October 7, 2010
Former Law Dean David Burcham Named President of Loyola MarymountLoyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles, has announced that David Burcham - its interim president - will stay on permanently. Burcham, a Loyola Law graduate, was dean of the law school from 2000 to 2008. He is the first permanent lay president of the university.
October 6, 2010
The Top 40 Law Schools in the U.S.--Let's Settle This Once and For All
We haven't run a meaningless Internet poll in awhile, and since there's not much real news, here it goes: let's rank the top 40 law schools in the U.S. There are 57 choices, and I'm reasonably confident no plausible contender for the top 40 is omitted from the list of 57, though I know full well many other good schools comparable to some of those on the list of 57 have been omitted (sorry!). But we only want to know the complete Internet truth about the top 40, by whatever criteria you deem relevant (faculty quality, students, programs, proximity to a beach, etc.). Have fun!
Any blog that links to this survey will immediately have their school dropped from the reported results!!! That's because we're serious about the scientific method, you know.
UTTERLY EMBARRASSING ERROR ADDENDUM: A reader has just pointed out that Fordham was omitted from the list, even though it is obviously one of the "top 40" law schools in the US! Red-face apologies for this foolish transcription error! (Unfortunately, once the poll starts, new schools can't be added.)
STRATEGIC VOTING ALERT: It's hard to accomplish much strategic voting in a Condorcet poll, but the Florida State folks are making some slight progress by repeatedly voting their school #1. Tsk, tsk! Cut it out guys!
SOME INITIAL RESULTS, before there is too much more bad behavior. With nearly 250 votes cast, here is the 'top 40' (note, of course, that Fordham would surely be in the top 40, if it had not been inadvertently omitted). You can gauge the extent of attempted strategic voting by the rate at which a school loses to Yale. 34 people, for example, ranked FSU as high or higher than Yale. Condorcet is sufficiently hard to manipulate, though, that even before this obvious outburst of strategic voting, FSU was still solidly top 40 (a reasonable result, in my view, if one is weighting faculty quality heavily, as many readers of this blog surely are), so the strategic push only gained FSU a few spots.
|1. Yale University (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)|
|2. Harvard University loses to Yale University by 118–74|
|3. Stanford University loses to Yale University by 168–28, loses to Harvard University by 154–35|
|4. University of Chicago loses to Yale University by 169–31, loses to Stanford University by 130–52|
|5. Columbia University loses to Yale University by 178–18, loses to University of Chicago by 102–85|
|6. New York University loses to Yale University by 176–22, loses to Columbia University by 127–57|
|7. University of California, Berkeley loses to Yale University by 182–17, loses to New York University by 127–53|
|8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor loses to Yale University by 183–17, loses to University of California, Berkeley by 111–67|
|9. University of Pennsylvania loses to Yale University by 187–16, loses to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor by 105–75|
|10. University of Virginia loses to Yale University by 185–15, loses to University of Pennsylvania by 91–81|
|11. Duke University loses to Yale University by 189–11, loses to University of Virginia by 136–35|
|12. Northwestern University loses to Yale University by 189–12, loses to Duke University by 95–70|
|13. Georgetown University loses to Yale University by 187–12, loses to Northwestern University by 86–80|
|14. University of Texas, Austin loses to Yale University by 185–16, loses to Georgetown University by 93–74|
|15. Cornell University loses to Yale University by 190–9, loses to University of Texas, Austin by 86–78|
|16. University of California, Los Angeles loses to Yale University by 185–10, loses to Cornell University by 98–62|
|17. Vanderbilt University loses to Yale University by 186–10, loses to University of California, Los Angeles by 105–49|
|18. University of Southern California loses to Yale University by 189–6, loses to Vanderbilt University by 88–60|
|19. Washington University, St. Louis loses to Yale University by 187–8, loses to University of Southern California by 107–43|
|20. George Washington University loses to Yale University by 188–9, loses to Washington University, St. Louis by 74–66|
|21. Boston University loses to Yale University by 187–8, loses to George Washington University by 85–55|
|22. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul loses to Yale University by 187–7, loses to Boston University by 73–66|
|23. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign loses to Yale University by 180–12, loses to University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul by 67–63|
|24. Emory University loses to Yale University by 184–6, loses to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign by 76–60|
|25. University of Notre Dame loses to Yale University by 187–8, loses to Emory University by 84–55|
|26. Boston College loses to Yale University by 187–5, loses to University of Notre Dame by 68–67|
|27. University of Wisconsin, Madison loses to Yale University by 183–8, loses to Boston College by 68–65|
|28. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill loses to Yale University by 185–9, loses to University of Wisconsin, Madison by 70–57|
|29. University of Iowa loses to Yale University by 187–6, loses to University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill by 66–65|
|30. College of William & Mary loses to Yale University by 187–7, loses to University of Iowa by 80–50|
|31. University of California, Davis loses to Yale University by 182–8, loses to College of William & Mary by 72–58|
|32. Florida State University loses to Yale University by 169–34, loses to University of California, Davis by 78–77|
|33. University of California, Irvine loses to Yale University by 184–7, loses to Florida State University by 78–77|
|34. Indiana University, Bloomington loses to Yale University by 182–11, loses to University of California, Irvine by 69–62|
|35. University of California, Hastings loses to Yale University by 181–9, loses to Indiana University, Bloomington by 72–53|
|36. George Mason University loses to Yale University by 184–9, loses to University of California, Hastings by 64–63|
|37. Ohio State University loses to Yale University by 183–6, loses to George Mason University by 65–63|
|38. Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University loses to Yale University by 181–5, loses to Ohio State University by 71–46|
|39. Washington & Lee University loses to Yale University by 186–5, loses to Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University by 60–59|
|40. University of Colorado, Boulder loses to Yale University by 179–9, loses to Washington & Lee University by 63–51|
October 5, 2010
Going to Law School with an Eye to an Academic Career: What to Consider?
A prospective law student writes:
I'm a prospective student with interest in pursuing a career in law teaching who will be applying to law schools for this year's admissions cycle. I had a question that I was hoping you could answer. I think it might be general enough to merit a topic on your Law School Reports, if you have the time and inclination. If you've answered this already somewhere, my apologies, but I haven't been able to locate such an answer.
How do you think a student with an interest in pursuing a career in law teaching should weigh a given school's scholarly reputation in an area of interest to the student, versus its general success in producing new law teachers? Do you think that scholarly reputation in an area of interest should just be used as a tiebreaker when the schools are nearly equal in producing law teachers (e.g. choosing Berkeley over Virginia for a student interested in international/comparative law) or should it be given more weight than just as a tiebreaker (e.g. choosing Texas over Chicago for a student interested in a civil procedure field)?
Of course, there are several other factors to consider when choosing a law school, even for a student interested in pursuing a career in law teaching, but I still think information on the comparative weight of those two specific measures would be valuable.
First observation: placement in law teaching is spectacularly pedigree-sensitive, so overall strength as a feeder school into legal academia is the most important consideration. We recently completed a study looking at every post-1995 JD on the tenure-stream faculty of 43 leading law faculties (as measured by reputational surveys and/or scholarly impact). Of the nearly 400 faculty we looked at, 130 earned their JD from Yale, 115 from Harvard, 35 from Chicago, 33 from Stanford, 19 from Columbia, and 18 from Michigan. Far more telling is the so-called "per capita" rate (really the number of graduates in law teaching divided by average class size): Yale comes in with a .65, three times the rate of Harvard, Chicago, and Stanford (which range from .18 to .21); and these last three have more than three times the 'per capita' rate of Berkeley, Columbia, Michigan, and Virginia, and six time the 'per capita' rate of Duke and NYU. (These results were no different when we looked only at tenure-stream faculty at the top 18 faculties as measured by reputation and/or scholarly impact.) So anyone thinking of turning down one of the top feeders into legal academia needs to proceed with caution. (The full results of this study will be on-line at the ranking site later in the fall.)
Second observation: if you are going to give weight to strength in a specialty, make sure you have a reliable measure of strength on which to base your judgment. Is Berkeley really better than Virginia for international and comparative law? Maybe. Is Texas really better than Chicago for civil procedure? Maybe. But it's hardly obvious in either case. U.S. News rankings of specialties are generally unreliable; students should seek advice from law faculty specializing in the areas of interest.
October 4, 2010
Setting Faculty Salaries
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal: We Can Appoint Law Dean
I've blogged here and here about the University of Windsor law dean search. The short story is that a failed dean candidate from last year, Emily Carasco, has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. She claims that when the dean search committee failed to recommend that she be hired, it was for improper and discriminatory reasons. She argues that the Tribunal should install her into a five year term as dean of the law school. (The search committee identified two finalists and passed neither name on to the Faculty Council.)
Now the Tribunal has denied Carasco's request to stop the ongoing dean search - but with one huge caveat. In its Interim Decision, the Tribunal held:
"The appointment of a new Dean does not preclude the option of a remedial order instating the applicant to the position of Dean should the applicant succeed in her Application. It is true that the presence of an incumbent may be a factor influencing the Tribunal’s determination of whether this is an appropriate remedy..."
Let's assume that the search committee discriminated against Carasco by failing to propose her name to the Faculty Council. If the Council had the option of not following the advice of the committee, and assuming that her various opponents might have lobbied for just such a decision, it seems remarkable that the Tribunal would have the capacity to go the full distance and install Carasco as Dean. I don't know the law of Canada, but I'm guessing that such a decision would be appalling to academics of all stripes. This is not to say that civil rights values shouldn't, as a normative matter, trump academic independence. But personally, I'd be a lot more comfortable if a successful complainant got compensated financially. And if Carasco does get the job via Tribunal fiat...well, I wouldn't want to be that dean.