Friday, December 31, 2010
Prawfish New Year's Resolutions
I am interested to hear the New Year's resolutions of my fellow law professors. Inspire me! For many years I believed New Year's resolutions were a waste of time, but I now welcome the chance to reflect on whether I'm doing what I ought to be doing. I also believe that making your commitments public helps you meet them. So here are mine.
Last year I resolved to give more presentations, meet more people in my field, and be less sheepish about promoting my work. I've made some progress on those resolutions, though I can always do more. This year, I resolve to write faster by being more organized and planning my writing projects so they build on one another. It slows you down when you try to reinvent the wheel every time you start a new project. Luckily I've finally found a subject that I want to write about over and over until I understand every aspect of it, and I'm hoping that focusing on this subject will help me achieve my resolution. However, I will also have to learn to say no when I'm invited to engage in activities or writing projects that don't advance my goal. I've never been good at saying no (in a professional context!!), especially if the invitation includes a little flattery. I am going to try to be more disciplined and think about the opportunity costs of letting my scholarly agenda be dicated by the invitations I receive.
I have a few more simple professional resolutions for the New Year. I want to include mid-course quizzes in my upper-level classes because I have been very happy with the effect they have had in Torts. I want to learn as much about the state of law practice today as I can so that I can give students good advice and train them properly. I want to serve on a university-wide promotion and tenure committee so that I can understand the system better and give better advice to untenured law professors. I'd like to see if I'm capable of raising money, in case I ever want to be a law school dean.
From a work-life balance perspective, I hope to encourage more UF law students to join our law school running and walking club. As an overcommitted working mother, the club has been a godsend for me and has had a number of unintended positive consequences. I've really gotten to know a number of students on a personal level that I might never have known otherwise, which is immensely rewarding. You learn as a teacher that you can't make a difference for every student, but you can make a difference for some, and it is easier to do that if you really get to know them. Even more significantly, perhaps, I've seen students making valuable connections with each other that they wouldn't otherwise make. How often do 1Ls get to connect with 3Ls in a meaningful way in law school? (If you are in Gainesville, Florida come run with us. Information is always available on the student-created Facebook page called Running with Lidsky)
Finally I resolve, again on the work-life balance front, to try to make a greater separation between work life and home life. My sons are 12, 9, and 6, and they all seem to be at pivotal moments in their lives for different reasons. I'm grateful and proud to have a professional career that I love, but I'm sorry to say I sometimes find myself working or being consumed emotionally by work issues when I should be focusing solely on my sons. (Like New Year's Eve?)
Please share your resolutions. I promise to find them fascinating.
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Some very positive resolutions and goals there. I hope they make 2011 a great year for you.
For me, connecting with more people in the legal profession from around the globe is also particularly relevant. For instance, in February I'll be judging around 50 mock trials at Glasgow University so will give me a chance to meet many future lawyers.
Organisation and planning also rank highly towards completing other goals. I said to Brian Inkster at http://thetimeblawg.com that 2011 shall be the year of the blawgs, so hopefully that prediction will be spot on.
Posted by: Gavin Ward (WardblawG) | Jan 5, 2011 10:03:23 AM
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