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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Quack

Over the summer, my friend Dan Markel invited me to be a guest at this blog. I was one of probably hundreds who received that twice-yearly call for guest bloggers. Yet another exmaple of how many people floated in Danny's orbit. It had been years since I blogged, but I decided to respond to the request this time because I wanted to write a little about Catalanello v. Kramer, a defamation lawsuit in which I served, grudgingly, as the defendant. Current guest blogger Geoffrey Rapp blogged about the case back in April of 2013.

I do have thoughts on the case--what was at stake, what I learned from the process, how I came to love the concept academic freedom--and maybe I'll get to them while I'm here this month. But it feels wrong not to say something about Danny first.

Danny was one of my first friends in the academy. We met on the tennis courts at SEALS, and Danny absorbed me into his life immediately. He introduced me to people, invited me to conferences, demanded to read my work, shared my work with others, and called me regularly to check in. He was relentless. In a significant sense, he taught me how to be a good law professor. Not good in terms of the quality of my teaching and writing--though I'm confident he helped me become a better writer and reader--but in terms of our obligations to the community. Mentorship is the lifeblood of the legal academy. Academic life can be a solitary existence. My phone doesn't ring that often. If I want to, I can spend the workday all by myself, holed up in my office, not responding to knocks at the door.

But I don't. Because that's not how you do the job. We are at our best when we treat this job like a collective enterprise. Give as much as you take, and make time for the community. That is how Danny did the job. And like a baby duck, I imprinted on him. I suspect that many of us did.

Thanks to the rest of the PrawfsBlawg crew for hosting me this month. Quack.

Posted by Zachary Kramer on October 1, 2014 at 11:32 AM in Dan Markel, Life of Law Schools | Permalink

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