Saturday, March 18, 2017

"The Roles of Judges in Democracies: A Realistic View"

A new paper that might be of interest to some readers; the abstract:

What are the “obligations” of judges in democracies? An adequate answer requires us to be realistic both about democracies and about law. Realism about democracy demands that we recognize that electoral outcomes are largely, though not entirely, unrelated to concrete policy choices by elected representatives or to the policy preferences of voters, who typically follow their party based on “tribal” loyalties. The latter fact renders irrelevant the classic counter-majoritarian (or counter-democratic) worries about judicial review. Realism about law requires that we recognize that judges, especially on appellate courts, will inevitably have to render moral and political judgments in order to produce authoritative resolutions of disputes, one of the central functions of a legal system in any society. That means it is impossible to discuss the “obligations” of judges without regard to their actual moral and political views, as well as the moral and political ends we believe ought to be achieved.

March 18, 2017 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hemel & Herzig in the NY Times on efforts to repeal Obamacare (Michael Simkovic)

Daniel Hemel and David Herzig argue in the New York Times that a Republican plan to replace a tax penalty paid by the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act with a penalty paid directly to insurance companies after a gap in coverage could thwart Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare using budgetary reconciliation procedures.

March 16, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest, Weblogs | Permalink

Spring Break hiatus

There probably won't be too much new until the end of the month, though I'll try to put up anything time-sensitive.

March 16, 2017 | Permalink

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lateral hires with tenure or on tenure-track, 2016-17

MOVING TO FRONT--ORIGINALLY POSTED AUGUST 1, 2016

These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2017 (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.

 

*Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (corporate tax, international tax) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor to the University of California, Irvine (starting in 2018). (Avi-Yonah has now decided to remain in Ann Arbor)

 

*Angela Banks (immigration law) from the College of William & Mary to Arizona State University.

 

*Binyamin Blum (legal history, evidence, criminal procedure) from Hebrew University, Jerusalem to the University of California Hastings (starting in Spring 2018) (untenured lateral). 

 

*Christopher Bruner (corporate law, securities regulation) from Washington & Lee University to the University of Georgia.

 

*Nicolas Cornell (contracts, law & philosophy) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to the University of Michigan (law) (untenured lateral).

 

*Darby Dickerson (higher education law & policy, litigation ethics) from Texas Tech University (where she is currently Dean) to John Marshall Law School, Chicago (to become Dean).

 

*Ben Edwards (corporate law, securities regulation, consumer financial protection) from Barry University to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (untenured lateral).

 

*Tonya Evans (intellectual property, entertainment law, trusts & estates) from Widener University Commonwealth to the University of New Hampshire.

 

*Eric Franklin (corporate, contracts, economic & community development clinic) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (untenured latereal).

 

*David Gamage (tax) from the University of California, Berkeley to Indiana University, Bloomington.

 

*Sarah Haan (corporate) from the University of Idaho to Washington & Lee University.

 

*Kevin Haeberle (corporate law, securities regulation) from University of South Carolina to the College of William & Mary (untenured lateral)

 

*Sam Halabi (health law) from the University of Tulsa to the University of Missouri, Columbia.

 

*David Hoffman (contracts, law & psychology) from Temple University to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*Blake Hudson (environmental law, natural resources, land use) from Louisiana State University to the University of Houston.

 

*Lolita Buckner Inniss (property, legal history) from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law to Southern Methodist University.

 

*Kurt Lash (constitutional law) from the University of Illinois to the University of Richmond.

 

*Pamela Metzger (criminal law & procedure) from Tulane University to Southern Methodist University.

 

*Samuel Moyn (legal history, human rights) from Harvard University to Yale University.

 

*Shu-Yi Oei (tax) from Tulane University to Boston College.

 

*Hari M. Osofsky (energy law, climate change, law & science) from the University of Minnesota to Pennsylvania State University (to become Dean).

 

*Alice Ristroph (criminal law & procedure, constitutional law, political theory) from Seton Hall University to Brooklyn Law School.

 

*Victoria Sahani (alternative dispute resolution, international arbitration) from Washington & Lee University to Arizona State University.

 

*Michael Hunter Schwartz (legal education & pedagogy) from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock to McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific (to become Dean).

 

*Joshua Sellers (election law, constitutional law, legislation, civil procedure) from the University of Oklahoma, Norman to Arizona State University (untenured lateral).

 

*Michael Simkovic (bankruptcy, tax, corporate) from Seton Hall University to the University of Southern California.

 

*Matthew Tokson (criminal procedure, cyberlaw, intellectual property) from Northern Kentucky University to the University of Utah (untenured lateral).

 

*Franita Tolson (election law, constitutional law, employment discrimination) from Florida State University to the University of Southern California.

 

*Rebecca Tushnet (intellectual property, First Amendment) from Georgetown University to Harvard University.

 

*Ryan Vacca (intellectual property) from the University of Akron to the University of New Hampshire.

 

*Urska Velikonja (corporate, securities regulation) from Emory University to Georgetown University.

March 15, 2017 in Faculty News | Permalink

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

University of Florida embarrasses itself...

...by promoting random movement in the "overall" US News rank as meaningful, rather than noise.  This only came to my attention because their PR office actually sent it to me!  They should do some research about whom they send this stuff too!  What's especially unfortunate about press releases like this is that it legitimizes the US News metrics, which can only come back to haunt schools when the "overall" nonsense number moves in the opposite direction for no discernible (or, in any case, meaningful) reason.

UPDATE:  More superficial reporting, treating random movements as having meaning, or as worthy of note.  95% of movement in the US News "overall" rank is attributable to schools puffing, fudging or lying more than their peers in how they report the data to US News (or the reverse, for schools that drop); US News, recalls, audits none of the self-reported data.

March 14, 2017 in Legal Profession, Rankings | Permalink

Monday, March 13, 2017

Law Schools Unfairly Ranked by U.S. News

MOVING TO FRONT (ORIGINALLY POSTED FROM OCT. 3 2011, WITH MINOR REVISIONS), SINCE IT IS TIMELY AGAIN

I've occasionally commented in the past about particular schools that clearly had artificially low overall ranks in U.S. News, and readers e-mail me periodically asking about various schools in this regard.   Since the overall rank in U.S. News is a meaningless nonsense number, permit me to make one very general comment:   it seems to me that all the law schools dumped into what U.S. News calls the "second" tier--indeed, all the law schools ranked ordinally beyond the top 25 or 30  based on irrelevant and trivial differences-- are unfairly ranked and represented.  This isn't because all these schools have as good faculties or as successful graduates as schools ranked higher--though many of them, in fact, do--but because the metric which puts them into these lower ranks is a self-reinforcing one, and one that assumes, falsely and perniciously, that the mission of all law schools is the same.  Some missions, to be sure, are the same at some generic level:  e.g., pretty much all law schools look to train lawyers and produce legal scholarship.  U.S. News has no meaningful measure of the latter, so that part of the shared mission isn't even part of the exercise.  The only "measures" of the former are the fictional employment statistics that schools self-report and bar exam results.  The latter may be only slightly more probative, except that the way U.S. News incorporates them into the ranking penalizes schools in states with relatively easy bar exams.  So with respect to the way in which the missions of law schools are the same, U.S. News employs no pertinent measures. 

But schools differ quite a bit in how they discharge the two generic missions, namely, producing scholarship and training lawyers.  Some schools focus much of their scholasrhip on the needs of the local or state bar.  Some schools produce lots of DAs, and not many "big firm" lawyers.    Some schools emphasize skills training and state law.  Some schools emphasize theory and national and transnational legal issues.   Some schools value only interdisciplinary scholarship.  And so on.  U.S. News conveys no information at all about how well or poorly different schools discharge these functions.  But by ordinally ranking some 150 schools based on incompetently done surveys, irrelevant differences and fictional data, and dumping the remainder into a "second tier", U.S. News conveys no actual information, it simply rewards fraud in data reporting and gratuitously insults hard-working legal educators and scholars and their students and graduates.

March 13, 2017 in Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Criminal case against Minnesota law professor Francesco Parisi falling apart

First, bail was reduced from $500,000 to $3,000, and now the criminal charges are about to be dropped.  I would imagine Professor Parisi will have a good defamation action against the accuser.  Do see the comments by the lawyer involved in the property dispute between Parisi and his accuser:   this lawyer "believes the criminal allegations were being used to defame and retaliate against Parisi."

UPDATE:  It's official, all charges against Parisi have been dropped, but not until he had to spend three weeks in jail!  Unbelievable, I imagine Professor Parisi will explore his legal options against the local authorities.

March 9, 2017 in Faculty News | Permalink

Harvard Law to join U of Arizona in accepting GRE, as well as LSAT, for admissions purposes

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Blog Emperor to become Law Dean!

I don't do many announcements about Deanship appointments, but I must make an exception for the Blog Emperor himself, Paul Caron, who has been named the new Dean of the Law School at Pepperdine University!  Congrats to Paul and to Pepperdine!

 

March 7, 2017 in Faculty News | Permalink

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota) and Colleen Chien (Santa Clara) win American Law Institute Young Scholars Medal (Michael Simkovic)

The press release is here.  The award is highly selective.  The ALI--publisher of the influential Restatements of Law and co-creator of the Uniform Commercial Code--selects two out of thousands of eligible "young scholars" every two years for work that has the potential to change the law for the better.  

Congratulations to Dan and Colleen!

Continue reading

March 1, 2017 in Faculty News, Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Watch out for the "International Agency for Development of Culture, Education and Science (IADCES)"

MOVING TO FRONT FROM LAST FRIDAY, IN CASE ANYONE MISSED IT!

The University of Chicago Law School has issued the following statement; prospective authors take note!

It has come to our attention that a website run by the International Agency for Development of Culture, Education and Science (IADCES) is purporting to assist authors with submission of academic work to nearly 20 academic journals in various fields. One of these journals is the University of Chicago Law School’s Journal of Legal Studies. This website is in no way affiliated with the University of Chicago Law School, nor the Journal of Legal Studies, and submitting an article through this website will not in any way get an article submitted to JLS. We believe that is true of the other esteemed academic journals the site lists as well.
 
This website, at http://iadces.com/, provides instructions for submissions by emailing to a gmail address and requires the payment of a fee to have the article reviewed. At least as far as JLS is concerned, this website is a scam. The Journal of Legal Studies does not charge a review fee. Submitting to the email address on this site will not get the piece submitted to JLS. The instructions on how to format your paper have nothing to do with JLS. The fee will be paid to those who run the website, not toJLS.
 
Authors wishing to submit their work to the Journal of Legal Studies should visit the journal's website for instructions. Authors wishing to submit to any of the other journals listed on this website should visit those journals’ official web pages.

March 1, 2017 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, February 27, 2017

In Memoriam: E. Clinton Bamberger (1926-2017)

Emeritus at the University of Maryland, Bamberger represented the defendant in the Supreme Court case that gave us the "Brady rule" in criminal procedure, requiring the prosecution to disclose to the defense evidence that might help the accused.  The NYT obituary is here.  His Maryland colleague Robert Condlin tells me that, in addition to his well-known work and advocacy for legal services for the poor, he was also active in clinical legal education.

February 27, 2017 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Minnesota Law Professor Parisi...

...charged with sexual assault, stalking.  Pretty serious, and shocking, allegations here!

ADDENDUM:  More context, suggesting a motive for the alleged victim to have fabricated events.

February 23, 2017 in Faculty News | Permalink

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A long piece on where things stand in the Markel murder case...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Other successful strategies for improving bar performance?

Following up on yesterday's post about Syracuse Law's successful reforms that dramatically improved the bar pass rate of its graduates, I wonder if other schools have similar stories to share?   Signed comments only--full name and valid e-mail address; post your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear (I have a busy day).

February 21, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 20, 2017

How Syracuse Law made its graduates into stars of the New York Bar exam

We noted awhile back Syracuse's impressive results on the July 2016 New York bar exam--a pass rate of 89%, fourth highest in the state, behind only Columbia, Cornell, and NYU, and ahead of Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn, Buffalo and others.   I recently visited Syracuse, and talked with Professor Christian Day about the changes they made to achieve these results.  He kindly gave me a written version to share; I'm sure this will be of interest to many schools.  Professor Day writes: 

In the later 1990s and early 2000s Syracuse had a terrible bar pass rate. One year it was dead last among the 15 New York law schools.  A faculty ad hoc committee was created and it developed a program over several years. 

 

Under Dean Hannah Arterian’s leadership the faculty adopted 1L and upper-class curves.  The curves are centered on a low B (2.9-3.0) and approximately 8% of the 1L class is dismissed.  Before the implementation of the curve, most of the students who were dismissed were re-admitted and placed on probation.  But only 10% of that group passed the bar for the first time.   With the new curve, a much smaller group of students is re-admitted and placed on probation.  The Structured Curriculum, described below, and a comprehensive bar success program, which includes a staff member dedicated to the bar success effort have provided a foundation for achievement.  We also inaugurated a comprehensive third year bar prep program.   That program was mandatory for those on probation and voluntary for the balance of the student body.

 

A consultant worked with the College and confirmed that bar exam success was correlated to 1L class rank AND the number of so-called “bar courses” students had taken. Syracuse had a 90% pass rate for students in the upper 75-80% of the 1L class who had taken most of the bar courses for grade.  Students who failed the exam took around four of those courses, often on a pass/fail basis.  The faculty adopted the Structured Curriculum that requires all students on probation and those below a 2.50 average at the conclusion of the first year to take the following courses for grade:  Commercial Transactions, New York Civil Procedure, Business Associations, Constitutional Criminal Procedure—Investigation and Adjudication, Wills and Trusts, Family Law, Evidence, and Foundational Skills for Professional Licensing  (a bar prep course taught by faculty or staff that emphasizes exam prep and writing).

 

The efforts have borne fruit. In 2014 Syracuse and St. John’s tied for fourth place among the New York law schools.  In 2016, with the adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam, Syracuse was again in fourth place behind NYU, Columbia and Cornell. 

February 20, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink