September 27, 2006
Harvard Law School's New Seminar in Legal Theory and Methodology
Harvard Law School has apparently introduced a new seminar for their SJD students on "Legal Theory and Methodology" in order (as Orly Lobel puts it) "to provide students who are just beginning their dissertation work foundations in canons of legal thought." Professor Lobel has the details, including the syllabus, here.
A New Approach to College Rankings?
Blog Emperor Caron has the details.
September 25, 2006
Do Students Choose Law Schools with an Eye to Law Teaching?
Nancy Rapoport, former Dean of the law schools at the University of Houston and the University of Nebraska, writes with advice to law school Appointments Committees:
People choose to attend particular law schools for all sorts of reasons, but I don't know too many who choose a law school based on whether or not that school is a good "feeder" school for budding law professors. Don't punish the candidate for his choice of law school. Look beyond the group membership (choice of law school) to the candidate's talent.
This is not consistent with my anecdotal evidence over the last dozen years or so. I talk frequently with prospective students at Texas who are interested in law teaching, what we do to help aspiring law teachers, and how their prospects for law teaching coming from UT would compare with opportunities from other top schools; we sometimes lose students as transfers to Yale or Stanford after the first year, precisely because they want to maximize their chances for law teaching; and I've heard from hundreds of students over the years about my data on which schools produce the most law teachers, suggesting a high level of student interest in selecting a school with an eye to entering law teaching. That schools like Yale, Harvard, Chicago, and Stanford dominate the market for new law teachers surely has a great deal to do with self-selection.
I would be interested to hear what students and other academics think about Professor
Rapoport's claim. (As a sidenote, I agree with her more general points about what to look for in hiring new law teachers.) Comments may take awhile to appear; post only once. Non-anonymous comments are, as usual, more likely to be approved.
September 22, 2006
"Wave of departures" from Yale Law School Imminent?
A professor at Yale Law School writes:
Yale Law School may experience a wave of departures. [James] Whitman's going to New York (NYU or Columbia), [Alec] Stone Sweet is flirting with Columbia and Stanford, Kenji Yoshino will follow Whitman to one or the other, [Reva] Siegel and [Robert] Post are visitng at Harvard and one of them really wants to go.
Whitman, the distinguished legal historian and comparative lawyer, has lived in New York City for some time, so it is hardly surprising he would think of shortening his commute to work, though his departure would be an especially big blow for Yale.
September 20, 2006
"The Future of Legal Scholarship" in the Era of Blogs and the Internet
Two more essays from the Yale Law Journal Pocket Part symposium are now on-line: Rosa Brooks writes about "What the Internet Age Means for Female Scholars" and I write about "Why Blogs Are Bad for Legal Scholarship." (Rosa and I are so predictable!) I don't know if either of us are right, but I suspect both short essays will stimulate some discussion.
SSRN Downloads, Once Again...and Some More Skeptical Thoughts
So the new updated SSRN download data is on-line. There is so much wrong with the aggregate download data, it's hard to know where to begin, but let's start with something that obviously catches my eye. Texas now ranks 2nd (behind Harvard) for the most downloads in the last 12 months. Of the 28,000 downloads, two people account for about 19,000 of those downloads: me and Bernie Black (Bernie for more than me). Subtract us, and Texas slips just outside the top 20. Now Bernie and I are wonderful, to be sure, but this does seem to overstate our importance to UT's scholarly reputation. (Some of you may have heard of my colleagues Philip Bobbitt and Sanford Levinson and Lawrence Sager...they're pretty good too, actually. But they don't play the SSRN game.) (Things aren't much better for Harvard, where one faculty member, Lucian Bebchuk, accounts for more than one third of all the school's downloads in the last 12 months.)
Another curiosity: Ohio State ranks 18th in total downloads in the last 12 months, with 10,715...but 6,528 of those are due to one faculty member, Christopher Fairman, and almost all of those are due to one provocatively titled paper.
SSRN downloads make for amusing chatter and fairly meaningless competition...but that's about all, I suspect.
September 19, 2006
UC Irvine Still in the Running for a 5th UC Law School
Contrary to recent reports in the media, the University of California, Irvine’s proposal to establish a School of Law is actively under consideration by the University of California. On Wednesday, Sept. 20, I will give an informational presentation and answer questions on the law school at the UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco.
UC Riverside is also making a bid for a new Southern California UC law school.
"U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Bogus"
Yes, they are. (Though, I must note, the "2007 Educational Quality Rankings" this fellow cites don't exist. But that's minor.)
UPDATE: In response to a reader query: citing the absurd Cooley/Brennan rankings doesn't help the cause either, but it also doesn't change the fact that Hastings is badly screwed by U.S. News.
Is David Luban Being Serious?
I almost fell out of my chair when I read this:
Comparing the quality of articles in the top student-edited law reviews with the quality of articles in the top peer-reviewed philosophy journals (my own scholarly point of reference), I have never been able to detect superiority in the peer-reviewed philosophy journals. By and large, I think that law review editors – at least at the top law reviews, where the editors have an embarrassment of riches to choose from – have been pretty good gatekeepers.
Perhaps what Professor Luban meant is only that the quality of the most high-profile law review articles about law is on a par with the quality of the most high-profile philosophy journal articles, by reference to the standards of each discipline. But surely Professor Luban would have to agree that the sophomoric philosophical twaddle that has appeared in leading law reviews--Joseph Singer on "The Player and the Cards: Nihilism and Legal Theory" in the Yale Law Journal, Gary Peller on "The Metaphysics of American Law" in the California Law Review, Pierre Schlag on "The Problem of the Subject" in the Texas Law Review, etc.--would never have appeared in even second- or third-tier journals edited by philosophers.
September 18, 2006
Nevada Dean Morgan to Retire at End of Academic Year
Richard Morgan, the Dean of the Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas for the last ten years, has announced that he will retire from the Deanship and the faculty on June 30, 2007. Dean Morgan led the new Boyd School to ABA accreditation and membership in the Association of American Law Schools, and also oversaw the development of an unusually strong faculty for such a young law school.