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Dean tried to cut back GW law program

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Local,DC,Education,Rachel Baye,George Washington University

The former dean of the George Washington University Law School tried to scale back the Pathways to Practice Fellowship Program last year following reports that recent graduates were leaning a little too heavily on the program.

In June 2012, Paul Berman warned program participants that he would be cutting their university-funded pay from $15 an hour to $10.

"I have now heard several anecdotal reports of graduates turning down paying work so that they can remain in the Pathways Program and hopefully find more desirable work later," he wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Washington Examiner. "This is not how the program is intended to be used. You should jump at any legal work opportunity."

Cutting the pay would ensure that program participants would have incentive to find full-time positions, as well as ensure the university would be able to afford to continue footing the bill, he said. He also reminded participants to continue their monthly meetings with the school's Career Office -- a program requirement.

Mere hours after sending the email, Berman sent out a second note. Following "disappointment" from many program participants, Berman rescinded his decision to cut the pay.

"I designed this program to be the most generous it could possibly be, and indeed it is among the most, if not the most, generous program of its kind in the country," he wrote in the second email.

Berman, who was shifted to a vice provost position in January, declined to comment, referring questions to a spokesman. - Rachel Baye

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