October 29, 2010
Paul LeBel Named Provost at North Dakota
The University of North Dakota announced that Interim Provost Paul LeBel has been appointed to the post permanently. Lebel is the former dean of the University of North Dakota School of Law. He was a law faculty member at William and Mary and the University of Alabama. He also served as dean at Florida State.
October 28, 2010
UC Irvine Eases Back on Scholarship Dollars
I've been blogging a bit about the financial challenges for public law schools, focusing particularly on Arizona State and Minnesota. UC Irvine has its own intriguing story which develops a bit more each year.
UCI has done a fabulous job recruiting great students and faculty. Part of their success, on the student front, flows from their aggressive discounting. Each of the 60 members of the Class of 2012 received a free ride. For the second cohort of 83 students - the Class of 2013 - the school offered a minimum 50% discount. And now UCI has announced that every student in the Class of 2014 will receive at least 33% off the tuition (which now stands at about $40,000 in-state and $50,000 out-of-state. )
It will be interesting to see what moment UCI picks to charge some students full freight. As it is, private schools (think Loyola and San Diego, to say nothing of Emory and Washington & Lee), non-California publics, and perhaps even a UC Davis can beat the effective tuition of UCI for particularly desirable students. Once some number of the class is required to write checks for $40-50K, UCI may discover that price is its enemy, rather than its friend.
Let's be clear. UCI will have no problem getting excellent students in any case; their challenge will be to maintain the stratospheric classes of the first two years. Consider this: while they maintained their phenomenal LSAT and GPA numbers from year 1 to year 2, they received 64% fewer applications to the law school in the second year. Some of that drop-off includes weaker students who unrealistically thought they'd have a great shot getting into a new school. But others are presumably strong applicants who sought the 100% discount - but were less interested in a 50% break.
As people closely interrogate the value of a legal education, price matters.
October 27, 2010
Law porn via e-mail?
Several law professors have forwarded to me an e-mail sent by NYU, it appears, to every law professor in the country (I got it too): it is basically the e-mail version of the "law porn" that NYU pioneered in the 1990s under John "I never met a bit of ludicrous hyperbole that embarrassed me" Sexton. As Dean, Ricky Revesz (thankfully) scaled back the nonsense considerably, to the point where adults could read the NYU Law magazine without a brown cover wrapper. But are we now about to enter the era of "law porn" via e-mail? Ugh.
The latest blast from NYU claims that in the last eight years, 38 new faculty have been added, and that there were "no departures during the past three years" (the same can not be said of the prior eight years, no doubt explaining the abrupt change in period referenced). If one doesn't count recent retirements as "departures" (there were several), that's almost, but still not quite right, since Gerald Lopez left NYU to go back to UCLA in the last three years, and Jeremy Waldron, prominently featured in this e-mail, has quasi-departed, now spending half the year at Oxford University as the Chichele Professor of Social & Political Theory, with his future at NYU uncertain. The e-mail touts the surprisingly high median LSAT of the entering class, but maintains a striking silence about the median GPA.
But the real question is what this self-promotion has accomplished? NYU's reputation score in the surveys US News conducts was, most recently, 7th (tied with Berkeley), basically what it was in 1974, when NYU was 8th, and Berkeley was 7th all by itself. The NYU faculty is more consistently strong now, than then. But there isn't much evidence that the blizzard of "law porn" has affected perceptions on this score much, and perhaps has even backfired. Although the latest e-mail emphasizes faculty from Columbia who moved to NYU, our recent on-line poll (and this with an unusually well-informed readership) still had Columbia defeating NYU by a substantial margin. Even in one of the most sensitive barometers of improvements in faculty quality--namely, placement in law teaching--NYU continues to trail Columbia, Michigan, Stanford, Chicago, and Harvard by wide margins. "Law porn" is certainly good for fundraising and institutional morale, but maybe the NYU experience shows that no real purpose is served by sending it to law professors?
University of Minnesota Law Prepares For State Budget Cuts
A couple of weeks ago I noted that Arizona State Law was preparing to ease itself off the state subsidy in the next few years. Dean Paul Berman took the bold - and perhaps dangerous, from a PR point of view - step of getting in front of the problem before actual cutbacks decimated the school's program. But news out of Minneapolis this week highlights the challenge many state law schools are facing.
Over the next two years, the Minnesota legislature will reduce its contribution to the law school from 22% of its budget to 11%. That's serious money - millions of dollars per year. To deal with this problem, the school hiked tuition 13.5% this year. Indeed, tuition at the U has jumped about 33% over the past four years.
While the administration is working to beef up gifts, endowment is a very difficult way to make up revenue. The school would need to raise well north of $40 million dollars to cover a $2 million shortfall. Plainly, tuition is an essential approach to filling the gap. A $3000 tuition hike at a school with 780 students yields $2.34 million in revenue. Even if the school gives back a quarter of that in scholarship, that's enough to keep on lots of lights.
We're obviously moving toward a segmented market in public legal education. There will be top-tier schools that want to compete with their private brethren. This means staying nose to nose with private schools on both faculty compensation and course load. It also means investing in institutes, centers, and programs that facilitate research. As a practical political matter, it's going to be near impossible for any state school to achieve this without amping tuition beyond $30K. We've already seen the Berkeley/Virginia/Michigan move and the real question is which other schools intend to follow that model. (I would have guessed Minnesota, among others.) Then there will be the remainder of state schools that temper their commitment to super high-end hiring and retention with the practical reality that state governments neither desire, nor can afford, a Lexus law school.
The interesting question is where these decisions will be made. Will faculties decide they want to support and grow elite programs, moving strategically to reduce or eliminate state subsidies? Or will university administrations, or state governments, insist that tuitions remain low - insuring that their state law schools are affordable and signaling that access is an extremely important value. (The UC system may be pursuing a third model - one a tad more redistributive - featuring high sticker prices and unusually expansive need-based financial aid.)
In a world of unlimited resources, one law school can be everything to everyone. As things now stand, however, law schools are forced to make critical choices.
October 26, 2010
Penn Extends Fitts Deanship
University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann announced yesterday that Penn Law Dean Michael Fitts, whose term was set to end in 2012, received a three year term extension. He is now slated to be dean until 2015. This insures that Fitts will get to fully enjoy the fruits of the major building project he spearheaded for the law school. As if there was really any doubt...
October 25, 2010
Visiting Faculty at Top Six Law Schools, 2010-11, Final
MOVING TO FRONT FROM AUGUST 25
As I've done before, I'm posting a list of the visiting professors (who hold university appointments elsewhere) at the top six law schools, the schools that are "top six" by almost all measures of faculty quality--which are also the schools that also typically have the most visiting professors on a regular basis. While many visiting stints are made with an eye to possible permanent appointment, not all are; some are so-called "podium" visits, which aim to fill an immediate teaching need at the school. By my calculation, for example, less than 15% of the visits last year resulted in (or are in process of resulting in) offers of permanent employment--but a somewhat higher percentage of the non-podium visits resulted in such offers. Often visitors from local schools in the area are invited for podium visit purposes--though some "locals" may also be "look-see" visitors, i.e., under consideration for appointment. NYU also has a fair number of "enrichment" and "global" visitors, well-known senior folks who are keen to spend some time in, but who aren't necessarily interested in, or being considered for, lateral moves. (Columbia gets some of these folks too.) From the outside, of course, it's very hard to tell all these apart, so here, without further comment, are the visiting professors for 2010-11; please e-mail me about omissions or corrections, and I will update the list at various intervals over the next couple of months and move it to the front.
Please note that not every visit, below, is for the entire academic year; indeed, my guess is at least half are not, meaning students can expect many of these faculty to *also* be teaching at their home institution. In the case of HLS, many of the visitors come in the Winter Term, i.e., just the month of January.
Please also note that this is supposed to be a list of visiting faculty who have gone through some kind of appointments process at the school at which they are visiting, whether a process for look-see visitors, "enrichment" visitors, or podium visitors. These are supposed to be faculty who are teaching at the host school and who are being paid by the host school to teach.
Note that there's been a big drop-off in visitors from prior years, no doubt reflecting the financial situation of even the richest law schools.
Yale Law School
Michael Fischl (University of Connecticut)
Richard Thompson Ford (Stanford University)
Edward Janger (Brooklyn Law School)
Amy Kapczynski (University of California, Berkeley)
Ruth Mason (University of Connecticut)
Edward A. Purcell (New York Law School)
Norman Silber (Hofstra University)
Alexander Streimitzer (University of Bonn)
Patrick Weil (University of Paris I-Pantheon-Sorbonne)
Harvard Law School
Philip Alston (New York University)
Robert Anderson (University of Washington)
Antony Anghie (University of Utah)
Jack Beermann (Boston University)
Alma Cohen (Tel-Aviv University)
Daniel Coquillette (Boston College)
Bala Dharan (Rice University)
Horst Eidenmueller (Ludwix-Maxmillians University)
David Estlund (Brown University)
Moshe Halbertal (New York University; Hebrew University)
Vicki Jackson (Georgetown University)
Sanford Levinson (University of Texas, Austin)
Lynn LoPucki (University of Califiornia, Los Angeles)
Catharine MacKinnon (University of Michigan)
Chibli Mallat (University of Utah)
Gillian Metzer (Columbia University)
Katherine Porter (University of Iowa)
Diane Ring (Boston College)
James Salzman (Duke University)
Robert Sloane (Boston University)
Norman Spaulding (Stanford University)
Michael A. Stein (College of William & Mary)
Timothy Wu (Columbia University)
University of Chicago Law School
Alicia Davis (University of Michigan)
Takeshi Fujitani (Hokkaido University)
G. Mitu Gulati (Duke University)
Ariel Porat (University of Tel Aviv)
Gerhard Wagner (University of Bonn)
Stanford Law School
Robert W. Gordon (Yale University) [former Stanford faculty]
Dan Hulsebosch (New York University)
Mark McKenna (University of Notre Dame)
Bernadette Meyler (Cornell University)
William Simon (Columbia University) [emeritus, Stanford]
Columbia Law School
Akhil Amar (Yale University)
William Eskridge, Jr. (Yale University)
Jody Kraus (University of Virginia)
Daniel Rodriguez (University of Texas, Austin)
Olivier de Schutter (University of Louvain)
Paul Stephan (University of Virginia)
Horatia Muir Watt (University of Paris I)
Joseph Weiler (New York University)
New York University School of Law
Ken Ayotte (Northwestern University)
Jonathan Barnett (University of Southern California)
Michal Barzuza (University of Virginia)
Franco Ferrari (University of Verona)
Victor Fleischer (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Douglas Kysar (Yale University)
Maximo Langer (University of California, Los Angeles)
Dotan Oliar (University of Virginia)
Daniel Rubinfeld (University of California, Berkeley)
Adam Samaha (University of Chicago)
Geoffrey Stone (University of Chicago)
Amanda Tyler (George Washington University)
October 21, 2010
Passings in Legal Academia
The University of Washington School of Law has had some sad news of late. Two of its law faculty - one active and one retired - recently passed away. On Tuesday, Paul Miller, the Henry M. Jackson Professor of Law at the University of Washington, a long time commissioner on the U.S. EEOC, and a noted disability rights advocate, died. He was 49. On October 8, retired tax professor George Meade Emory passed away. He was 79.
Update: More sad news. Alan Lerner, a clinical professor at Penn Law and director of the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic, died October 7. He was 68.
October 20, 2010
"So you want to go to law school"
"Cynical" barely does justice to this, but it is funny.
(Thanks to Michael Sevel for the pointer.)
October 19, 2010
Two Trends: Law School Enrollment and Legal Employment
Brian Tamanaha (Wash U/St. Louis) has posted two striking charts. One can't tell, though, from the second chart what portion of the downturn in "legal employment" is a reduction in the employment of attorneys as opposed to other law-related employees.