Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Henry E. Smith, a leading property scholar at Yale Law School, has accepted a senior offer from Harvard Law School, where he will start January 1.
Five or six years ago, I think most informed folks would have said that Yale Law School had the strongest law faculty in the U.S., and that Harvard was, at best, second. But with the slew of generally high-quality appointments HLS has made in recent years--including several successful raids on Yale--I think it's fair to say now that Yale is, at best, tied for having the best law faculty in the U.S. along with Harvard, and maybe the edge even now goes to Harvard.
Meanwhile, Yale has had the very unusual experience--I can't recall any similar period in the last 15 years or more--of seeing multiple departures of senior faculty in the space of just two or three years: Anne Alstott, Yochai Benkler, and now Smith to Harvard; Michael Graetz to Columbia; Kenji Yoshino to NYU.