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

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Puzder to withdraw as the nominee for Secretary of Labor

This is another reason Deans probably should not be vouching for political appointees.

February 15, 2017 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, February 14, 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).

 

*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).

 

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

 

*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.

 

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

 

*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.

 

*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.

February 14, 2017 in Faculty News | Permalink

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lateral hiring in law schools networks--the diagram

This is amusing, courtesy of law professor Ryan Whalen (Dalhousie), a recent JD/PhD graduate of Northwestern.  One minor drawback is that faculty who retire and move elsewhere are treated as ordinary lateral moves.  (So, too, with moves to assume Deanships:  there too, the reasons for the move are different than ordinary lateral moves.)

February 13, 2017 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, February 9, 2017

In Memoriam: Roger Cramton (1929-2017)

Former Dean of Cornell Law School, he also taught at the Universities of Chicago (from which he graduated) and Michigan.   His scholarly work was in the areas of legal ethics and conflicts, and he also held several important public service posts during his career.  The Cornell memorial notice is here.

February 9, 2017 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

TaxJazz

Learn about tax and tax policy, courtesy of Marjorie Kornhauser (Tulane).

February 9, 2017 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ABA votes to reject change to bar passage requirement for law schools

The proposal would have required that 75% of graduates taking the bar pass within two years of graduation.  I suspect in a Trump Administration, there will be less danger of the ABA losing its accreditation role, but I can imagine a more aggressive Education Department in the future wondering what the explanation could be for rejecting such a standard. 

More details here.

February 7, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

$25 million gift to Minnesota Law...

...to support a center to deal with legal issues confronting new immigrants, as well as a clinical position and student support.   This is the biggest gift in Minnesota Law's history!

February 7, 2017 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, February 6, 2017

One year Masters of Legal Studies at University of Chicago Law School

We're accepting applications again.  The program is aimed at PhD students, who have completed coursework, and are either about to embark on dissertation writing or at early stages, and whose work would benefit from a year of law study.   See the site for details.  We admit only a couple each year, but it is fully funded, covering tuition and providing a living stipend.

February 6, 2017 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Judge Gorsuch should speak out in defense of judicial independence in light of Trump's latest disgraceful behavior

Excellent point by my colleague Eric Posner.

February 4, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Friday, February 3, 2017

Deans of 20 ABA-approved law schools in California call on California Supreme Court to intervene and reset the scores for bar passage

Here is the letter:   Download 2 1 17 LTRtoCalSupCt (003)

It's quite clear there's no real justification for California failing more bar takers than any other state in the country.

February 3, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jerome Frank's argument for the absolute priority rule in bankruptcy

This is classic:

Courts of equity have a tradition of aiding the helpless, such as infants, idiots and drunkards.  The average security holder in a corporate reorganization is of like kind.

This comes from "Some Realistic Reflections on Some Aspects of Corporate Reorganization," 19 Virginia Law Review 541, 569 (1933).  (I owe the reference to a working paper by my colleagues Douglas Baird, Anthony Casey, and Randy Picker.)

February 2, 2017 in Jurisprudence, Legal Humor | Permalink

I'm not sure we should hold high school antics against nominees to the federal bench...

...but founding the "Fascism Forever Club" does raise questions about one's judgment, even allowing for age!

(Thanks to Michael Swanson for the pointer.)

ADDENDUM:  It appears Judge Gorsuch attended a high school run by quite liberal Jesuits (unlike the late Justice Scalia who went to a famously conservative Jesuit high school in New York).   I imagine his liberal teachers tended to deride conservatives as "fascists," ergo the conservative students decided to "zing" them back!

ANOTHER:  This story confirms that it was, indeed, a joke (and not even an actual club).

February 2, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Should a law school Dean be writing op-eds in support of controversial (or even uncontroversial) political appointees?

That's an issue posed by a dispute between Nancy Staudt, Dean of the law school at Washington University, St. Louis--who wrote an opinion piece in support of Andrew Puzder, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Labor, who is also an involved alum of Wash U--and Emeritus Professor Richard Kuhns, whose open letter you can read here:   Download Puzder letter Kuhns.  Professor Kuhns thinks it was inappropriate for the Dean to write this column; I am inclined to agree.  But I am curious what others think about the propriety of Dean Staudt's piece.  Signed comments only: full name and valid e-mail address.  Submit the comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.

February 2, 2017 in Faculty News, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Supreme Court clerks by school, 1882-2017, 2005-2017 (UPDATED & CORRECTED)

Brad Hillis called this data compilation he did to my attention; I haven't verified its accuracy, but the recent (2005-17) data looks roughly right.  Readers can weigh in at Wikipedia to correct the data if need be.  Neither list is adjusted for class size.

Here are the twenty law schools that have produced the most Supreme Court clerks since 1882:

Rank/ Law School/ # clerks / % of all clerks

1) Harvard 607 27%

2) Yale 396 18%

3) Chicago 156 7%

4) Stanford 137 6%

5) Columbia 135 6%

6) Virginia 110 5%

7) Michigan 87 4%

8) Georgetown 61 3%

9) Berkeley 59 3%

10) NYU 54 2%

11) Penn 48

12) Northwestern 42

13) Texas 35

14) GW 26

15) Duke 21

16) UCLA 19

17) Notre Dame-17

18) BYU 13

19) Indiana 11

19) Minnesota-11

And here is Mr. Hillis's list of the top 20 law schools which have produced the most clerks since 2005 through 2017 (again, note that Harvard is more than twice the size of Yale, Stanford, and Chicago; that Virginia, Columbia, and NYU are about twice the size of the latter; etc.):

 

Continue reading

January 31, 2017 in Legal Profession, Rankings | Permalink

Monday, January 30, 2017

"Malevolence tempered by incompetence"

This is one of the more incisive and damning analyses of Trump's executive order on refugrees and visas.

January 30, 2017 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Friday, January 27, 2017

Startling development: Harvard Law students think they are more important than they really are!

Some want to play an "indispensable" role in the search for a new Dean.  I'm sure student feedback on candidates will receive some weight, but that's about it.  Were I a betting man (I am not), I would bet on  John Goldberg or John Manning--both current HLS faculty--to be chosen as the new Dean.

January 27, 2017 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cost-benefit analysis and the late Justice Scalia spell trouble for Trump's proposed border wall

Interesting analysis by my colleagues Daniel Hemel, Jonathan Masur, and Eric Posner.

January 26, 2017 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, January 23, 2017

The increasingly ugly demise of Charlotte Law School

A local news outlet records the details.  Charlotte is now betting on an Education Department under Besty DeVos being more favorable to them!

January 23, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink