April 30, 2007
New Law Fellows of American Academy of Arts & Sciences Announced...
...here. The new members are: Akhil Amar (Yale), Christopher F. Edley, Jr. (Dean at Boalt, formerly Harvard), Henry Hansmann (Yale), Herbert Hovenkamp (Iowa), Pamela Karlan (Stanford), Judge David Levi (U.S. District Court in Sacramento, soon to be Dean of Duke), former Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Richard Revesz (Dean at NYU). (I am told O'Connor's nomination was extremely controversial, given her reputation among academics, but I don't know the details.)
In addition, two Foreign Honorary Members were elected: Rosalie S. Abella of the Canadian Supreme Court and William Twining, Quain Chair in Jurisprudence Emeritus at University College London and a frequent visiting professor of law at the University of Miami.
Some (though far from all) of the embarrassing sins of omission noted before were rectified this year.
April 29, 2007
Overrated and Underrated Law Schools in US News
The US News top 100 are here, and here is the list of "tier 3" and "tier 4" schools. Which law schools do readers consider overrated and underrated relative to the more traditional academic criteria of merit that play only a minor role in the US News rankings? (A comparison with the academic reputation results may shed some light on this, at least for the top 20-25.)
Underrated is always more pleasant to comment on, so here are the schools that strike me as obviously underrated (and even allowing for the fact that I'm not exactly a neutral observer as to the first two): Chicago at #6, Texas at #18, Illinois at #25, Wisconsin at #31, Hastings at #36, Arizona at #44, Arizona State at #51, Case Western at #53, Florida State at #53, Chicago-Kent at #60, Loyola/LA at #66, the two Rutgers law schools at #70 and #77, Miami at #70, San Diego at #85, Hofstra and Syracuse in tier 3, Wayne State in tier 4. Truth be told, even a relatively well-informed observer of legal education like myself really is not in a position to comment on a majority of the tier 3 and tier 4 schools--so perhaps others will weigh in. My guess is that in some sense most of them are being underrated simply by virtue of being dumped into a demeaning category like "tier 4."
I'll leave "overrated" to the commenters, though a comparison with the reputation scores suggests that at the high end the most obvious candidate is Penn (#6 in the overall ranking, circa #10 in reputation). No anonymous comments (meaning I have to be able to confirm the identify of the poster from the name and e-mail address); post only once, as comments may take awhile to appear.
UPDATE: An anonymous comment was submitted regarding one of the schools mentioned above, which I won't post in its original form since I have no way of confirming its accuracy. This individual wrote in part:
I appreciate your blog, but can you please not cavalierly call [School X] underrated? The employment prospects out of [School X] are awful. Having [School X] on your resume does not open any doors. Most of my 2L peers are working for nothing this summer. Almost half of the class does not have a job at graduation. Only the top 10% of students have a chance at a job which pays enough to justify the school's tuition....I could go on and on, but I could never express how much I regret attending this school. So sir, please, this is an important decision to students and your blog is highly credible. Please give applicants the whole picture.
As I noted, above, my judgments about "over" and "under"-rated were by reference to academic criteria, such as faculty and student quality. But it is surely fair for professional students to emphasize, as this correspondent did, employment prospects. Even so, I suspect that employment prospects do not distinguish many of the schools that are similarly ranked by US News (and not only because the self-reported employment stats printed in the magazine are largely works of the imagination).
Student (Numerical) Quality Rankings Redux
Based on correspondence with various students, it seems not everyone has noticed that the recently posted ranking of law schools based on the numerical credentials of students (primarily, though not exclusively, LSAT scores) included two lists, one based on 75th percentile credentials, one on 25th percentile credentials. Some schools fare markedly better on one list than on the other; if you look at school performance across both categories, you get the following top twenty (so these are the twenty with the highest 75th and 25th percentile scores, weighted evenly); the rank based on 75th and 25th percentile credentials, respectively, follows in parentheses:
1. Yale University (1, 1)
2. Harvard University (2, 2)
3. Columbia University (3, 3)
4. New York University (4, 5)
5. University of Chicago (7, 4)
6. Stanford University (5, 8)
7. Georgetown University (day class only) (8, 6)
8. University of Virginia (9, 7)
9. Northwestern University (6, 12)
10. University of Pennsylvania (10, 9)
11. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (11, 10)
12. Cornell University (16, 11)
12.Duke University (14, 13)
14. University of California, Berkeley (13, 18)
15. Vanderbilt University (18, 15)
16. University of Southern California (20, 14)
17. University of California, Los Angeles (12, 23)
18. Fordham University (17, 20)
18. University of Notre Dame (21, 16)
18. University of Texas, Austin (15, 22)
Boalt Dean Recommends Student Who Posted Threat Against Hastings on "Autoadmit" be Expelled
The Boalt student who thought it funny to post a Virginia-Tech-style copycat threat against the University of California, Hastings College of Law on the notorious Autoadmit cesspool/discussion board is now apparently facing expulsion, according to an e-mail sent to the community by Boalt Dean Edley, which reads in part:
On Wednesday, April 25, 2007, the Law School filed a complaint with the U.C. Berkeley Judicial Affairs Office against the law student who claimed responsibility for posting the threat on a website. We, the administrative leadership of Boalt, believe that the student’s action is clearly in violation of a number of regulations detailed in the Student Code of Conduct. The case will be adjudicated by Judicial Affairs according to campus regulations. Those regulations prohibit us from disclosing the name of the student against whom we are proceeding.
Based on the facts as we understand them today, we have recommended expulsion. This is based not only on the intrinsic wrongfulness of the act itself, but also the disruption, turmoil and emotional toll on the Hastings community and, to a more limited extent, the Boalt community as well. I have received ample evidence of this through a great many emails, some of them painful to read.
April 28, 2007
Pfander from Illinois to Northwestern
James Pfander (federal courts, constitutional law, civil procedure) at the University of Illinois College of Law has accepted a senior offer from the law school at Northwestern University.
April 26, 2007
"Naturalizing Jurisprudence: Essays on American Legal Realism and Naturalism in Legal Philosophy"
...has now been published in the U.S. It is available in paperback, so hopefully someone will read it!
Hirings, Lateral Moves, Visits in Tax Law
Blog Emperor Caron has compiled all the news for 07-08 here.
April 25, 2007
Snyder from Tulane to American
David Snyder (contracts, commercial law), Professor of Law at Tulane University, has accepted a senior offer from the Washington College of Law at American University.
Yu from Michigan State to Drake
Peter Yu (intellectual property, communications law, comparative law), Associate Professor of Law at Michigan State University, has accepted an endowed chair on the law faculty at Drake University.
April 24, 2007
Cain and Love from Iowa to Santa Clara
Patricia Cain (sexuality & the law, tax) and Jean Love (remedies, civil rights, constitutional law), both chaired professors of law at the University of Iowa, have accepted senior offers from the law school at Santa Clara University.