This book is about lessons learned (both conferred and received) by a fictional protagonist, E. Randall Mann, who was a law teacher at a major law school for over fifty years. There are nine stories or chapters that comprise this book. The stories appear as written in the first person by Mann and a fictitious student, Billie Williams, who served as Mann's research assistant after he retired and ultimately wrote two of the stories in remembrance following Mann's death.
Although the context for the lessons learned is law school and legal education, the lessons are intended to be transcendent. They explore the complex ingredients of life that often enrich us all: courage, resilience, survival, introspection, self-knowledge and self-awareness, death and loss, race, trust, friendship, love, and, above all, inspiration.
Praise for Lessons Learned:
“These stories are written by a mentor and colleague who taught law for 51 years and who provided a guiding influence to countless law school students, administrators, and deans. They serve as a wonderful supplement to One L by Scott Turow, as they go beyond the first year to offer perspectives throughout the law school experience, including lessons learned from colleagues, mentors, family, and above all students.” — Mike Spivey, Spivey Consulting Group
There are a number of “lessons learned” contained in this book but there seem to be two prime lessons woven into the fabric of these stories of a teacher. The first lesson learned is stated in metaphorical terms in Chapter 3 and describes the best law school teacher as “a Socratic teacher who could lead and orchestrate an entire class much like the best of symphony conductors . . . but leaves the making of music to orchestral players.” More direct are his descriptions of real teachers as those who earn the trust of their students, have a sense of humor and create an effective “classroom chemistry." ... As a colleague of Professor Becker’s, Michael Waterstone, wrote, this book “ought to appear on every dean’s recommended reading list for people considering law school, or about to enter law school, or about to begin as an entry level teacher in law school.” To which I would add, “and every pre-law advisor.”— Gerald Wilson, Duke Universiy