The Legal Beat
This Is Where You Should Have Gone To Law School
Posted on Friday June 23, 2017
While the rest of us were camped out in a journal office cite-checking articles that no one will ever read again, we could have been f**king at a museum reception. Or drunkenly burning a couch on our doorstep. We all screwed up. We should have gone to this school and, importantly, had this guy as our dean.
In the north of New Zealand, somewhere among the Hobbit folk, you’ll find Otago University and its law school. New Zealand has only six law schools, making competition for the nation’s young legal eagles (pronounced: “kiwis”) fierce. Enter Professor Mark Henaghan, dean of Otago Law, and the big personality in charge of swaying students to the Otago banner. According to our friends at LawFuel New Zealand, Henaghan’s recent presentation to alumni was both characteristically entertaining and more than a little surprising as a pitch to staid legal professionals.
Let’s review what stories from his tenure he decided to tell the gathered alumni:
Being requested to identify two students seen fornicating in the museum following a law wine and cheese evening. The professor defended their right to ‘make love’ in a typically liberal approach to student life.
What kind of museum are we talking about? Not to take anything away from this story, but was this a quickie in an art museum bathroom, or did these kids climb into a natural history exhibit and shag amongst the lions?
Henaghan also admitted to facilitating hookups and booze deliveries to the dorms over objections because he’s the cool dean.
The only demerit here is for the phrase “make love,” which never ceases to sound creepy.
A student’s mother calling him to complain about nudity at a school camp while he was present while checking on the students’ welfare, resulting in his comment that it had taken him 1.5 hours to drive there, did she really think he would leave once the nudity began? It was, he said, a brief glimpse of partial nudity.
Most people will focus on the nudity here, but the important part is a school dean standing up to a mom calling about college nudity. Cut the cord already! The kid’s a few years away from being an attorney — they can handle this on their own.
But in all seriousness, this is one of the most important reasons to have thorough tuition reform at all levels of education in America. This sort of helicopter parenting is on the rise, and in the United States it’s hard to slap the parent straight because the parents are probably mortgaging their house to pay for their 20-something’s education. In New Zealand, where a law degree at Otago runs about $4,615 (U.S. dollars) a year, a dean can provide some honest perspective.
The infamous couch fires…
The infamous couch fires were clamped down upon by over-zealous university officials, resulting in a top law student’s arrest for putting a pillow on a burning couch and being arrested and charged with arson – a potential 14-year prison term. She escaped conviction, but it demonstrated an attitude that was ridiculous.
Where in the American law school system could you have couch fires? Besides West Virginia, of course.
The couch burning also produced the fittest fire service in the country.
I didn’t know you could employ self-help for public service quality, but New Zealand is a wild place.
In any event, it sounds like Otago is the place to be. You know what? We’re not licensed in New Zealand, so maybe there’s still time for us.
Mark Henaghan’s Otago University Road Show Raises Laughs and Eyebrows [LawFuel New Zealand]
Joe Patrice is an editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news.