Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Student Loan Marriage Penalty (Michael Simkovic)

How should marriage affect legal determinations of ability to pay, and therefore obligation to pay?  These are questions that tax scholars have long debated.  Similar issues are now being debated in higher education circles because of the growth of income-based student loan repayment plans.

In the context of Federal Income Taxation, marriage can either be a financial boon for the taxpayer or a financial burden, depending on the relative incomes of the two spouses and other complexities.  Policy makers generally wish to avoid penalizing marriage, but also wish to avoid being unduly harsh toward those who are single.  The current system reflects a messy compromise.

In the context of income contingent repayment of student loans, married debtors may be harshly penalized if Department of Education proposed regulations remain unchanged.  This is bad policy and a misreading of Congressional intent according to Professor Philip Schrag of Georgetown, a notable expert on income based repayment plans.  Schrag argues that the proposed regulations and definitions of Income adopted by the Department of Education for the REPAYE program should be revised to more closely parallel the Income Taxation approach.  Schrag's comment on the DOE regulations is available here.  


July 29, 2015 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's educational malpractice to recommend that incoming law students read Llewellyn's "The Bramble Bush"...

...as, alas, Michael Krauss (George Mason) does in The Washington Post no less.  Llewellyn's book is delightful and rich with interesting material, but I guarantee it makes no sense to someone who hasn't already read a lot of cases and studied some basic common-law subjects, like torts and contracts.  (I offer the basic Jurisprudence course here as a 1L elective in the Spring Quarter, and to those students it makes a lot of sense precisely because they've already seen so many examples of what Llewellyn is talking about.)  The one book I recommend to students who ask what to read before starting law school is Ward Farnsworth's The Legal Analyst (though the "Jurisprudence" part of the book isn't really about jurisprudence).  This is accessible to a novice, and provides a beginning law student with a variety of useful analytical tools.  (Farnsworth, now Dean at Texas, is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and the book actually covers much of the material covered in "Elements of the Law," a required fall quarter class for all 1Ls here--indeed, one of my colleagues who teaches "Elements" uses Farnsworth's book in the class.)


July 28, 2015 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hiring Committees for 2015-16

The Prawfs thread has been open for about ten days now, and will be useful to those on the teaching market.  Other schools can also announce their hiring plans for this coming year.


July 24, 2015 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

Thursday, July 23, 2015

In Memoriam: Christopher Fairman

Ohio State Law Professor and Associate Dean Christopher Fairman passed away uexpectedly this week.  He was 54.  Details are here.


July 23, 2015 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Rostron & Levit's useful compilation of information about submitting to law reviews...

...has been updated again.  They write:

We  just updated our charts about law journal submissions, expedites, and rankings from different sources for the Fall 2015 submission season covering the 204 main journals of each law school.  

A couple of the highlight from this round of revisions are: 

First, the chart now includes as much information as possible about what law reviews are not accepting submissions right now and what dates they say they'll resume accepting submissions.  Most of this is not specific dates, because the journals tend to post only imprecise statements about how the journal is not currently accepting submissions but will start doing so at some point in spring.

Second, there continues to be a gradual increase in the number of journals using and preferring Scholastica instead of ExpressO or accepting emails submissions: 22 journals prefer or strongly prefer Scholastica, 14 more list it as one of the alternative acceptable avenues of submission, and 10 now list Scholastica as the exclusive method of submission.  

The first chart contains information about each journal’s preferences about methods for submitting articles (e.g., e-mail, ExpressO, Scholastica, or regular mail), as well as special formatting requirements and how to request an expedited review.  The second chart contains rankings information from U.S. News and World Report as well as data from Washington & Lee’s law review website.

The Washington & Lee data, I should note, is mostly silly (among other things, it does not control for publication volume by the journals).  Law review prominence and visibility tracks law school reputation, full stop.  For some specialty journals, the W&L data is somewhat useful, but that's about it.


July 22, 2015 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Visiting faculty at the top six law schools, 2015-16, 4th & Penultimate draft

MOVING TO FRONT:  YALE LIST IS NOW, I THINK, COMPLETE--PLEASE NOTIFY ME OF ANY REMAINING ERRORS

As I've done in the past, I'm posting a list of the visiting professors (who hold university appointments elsewhere) at the top six law schools, the schools that are "top six" by almost all measures of faculty quality--which are also the schools that also typically have the most visiting professors on a regular basis. While many visiting stints are made with an eye to possible permanent appointment, not all are; some are so-called "podium" visits, which aim to fill an immediate teaching need at the school. By my calculation, for example, maybe 5% of the visits last year resulted in (or are in process of resulting in) offers of permanent employment--perhaps a slightly higher percentage of the non-podium visits resulted in such offers. Often visitors from local schools in the area are invited for podium visit purposes--though some "locals" may also be "look-see" visitors, i.e., under consideration for appointment. NYU also has a fair number of "enrichment" and "global" visitors, well-known senior folks who are keen to spend some time in New York, but who aren't necessarily interested in, or being considered for, lateral moves. (Columbia gets some of these folks too.) From the outside, of course, it's very hard to tell all these apart, so here, without further comment, are the visiting professors for 2015-16; please e-mail me about omissions or corrections (though I'm hopeful this is the final version).

Please note that not every visit, below, is for the entire academic year; indeed, my guess is at least half are not, meaning students can expect many of these faculty to *also* be teaching at their home institution. In the case of HLS, many of the visitors come in the Winter Term, i.e., just the month of January.

Please also note that this is supposed to be a list of visiting faculty who have gone through some kind of appointments process at the school at which they are visiting, whether a process for look-see visitors, "enrichment" visitors, or podium visitors.  These are supposed to be faculty who are teaching at the host school and who are being paid by the host school to teach.

Columbia Law School

Aharon Barak (Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya)

Noa Ben-Asher (Pace University)

Hanoch Dagan (Tel Aviv University)

David Enoch (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

James Forman (Yale University)

David Gliksberg (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

Sudhir Krishnaswamy (National Law School of India)

Jennifer Laurin (University of Texas, Austin)       

Dennis Patterson (European University Institute; Rutgers University, Camden; University of Swansea)

Scott Shapiro (Yale University)

Dan Simon (University of Southern California)

Julie Suk (Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University)

Mila Versteeg (University of Virginia)

Rose Cuison Villazor (University of California, Davis)

Continue reading


July 21, 2015 in Faculty News | Permalink

Monday, July 20, 2015

Denise Lunsford, the county prosectuor in Charlottesville, VA, is a disgrace

Unbelievable.  The UVA Law School should set up a clinic devoted to monitoring this menace to the justice system.


July 20, 2015 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Friday, July 17, 2015

Stapleton elected to British Academy

Jane Stapleton, a distinguished torts scholar at the University of Texas School of Law (and previously at the ANU), has been elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.


July 17, 2015 in Faculty News | Permalink

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Are scholarship and teaching complementary? (Michael Simkovic)

A new empirical article by Tom Ginsburg and Thomas J. Miles finds evidence of possible complementarity between scholarly output and quality of teaching at the University of Chicago.

From the conclusion:

The recent debate on the mission of American law schools has hinged on the assumption that a trade-off exists between teaching and research, and this article’s analysis, although limited in various ways, casts some doubt on that assumption.

Tom Ginsburg & Thomas J. Miles, The Teaching/ Research Trade-Off in Law: Data From the Right Tail, 39 Evaluation Rev. 46 (2015).


July 16, 2015 in Faculty News, Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Science | Permalink

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What attributes predict student success in law school?

Two Colorado law professors (actual scholars, not the notorious clown!) have undertaken an interesting longitudinal study of law school success, looking at data, though, from just two schools:  Colorado and Case Western.   It is informative about schools with similar profiles, but I wonder whether the results hold if one looks at much stronger or much weaker schools?

(Thanks to Dean Rowan for the pointer.)


July 14, 2015 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice | Permalink

Friday, July 10, 2015

It's official, the enrollment decline is over!

According to LSAC, June 2015 LSAT takers were up 6.6% from June 2014, the first time we've seen an increase since June 2010, and the biggest increase since June 2009.  I wouldn't suppose that this means we will see a significant increase in applicants, but it certainly seems likely we've hit a plateau.


July 10, 2015 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

LSAC now reporting (as of July 3) that total applicants are down only 2% since last year

Monday, July 6, 2015

UC Davis's Vikram Amar to be the new Dean at the University of Illinois

I'll post a link to a news release when one is available.  Perhaps now that Illinois has appointed a distinguished Dean from the outside, those U.S. News evaluators who have been punishing Illinois in the reputational surveys will consider giving the school a more generous score?

UPDATE:  The Illinois announcement.


July 6, 2015 in Faculty News | Permalink

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lateral hires with tenure (or equivalent), 2015-16

These are appointments that will take effect in 2016; I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in.  Last year's list is here.

*Steve Vladeck (federal courts, national security law, constitutional law) from American University to the University of Texas, Austin.

 

*Melissa Wasserman (patents, intellectual property, administrative law, torts, innovation law and policy) from the University of Illinois to the University of Texas, Austin.


July 2, 2015 in Faculty News | Permalink