Bias notwithstanding, particularly against what's called the "elites" of the legal profession, this is an intriguing look at...


A spirited account of how the relatively recent establishment of the Massachusetts School of Law struggled to survive despite the concentrated opposition of the American Bar Association.

In a style reminiscent of Tracy Kidder, freelance journalist Hagan conjures up a number of the colorful characters who helped launch MSL in the late '80s. Among the more flamboyant actors in this legal drama is Michael Boland, who founded MSL's immediate predecessor, the Commonwealth School of Law. Although it quickly shut down, due to Boland's mismanagement, he made at least one good move in hiring Lawrence Velvel as dean. By Hagan's account, Velvel, who has made a career out of his contrarian positions, was ideally suited to be dean of the fledgling school. After Commonwealth collapsed, Velvel and a cadre of motivated students formed MSL to take its place, offering a new model of legal education that targeted older, working-class students, offering them a practical education in the nuts-and-bolts of practice. With Boland out of the picture, Velvel and his partners still encountered opposition from the ABA, which refused to accredit the school. The central charge here against the ABA is that it seeks to maintain the status quo of the legal profession by stifling innovation and denying an affordable legal education to non-traditional students. Although MSL went as far as bringing an antitrust suit against the organization, it never received the accreditation it needed for perceived legitimacy. Nonetheless, Hagan, whose subjective viewpoint should be assumed, highlights what she considers the school's successes. (MSL, not Hagan, holds the copyright to the book–it's certainly a good piece of recruitment material.)

Bias notwithstanding, particularly against what's called the "elites" of the legal profession, this is an intriguing look at the near-insurmountable hurdles in creating a new breed of law school.

Pub Date: July 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-7618-2838-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2011

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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Moving and motivating—a must-read for practicing professionals and would-be musicians.



Inspirational lessons from the life of one tough teacher.

Today’s parents who lament their children stressing over tests may be horrified by the themes of tough love and tenacity offered by this biographical tribute to the late Jerry Kupchynsky, “Mr. K,” a gifted high school strings teacher from East Brunswick, N.J., whose exacting methods helped spawn the careers of generations of musicians and educators. Journalist Lipman and Kupchynsky, a violinist and Mr. K’s daughter, met as children when Mr. K joined his daughter’s exceptional talents on violin with Lipman’s on viola to form half of a string quartet that would also include Kupchynsky’s younger sister, whose disappearance decades later reunited the authors. The bond forged through the intensity of creating music is but one of the storylines running through this engrossing account of Mr. K’s life. Born in 1928 in the Ukraine, Mr. K endured a litany of wartime atrocities before immigrating to the United States as a refugee in 1946. But prior to fleeing to the U.S., it was the sound of a German soldier playing the violin that sparked his love for classical music. Surviving these early hardships helped instill in Mr. K an appreciation of adversity as a motivator, an unflagging belief in the value of hard work and a willingness to fight for the underdog. With a booming Ukrainian accent and “trim” mustache, Mr. K’s battle-ax demeanor and perfectionist drive struck both fear and a ferocious desire to succeed in the hearts of his pupils. One of his more unforgiving approaches involved singling out a section’s weakest player—“Who eez deaf in first violins?”—and forcing the guilty party to play alone with a stronger player until the weak one improved. While tactics like these may not have earned his students’ immediate devotion, they never forgot him and often found they could achieve more than they ever dreamed.

Moving and motivating—a must-read for practicing professionals and would-be musicians.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2466-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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