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Beware of Navel Oranges

4 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2010  

Thomas F. Guernsey

Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Albany Law School

Date Written: 2002


This talk was given for the purpose of providing insight into leadership in law schools. Thirteen principles and irreverent topics are discussed: establish a set of principles; you’ll almost never know whether people like you because you are the dean or because of your scintillating personality; actually, you can ignore the last observation. People like you because of your spouse or partner; you better have a tough skin; ninety-percent of your decisions are irrelevant; if you stick around long enough, everything devolves into whether you should have let the faculty make a decision; the most important thing I needed to know about being a dean I learned in Political Science 101; it is one of life’s ironies that it is a failure if you actually have to first mention to a prospective donor the idea of a major gift. Of course, if neither you nor they mention the gift, it’s an even bigger failure; never buy boxed wine; the amount of money you raise is in direct correlation to the amount of weight you gain; show humility; you learn to hate everything that you once did as a faculty member; beware of navel oranges; everything you need to know about clinical wars; understand what cynicism is; and, be brief.

Suggested Citation

Guernsey, Thomas F., Beware of Navel Oranges (2002). University of Toledo Law Review, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2002. Available at SSRN:

Thomas Guernsey (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
United States

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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