Saturday, October 08, 2011

Bayless Manning: Financing the New Stanford Law School: If You Do Everything Right, The Money Will Come

When I look at the official Stanford Law School website and the "history" written there, the name of Bayless Manning, Dean of the Law School from 1964 to 1971, does not appear, which is difficult to understand. Carl B. Spaeth, dean of the Stanford Law School from 1946 to 1962, who made major contributions to the development of the school, also does not appear. The online published Ohara History of Stanford Law School is also woefully deficient in its exclusion of important law school persons and events, rather including many less important "politically-oriented" details.

The fact is that Dean Bayless Manning spearheaded the drive to finance the then new Stanford Law School school facility at Crown Quadrangle, which was built in the early 1970's and dedicated on September 21, 1975 with U.S. President Gerald Ford in attendance.

The financing of the new law school was well in progress at the time that I was a student in the former Stanford Law School facility in the Inner Quad. Obtaining sufficient donations to finance the new law school which then had an estimated cost of something like $30 million was difficult but I recall Bayless saying either in a speech to the students or in some private conversation to the effect that "if we do everything right, the money will come", and he cited as an example a former Stanford graduate from the US Northwest who had contributed several millions of dollars to the project, even though he had been an "unknown" to the financing committee. They had done "everything right" whereby the donor had gotten wind of the need for funds and had contributed substantially.

One of the significant complaints that I have about the current Stanford Law School as an alumnus is that the school sometimes appears to be dominated by an overly active faction whose primary goal appears to be political rather than law-oriented. It is a faction that does not present a fair and balanced view either of the law school or of its history.

That is unfortunate.

Politics did not make Stanford Law School. Good law and the Stanford family vision did. And so did money. You can not have a great law school without money, alumni, donors, etc. Vision and money come first. Good works follow.

It is acceptable, e.g. in a written law school history or chronology to emphasize -- as is done -- the modern increase in student diversity, the hiring of more minority faculty, the development of extended clinical programs and deepened interdisciplinary study, but that is just one part of the true and accurate "big picture".

History, accurately, should be apolitical, and should concentrate on a true presentation of important events, ALL events, not just a political selection.

One can not write a fair and balanced "history" of the law school without also properly honoring the bread and butter contributions of former Stanford Law School deans and faculty, whether this be in enabling the physical facilities of the school, in establishing Stanford's high academic and teaching reputation over the course of many decades, or in developing the "standard" curriculum of law. Stanford did not become a great law school because it adhered to some "politically correct" viewpoint.

The rise of a law school consistently ranked in the top tier of all law schools in the country is the product of a process involving many individuals, of varied political persuasion, making numerous -- and diverse -- contributions.

We hope in the future to see published histories of Stanford Law School, whether online or in print, that present all the relevant facts -- or a fair and balanced selection of them, and not merely those that are politically acceptable to the writers.

Andis Kaulins, Stanford Law School, J.D. 1971

Bayless Manning, Former Stanford Law School Dean and Paul, Weiss Alum Passes from the Scene

Bayless Manning, former Stanford Law School Dean passed away on Sunday, September 18, 2011, at the age of 88, as reported by Judith Romero at SLS News in Stanford Law School Mourns the Loss of Bayless Manning, Former Dean and Corporate Law Scholar.

Bayless was later a partner in the same law firm in New York City of which I am an alumnus, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

At the time that I entered Stanford Law School, Manning was the Law School Dean, and in his speech to the entering class told us that if we learned nothing else in our law school studies, we should learn that in the actions of men on this earth, 99% think that THEY are the ones wearing the white hats, i.e. that they are in the right. Only by recognizing that, he said, could one understand the world, and, necessarily, the role of the legal profession.

How right he was.

Rest in peace, Sir.

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