Thursday, March 15, 2018
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
"Academic Freedom and the Obligations of University Administrators" especially regarding faculty speech
MOVING TO FRONT FROM MARCH 12: UPDATED
A different wrinkle on this issue is presented by the new allegations that Prof. Amy Wax (Penn) has disparaged the academic performance of African-American students at her law school. Here academic freedom affords her no protection: any identifiable group of students at a school has a right not to be openly disparaged for its competence by faculty or administrators at their institution, and the Administration should both correct the record and would be within rights, in my view, to take disciplinary action against Prof. Wax (I do not think this is an offense justifying termination, but lesser disciplinary steps would be warranted). Think of it in Pickering terms: faculty disparagement of some identifiable portion of the student body interferes with the school's core functions, including helping members of the disparaged group find suitable employment upon completion of their education. (Contrary to the letter from the Penn alumni and students, it is not clear to me that Prof. Wax's statements violate the "anonymous grading policy," if the Penn one is like that at most schools: exams are marked without knowing the student's identity, but after the grades are turned in, the professor learns how each student performed. On the other hand, students have a reasonable expectation and entitlement, perhaps even protected by FERPA [I'm less sure about that], not to have their academic performance disclosed to third parties by the faculty member.)
UPDATE: Is Prof. Wax the Ann Coulter of the legal academy? Her colleague Tobias Wolff comments.
ANOTHER: Penn's Dean Ruger has removed Prof. Wax from teaching required 1L classes. As a punitive measure, that seems rather mild, given the breach of professional obligations involved, but perhaps he is taking other actions as well. A good line from Dean Ruger's statement:
Our first-year students are just that – students – not faceless data points or research subjects to be conscripted in the service of their professor’s musings about race in society.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
MOVING TO FRONT, SINCE IT IS THAT TIME OF YEAR (BLOG EMPEROR CARON: I'M LOOKING AT YOU!)
When the new rankings come out shortly, may I suggest that you not post the overall ranking. You all know the overall rank assigned to a school by U.S. News is meaningless, often perniciously so. It combines too many factors, in an inexplicable formula, and much of the underlying data isn't reliable, and some of it (e.g., expenditures on secretarial salaries and electriciy) isn't even relevant. You all know this. So don't report it. The fact that this garbage appears in what used to be a major 'news' magazine doesn't change the fact that it is garbage.
Instead, let me suggest that if you want to blog about the rankings when they come out, write about some of the underlying data that speaks for itself: the reputational scores, for example, or the bar passage rates, or the numerical credentials of the students. Those have limitations too--the median of 500 is not really comparable to the median of 200; the reputation scores are not based on presenting evaluators with any information about the schools being evaluated; and so on--but one can at least say clearly what the limitations are, and one is not hostage either to the dishonesty of the schools "reporting" the data or the sheer idiocy of the U.S. News ranking formula.
APRIL 9, 2009 ADDENDUM: I should also note that, to my knowledge, U.S. News has done nothing to address the methodological problems raised last year.
UPDATE (MARCH 5, 2013): The Dean of a flagship state law school writes, "Your post on US News Rankings is much appreciated. Schools like mine do not play the game, and truly try to keep our tuition low. We spend our money on our students and their education. The hypocrisy of the 'legal education reformers' astounds me. They will be the first to denigrate the education we offer here, since we are not a top 100 school. Thanks for the good message, even if not enough schools listen."
UPDATE (MARCH 10, 2014): Lawyer Bobby Cheren writes: "How about referring to them as the 'USNews.com' rankings from now on, as the magazine is essentially defunct?" Apt point!
AND REMEMBER: Changes in ranking do not mean anything in reality changed: it means only that some law schools lied/fudged in their data reporting/massaging more than their competitors.
These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2018 (except where noted); I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in. (Recent additions are in bold.) Last year's list is here. Feel free to e-mail me with news of additions to this list.
*Kerry Abrams (immigration law, family law) from the University of Virginia to Duke University (to become Dean).
*Richard Albert (constitutional law, comparative constitutional law) from Boston College to the University of Texas, Austin (effective January 2018).
*Albertina Antognini (family law, property) from the University of Kentucky to the University of Arizona (untenured lateral).
*Joshua Blank (tax) from a professor of practice position at New York University to the University of California, Irvine.
*Binyamin Blum (legal history, evidence, criminal procedure) from Hebrew University, Jerusalem to the University of California Hastings (effective spring 2018) (untenured lateral).
*Jeremy Bock (intellectual property, civil procedure) from the University of Memphis to Tulane University (untenured lateral).
*William Boyd (environmental law, energy law) from the University of Colorado, Boulder to the University of California, Los Angeles.
*Samuel Bray (remedies, property, constitutional law) from the University of California, Los Angeles to the University of Notre Dame.
*Stewart Chang (family law, comparative law) from Whittier Law School to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
*Frank Rudy Cooper (criminal procedure, civil rights, race, gender & law) from Suffolk University to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
*Diane Desierto (public and private international law) from the University of Hawaii to the University of Notre Dame (School of International Affairs).
*Victor Fleischer (tax, corporate law) from the University of San Diego to the University of California, Irvine.
*Nuno Garoupa (law and economics, comparative law) from Texas A&M University to George Mason University.
*Brandon Garrett (criminal procedure, civil rights) from the University of Virginia to Duke University.
*Andrew Gold (private law theory, fiduciary law, corporate) from DePaul University to Brooklyn Law School.
*Robert Jackson, Jr. (corporate law) from Columbia University to New York University (though he will be on leave initially while serving on the SEC).
*Kristin Johnson (financial markets, corporate) from Seton Hall University to Tulane University.
*Orin Kerr (criminal procedure, computer crime law) from George Washington University to the University of Southern California (effective January 2018).
*Rebecca Kysar (tax) from Brooklyn Law School to Fordham University.
*Jill Wieber Lens (torts, products liability, remedies) from Baylor University to the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville (effective January 2018).
*Sheldon Bernard Lyke, (property, trusts & estates, critical race theory) from Whittier Law School to Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law (untenured lateral)
*Jeremy R. McClane (corporate, securities, commercial law) from the University of Connecticut to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (untenured lateral).
*Justin McCrary (law & economics, empirical legal studies, corporate) from the University of California, Berkeley to Columbia University.
*Curtis Milhaupt (Japanese law, East Asian legal system comparative corporate governance) from Columbia University to Stanford University (effective January 2018).
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
...by trying to prevent Christina Hoff Sommers from speaking. There are many things one could say about Dr. Sommers, but she is not, contrary to the students, a "fascist," and she has arguments that one can argue with. That law students, in particular, should behave this way is appalling.
Sunday, March 4, 2018
We did a related poll nearly a decade ago, and I've taken pointers from that one in constituting the list of candidates here (though this one covers a shorter time span). I also consulted lists of the most cited legal scholars and the most cited articles in compiling the list. For living faculty, only those 60 or older in 2018 were included. Have fun! Some figures straddle the pre- and post-1945 period, but you may consider the impact of their pre-1945 work on American legal thought since then.
SINS OF OMISSION from the poll include Thomas Merrill, Martin Redish, Martha Fineman, and Janet Halley, among others that have been called to my attention. Others complain that there are too many choices!
UPDATE: A number of readers complained that more than 100 choices was too many, and is clearly discouraging people from participating, so I've shut it down. I may try again, perhaps breaking this into more discreet areas of legal scholarship or even more discreet time periods. Thanks to all who voted, and thanks to those who sent feedback.
Friday, March 2, 2018
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Friday, February 23, 2018
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
International law scholar and lawyer David Caron, and longtime member of the Berkeley faculty, who became Dean of the law school at King's College, London some five years ago, has died. I will add links to memorial notices as they appear.
(Thanks to Dean Rowan for the pointer.)
UPDATE: A memorial notice from KCL.
ANOTHER MEMORIAL NOTICE from Berkeley.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
...according to LSAC. This won't mean a 30% increase in applications, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a 10% bump in total applicants this year. This year has already been the best year to be on the law teaching market in at least five years, and I expect if we do see an increase in qualified applicants to law schools, we will see an increase in hiring of new law teachers next year as well.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Blast from the past: Ellmann v. Leiter on (what was then a proposal for) requiring clinical/experiential education
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
This finding--by my colleagues Adam Chilton, Jonathan Masur and our Behavioral Law & Economics Fellow Kyle Rozema--is hardly surprising, given how out of their depth most law review editors are in figuring out what to publish. Maybe law reviews should advertise that year's ideological tilt of its Articles Editors?
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
A FB friend pointed out the remarkable pattern of recent years: women who began their careers as tenure-track law professors at the University of Virginia, and are now Deans of leading law schools. They are Kerry Abrams (newly appointed Dean at Duke), Risa Goluboff (Dean at UVA), Liz Magill (Dean at Stanford), and Jennifer Mnookin (Dean at UCLA). I guess other leading law schools will know where to look in their next Dean search!