May 19, 2007
Congratulations to UT Law's Class of 2007
It's been a pleasure and privilege to have had the opportunity to work with many of you during your time in the Law School. I'm sure I speak for all my colleagues in wishing you much professional success and personal happiness in the years ahead. I look forward to seeing many of you at today's graduation ceremony.
May 17, 2007
UC Irvine Authorized to Hire a Founding Law Dean
So reports this local newspaper:
UC Irvine officials got the go-ahead today to hire a founding dean for the university's recently approved law school, at an annual salary of $233,200 to $364,300.
The campus has begun recruiting for the position, in hopes that the new school will open in 2009. No one has been selected for the job.
Finding a new dean quickly will be crucial to that deadline, as he or she would be in charge of hiring the first faculty members and building a major law library.
I have a prediction about who they will choose (a quite successful sitting law Dean, committed to interdisciplinary scholarship, and with Califiornia ties), but since it's not based on real evidence, just speculation, I'll keep it to myself!
May 16, 2007
Miller to Retire at Harvard, Take Up Post at NYU
Arthur Miller, co-author with my late great colleague Charles Alan Wright of the leading treatise on Federal Practice and Procedure, will retire from the Harvard Law School faculty where he has taught since 1972 (Miller turns 73 this year). In the fall, he will take up a University Professorship at New York University School of Law.
Washington & Lee's Morant to be New Dean at Wake Forest
Blake Morant (administrative law, contracts, media law) at Washington & Lee has been appointed the new Dean of the law school at Wake Forest University. The Wake Forest press release is here.
May 15, 2007
Interview about Legal Philosophy
I've posted at SSRN the text of an interview with me about legal philosophy, which will appear in the volume Legal Philosophy: 5 Questions, due out later this year. The questions that all those interviewed address are the following:
1. Why were you initially drawn to the philosophy of law?
2. For which of your contribution(s) to legal philosophy so far would you most like to be remembered, and why?
3. What are the most important issues in legal philosophy, and why are they distinctively issues of legal philosophy rather than some other discipline?
4. What is the relationship between legal philosophy and legal practice? Should legal philosophers be more concerned about the effect of their scholarship on legal practice?
5. To which problem, issue or broad area of legal philosophy would you most like to see more attention paid in the future?
Why is it so easy to get tenure in law schools?
With all the blogospheric chit-chat about tenure, I thought I'd post, once again, a link to this old discussion of mine (prompted by a question from a philosopher) about why it is so easy to get tenure in law schools.
I'd be curious to hear what other law faculty think. Post only once; comments may take some time to appear. As usual, non-anonymous comments stand a far better chance of being approved.
May 13, 2007
Harvard Makes Offers to Rubenstein, Sitkoff
Harvard Law School has made tenured offers to William Rubenstein (civil rights, civil procedure) at UCLA and Robert Sitkoff (wills, trusts & estates) at New York University.
May 10, 2007
Top 10 Corporate and Securities Articles of 2006
Courtesy of Robert Thompson (Vanderbilt), here is the list of authors whose articles were chosen as among "the 10 best corporate and securities articles" based on a poll of scholars in the field: Stephen Bainbridge (UCLA), Lucian Bebchuk (Harvard), Bernard Black (Texas) (two articles), Stephen Choi (NYU), Brian Cheffins (Cambridge), James Cox (Duke), Jill Fisch (Fordham), Ronald Gilson (Columbia & Stanford), Zohar Goshen (Columbia), Henry Hansmann (Yale), Henry Hu (Texas), Marcel Kahan (NYU) (two articles), Michael Klasuner (Stanford), Reinier Kraakman (Harvard), Gideon Parchomovsky (Penn), A.C. Pritchard (Michigan), Edward Rock (Penn), D. Gordon Smith (Wisconsin, but moving to BYU), Richard Squire (Fordham), and Randall Thomas (Vanderbilt). You can download the full list of articles here: Download the_top_10_corporate_and_securities_articles_of_2006.doc
There is a flurry of (rather ignorant, it seems to me) postings by academic bloggers (mostly law professors) about tenure, most of which are linked from this item. In response to one of the items, David Luban (Georgetown) makes an excellent point about tenure and academic freedom:
The reason that tenure appears to function to protect academic freedom only "every now and then" is because it does a good job of protecting academic freedom, so that enemies of academic freedom don't even bother assaulting it except in a few unusual, perfect-storm cases such as Ward Churchill. But once tenure is abolished, I believe the assaults would come fast and furious.
The group most in need of tenure protection of their academic freedom is not law professors, nor left- or right-wingers in the humanities or social sciences. It is natural scientists--particularly in public universities--working on health and safety issues pertaining to Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Anyone. It takes little imagination to see that, with billions of dollars at stake, major industries would pressure boards of trustees to fire anyone studying bad health effects of (say) Vioxx, or petroleum emissions. Private universities might be somewhat more immune from special-interest pressure, but they too could expect economic clout to be wielded to silence their pesky scientists.
But set scientists aside, and turn to law professors. Here, the test case of what happens without academic freedom is the campaign against law school environmental clinics at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Oregon, the Universities of West Virginia and Wyoming, and above all Tulane. (I wrote about this a few years ago in Taking Out the Adversary: The Assault on Progressive Public Interest Lawyers, 91 Cal. L. Rev. 209, 236-40 (2003).) Each clinic began projects that gored oxen of local business interests, and each was subjected to a withering campaign to destroy it or make its work more difficult.
I don't disagree with you that some law professors take advantage of tenure to cut their responsibilities to a minimum. The way to handle that is through merit raises (or rather, their absence) if the dean sees that the professor is an exploiter. Or by asking those who do no research to teach additional sections, or take on heightened committee work or administrative assignments.
It bears noting that tenure is not, contrary to what most of these discussions seem to suppose, "guaranteed" lifetime employment. Tenure means that one can be terminated only for "good cause," which imposes both substantive and procedural requirements on the firing of a tenured professor. The real solution in the case where a tenured faculty member fails to perform his or her responsibilities is to establish "good cause." That can be done, and it is done, though usually not in the limelight that attaches to the politically motivated cases, like that of Ward Churchill. That it is not done more often is because (1) there aren't, contrary to popular myth, that many cases of tenured faculty failing to discharge their duties, and (2) the cost of retaining non-performing tenured faculty is usually substantially less than the cost of terminating them (in part because of ).
May 9, 2007
Now: Visits and Hires in Legal History
From Prof. Dudziak.