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35 University of Toledo Law Review 25 (2003)


When I am asked to name my accomplishments as dean,' the one that often piques the listener's interest is "starting a weekend law program." Their reaction usually is along the lines of, "A weekend law program? That's different." But depending on to whom I am talking, that "uniform" response needs to be interpreted based on the tone of voice, facial expression, and other body language of the listener If I happen to be talking to a faculty member from another school, the translation is, "I hope my dean doesn't get a crazy idea like that and make me work on weekends." The translation if I am talking with a dean from a similarly situated law school is, "Does it generate significant revenue 9 And how on earth did you get the faculty to agree to work on weekends and the ABA to approve the program." If the dean I am talking with is from an "elite" law school, the translation is more along the lines of, "And you pretend to be a real law school?"

Practicing attorneys react along the same lines as deans. Lawyers at large, traditional law firms (who likely graduated from an elite law school) think much like their dean. If I happen to be talking to a lawyer who graduated from an evening program, they immediately start analyzing whether weekends would have been a better alternative than the evening program they attended.

These varied reactions illustrate the range of issues raised by the prospect of starting a weekend law program. The weekend program at Hamline is one of the main initiatives identified with my time as dean. As we prepare to welcome our third class of weekend law students this fall, I feel comfortable that more "credit" than "blame" has come my way as the result of proposing and implementing the weekend program.2 While it would be an exaggeration to call the program an unqualified success, it certainly has been a success. In this brief essay, I will explore why a law school might want to start a weekend law program and some of the philosophic, strategic and practical issues a school will face in doing so.