As you recently reported, Jack Weiss, chancellor of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU, has submitted his resignation after serving for eight years. Weiss was an outsider; he came not from full-time academia, but instead brought with him the experience of a professional legal career that included working for the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court and practicing with several of the top law firms in Louisiana before joining a prestigious New York firm, where he specialized in a First Amendment practice.
There was, not unexpectedly, some resistance from certain members of the full-time law faculty on the selection committee at the Law Center to Weiss’ selection. However, the majority of the committee felt that he was far and away the best choice for the position. Like his predecessor, Professor John Costonis, Weiss reached out to and engaged with the law alumni and raised unprecedented support for the school. We, those alumni, who recognize that we owe much to the Law Center, responded to that outreach and backed what Weiss sought to accomplish for our school, such as the Energy Law Center, a brilliant proposal given the importance of the energy industry in Louisiana. Weiss was always guided by the question, “Is this the right thing to do for our students?” Every program and policy change he recommended and put in place was predicated on the answer to that question.
There are always those who are uncomfortable with change, and that is to be expected. However, Weiss did not believe in change for its own sake; rather, he was guided by a desire to improve LSU Law. Perhaps it is a measure of the worth of Weiss’ programs that the alumni, who might be expected to have wanted things to stay the same, were fully behind those programs.
We are saddened by his decision to step down. We believe that it is imperative that LSU Law continues the initiatives set in motion by him; and to Weiss, we say we are indebted to you for your accomplishments in making the Law Center a stronger institution.
S. Gene Fendler
president, LSU Law Alumni Board of Trustees