Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sextonism: A Student's Perspective

Over at MoneyLaw, there's an interesting little post about about "the real meaning of Sextonism." At MoneyLaw, Sextonism has been defined as "the ardoit (if not altogther credible) promotion of an educational institution among its constiutents and rivals alike." For a less chartible description, check out this post on Brien Leiter's blog.

I must admit that I find Prof. Leiter's critique of "Sextonism" a bit amusing. What he derides as "utterly laughable hyperbole", I would term martketing. As a student, I would be offended and upset if my school's adminstration was not out there promoting the quality of our faculty to anyone who will listen or care. I (along with every other student not fortunate enough to hit scholarship paydirt) pay a lot of money to go to law school. When it's all said and done, a school's reputation is going to play a big part in whether or not its students are able to get jobs after graduation, and the perceived quality of a school's faculty plays a big part in its reputation. If anything, I feel that any school not out there promoting itself is doing its students a huge disservice.

One of the fundamental tenents of marketing is that perception = reality. If a school is perceived as having an outstanding faculty, it-in a very real sense-has an outstanding faculty. It seems that by arguing against self-promotion, what Prof. Leiter is really calling for is continuation of the status quo with certain (unnamed, primarily eastern) schools entrenched firmly at the top. After all, if a school isn't out there promoting itself, who else will?


Blogger N.J.L.S. said...

In a similar vein, there is an interesting discussion of the whether female academics should spend their time blogging. Notwithstanding the gender arguments fueling the discussion, Prof. Godsil also notes the use of blogging as a means of promoting the work of lesser known academics. This medium is critical in getting publicity for the important pieces of legal scholarship that might not otherwise reach professors/practitioners around the country simply because the author is not part of "the club" of well-known, established legal scholars. Similarly, I think you are correct in noting that railing against the promotion of law schools only seeks to reinforce the entrenched positions of certain northeastern law schools.

9/23/2006 12:30 PM  

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