Teaching course in “Legal Accounting” at the law school, in the mid-1980s. Course relating to law office management, but also including introductory financial accounting. Very introductory, but necessary. Remember meeting one of my recently-qualified legal colleagues, one year after commencement of practice. Said he couldn’t understand it. Had billed $120,000, in 1979 dollars, yet the bank was calling him about his loans. Asked him how much was in receivables, versus how much had actually been collected. Most uncollected. He was treating billings as the equivalent to cash.

So introduced some very elementary accounting to the law student class, and then decided that mid-term exam would be appropriate. Reactions being mixed. Everything after first year expected to involve 100% final exams. Why do I have to prepare myself for a mid-term?

Then the mid-term results. Not a series of solid “B” range marks. Some definite marginals.

Then the outrage. How dare you tell me that I might fail this course?

Met a student on the street. Said there is a petition started. Complaints, complaints.

Went to the Vice-Dean. He said ignore it. I didn’t. Got upset with the class. Wrong move. Heightened tension.

So much so that at the time of the final, there were two other full-time professors present. Guess the part-time instructor was viewed as out of control.

Don’t remember if anyone failed. Do remember meeting at least one student, later in practice, who repeatedly denied that he had ever been in the course.

Shared nightmare. Not repeated.


About brucelarochelle
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