April 25, 2008
Longtime Faculty Member Raymond Nimmer Named Dean at Houston
The UH press release is here. I suspect Nimmer is a very fine choice, but it's a shame they felt the need to mention an increase in US News ranking as evidence! That, unfortunately, just contributes to the illusion that movement in US News is correlated with anything happening in the real world. It's not.
April 24, 2008
Ben-Shahar from Michigan to Chicago
Omri Ben-Shahar (law & economics, contracts, commercial law, intellectual property) at the University of Michigan Law School, where he is Director of the Olin Center for Law & Economics, has accepted a senior offer from the University of Chicago Law School. This appointment certainly solidifies Chicago's status as having the best 'under 50' faculty cohort in law and economics in the U.S. (Yale and Berkeley are not too far behind), and thus promises to continue Chicago's traditional dominance in the area.
April 23, 2008
Schauer from Harvard's Kennedy School to Virginia
Frederick Schauer, a leading figure in constitutional law (esp. the First Amendment) and legal theory, who has been Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at the Kennedy School at Harvard University since 1990, has accepted a senior offer from the law school at the University of Virginia. That is a really quite major hiring coup for UVA, which has taken something of a beating in recent years in terms of faculty losses.
Thoughts from a Berkeley Professor on the Yoo Case
A law professor at Berkeley writes:
Your postings on academic freedom and the John Yoo case have been pitch-perfect, from my point of view. Thank you for bringing some sanity to a sad and challenging affair.
This is obviously a very painful topic for those of us at Berkeley, for a whole host of reasons.
(1) There is the sadness at seeing a colleague, foolish perhaps in his desire to be near power and/or have his voice heard, and substantively (in my opinion) about as wrong as he could be, but a hardworking and responsible member of our community, having his reputation and career taking a beating; even a self-invited beating is painful to watch when it is in progress.
(2) There is the sadness at seeing our integrity as a community challenged. Like many US law schools we welcomed a number of prominent European Jewish emigres during the WWII years (e.g., David Daube (Freiburg, Oxford), Albert Ehrenzweig (Heidelberg, Vienna), and others); I believe this not only helped launch the university into the first ranks of research universities worldwide, it also deepened this community's commitment to tolerance and openness -- a direct cause, in my opinion, of the campus free speech movement and therefore indirectly at least of much that followed at US campuses. In light of this history, at a personal level I thought long and hard about how I should treat John Yoo when he returned to campus; many of us still struggle with questions of how to balance concern for complicity with the requirements of collegial civility. Even so, never once did I consider a move to revoke John's tenure, because he was in complete compliance with our standards. Only if that changes, due to a criminal conviction or the like, would it be appropriate to revisit the issue, in my opinion.
(3) This is painful because many people who do not know us might perhaps assume that John's work is representative of our views. As you well know, he is as much of an outlier here as he would be at most US law schools. Consider for example the work of my colleague, Chris Kutz. His essay on "Torture, Necessity, and Existential Politics," 95 Cal. L. Rev. 235 (2007), is a wonderful counterpoint to the memos John Yoo worked on, and it
expresses something much closer to what I believe is the consensus of the Boalt Hall faculty regarding the torture issue. (Incidentally, Chris' book, Complicity: Ethics and Law for a Collective Age, New York: Cambridge University Press (2000), has been a big help to me in deciding how to relate to John in light of his official actions.) Anyone looking into
the John Yoo issue, and particularly wondering how his views fit with those of his colleagues, are advised to consult Chris Kutz' work. Indeed, this is perhaps the best way to
demonstrate our views on academic freedom. We are not afraid to let John say what he thinks, because Chris can say what *he* thinks, and if I and many others are right, history will show that Chris has the better of it. Academic freedom in a nutshell.
Professor and Associate Dean Douglas Blaze Named Dean at Tennessee
The (other) UT press release is here.
April 22, 2008
Advice Sought on Summer Travel in Southern Europe
I have professional engagements this summer in Northern Italy and Spain, and was hoping to spend some time between events with my family at some appealing place (nice beach, good swimming, great food) on the Italian or French Riviera (i.e., inbetween the Italian and Spanish engagements). I would be grateful for suggestions! Many thanks.
Which Undergrad Majors Do Best on the LSAT?
It isn't, needless to say, the undergrads who study Political Science. Here, courtesy of the Department of Philosophy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is a ranking by the average LSAT score of students in each major that had at least 400 students taking the LSAT (the score is in parentheses):
1. Physics/Math (157.6)
2. Philosophy/Religion (156.0)
3. Economics (155.3)
4. International Relations (155.1)
5. Chemistry (154.5)
6. Government/Service (154.4)
7. Anthropology/Geography (154.1)
8. History (154.0)
9. English (153.7)
10. Biology (153.6)
Finance majors came in 12th (with an average score of 152.5) and Political Science majors were 18th (151.6 was their average score). The bottom seven majors, in terms of LSAT scores: Management, Business Administration, Health Profession, Education, Prelaw (that's a major?), and Criminology.
I'm sure the Philosophy result is dragged down by the fact that it is lumped with "Religion," which as an undergraduate major is much closer to history and sociology than to philosophy.
The impressive results for Physics, Math, Philosophy, and Economics must, one suspects, be credited in part to self-selection, but some surely reflects the intellectual rigor and demands of these courses of study. I am pleased to note that Philosophy majors, even though dragged down by Religion, outperform Economics majors. This, of course, corresponds exactly to the natural intellectual hierarchy evident throughout the legal academy!
Who is Visiting Where for 2008-09
Dan Filler (Drexel) has already collected a lot of information. Consistent with its hiring aspirations, Harvard has invited almost every law professor in the U.S. to visit once again. Note that Professor Filler's list does not distinguish between 'look-see' and 'podium' visits. The lists are also clearly not yet complete, at least for some of the schools that I know about. Share your info with Professor Filler!
April 21, 2008
Gergen from Texas to Berkeley
Mark Gergen (tax, contracts, torts), one of my most treasured colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin, has accepted a senior offer from the law school at the University of California at Berkeley. What a great hire for Berkeley! If I were not, myself, moving, I should be even more depressed about reporting this. Berkeley has hired a distinguished scholar, dedicated teacher, and outstanding institutional citizen.
April 20, 2008
Ghosh from SMU to Wisconsin
Shubha Ghosh (intellectual property) at Southern Methodist University has accepted a senior offer from the law school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he will also be Associate Director for Initiatives for Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship (in the Business School) and hold a courtesy appointment in the Center for South Asian Studies.