Should English law school chiefs follow US example of being ‘roasted’?

Avatar photo

By Judge John Hack on

Heads of ULaw and BPP could benefit from American tradition

roast copy

On the basis that anything to do with the legal profession in the US will eventually wend its way across the Atlantic, then English law school leaders need to pay attention to what is about to befall Nick Allard.

Allard — the highly respected dean of Brooklyn Law School in New York — is bracing himself for a public humiliation in the guise of a “roast”.

But before social media goes bonkers, US roasting is considerably different from the type English footballers are fond of.

It involves a formal dinner during which the subject of the roast is pilloried — in the nicest possible way — by a compere and a parade of acquaintances and “friends”. Even the US president is occasionally put through the ordeal.

According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, queuing up to roast Allard will be a Fox television commentator, as well as Mark Rotenberg, vice president and general counsel to Johns Hopkins University, the current and former Student Bar Association presidents, a former borough president, and the head of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

But Allard (pictured below) should be able to take the heat. A lawyer himself, he is a former partner at top Washington DC lobbying law firm Squire Patton Boggs.


Located just the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Heights, the law school has some 1,400 students, with old boys including former NYC mayor David Dinkins and former US senator from Minnesota Norm Coleman.

All of which brings us back to Blighty. Legal Cheek wonders if the top dogs at England’s big law schools, the University of Law and BPP Law School, could benefit from adopting this lively American tradition.

Top points to whichever institution first organises a roasting of their respective deans, John Latham and Peter Crisp (who are pictured above), with any proceeds going of course to charity.