A Sad Day for BLS

Last night, Professor Osler confirmed in his blog what I have feared since I learned that he was considering it some time ago: Professor Osler is leaving BLS. While I’m happy for he and his family, I am saddened by the loss of quality at BLS. Truthfully, it is a devastating blow to the law school’s criminal curriculum. I will most likely write about my thoughts on that subject at some point in the very near future, but that’s not the purpose of this post.

Professor Osler is unique. It’s rare to find a man so incredibly brilliant that is, at the same time, humble. I would venture to say he’s one of the most genuinely humble people I’ve ever met. He does not boast of his achievements (which is an impressive list); when he does tell stories, most often he refers to his failures. When he does mention the successes he’s achieved, there’s always another point to it. He never fails to mention how a student was involved in the process. He’s also the most accessible professor I’ve ever had. Of course, he has his blog, which is always funny, insightful, and challenging. It was how I first got to know him and interact with him before we ever spoke face to face (Aside: it’s actually funny when I think back, I would see him in the hall and not know whether or not to say hi to him, because I wasn’t sure if he knew I was the one that ran this blog or not). Beyond the blog, Professor Osler is approachable and accessible. I’ve never felt more welcomed into a professor’s office than I did the first time I met with the Prof. Normally I almost feel like I’m wasting the professor’s time by going and seeing them (though I’m sure that’s a product of my imagination most of the time), but Prof. Osler dismissed that intimidation quickly by genuinely appearing interested in my questions and remaining engaged. While it’s always obvious that the man is an absolute genius, that genius never gets in the way of his communication. Instead, his wit remains accessible and his communication style straightforward. It’s as though he holds his gift lightly, as though it’s on loan and he must be responsible with it. Take a peek at his writings and his achievements and you’ll see that he’s been responsible and then some.

Professor Osler is caring, what is normally expected of a professor. His classes are challenging; his Criminal Practice and Procedure course featured what ended up being the low point of my law school career, which I wrote about back in the fall. But I wouldn’t be where I am today without those moments, and Professor Osler provided me with real, direct encouragement that showed me that the lessons that I gleaned from those struggles were correct. That encouragement helped rebuild my confidence in new ways, and the challenges that class presented prepared me for my current challenge (Practice Court) in ways I still don’t fully understand. Through his teaching, he showed me that I didn’t have to be embarrassed by failure, but that I should embrace as a learning opportunity.

Professor Osler is inspiring in a way that few professors are. I know what career path I want to take because of him. Because of him, I feel a sense of duty to use my education not just to go make money or put the bad guys away, but to make a difference. When his mentor passed, he wrote, “Prof. Freed was the warm, kind, brilliant, engaged teacher who probably never realized the profound effect he had on his students. He engaged us on many levels– challenging our beliefs and ideas at the same time that he challenged us personally and supported us in our endeavors.” I smiled to myself when I read the entire post, because I could read through his words the hope that he was living up to his mentor’s legacy. It made me smile because Professor Osler is my Prof. Freed. Recently I told him as much, and I hope that he knows the impact that he has on his students goes far beyond the classroom. For me, he embodies the kind of lawyer that I want to be. I will always think back to Professor Osler’s inspiration and hope that I am living up to the challenge that he set for me.

I am out of words, so I will just say this. Thank you, Professor. I am forever grateful for your inspiration and encouragement.

2 Responses to “A Sad Day for BLS”

  1. 1 Brooke March 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    This makes me SO sad and I’m not even a law student. I’m starting to think there’s a Wacoan of the year curse, where they always move out of state right after.

  2. 2 Mark Osler March 27, 2010 at 11:47 pm


    I think the guy last year is still here! I met him at a social work thing.

    And Peter… don’t make me tear up.

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