Howard Wasserman poses an interesting question over at Prawfs: are law students on board with the supposedly pro-student reforms suggested by the Carnegie Report (and others.) It turns out that many law students grouse when you add additional components to the course (and the final grade.) My colleague Emily Zimmerman has done some very interesting empirical work on just this point in a new piece titled What Do Law Students Want?
My own sense is that the majority of students prefer the high stakes final over multiple component grading. That doesn't mean it's the best pedagogy, but it does suggest that curricular reform may come with some unexpected blowback.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has published its 2009-10 average faculty salary chart here. It lists compensation by field and rank at four year colleges and universities. The financial losers? Theology and religious vocations professors...though dollars to donuts, it's gotta be those darn religious vocation profs who are dragging down the mean. And English professors aren't faring particularly well either. No shock: law-related professors are pulling in the biggest paychecks.
A few days ago, University of San Diego Law School Dean Kevin Cole announced he will be resigning his position as of next summer. He has been a member of the USD law faculty since 1987 and dean since 2006. I would expect this to be a pretty attractive opportunity. When it comes to external hiring, Daniel Rodriguez set the bar pretty high.
MOVING TO FRONT FROM JUNE 9 TO ENCOURAGE MORE DISCUSSION--AND DO SEE THE INTERESTING COMMENTS ALREADY POSTED
A reader writes:
I follow your law teaching blog religiously and am very interested in pursuing a career in law teaching. I was hoping you would have a moment to answer a few questions I have concerning how best to position myself for the teaching market....
First, is there a meaningful difference between the teaching fellowships at Chicago (Bigelow), Columbia (Associates-in-Law), Harvard (Climenko), Texas (Emerging Scholars Program), and Northwestern (VAP)? I am wondering how these programs compare in terms of placement, and whether any of them tend to place better in certain regions (midwest and south). On a related note, do these programs tend to favor their own graduates (particularly Bigelow and Climenko)?
Second, I have noticed that a few schools are starting visiting professorships distinct from the aforementioned programs (e.g. Columbia's Academic Fellows Program and Harvard's Visiting Assistant Professor Program). Do you have a sense of how these compare to the aforementioned fellowships regarding (1) selectivity and (2) placement?
Third, how do the teaching fellowships at Fordham, Brooklyn, Georgetown, and Duke compare with the fellowships in my first question?
Finally, how much will my time since graduation affect my marketability? Will the fact that I have been a practicing lawyer for 5-6 years be a detriment?
To the extent you feel my questions would be useful for others, you are welcome to post them on your blog.
Let me start by saying I have mostly anecdotal, rather than systematic, evidence on all these issues. I am opening comments, and invite SIGNED comments and links to information. I know most about the Bigelow and Texas ESP. The Bigelow program has an extraordinarily good placement rate, and the Bigelow candidates are always heavily in demand. The Texas ESP has also had a perfect placement rate, though with not quite as good placement on average (but Texas ESP alumni are now at Berkeley, Georgetown, and Duke, among many other places). A big difference between the Bigelow and Texas ESP is that the Bigelows teach legal research and writing, while pursuing their scholarship, while those in the Texas ESP teach in substantive areas of interest (a seminar one term, a course the other term)--this makes the Texas ESP somewhat unusual. My impression is that Climenkos are also doing well on the teaching market, but I just have less information on this score.
The Chicago Bigelow and the Texas ESP, like most such programs I believe, certainly give some slight preference to their own graduates, but in each case, have appointed many graduates of other schools.
A big plus for both the Chicago Bigelows and Texas ESP participants is that they are both well-integrated into the academic community and faculty. That's a key issue for applicants to consider: are the Fellows/VAPs just 'paid help' or are they part of the intellectual community of the school, do the school's faculty mentor them, etc.?
The longer one is in practice, the harder it is to break into academia--questions invariably arise about the motives for leaving practice, whether the candidate can make the transition back to academia, and so on. I would certainly advise anyone to make the move not later than five years after graduation from law school, and ideally within two to three years after graduation. But there are exceptions to the rule, and at least some of the Fellowship and VAP programs were *originally* designed with an eye to helping experienced practitioners make the transition. My impression, however, is that most of these programs now, in fact, look for signs of academic promise, and so like tenure-track hiring generally, disfavor those with very extensive practice experience but no publications or substantial scholarly writing.
I do hope readers will weigh in with more information and opinions about the questions raised.
It's been a pleasure and a privilege to teach such talented young men and women, and I am sure I speak for all of my colleagues in wishing you much professional success and personal happiness in the years ahead!
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's oldest and largest organization of blind people, and three blind students who have applied or are considering applying to law school in California—Deepa Goraya, Bruce J. Sexton, and Claire Stanley—filed an amended lawsuit yesterday against the Law School Admissions Council and four California law schools for violating provisions of the California Disabled Persons Act, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit was filed because the law schools require or encourage applicants to use a centralized Internet-based application process provided by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) through its Web site (www.lsac.org) that is inaccessible to blind law school applicants. Blind students must seek sighted assistance to use the LSAC system. Furthermore, blind law school applicants cannot perform other tasks on the LSAC Web site, such as downloading official study materials for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) that is required by almost all U.S. law schools. The four law schools are: University of California Hastings College of the Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Whittier Law School, and Chapman University School of Law.