I had to do a lot of scrambling and catching up,
especially in technical areas such as mathematics. Most of my fellow students entered Duke
having had a high school calculus course, even back then. I had not even had a high school
trigonometry course. Being a science major, that was an especially difficult hurdle for me to
overcome, initially. I grew up at Duke. It was a wonderful place to get a good education.
S: When you did decide to attend law school what were your ambitions? Did you have
any thoughts on what you were going to do?
L: I think I was probably like a great number of students when they begin law school: I had
decided I wanted to be a lawyer. I had a pretty good notion of what that meant because my
father was one, and I just decided I would be a lawyer like my father. I did not think much
When you are confronted with the first year of law school, it is hard to think about much
of anything other than surviving, too. The first year of law school, especially the first
semester, was a real eye-opener. Law study is so different from the study of sciences. You
do not get into the abstract stuff in the sciences until you get into the upper level courses.
While I had a lot of that in my last two years, I had gone to law school thinking that law was
really concrete: there are black and white rules, and it was yes or no. Of course, the
opposite is true. I think it takes a lot to get used to that transition when we first start law
S: Did your brothers also go to Duke?
L: No, my brother Scott, was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, and he went to
Ohio State Law School. My brother John went to Denison University in Ohio and went to the
University of Akron Law School.
S: You were the first to go outside of Ohio.
S: Did you say you are the middle child?
L: I am the oldest.
S: Describe your college years. Were you studious?
L: I think I worked all the time. That was usually the plight of science majors at Duke. I
belonged to a fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, and we always had great parties on Saturday nights,
but I worked hard during the week.
S: You took Saturday night off?
L: Oh, yes, we always took Saturday night off. We had to. We always enjoyed Duke
football and Duke basketball. Both the football and basketball programs were outstanding
back then. Now only the basketball program is.
S: When did you meet Audrey?
L: I was a second year law student and she was a junior in the undergraduate school at
S: You two met at college?
L: Yes, we met at a law school party. She was dating another law student.
S: Did you marry after graduation?
L: No, we got married the summer before my third year of law school.
S: So you were married in law school?
L: Yes. We were married in Orlando. Audrey is from Orlando; she is a Florida girl.
S: What about involvement during law school? What organizations were you involved in?
L: I was not ever an organizational person except for a social fraternity, not in college, and
certainly not in law school. I studied in law school. I ran, lifted weights, studied, and dated.
S: How did you do in law school? Did your grades reflect your hours of studying?
L: Yes, I think they did. I was one of those people who, at the time of graduation from law
school, was really sad because I loved it so much. I really hated the thought that I was
leaving. I think that that probably had something to do with the fact that I returned to law
school again as a teacher not long thereafter.
S: What about that? Upon graduation did you go directly to teaching?
L: Yes. My last year of law school was 1968-1969. That was a time when the draft was
in its full swing. My draft number had already been called early in that year. Of course, I
was deferred until I finished school because the student deferments were still in place. I
obtained a direct commission into the Judge Advocate General Corps of the army as a
captain. I was lucky to get that. All of us were trying to get some kind of law-related military
service. The time commitment to the army was going to be almost five years from the time
of graduation until I would have been out of the service, but that was a good solution, I
thought, and I felt lucky to have received the commission.
Late in the spring of my senior year of law school, the woman who chaired the local draft
board got in touch with me. There was a little K-12 school out in the county that needed a
teacher to teach seventh and eighth grade science and seventh and eighth grade literature.
She knew that I had been a science major, which tells you the kind of small community it
was. She said that if I taught that year that it would satisfy my military obligation. She knew
I already had the direct commission into the army. I thought about it and decided I would do
what the chairman of the draft board told me to do. After I graduated from Duke, Audrey and
I put our worldly belongings in a U-Haul truck and moved up to Ohio. My first year after law
school, 1969-1970, I taught at Ostrander School. That was a wonderful experience.
Audrey and I enjoyed living in a small apartment in an old house in downtown Delaware. I
loved teaching those twelve- and thirteen-year-old kids.
S: Was that your first experience with teaching?
L: I had never taught before. Of course, I had no teacher education training or anything,
but I absolutely loved it. That is what really made me think about law teaching: I liked
teaching. I thought it was goofy, however, for me to be teaching science to seventh and
eighth graders. I had a law degree, so I really ought to be teaching law.
I did not know how you got a law teaching job. My thought was that I would write the
law schools in the State of Ohio and tell them that I am interested in a teaching job, so I made
up this little resume (there was not much in it) and a letter to go along with it. I sent it to all
the deans of the law schools of Ohio. A couple of them responded and said they would like
to talk to me. The first one that was set up was at the University of Akron. Audrey and I
went up to Akron and went through a couple of days in the interview process. As I recall, at
the end of the process they made me the offer to join the faculty! I accepted it, just like that.
I started teaching that next fall, [which was] the fall of 1970. I had just turned twenty-six,
and, being only one year out of law school, many of my students were older than I was. If I
had not taught seventh and eighth grade science I would not be teaching law today; there is
no doubt about it.
S: Well, that is something. At least you had that experience. What was that like for you,
though, going into a classroom of law students?
L: Well, I was very excited and ready for it. I have never been intimidated by anything like
that. I can tell you what happened in my first class. I started off teaching civil procedure
with a Monday 9:00 a.m. class. I was ready for it. I had my lecture notes all prepared. I
had on my brand-new, double-breasted wool suit and my brand-new leather-soled boots that
Audrey had bought for me. I had a class of about 150. There was a stage in front where
the teacher stood. I had to walk down the middle aisle with students on either side to get to
the stage. I had my notebook, my books, and also copies of all the horn books--everything
that I wanted to refer the students to, so I could hold them up and show them the horn book.
The aisle had a nicely waxed floor, and about half way down, my feet went right out from
underneath me. All my books went flying in the air, and I landed on my rear end. I got up
and gathered all my books and finally made my way to the stage and taught my first class. It
has been uphill ever since, or downhill--I do not know which.
S: You started out at a young age then?
L: Yes. Another thing happened to me that very same day: there were mail boxes for
each faculty member, and I went to get my mail. The mail boxes were presided over by the
secretary. I went in to get my mail, and as I reached into the cubby hole that had my name
on it she stopped me and said, "Young man, that does not belong to you. That belongs to
the faculty members." I said, "Well, this has my name on it." She looked at me and she
looked at the name, and she asked, "Are you Professor Lewis?" I said yes, and she said,
"Well, you are much too young to be a professor." I thanked her, I took my mail, and went
on about my business.
S: You were never intimidated by your youth?
L: Oh, goodness, no.
S: Well, to what do you attribute that confidence?
L: Preparation. It is involved in my whole approach to teaching. Let us say I am teaching
the question of the sufficiency of service of process. I go back and read everything I can so I
can see the historical development of service of process: how it was done historically in
England and the different ways in which it was done in the statutory provisions in the federal
system and in the state system. I read law review articles about it. Finally I look at the
cases in the case book that I am going to actually teach. By the time I get ready to put my
notes together I have a firm understanding of what it was all about.
Also, I have always typed my lecture notes as a way of getting my thoughts organized
and as a way of learning it. By the time I have typed it and been over it a couple of times, I
have it. Although I take my notes to class and glance at them from time to time, I do not
have to rely on them much. The notes are kind of the product of my research and give me,
in some sense, the confidence to just go forward because I know I have done what I need to
do to teach well. Then I can focus on the method of teaching.
I was scared to death when I taught my first class. There is no doubt about that.
Although I am beginning my eighteenth year of teaching, I still get a little uptight before I walk
into a class, but I am not scared to death like I was when I first started. I think being uptight,
nervous, and pacing is the way I get energized for it. I get up for teaching because I want to
do a good job. That is just a part of getting yourself primed and ready to do a good job in the
classroom. I love teaching. I think of myself as a teacher. I love the classroom and having
hundreds of students around me. That is just the most wonderful thing there is do: to be a
S: That raises questions in itself. If you think of yourself as a teacher and you love
teaching, then why would you want the responsibility of being a dean?
L: Well, I do not know. It is kind of crazy, I guess. When I started teaching law back in
1970, I really concentrated on learning my subjects and teaching as well as I could in the
classroom. I started writing within a year or so after I started teaching, but my energy and
my heart have always been in the classroom. I think that after I came to Florida if you had
asked me in 1973, 1975, or 1978 what the most important thing I did was and what it was that
I liked the most, I would not have hesitated to answer. I would have said being in the
The way I happened to get into administration is not one of those things you plan. I
surely did not plan it. It is one of those things you cannot anticipate. I became an associate
dean in 1981, but if you had asked me in January, 1980, if I was interested in law school
administration, I would have just given you a puzzled look. I am a law teacher, not an
administrator. Things happen, though, and I guess I have learned that. You really cannot
control your life. I have always just tried to do the very best I could at what I was doing. If
opportunities came along, then they came along.
S: Do you enjoy both the teaching and the administration?
L: Oh, yes. I love being dean. I loved being associate dean. I do not know why, but I
would not do it without teaching. I would feel lost without an anchor. Teaching is really
what keeps me in touch with what is most important, I guess. That is what we are here to
do--we are teachers.
S: Well, you certainly are efficient enough to do both. That was already obvious when you
were associate dean.
L: Well, you have to be efficient. It helps if you are a type A personality.
S: Yes. How did you get into administration?
L: I think a significant event for me was when Dick Julin [Joseph Richard Julin, dean,
College of Law, 1977-present] asked me to be the secretary to the Law Center Association.
He asked me to do that back in 1977 or 1978. I do not know why he asked me, but I was
quite flattered and delighted to do it. It gave me an opportunity to attend Law Center Trustee
Meetings, and I got to know the trustees and some of the alumni. I also got a chance to
watch Dick Julin in his work with alumni. I was always very impressed by the alumni's
devotion to the law school and their willingness to help the law school. I was always
impressed by Dick Julin's fine relationship with them: the way that he was able to articulate
the needs of the law school, the way in which he was able to represent the law school to the
alumni, and the way in which he was able to encourage their support of the law school.
I think my interest in administration was probably also generated by my long term
admiration for Dick Julin. I joined the Florida faculty in 1972. I think there were seven of us
that joined the faculty that fall, which I think was Dick Julin's second full year as dean here at
Florida. One of the reasons I was so excited about coming to Florida was because of Dick
Julin. When I first met him and was going through the interviewing process, he was very
energetic and enthusiastic. He was very impressive, and everybody had so many good
things to say about him. I thought, "Gee, this is going to be a good law school."
Then, when I joined the faculty, I was always impressed with the way that Dick Julin
encouraged and supported us in our teaching and in our research. He encouraged us to get
involved in bar activities, and he looked for opportunities and sent them in our direction. I
could see very clearly the good work that someone in the position of dean could do.
If you think about it, an administrative position does not have any intrinsic value. The
value comes from the way in which the person in the position is able to encourage and
support others. It is really a service position. I remember Dick Julin saying that he saw his
principal job as the care and feeding of the students and the faculty. He was very good at
that. I know I was much influenced by him. After all, he was dean during the time that I
progressed from assistant professor to associate professor, received tenure, and then was
promoted to full professor, so during the critical stages of my learning as a teacher he was
my dean. Quite naturally, I think he had a significant impact on my attitudes. He also
appointed me to serve as chairman of the curriculum committee. It was at a time when I was
an associate professor, and I was the youngest person on the committee. The chair of a
committee is an administrative position, so I learned a lot about the curriculum. I worked
some with the assistant dean who scheduled courses and that sort of thing, so I got a little
taste of it there, again, because Dick Julin gave me the opportunity.
S: He must have seen a lot in you.
L: Well, I do not know.
S: I think so. How did you become associate dean?
L: Well, after Tom Read [Frank T. Read, dean, College of Law, 1981-present] became
dean, he decided that he wanted to go back to full-time teaching. Tom needed to find an
associate dean. He formed a little search committee, talked to a lot of people, and somehow
they ended up with me.
S: Well, that brings us to one of the questions on my list. How did that prepare you for the
deanship? What responsibilities would be the same as when you were in that position, and
what new responsibilities do you have as dean?
L: When I started as associate dean in January, 1981, I did not have a whole lot of
instruction on what it was I was supposed to do. Roy Hunt [Elmer Leroy Roy Hunt,
professor, College of Law, 1962-present] gave me his master key as we passed one another
on the hallway when I came down to the second floor to sit in his chair and he went up to the
third floor to resume full-time teaching. I asked Tom what it was I was supposed to do, and
he said, "Well, it will become apparent as the days go by." So, I just started learning.
I learned a lot from Tom. I learned a lot from Marge Maxfield. I learned a lot just
because things had to be done and it looked like I was the person that was supposed to be
doing it. From the first moment, of course, I understood that I was going to take care of
curriculum planning, course scheduling, and course assignments. That was right down my
alley because I had always had a big interest in the curriculum.
As time went by I also got more involved in the budget. Fairly soon, Tom asked me to
just take care of the budget, so I covered most aspects of it. That is not to say that Tom was
not interested in the budget. He was very interested in it, and we always talked or consulted.
If there was a major question that I was unsure about, then I always asked him to make sure
that we did what he wanted us to do. I learned a lot about the budget as associate dean,
and it is something that I will continue to work with. I think it is very important for the dean to
know the details of the budget and to be involved in its details, because money is one of the
ways in which you state priorities, encourage people, and get things done.
As the years went by, it became like a snowball rolling down a hill: more and more things
accumulated. When Tom was first dean here, he had to complete the campaign for
Bruton-Geer Hall. That took him away from the law school a great deal. He was
successful, and we have that building because of his success, but it did mean that he had to
be gone a lot. Not long after that he became president of the Law School Admissions
Council, which also kept him away a bit. He wanted me to assume a lot of the responsibility
for the inside operation of the law school, and I did. We did not have any distinct lines of
authority. I never felt like I worked for Tom. I always felt like Tom and I worked together,
that we were a team.
Tom is wonderful in that regard. He knows how to delegate authority. He always
backs you up. He never second guesses you. He encourages you to take the ball and run
with it, so I was very fortunate to learn administration under Tom Read. He always had an
optimistic "can do" attitude, and, of course, that was always the attitude that Dick Julin had.
It would have been impossible for me to have a different attitude, because that is sort of the
way I am anyway.
S: Then you had a lot of responsibility as associate dean?
L: Yes, I did. It was kind of unique. It was a function, in part, of the size and complexity
of the law school. It is much bigger and more complex than most law schools. It is also a
function of Tom's focus on alumni affairs and development and the legal educational
organizations. You could not have better training than I had. I was very fortunate.
S: Well, Dean Read once said that being dean of this law school was like being president
of a university, and being associate dean is more like being dean, so I imagine you were well
prepared to become dean because it was as though you were starting what you knew all
L: Yes, I was involved in all the basic activities that the dean is involved in. Tom made
sure that I was involved with the alumni. Because of him I got to know them, and I
participated in alumni events. I traveled a little bit with him--not so much at first, but a lot
more in the last few years. The Internal Activities, Curriculum Budget, Faculty Affairs, and
Student Affairs [all helped in my preparation].
S: What goals have you set for yourself as dean?
L: Well, that is a hard question to answer in some respects. I have a very firm view of this
law school as it is today. I think I have had a great opportunity to see its development since I
joined the faculty in 1972, so I have a historical perspective on the law school. I have
learned a lot about the law school from the alumni and our other faculty members before
Right now, I see a school that progressed dramatically during the tenures of Dick
Julin and Tom Read. Of course, that progress was built on the foundation that the previous
deans, faculty, and alumni had already established. It has been principally a growth in
quality from what was a local school to a school with a national and international presence
and perspective. Because I had the chance to serve on the AALS [Association of American
Law Schools] Accreditation Committee for three years, from 1984 through 1986, I learned a
lot about legal education and about the nation's law schools. I feel very comfortable in
saying, on the basis of that experience alone, that our law school is one of the top twenty. If
you look at quantitative data--whether it is the size of library or the credentials of student body
or the scholarly production of the faculty--you would say it is a top twenty school. I think that
the State of Florida, number four in population, should have a top twenty school, and it does.
Moreover, I think it should have a top ten school. We already have, indeed, many of the
characteristics of a top ten school. I hope our law school will attain most, if not all, of the
characteristics of a top ten school in the next five to seven to ten years. I think the
opportunities to attain those characteristics can be generated, but it is up to us to generate
them and then to take advantage of them. The Capital Campaign is very important to that.
If you look at the very best of great public law schools in the nation--and I count Florida's as
one of those--you will see schools that have very substantial private endowments.
S: How will the money raised in that campaign help put us in that elite group?
L: I think the key to overall quality is a function of the quality of the faculty and of the
student body. Those are the most important factors. Our goal, obviously, is to increase our
endowment focus on the faculty and the students. The eminent scholar chairs and the
professorships, obviously, are designed to attract and retain the most outstanding law
teachers that we can.
S: Do you think that an emphasis on that area is primarily what we need now?
L: Oh, absolutely, along with the area of scholarships. As I have mentioned before, we
attract some outstanding students, but there are many we do not get because they are
offered scholarships at out-of-state law schools. We need to have the resource base to
attract them to come to law school in Gainesville.
S: Other than our resource base, and I know we have a strong resource base now, would
you say that the school is in good shape?
L: The school is in good shape. We must always be concerned to keep our faculty's
salaries competitive. Every year we have to maintain them. We have to be concerned that
our support budget grows each year so that we are able to support our educational programs.
If it becomes static, then, as inflation comes, we are going to lose ground. Currently, we
need an addition to the library. There is no question about that. We bought some time with
the installation of compact book shelving in the lower level of the library, but we need a library
addition. We are, in effect, out of space. We have about 425 volume equivalents now,
which is considered substantially over the actual capacity of the library. We need more
faculty offices as we add eminent scholars, and I think we will add another three to five in the
next five to ten years. We need another big classroom, and we need four small classrooms,
so we have some physical plant needs.
The library is the most fundamental need. It is a necessity. The classroom space is a
need, but I cannot say at this point that it is a necessity. Certainly, additional faculty offices
are going to become a necessity because we have to have a place to put our new faculty.
Basically, the game plan is to keep the student body the same size (it has been the
same size since 1971) but to continue to add to the faculty. The more teachers we have the
better program we are going to have. Our student-faculty ratio right now is the best in
Florida. It is one of the best for a big school in the country--below twenty to one--but if you
compare that student ratio with a typical student ratio in a graduate program or in other
professional programs, such as medicine, the difference is astonishing. The student-faculty
ratio is probably twice as good in a graduate program and three or four times as good in a
medical school as opposed to a law school. We need more teachers. We must have more
teachers to cut down class size and to offer a greater variety of courses. Although we have
a rich curriculum now, there are many needs that are unmet, especially in the simulation
courses and, I think, in upper level planning courses, such as business planning, real estate
planning, that sort of thing.
S: So there are a number of areas where you would have us branch out. Mainly, I hear
you saying that to achieve the goal of being on the very top notch of law schools [we need] to
support what we already have. We have a very strong foundation, but we need to branch
out with additional faculty members and in some of the curricular programs.
S: [Can we accomplish national standing by] becoming a bigger law school?
L: No, we should not become a bigger law school. We should become a law school with
more teachers. We should become a law school which has more resources to support and
attract the finest teachers and students.
S: My one other question about your background was your practice. You practiced law for
a little while. What did you practice?
L: The year that I taught at Ostrander School I also practiced with my dad. That was
pretty low-key. In other words, I just worked on a variety of projects with him at night and on
weekends. It was very modest, but it was a beginning. I learned a lot from him.
S: But you decided that you were more suited to teaching?
L: Well, I do not know whether I was more suited, but it was more interesting to me. I
really liked the classroom and I liked that kind of work. Actually, I was very attracted to the
law practice. I think it is a fascinating profession. The opportunity to work with people, to
help them, to give them good advice, the important role that the lawyer plays in the
community--all of that is very attractive to me. It is not that I was not attracted to the
practice. I was sort of attracted away from it by something that was more immediate to me,