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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Law Professor Travel Budgets: Ritz, or Rats?

I remember hearing a law professor tell a story a few years back about Haves and Have Nots.  He had depleted his travel budget (he'd had a good year) and was invited to speak at a law conference to be held at a lavish hotel. But his dean wouldn't give him any more travel money. So the professor scrimped and saved and laid his body down on a meager mattress at a Budget Sleep a Creep Motel. How bad was the motel? Well, it was so bad (the professor said) that drug deals were conducted a thin wall away. It was so bad, the rats were embarrassed to eat there.  It was so bad that … Indeed, to get to the conference at the lavish hotel, the prof had to bribe the (probably unlicensed) driver of the motel’s “we-will-take-you-anywhere-within-two-miles-of-this-motel” van to go the extra 0.3 miles. (Bribery was cheaper than cabfare.)  Upon arrival, this professor was stunned to see the conference hotel brimming with law professors, professors who were clearly enjoying the hotel's many luxuries. (He said he watched their enjoyments while he ate his remaining, day-old, airline crackers and nuts.)  The blown-budget prof wondered, "Do [the other law professors] all have bigger budgets? More generous deans?  Or do they draw upon personal fortunes?"

I’m interested generally in law prawf travel budget issues, beyond a more specific post by Dan Markel last fall about how state schools are faring post-Meltdown.  So, how much do you get from your school? What happens if you run out but “need” to attend a conference?  Have you devised (or heard of others who have devised) surefire ways to shake more cash out of your dean (or conference organizer)?  Have you discovered good ways to save money while traveling, so that you may attend conferences you could not otherwise attend? If so, are these cheap(er) travel practices safe, or fraught with danger?


Posted by Brian J. Foley on February 26, 2009 at 05:20 PM | Permalink


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I'm not sure whether this anonymous prof deserves plaudits for risking life and limb to attend a conference, or whether he should be civilly committed because he's clearly insane.

In any event, I like that this post suggests that there is something edgy and dangerous about being a lawprof, however vanishingly rare (& completely unwarranted) those instances of edge or danger may be.

Posted by: Dave | Feb 26, 2009 11:43:07 PM

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