November 29, 2006
Leslie Green Accepts New Jurisprudence Chair at Oxford
My part-time colleague Leslie Green, who has made major contributions to legal and political philosophy, has accepted the new Professorship of Philosophy of Law at Oxford University, which also includes a Fellowship at Balliol College. The Professorship, a new statutory chair, was created upon the retirement of Joseph Raz from his personal Chair, also at Balliol. It is one of just two statutory professorships in jurisprudence at Oxford, the other being held by John Gardner.
Green is currently Professor of Law and Philosophy at Osgoode Hall School of Law and in the Department of Philosophy at York University, Toronto, as well as a regular Visiting Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Green will continue to teach on a regular part-time basis at Texas even after assuming the Oxford Chair next fall.
The Most Controversial Podium Visitor in America?
Inside Higher Ed has an informative piece on the controversy brewing at the University of Minnesota Law School regarding a one-term podium visit for Robert Delahunty from St. Thomas, co-author with Berkeley's John Yoo of the now notorious "torture memo" (which generated its own, earlier, controversy for Professor Yoo at Boalt.)
UPDATE: Here is a sensible discussion of the issues by Brad Wendel, a legal ethics expert at Cornell.
November 28, 2006
New Legal History Blog
Here, from the legal historian Mary Dudziak at USC.
November 26, 2006
What Will be the Effects of a New U of California Law School on Existing Law Schools?
As noted, the University of California at Irvine has received approval to start a new UC system law school, the first in several decades (UC Davis, in Northern California, was the last), and only the second in Southern California (Northern California has three: Davis, Berkeley, and UC Hastings in San Francisco). Ethan Lieb (who teaches at Hastings) has already worried that it may affect their student quality and yield, though my guess would be that Hastings has both history and prestige on its side in most head-to-head competitions with Irvine. (Hastings, as we discussed once before, does have an underperforming faculty relative to its market position, but there are signs this is changing.) Most law schools, even most of the top law schools, tend to be fairly regional both in where their graduates practice and where their students come from. The new Irvine law school will have the immediate advantage of association with the prestigious "University of California" brand, as well as affiliation with a strong UC campus (though the latter will probably have less effect, except on a minority of students interested in interdisciplinary studies of one kind or another).
UCLA, the existing Southern California UC law school, will presumably weather Irvine's arrival without noticeable effect. One assumes (perhaps I'm wrong) that Southern California students who don't get into UCLA end up quite often at Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) and the University of San Diego. (To be sure, some So. Cal students probably go to Davis or Hastings or out of state to Vanderbilt or Notre Dame or George Washington or other schools with some national placement power.)
So the immediate question will be how a UC Irvine law school will fare against USD and Loyola/Los Angeles. Both of the latter have strong faculties and are well-established within their legal markets, but are they well-established enough to compete successfully against the "University of California" brand and much cheaper tuition? My guess is that these schools will have to channel more and more merit aid into students also admitted to Irvine, unless Irvine makes a really disastrous set of initial decanal and faculty appointments, in which case USD and Loyola/LA (which already dominate Hastings and Davis in many scholarly areas) may emerge unscathed from this development. (This, I admit, is an optimistic assessment: outside the top 15 or so law schools, it is not clear how much role scholarly excellence of the faculty plays in student enrollment decisions.) There is also the question of the general financial health of the University of California system. Even the one genuinely elite law school in the system, at Berkeley, is not entirely competitive with the other top law schools on faculty salaries, despite having substantial endowment resources that Irvine will not have. This may also present problems for the new Irvine law school, especially given the cost of housing.
If Irvine puts pressure on USD and Loyola/LA, that will have ramifications further down the "hierarchy" of Southern California schools: Southwestern, Whittier, Thomas Jefferson, etc. But the really disastrous--i.e., "school closing" effects--may be felt on the unaccredited law schools, where California leads the nation. To be sure, some of these schools probably ought to close (they collect substantial tuition revenues, but their graduates have very mixed prospects), so perhaps this will not be an entirely unhappy development.
I would be interested to hear from those more knowledgeable about the Southern California legal market. Non-anonymous posts will, as usual, be very strongly preferred. (Posts may take awhile to appear, so only post once.)
UPDATE: A Los Angeles reader points out that the Irvine law school has not, in fact, completed the formal approval process, although it is further along now than at any point in the past. I also neglected to mention the effect on the University of Southern California of an Irvine law school; my guess is the effect will be minimal, as USC has already competed successfully, and for a long time, with UCLA.
November 22, 2006
Posner on "Pragmatic Adjudication"
Last Thursday at the University of Chicago Law School, Judge Posner and I discussed this topic in a public forum. More information, and a link to the podcast of the session, is available here.
November 21, 2006
Yoo from Vanderbilt to Penn
Christopher Yoo, a leading young expert on issues at the intersection of law and technology at Vanderbilt, has accepted the tenured offer from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he will start next fall.
November 18, 2006
The Rise of VAP Programs
Blog Emperor Caron has updated his useful list of the proliferating Visiting Assistant Professor/Emerging Scholar/Bigelow-style programs which give folks one or two years of light teaching duties and an academic environment in which to cultivate their scholarship. Ten years ago, these were almost unknown, and even programs like Chicago's Bigelow Fellowships, which existed then, didn't really have as their aim attracting and developing promising young scholars and teachers. Are we heading into a period when very few will be hired into tenure-track jobs without first passing through one of these programs? I am curious what both senior and junior faculty (whether alums of one of these programs or not), as well as those interested in teaching, think of this development. (Post only once; comments may take awhile to appear.)
November 16, 2006
UC Irvine to Get a 5th California Law School
Irvine's press release is here.
Washington & Lee Law Library Updates Its Law Journal Rankings
Here, based primarily on citations and impact of articles published. The results in the "combined" ranking (citations and impact) are a bit odd, at least at the high end. Law review "prestige" and "visibility" tends to track school prestige and visibility, though as one gets further down the list this kind of ranking perhaps provides some useful information. It's also nice that it integrates faculty-edited journals with the student-edited law reviews. One can also search just faculty-edited journals by themselves; these results are also interesting, especially the "top ten" performance of the new Cornell-based journal devoted to empirical legal studies. Legal Theory, the journal I edit with Larry Alexander and Jules Coleman, also fared best among the various "law and philosophy" journals, which might be of some modest interest to those who followed our earlier discussion of journals in this area.
November 13, 2006
How Well-Prepared Are Newly Minted Lawyers?
LexisNexis and Harvard's Berkman Center are planning a survey to find out.