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For Emory Law School dean hopeful Polly J. Price, it’s mostly about the money. “Emory Law School is undercapitalized,” she told 90 students and faculty at the Emory campus in Atlanta Friday afternoon. Price said some law schools that are the size of Emory have nearly twice its annual budget. In response to a question, Price said Emory’s annual budget is about $20 million, and its endowment is about $21 million. Although the law school has ranked between 25th and 27th in the U.S. News & World Report surveys, Price said its endowment ranks only 67th. To finance improvements, Price said the school needs $4 million to $5 million more a year, either in commitments from the university and other donors, or from income by a larger endowment. Price said there are competing views on how to raise the money. About 60 percent of the law school’s budget is funded by tuition, meaning Emory is more dependent on student dollars than many of its competitors, she said. The money issue was first of four points Price listed in a handout titled “The Bundle of Challenges for the Next Dean.” The other three: � Enhancing Emory’s rank and reputation; � Improving the morale of students, alumni, faculty and staff; � Building alliances with institutional leaders — both inside and outside the universit — who could help the law school. Price, 37, is the law school’s associate dean for academic affairs and an associate professor of law. Price got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emory, and is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School. She clerked on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and worked at Atlanta-based King & Spalding before coming to Emory in 1995. “We need money. We have to get it,” she told listeners, but added, “Compared to law schools of our rank and better, we have done some pretty amazing things. … We have shown that we can take a small amount of money and spend it well.” Price indicated she’d raise money, not by adding more J.D. students, but by negotiating for more funds from the university. This would include soliciting matching funds for a capital campaign, as well as moving outside the university to solicit money from nonlawyers, foundations and alumni. “If I can’t shake the money loose,” Price said, “I shouldn’t be dean.” Getting money from alumni means keeping students happy, she said. In her third year at Harvard Law, classmates circulated a NOPE Petition — Not One Penny Ever — because they were so displeased with their education, she said. Emory law students have similar concerns — one of them being not enough faculty contact with students, she said. “You deserve a better investment of time.” Price’s No. 2 challenge would be to increase Emory’s rank and reputation. The law school should rank consistently in the top 15, she said. Instead, it ranked 27th in the last U.S. News survey. Some ways to improve rankings and service to students, she said, would include a smaller juris doctor program, funded in part by a larger LL.M. program. She also advocates adding at least four new senior faculty lines, including corporate, intellectual property and health care; getting more scholarship funds for the J.D. program; and expanding the career services staff. To improve teaching quality, her “Bundle of Challenges” paper advocated incentives for faculty productivity and disincentives for underperformance. She also said she’d support post-tenure performance reviews. One student, who questioned all the talk of rankings, said that although teaching quality might not rank in U.S. News, “I think the professors at Emory are amazing compared to what I hear from other law schools.” Price agreed, and said that other ways to improve morale included spending more on technology, renovating classrooms and fixing leaks in the 30-year-old law school building. The classroom where Price spoke was missing an entire ceiling tile. The wall below the tile was stained with brown water streaks for some six feet, before the markings ended at the door frame. Another dean candidate, Thomas J. Schoenbaum of the University of Georgia’s law school, spoke in a nearby classroom Feb. 11, under ceiling tiles apparently somewhat eaten away by water damage. In her talk, Price said the school needs to add another building for more faculty offices, clinic space and student organizations. Emory law professor Frank J. Vandall, sitting in the back row with other professors, said, “I’m enormously concerned that you’re even mentioning a new building. New buildings are money pits.” Vanderbilt’s law school has had a small building for 30 years; Duke until recently had a “marginal” building, he said. Improving the faculty should be the focus of the school’s next dean, he said. Price responded that a new building wouldn’t be her first priority. In addition to Price and UGA’s Schoenbaum, candidates for the dean’s job include Emory law professor Thomas C. Arthur, Duke law professor Thomas B. Metzloff and Vanderbilt law professor James F. Blumstein.

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