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April 22, 2010

Dust Up Over Externship Credit Expansion At Georgetown

Georgetown University law students and faculty are discussing whether to expand the credit value of the school's externship program.  Georgetown offers a maximum of 2 credits for externships and students are pushing for a 50% increase.  The student proposal is here.  According to the Georgetown SBA, Stanford allows 12 credits, Berkeley 10, and GW 8.  There seems to be some trepidation among Georgetown faculty, at least according to this report.

Since start-up, I've watched the development of our Co-op program - a super-intensive externship.  My conclusion thus far is that externships can deliver a great experience...but they require schools to invest a fair amount of money, planning, and human resources. It's not enough, for example, to design an excellent classroom component.  You also must build and maintain close relationships with the sponsoring organizations and their staff.  Externships don't work unless supervisors actively engage in one-on-one teaching - which often turns out to be a bigger hassle for these employees than having no extern at all. For that reason, a law school needs identify, train, and engage the people who will have day-to-day student contact.  If you've got 60 students placed at 60 different sites each term, and an array of 150 externship sites rotating in and out of service, that's a ton of labor.

The growth of externships is good news.  The challenge for a school which markets itself as having top-flight experiential education (like Georgetown) is to insure that the externships are as good as the in-house clinics.  They're easy to do cheaply; they're difficult to do well.  And of course, they have to be crafted to conform with Department of Labor regulations!

Posted by Dan Filler on April 22, 2010 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

April 21, 2010

Four Law Professors Win Guggenheim Fellowships

The full list of 2010 winners is here.   The legal scholars winning support for their work are:  Winnifred Fallers Sullivan (Buffalo), Lea VanderVelde (Iowa), James Whitman (Yale), and John Witt (Yale).

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 21, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

April 20, 2010

Kevin Collins from Indiana to Wash U.

Kevin Collins, an associate professor of law at Indiana University - Bloomington, has accepted a tenured position at Washington University in St. Louis.  Collins, a patents scholar, is a graduate of Stanford University and a former clerk to Judge (now Justice) Sotomayor.  He is also an architect.

Posted by Dan Filler on April 20, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

April 19, 2010

Eight Law Profs Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

The full listings are here.  The eight law faculty elected are:  Theodore Eisenberg (Cornell); Jack Goldsmith (Harvard); John Jeffries (Virginia); Paul Mahoney (Virginia); Gerald Neuman (Harvard); Eric Posner (Chicago); Seana Shiffrin (UCLA); and Peter Strauss (Columbia).

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 19, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

Levinson from Harvard Back to NYU

Daryl Levinson (constitutional law), who taught at New York University School of Law before moving to Harvard Law School in 2005, has now accepted a senior offer to rejoin the NYU faculty this fall.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 19, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

April 17, 2010

You Heard It Here First: Janet Napolitano Will be the Next Supreme Court Justice

I was talking with a colleague elsewhere at a conference the other day, and she had a very persuasive explanation of why former Arizona Governor Napolitano, who is now head of Homeland Security, will be Obama's choice.  Bear in mind, as my colleague David Strauss has said (in various news articles over the last year), that Obama does not have a court-centered agenda:  he isn't looking for a liberal maverick, and he doesn't want to expend his political capital on Supreme Court battles.  As the choice of Sotomayor shows, he likes to get some political benefit out of an appointment, and he certainly doesn't want a Justice who will create problems for his real agendas.  So why Napolitano?  In roughly ascending order of importance:

1.  She's a she.

2.  She's a Protestant, replacing the last remaining Protestant on the court.

3.  She's not yet another Yale/Harvard, "inside the Beltway" nominee, who has done nothing but be a judge or DC lawyer or law professor.  She has political experience, as well as prosecutorial experience.

4.  She's not an East Coast insider either--she's a "real" Westerner.  Geographic diversity!

5.  Like Kagan, but unlike Wood (and Garland), she could easily serve 25 or more years on the court given her current age.

6.  She has the strong support of the two Republican Senators from Arizona, which will help neutralize Republican opposition.

7.  She was confirmed without opposition to her current post--and that wasn't long ago.

8.  She's a solid Democrat, but not obviously a liberal--there's little ammunition for the crazy right.  She even put people to death as a prosectur in Arizona!

9.  She's politically skilled, and, esp. with the support of the Arizona Senators, could likely win over other Republicans.

10.   She doesn't have the baggage of Kagan or Wood.  In the case of Wood, a long judicial record creates lots of fodder for the right-wing kooks.  In the case of Kagan, she has limited experience (she is no John Roberts), a somewhat odd academic career (tenured at Chicago, but then unable to get hired back to the faculty after leaving the Clinton Administration; a visiting stint at Harvard led to an appointment, which was then followed by a successful Deanship, but she's had a relatively limited scholarly output); and even her nomination as Solicitor General produced more than 30 'no' votes in the Senate.

Judge Wood is the best choice on the legal and moral merits in my view.  But I'm persuaded that it will be Napolitano.  The only knock against her is silly (a sound-bite comment that came off badly after the last attempted terrorist attack). 

UPDATE:  Here's a good statement of the case for Judge Wood on the merits of her work as a judge and scholar.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 17, 2010 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

April 16, 2010

Move over Ripley! Bob Morse's "Believe It or Not?"

According to information printed by U.S. News & World Report...

Duke University is the only law school in the United States of America to have reported 100% of its graduates employed at graduation.

Duke, Northwestern University, University of Iowa, University of Utah, and University of Hawaii are the only law schools in the United States to have reported 100% of their graduates employed nine months after graduating (by then in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depresion)--thus trouncing Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, Cornell, Georgetown, Wash U/St. Louis, and many others.

University of California at Davis reported 97.3% of its graduates employed at graduation, while the University of California at Hastings reported only 69.8% of its graduates employed at graduation.

Arizona State University reported 90.7% of its graduates employed at graduation, while the University of Arizona reported only 77.4%.  (ASU also leap-frogged nearly 20 spots in the overall ranking, showing up ahead of U of Arizona.  Strangely enough, ASU is part of a university that cares so much about rankings, its President is rewarded for improvements in the U.S. News college rankings.)

George Mason University reported 95.9% of its graduates employed at graduation, more than Georgetown and George Washington Universities.

Chapman University reported 91.1% of its graduated employed at graduation, more than any school ranked between 47 and 100 in U.S. News (Chapman ranked 93rd).

These are just some of the Ripley-style facts that leap out on casual perusal of the "data" printed by U.S. News.

Let me add that I think several of the schools mentioned above are, in fact, under-ranked by U.S. News, notwithstanding the surprising employment data they reported.

And some of these figures might well turn out to be legitimate.  Perhaps an enterprising journalist will investigate, since U.S. News obviously doesn't care.  Yale Law School might be a reasonable benchmark for assessing the plausibility of the reported figures, since Yale's #1 spot in U.S. News is sustained by its massive per capita expenditures, so it has no reason to fudge about anything else.  Yale reports 93.5% employed at graduation--behind Duke, UC Davis, and George Mason, among many, many others--and 98.1% employed nine months out.   To be sure, Yale may be less diligent about collecting information on its graduates, since it matters less to the end results.  But surely the Yale results are not irrelevant when reviewing some of the others.

And perhaps the time has also come to eliminate the self-reported employment data?

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 16, 2010 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

April 15, 2010

Revisiting One of Last Year's US News Fiascos: The Case of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

Some readers may recall that Loyola LA took a plunge last year, when their academic reputation score dropped from 2.6 to 2.3, something which almost never happens.  It turned out the explanation was simple:  U.S. News stopped listing the school by the name everyone in the academy knows it by--Loyola Law School, Los Angeles--and simply listed Loyola Marymount University.  After last year's fiasco came to light, U.S. News agreed to list the school for purposes of this year's survey as Loyola Law School again and, lo and behold, its reputation score was 2.6 this year.

If such apparently trivial alterations can affect results so significantly, how much confidence should one have in the reputational results? 

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 15, 2010 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

Donohue from Yale Back to Stanford

Law and economics scholar John Donohue who moved to Yale from Stanford six years ago has now accepted an offer to return to Stanford.  As Freud understood, there is always more to a joke than meets the eye!

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 15, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

Bob Thompson from Vanderbilt to Georgetown

Robert Thompson, the New York Alumni Chancellor's Professor of Law at Vanderbilt and one of the nation's leading corporate law scholars, has accepted a senior faculty appointment at the Georgetown Law Center.  Thompson has been at Vandy for almost a decade after a establishing himself at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Posted by Dan Filler on April 15, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack