David Kennedy, a specialist in international law at Harvard Law School, will move to Brown University in January, to take up the position of Vice President for International Affairs. (The Chronicle of Higher Ed has the story here.)
Bridget Crawford (Pace) has a rather sophisticated answer here. Pamela Karlan (Stanford), who seems to have coined the term (though I, alas, get the blame for popularizing it), offered this explanation of its meaning awhile back:
When I started
using the term "law porn" to refer to the glossy promotional materials
from various law schools (and I don't know whether someone else used it
first and I just picked it up or whether I was the originator), I was
playing off an existing expression -- "food porn." That phrase referred
to a kind of breathless, over-the-top journalism about obscure recipes,
usually accompanied by arty photos of food shot with annoying lighting
techniques and the like. My guess is that the word "porn" was being
used there to refer to the titillating way the articles appealed to the
senses. Lots of people had been using that term. I was struck by the
resemblances between the law school magazines and the foodie
publications. Like the food magazines, the law school magazines were
characterized by arty photos that often seemed designed to make the
buildings or the faculty look vaguely sexy, using come-hither photos.
Like the food magazines, the law school magazines used overblown
language littered with adjectives designed to convey a sort of
excitement. All you need to do is to look at the cover of the current
issue of NYU's magazine, with its "Dworkin on Dworkin" cover, and, at
least if you're in the legal academy, you'd see what I mean by law porn.
The entire point of calling the magazines "law porn" was to make fun
of them, so the fact that the term seems nonsensical to you suggests
its utility. At least within the community to which I was directing my
remarks -- namely, friends in my faculty lounge and colleagues at other
law schools -- my experience has been that the phrase communicates
exactly what I intended: people instantly recognize the phenomenon and
share my reaction to it.
The law schools at the University of San Diego, California Western, and Pepperdine University are all closed today. (Others may also be affected, but these are the ones I know about.) Professor Tom Smith, on the USD law faculty, is writing about the fires here; he and his family have had to evacuate their home. Coverage of the San Diego fires can be found here and this map shows the location of fires throughout Southern California. Pretty scary. Let us hope the winds die down soon!
I promise not to make a habit of this, but I could not help noticing that after I pointed out the obvious a couple of weeks ago--that Professor David Bernstein (George Mason) has a blind spot for recent attacks on academic freedom by forces outside the universities because so many of the victims, like Norman Finkelstein and Joseph Massad, are critics of Israeli policy towards the Palistinians--Professor Bernstein took it upon himself to launch new smear attacks on both of them. Neither attack is worthy of someone who is a scholar.
Here is a statement about the case from their attorney, Deborah Gordon:
Three professors from Tom Monaghan's Ave Maria School of Law filed a multi-part complaint against Thomas Monaghan, Bernard Dobranski and associated entities in Washtenaw County Circuit Court on Oct. 17. Monaghan serves as Chair of the Board of Governors and Dobranski is the President and Dean.
The three professors claim that they were removed from their positions in retaliation for their having reported illegal conduct by Monaghan and Dobranski to law enforcement and other governmental agencies, and for refusing to go along with Monaghan's attempts to improperly control the Board by permitting his private, conflicting interests to supersede the best interests of the law school, including his attempt to re-locate the school from Ann Arbor to property Monaghan owns and desires to develop in "Ave Maria Town" Florida. Monaghan has claimed that the Virgin Mary personally directed him to develop Ave Maria Town and Ave Maria University in Southwest Florida.
A faculty vote against the planned move in September 2006 and a vote of "no confidence" in Dean Dobranski in April 2006 have not deterred the illegal, improper activity.
Two of these professors were denied tenure by Dobranski even though they received the unanimous support of the tenured faculty. Tenured Professor Safranek was ejected from the building and his salary and benefits terminated. Dobranski and Monaghan did not even grant him a hearing. The suit alleges Professor Safranek has been subjected to false smears as part of the retaliation effort.
The suit also alleges that certain staff used their positions and law school resources to obstruct a criminal investigation into a priest's alleged involvement in sex offenses, including possession of child pornography, and that Professor Safranek reported this to law enforcement.
This lawsuit is the latest debacle in the collapse of Ave Maria School of Law. This past summer nearly 1/2 of the faculty fled or were removed from the school. Approximately 40 first year students transferred to other law schools (out of a class of 135), and the quality of the incoming class continued to decline. Dobranski was forced to hire a slew visitation professors and adjuncts to keep the school afloat.