Law professor departing for new school in Florida Unusual curriculum, associate deanship lure Weston from UB

The professions

January 23, 1996|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,SUN STAFF

William I. Weston, a University of Baltimore law professor known among local attorneys for his sharp-tongued advocacy of causes ranging from mandatory continuing legal education to attorney discipline, plans to leave the law school next year to join a new school in Jacksonville, Fla.

Mr. Weston will become associate dean of Florida Coastal Law School in May 1997, ending 22 years on the UB faculty.

The lure of the new job is Florida Coastal's unusual curriculum, Mr. Weston said, one that will give greater emphasis practical lawyering skills and less to traditional academic teachings.

To that end, students at Florida Coastal will participate in more clinical programs than those offered at other law schools, and all members of the faculty will have been practicing lawyers, Mr. Weston said.

"There's a place for an academic approach to lawyering, but there's also a need for law schools that get down and dirty, training people how to become lawyers," he said.

"I'm not leaving [UB] angry or upset. We just have a different opinion of where legal education ought to be going. I'm concerned we are producing a large number of lawyers and somehow we're not able to meet a large need for legal services."

At UB, Mr. Weston, 49, taught courses in torts, family law and partnerships, but recently has become known as an expert on professional ethics.

He is a senior fellow of the law school's Hoffberger Center of Professional Ethics. He also helped the Maryland State Bar Association develop a one-day course on professionalism that new lawyers must complete before they can receive their licenses.

Over the years, Mr, Weston has been a strident supporter of rules that would require lawyers to take legal courses to keep their licenses.

He also has chided fellow lawyers for being slow to accept pro bono cases.

"Bill is very outspoken. Sometimes we don't agree on issues, but I certainly enjoy the debate," said Robert T. Gonzales, president of the Maryland State Bar Association.

Said Mr. Weston: "I might get people angry, but I get them to think about things."

Florida Coastal, which begins classes Feb. 12, is a private school. In his new job, Mr. Weston said he would be in charge of adjunct faculty and will be one of the school's representatives in dealings with bar associations and in community activities.

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