« February 2010 | Main | April 2010 »

March 31, 2010

The Role of Race in Law Faculty Hiring

Ming Zhu has a new paper out on SSRN - An Empirical Study of Race and Law School Hiring - that will be of interest to those who think about race in academia.  Zhu studied the 2004-05 hiring year and concluded that, holding factors like law school grades and law review membership constant, race had a positive effect on the odds of a candidate getting a law school job.  But, and it's a big but, she concludes that being a minority had a negative effect on the odds of a candidate getting a job at a high status school.  She notes:

As an anecdote, every single hire made by the top 16 schools from the FAR of 2004-2005 was of a white candidate; not a single minority candidate was hired by any of the top 16 law schools.

I haven't had a chance to read this piece through, but I suspect that it will raise a ton of issues - substantively and methodologically. 

-- Dan Filler (cross-posted at The Faculty Lounge)

Posted by Dan Filler on March 31, 2010 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

March 29, 2010

Joe Harroz Named University of Oklahoma Law Dean

As Tim Zinnecker coyly suggested here, Oklahoma City lawyer Joe Harroz was named the University of Oklahoma Law Center's new dean. Harroz, a graduate of OU and Georgetown Law, served as general counsel to the university for over a decade before becoming president of Graymark Health Care in 2008.  He also served as legislative director and legal counsel to Senator David Boren before Boren left Washington and became President of OU.  Not surprisingly, Harroz also joins the law faculty as a tenured professor. 

This is an interesting hire.  Harroz seems likely to have a quick and easy rapport with both the Oklahoma business and law community and the university administration.  He emphasizes, "we need to make sure the bar understands there is no divide between academic lawyers and the practicing bar."  That should bode well for the law school financially. And given his years as GC to the university, he is also familiar with the university environment.  On the other hand, as with all non-academic decanal hires, we'll watch to see the degree to which he identifies with - and is protective of - faculty values. 

-- Dan Filler (cross-posted at The Faculty Lounge)

Posted by Dan Filler on March 29, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

Mark Osler from Baylor to St. Thomas (Minnesota)

Mark Osler, Professor of Law at Baylor University School of Law, has accepted a tenured position at St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis.  Professor Osler publishes in the area of sentencing law.   He has been at Baylor since 2000 and is a graduate of Yale Law School.

-- Dan Filler

Posted by Dan Filler on March 29, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

March 26, 2010

David Meyer Named Dean At Tulane Law

David Meyer, who is currently serving as associate dean of academic affairs at the University of Illinois, will be taking over as dean at Tulane Law School this July.  Meyer, a family law scholar,  joined the Illinois faculty in 1996.  He was previously the EIC of the Michigan Law Review and clerked for Byron White.  His wife, Amy Gajda, will become an associate professor at Tulane Law.

-- Dan Filler (cross-posted at The Faculty Lounge)

Posted by Dan Filler on March 26, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

March 25, 2010

Bill Bratton from Georgetown to Penn

William Bratton, the Peter P. Weidenbruch, Jr. Professor of Business Law at Georgetown Law Center, will be moving to the University of Pennsylvania next fall.  Professor Bratton began his teaching career at Cardozo, moving to Rutgers-Newark and George Washington, before landing at Georgetown.  He works in the areas of corporate law and corporate finance.

-- Dan Filler

Posted by Dan Filler on March 25, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack

Ed Lee from Ohio State to Chicago-Kent

Edward Lee (copyright, trademark, international intellectual property), Professor of Law at Ohio State, will be joining the faculty of Chicago-Kent College of Law and will serve as the new director of its Program in Intellectual Property Law.

-- Dan Filler

Posted by Dan Filler on March 25, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

Rachel Moran Returns to Berkeley from UC Irvine

Rachel Moran, who joined the UC Irvine faculty from UC Berkeley in 2008 is returning to Northern California.  At the time of her move, Brian reported that from Berkeley's point of view, she was taking a leave.  She will have had a two year stay at Irvine.  Although she is departing, UC Irvine is holding an offer open for Professor Moran. 

-- Dan Filler

Posted by Dan Filler on March 25, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

March 24, 2010

So You Want A Law School: Merger vs. Startup

If there's one thing that's clear, it's that lots of colleges and universities covet a law school. The reasons vary. For research universities, a law school serves to complete a portfolio.  For smaller schools, it can place them on the map.  And finally, there are a few schools that are simply built to make money.  At the moment an institution decides to start down the law school path, it has to face a crucial choice: start-up or merger.  For-profits and smaller non-profit schools usually have little choice but to start fresh; few existing law school see a benefit from linking up with these smaller fish.   I want to focus a bit on bigger institutions: private research universities and state universities.  They can choose to build or merge.

Consider four schools in this category which have recently made the big move.  Drexel and UC Irvine decided to start new schools; UMass and UNH have started down the path of merger (with Southern New England and Franklin Pierce, respectively.)  What are the pros of each path?

The biggest advantage to a start-up is faculty quality.  You can build a great law school when you start from scratch in this market (particularly when you're located in an attractive place).  UCI has gone with a senior, and highly productive, startup crew.  The reputational payoff has been immediate: based on their prior work, Brian Leiter slates their faculty number 9 in his recent scholarly impact ranking.  Drexel has tilted strongly toward junior faculty - but (in all immodesty) it's a superb group in terms of both paper credentials and intellectual and scholarly chops.  (While I'm clearly biased, I encourage readers to test my claim.)  It would have been near impossible for either UCI or Drexel to have acquired an existing faculty of comparable quality.

Another big plus for a start-up is the ability to create both an agenda and a culture.  Consistent with current critiques of legal education, both Drexel and UCI have strongly emphasized the value of skills training.  At the same time, both are deeply interdisciplinary in approach and dog-on-the-bone about producing high-end scholarship.

Why might a school choose to merge?  The first obvious answer is lower front-end transaction costs.  You already have an administration.  Starting a new law school is incredibly time consuming for both faculty and administrators, and inevitably involves driving through a lot of potholes.  You also already have a faculty, which means you don't need to spend five years in endless job talks.  And a merger might even obviate the need for costly real estate development...although UMass and UNH have presunably planned for some significant building costs.  

You also acquire an alumni base which could potentially help with both fundraising and job placement.  You carry forward your existing reputation with employers.  (This could be a plus or minus, of course, depending on the school.)  If you merge with an ABA accredited school you may score an additional benefit: avoiding any period  where you lack the ABA imprimatur.  Even if you have a one year accreditation gap, students are likely to be less anxious knowing that the school once was, and thus likely will be, accredited. 

Mergers make sense for schools that want to add a fully grown law school quickly.  Start-ups make sense for universities who want greater control over the nature and quality of their law school. 

To be sure, there are many, many more considerations.  For example, as in the case of UMass Dartmouth, a merger was the only realistic way in which that campus would gain a law school.  If UMass were to have considered a start-up, it almost certainly would have been placed at either the Boston or Amherst campus.   New Hampshire has a limited capacity to absorb another law school.  If UNH had chosen a start-up, it would have been forced into a (costly) battle with Pierce for the best students - which could have produced two losers.

-- Dan Filler (cross-posted at The Faculty Lounge)

Posted by Dan Filler on March 24, 2010 in Navel-Gazing, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

Fred Tung from Emory to Boston University

Frederick Tung (corporate and securities, bankruptcy), the Robert T. Thompson Professor of Law and Business at Emory Law School, will be joining the faculty of Boston University next fall.  Fred got his start in teaching at the University of the Pacific (McGeorge), moving to the University of San Francisco and later Loyola - LA. 

-- Dan Filler

Posted by Dan Filler on March 24, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

March 23, 2010

Jason Johnston from Penn to Virginia

Jason Johnston, the Robert G. Fuller Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, has accepted a position on the faculty of the University of Virginia School of Law.  Johnston, who holds a J.D. and a Ph.D (economics) from the University of Michigan, previously taught at Vanderbilt and Vermont.  He focuses on environmental law and regulation.

-- Dan Filler

Posted by Dan Filler on March 23, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack