Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Best Faculties in Legal History

Last fall, I ran a series of "best faculties" polls in particular specialty areas (see the summary here).  The result weren't nuts, whatever the obvious limitations of Internet polls--though the Condorcet system mutes some of the problems.  Anyway, I thought we might try some more, starting with the area of "Legal History."  Below, I've listed scholars doing work in legal history at 18 law schools.  I've not listed schools with just one scholar in the area (even one prominent scholar, like Tomlins at UC Irvine).  I have tried to identify 18 schools that might end up ranked in "the top ten" in the area of legal history.  The criterion for inclusion of additional schools is NOT that a faculty might rank better than one of the schools listed below.  If I've omitted a school whose faculty might make the top ten, note it below in the comments.  If I've omitted non-emeritus faculty, who teach in the Law School, and who do significant work in legal history, please note that in the comments.  (I am particularly likely to have missed junior faculty.)  Faculty marked with an *, below, are either part-time or hold a primary appointment in another unit, but do regular teaching at the law schools in question.  If I've listed faculty who are emeritus or don't really work in legal history, post that in the comments below.  Do not e-mail me; post in the comments.  ONLY SIGNED COMMENTS WILL BE APPROVED.

Columbia University:  Christina Duffy Burnett, Ariela Dubler, Philip A. Hamburger, Eben Moglen

Georgetown University:  Laura Donohue, Daniel R. Ernest, James C. Oldham, William Michael Treanor

Harvard University:   Christine A. Desan, Charles Donahue, Jr., Annette Gordon-Reed, Morton Horwitz, Michael Klarman, Adriaan Lanni, Kenneth W. Mack, Bruce Mann, Mark Tushnet

New York University:  Barry Friedman, Daniel Hulsebosch, William E. Nelson

Northwestern University:  Stephen Presser, Kristen Stilt

Stanford University:   Michele Landis Dauber, Lawrence Friedman, Amalia D. Kessler, Larry Kramer, Norman W. Spaulding

University of California, Berkeley:  David Lieberman, Laurent Mayali, Harry  Scheiber

University of California, Los Angeles:  Khaled Abou El Fadl, Stuart Banner, Jennifer Mnookin, Clyde Spillenger

University of Chicago:   R.H. Helmholtz, *Dennis Hutchinson, Alison LaCroix, *Gerald N. Rosenberg, Laura Weinrib

University of Illinois:  Daniel W. Hamilton, Richard J. Ross, Bruce P. Smith

University of Iowa:  Thomas P. (T.P.) Gallanis, Herbert Hovenkamp

University of Michigan:  Willian Ian Miller, William J. Novak, *Rebecca J. Scott

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:   Alfred Brophy, Eric Muller, John V. Orth

University of Pennsylvania:  Sarah Barringer Gordon, Sarena Mayeri

University of Southern California:  Mary L. Dudziak, Ariela J. Gross, Daniel M. Klerman

University of Texas, Austin:  William Forbath, Emily Kadens, Sanford V. Levinson, *Basil S. Markesinis, Lucas A. (L.A.) Powe, Jr., David M. Rabban

University of Virginia:  Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Barry Cushman, Risa L. Goluboff, *Charles McCurdy, G. Edward White

Yale University:  Akhil Amar, Robert W. Gordon, John Langbein, Claire Priest, Reva Siegel, James Q. Whitman, John Witt

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At Emory, David Bederman, Polly Price, Sasha Volokh, and John Witte all write on legal history - producing several relevant books among them, in recent years.

Posted by: Robert Ahdieh | Nov 5, 2010 12:23:29 AM

Brian Leiter probably left off Fordham because now, without Bill Treanor, it is harder for them to make this cut. But, back when he did the specialty rankings in 2003-2004, Fordham was competitive for top 12. I would say Fordham is still top 10, but then again, I am obviously biased. Still, I will say, Martin Flaherty, Rachel Vorspan and Bob Kaczorowski are every bit as much teaching all the time at Lincoln Center in Manhattan as they were before this past summer began. That trio should at least be mentioned here.

Last, I have to note that back when the announcement was made that Treanor was moving to Georgetown, people said how that would be good for my personal career (he is one of my most important teachers, and I've never made a secret of that) and good for Fordham even, because it showed how valuable they were, that Georgetown would “steal” from them (someone on the Faculty Lounge, I think, made this point). All true enough. But I kept on thinking: "This will come to bite Fordham in the butt when people begin to re-evaluate which are the strongest faculties in legal history." The mere fact that I am writing this post has confirmed my fears on that point.

Posted by: Bradford W. Short | Nov 5, 2010 2:02:06 AM

Another junior faculty member missing from the list is Cary Franklin at Texas.

Posted by: Karen | Nov 5, 2010 6:42:37 AM

I see I'm a bit late to the party, but as coordinator of faculty research, I feel honor bound to mention that U. Miami Law has David Abraham, Ken Casebeer, Steve Diamond, Marnie Mahoney, Kunal Parker and also others here doing various types of important work in legal history.

BL COMMENT: Sorry, Michael, the poll is under way, but I should have put Miami on it--I'd forgotten about some of those folks.

Posted by: Michael Froomkin | Nov 5, 2010 12:19:06 PM

As my colleague at the Law School of the University of Connecticut, Alexandra Lahav, mentioned (but modestly didn’t include her own interest in the history of jury civil trials), we have a particularly robust commitment to legal history. Peter Lindseth (Ph.D. in French history from Columbia ) writes about the development of the European administrative state; Kent Newmyer, author of the leading books on Justices Joseph Story and John Marshall) is the dean of Supreme Court biographers; and Carol Weisbrod’s The Boundaries of Utopia about the contract law grounding for 19th century utopian communes is an acknowledged classic of American legal history. I am currently completing a legal history of United States intellectual property law. Other Faculty at Connecticut include Richard Kay (writing a legal history of the Glorious Revolution), Mark Janus (whose America and the Law of Nations 1776-1939 was published this year by Oxford), Phillip Blumberg (whose Repressive Jurisprudence in the Early American Republic was published this year by Cambridge), Richard Wilson, an anthropologist (whose Writing History in International Criminal Trials will be published this year by Cambridge), Anne Dailey (writing on the history of law and psychoanalysis), Sachin Pandya (writing on the history of insurance law and risk), and Bethany Berger (writing on the legal history of Native Americans and property). Bruce Mann (now at Harvard) and Philip Hamburger (now at Columbia) were previously Faculty members at Connecticut.

Steven Wilf

Microsoft Fellow in Law, Property,
and the Economic Organization of Society
The Program in Law & Public Affairs
Princeton University

Joel Barlow Professor of Law
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
Law School
University of Connecticut

Posted by: Steven Wilf | Nov 5, 2010 2:18:03 PM

If tax history (at least certain types of tax history) count(s) (and I think that it/they should), then Calvin Johnson (Righteous Anger at the Wicked States) should be added to the list.

BL: Indeed, an embarrassing oversight on my part.

Posted by: Paul | Nov 6, 2010 8:50:11 AM

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