July 19, 2007
Don't Name Your Law School After a Racist! (*Updated*)
Or else you're headed for trouble.
UPDATE: The foul-mouthed former head of the Board of Trustee at Roger Williams University has asked that his name be removed from the law school, which is no doubt a welcome turn of events for the faculty and students there who do not deserve the unfortunate association.
July 18, 2007
How Many Degrees of Separation Are You from Cass Sunstein?
At last, thanks to Professors Edelman and George at Vanderbilt, we have the answer! Professor Edelman writes:
We had to search by hand through multiple data bases to track down co-authors of co-authors of Sunstein for our project and we really need more eyes on the results to ensure that we got everyone who belongs. We are hoping that the more people who look at the paper, the more reliable the data will be.
E-mail Professor Edelman with corrections.
July 17, 2007
What the Employment Stats from the Last US News Rankings Would Have Looked Like Under the New Approach
A colleague sent me a revealing chart, showing what the employment stats for the top law schools would have looked like if U.S. News had already been employing the new policy of treating those unemployed but allegedly "not seeking employment" as part of the stats. UCLA's placement would have fallen from the reported 99.7% to 94.4%, while USC's stats would have fallen from 98.2% to 93.3%! Those were the biggest changes (5.3 and 4.9 percentage points, respectively), though Michigan and Vanderbilt were close: Michigan's employmente rate would have dropped from 99.7% to 95.8%, while Vanderbilt's would have gone from 99.0% to 95.5%. Only Cornell and Stanford would have been unaffected by this change, though the differences for Penn, Duke, Yale, and Columbia would all have been less than 1%. (Texas, for those curious, would have reported an employment rate 1.2% lower.)
To be sure, there are some graduates of law school who are genuinely not seeking employment--but it has surely not been in the numbers that some schools have been reporting.
Thompson from UCLA to Penn State
Via Blog Emperor Caron, I learn that tax scholar Samuel Thompson at UCLA has accepted a senior offer from the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University. That's a significant catch for Penn State!
July 16, 2007
US News to Change Measure of Job Placement
On this year's questionnaire (for the 2007-2008 year), when asking about the Feb. 15, 2007, job status of a law school's 2006 graduates, the ABA combined the three categories of unemployment it used previously into one category. The previous three categories were graduates who are unemployed and seeking work, graduates who are unemployed and studying for the bar full time, and graduates who are unemployed and not seeking work. Now, law school graduates will be listed as being employed, going to graduate school, or unemployed.
This change by the ABA will most likely make the placement data that law schools report more accurate and less subject to manipulation. Why? Law schools will have fewer choices to categorize the employment status of their graduates, making the reporting of these data less subject to manipulation or strategizing. As a result of this change in the ABA survey, U.S. News will no longer break these three groups out separately for the purpose of calculating the proportions employed at graduation and those employed nine months after graduation. U.S. News will now be able to count all three of these groups as unemployed.
On the theory that law schools are far more likely to tell the truth to the ABA, than to U.S. News, this will likely result in somewhat more accurate job placement data being reported. Under the old system, "unemployed and not seeking work" was the fudge category, where schools would dump unemployed grads on the flimsiest of pretenses (e.g., he didn't return a call from the Career Services Office; she was offered an RA job, and turned it down) in order to exclude them from the data. For school's whose actual employment rates are not that good, there is likely to be more pressure to hire unemployed grads as RAs or in other temporary positions...or perhaps to enroll them in non-tuition-charging LLM programs at the school, so that they count as "going to graduate school"! Or perhaps schools shall simply start pushing the envelope with the ABA, which may require the ABA to be ready to use its accreditation stick to insure truth in reporting. We shall see....
Garoupa from Portugal to Illinois Part-Time (*Corrected*)
Nuno Garoupa (comparative law and economics, institutional economics), Professor of Law and Economics at Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portgual., will join the law faculty at the University of Illinois this August on a half-time basis; the rest of the time he will be on the law faculty at the University of Manchester in the U.K.
July 15, 2007
Advice for Those Interested in Law Teaching
Mary Dudziak (USC) has helpfully collected links to a variety of blog and Internet postings on this subject.
July 13, 2007
Updated and Corrected Faculty Lists for 2007 Citation Study
The new (and I hope penultimate) list is here: Download law_faculty_lists_0708.rtf. Wake Forest has been added to the study, based on data the school supplied. Note that the definition of part-time faculty has been altered to deal with some difficulties that arose with the earlier categorization: part-time faculty now means non-tenure-stream academic faculty (e.g., judges, practitioners, regular visitors, usually from abroad) who do some teaching and produce scholarly work. Tenure-stream faculty, even if in residence for only part of the year, are simply listed in the regular faculty list. Part-time and affiliated faculty will not be included in the citation study. There was significant division of opinion about how to handle clinical faculty. Where Deans or Associate Deans asked that their tenure-stream clinical faculty be included, on the grounds that scholarship is an important part of their job, I have included them; otherwise, they have been left off. Deans or Associate Deans may e-mail me with further corrections on this score. All other corrections or additions should also be e-mailed to me at this stage. Please give some explanation for the correction: e.g., X is retired, or X will be joining our faculty in January, or X is not a tenure-stream faculty member, and so on.
As noted, we shall utilize the same search methodology as in the July 2005 study. The two differences will be that (1) we shall search every non-emeritus tenure-stream member of the academic faculty, in order to secure the per capita rate of citation; and (2) the searches will be confined to literature in the databases that has appeared from 2000 to the present. (We will also need to employ a discount factor, since the data collection will take several days, during which time the database may increase in size. We will use the citation total for Cass Sunstein as the measure of how much the database increases during the period when the data is being collected, since he is the most frequently cited legal scholar in the U.S.) I am still investigating whether JSTOR is a viable supplemental database.
I would be pleased if schools want to submit the results of self-studies as a check on our process. The data will probably be collected in August.
Thanks to everyone for their assistance, advice, and feedback.
ADDENDUM: We are rounding results to the nearest ten to avoid misleading precision and to simplify calculations.
A New Law School in the Works for Maine?
The Adjunct Law Prof Blog has details.
July 12, 2007
Gee from Vanderbilt to Ohio State
Gordon Gee, Chancellor of Vanderbilt University where he is also a professor of law, will become President of Ohio State University, a post he held more than a decade ago. The Vanderbilt announcement is here.