One year ago this month, the University of Maryland School of Law hired Philadelphia's Phoebe Haddon as its new dean. We check in with her and see how she's transitioning from Brotherly Love to Charm.
Where did you go to school?
In the legal profession, that question usually refers to your law school. But I've been in Baltimore long enough to know you're asking about high school. I went to public high school in Passaic, New Jersey.
What book or film most changed your life?
To Kill a Mockingbird, both the book and film.
What is the best advice you ever got?
"Always strive for excellence—nothing less will do." – my aunt Rachel B. Noel.
What is the biggest mistake you've ever made?
I went for an exam on the wrong day while I was in law school. Luckily, I went a day early but I almost died when I arrived and there was no one there.
What's the most pleasant surprise about Baltimore?
The restaurants here are terrific. Also, there are many bike and walking paths available to city residents, which are a wonderful resource that many people seem to use.
What's taken some getting used to?
The lack of adequate taxicab service. I almost missed a train out of Penn Station once because of tardy service and a cabbie who didn't know where the train station was!
Have crab cakes replaced Philly cheesesteaks in your affections?
I wish! I love crabs, but I can't eat them because I developed an allergic reaction late in life. What luck!
Lawyers often get a bad rap. Is that fair? Can a law school build a more loveable lawyer?
We're working on it! In our courses and clinics, particularly through our Leadership, Ethics and Democracy (LEAD) program, our students reflect on how they can collaborate and work together on teams as well as become leaders who impassion others to succeed.
You're the school's first African-American female dean. What does that mean to you?
Like others in my generation of African Americans and women, I stand on the shoulders of many people who fought for opportunities that have come my way. I hold a commitment to help others behind me in the same way.