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February 21, 2011

Bandes from DePaul to Miami

Susan Bandes, a leading scholar in the areas of criminal law and procedure, as well as emotions and the law, and a Distinguished Research Professor of Law at DePaul University, has accepted a senior offer from the law school at the University of Miami, where she is presently visiting.  A major loss for DePaul (and for the Chicago scholarly community as well--Professor Bandes was a frequent and valued participant in our Law & Philosophy Workshops), and a big pick-up for Miami!

Posted by Brian Leiter on February 21, 2011 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

States Move to Protect Gun Rights on Campus

According to this recent report in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, nine state legislatures are moving toward adopting laws that protect gun carrying students from university anti-gun rules.  From the article:

A proposal this year in Kansas, for example, would require campuses to either maintain a certain level of security, with measures such as metal detectors and armed guards, or to allow guns on their grounds. But legislation in most states would simply bar campuses from banning guns altogether. In most cases, anyone with a valid gun license could carry weapons on campus. The proposal in Florida is part of a larger push to allow people to carry weapons out in the open. The legislation is sponsored by State Sen. Greg Evers, a Republican, who says he filed the bill in response to numerous requests from constituents worried about crime on Florida's college campuses. "I've got children who will be going to college, and I want them to be as safe as possible," Mr. Evers said in an interview.

As far as I know, university campuses are remarkably safe places - at least compared to the rest of America.  In fact, if there is any place where guns would not seem to be required, it would have to be colleges and universities.  At the same time, given the extent of drinking on most campuses, universities host a disproportionate number of people who ought not be packing heat.

This doesn't even take into account how the presence of guns might affect the academic program. Grade inflation could become a matter of public safety - nobody likes to argue with people with guns.   And as I noted in a post on this topic almost three years ago:

The possibility that students might be packing also puts a crimp in certain interesting classroom techniques - such as the famous surprise interloper who makes a dramatic entry (and departure) at the beginning of a criminal procedure class on eyewitness identification. (I've avoided these techniques ever since I discovered several years ago that, notwithstanding campus rules, some students already do carry in class.)

Posted by Dan Filler on February 21, 2011 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

February 18, 2011

Two Senior Hires for UC Davis: Bhagwat from Hastings, Harris from Berkeley

UC Davis has recruited two senior scholars, both longtime faculty members at their home institutions:  Ashutosh Bhagwat (constitutional law) at the University of Califiornia at Hastings and Angela Harris (critical race theory, law & gender, criminal law) at the University of California at Berkeley have both accepted offers from UC Davis.   An interesting sidenote, of interest to students:  both Bhagwat and Harris are past recipients of their school's "teacher of the year" awards.  Impressive for Davis to have pulled off two such senior hires of in a single year, and let alone  under these economic conditions!

Posted by Brian Leiter on February 18, 2011 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

February 17, 2011

Fellowships for Aspiring Law Professors

Paul Caron has put up this year's list of fellowship and VAP opportunities for people who aspire to become law professors.  Given that the majority of folks hired into entry-level tenure track law prof positions arrive with either a Ph.D or fellowship/VAP experience, this chart is essential reading for prospective entry-level candidates.

Posted by Dan Filler on February 17, 2011 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink | TrackBack

February 16, 2011

Law Prof Put on Leave Under Allegations of Racism and Sexism

Widener law professor Lawrence Connell has been placed on administrative leave as a result of student allegations that he engaged in "cursing and coarse behavior", made "racist and sexist statements" and offered hypotheticals featuring "violent, personal scenarios that demean and threaten" colleagues.  One repeated victim featured in the professor's Criminal Law murder hypos?  Dean Linda Ammons.  Professor Connell is demanding a public hearing. 

All of these are allegations of course.  Assuming that they prove true, it seems that complaints about the hypos tread pretty close to legitimate academic freedom issues.   Assuming the other claims are established, however, the school may be on somewhat stronger footing.  More details are here.

Posted by Dan Filler on February 16, 2011 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

February 15, 2011

RWU Scholarly Productivity Study Updated

Here.  Recall that this is for schools outside the USN&WR "top 50."  Here are the top 20:


Florida State University (14.67)


University of San Diego (12.52)


Yeshiva University (Cardozo) (12.09)


Case Western Reserve University (10.29)


University of Richmond (10.07)


University of Missouri-- Columbia (9.15)


Brooklyn Law School (8.91)


University of Cincinnati (8.75)


Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-Kent) (8.68)


University of Nevada -- Las Vegas (8.67)


Pepperdine University (7.50)


Roger Williams University (7.20)


Temple University (7.06)


Hofstra University (6.92)


University of Pittsburgh (6.69)


Loyola Law School -- Los Angeles (6.51)


University of Tennessee (6.47)


DePaul University (6.28)


Seton Hall University (6.26)


Seattle University (6.10)

UPDATE:  Gregory Sisk (St. Thomas) writes:

Because Roger Williams includes only AALS-member schools in its study, newer law schools like the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) and the University of California-Irvine are not ranked, even though they have achieved productivity levels that would place them in the top five of that study.

Using the Roger Williams methodology, I prepared the attached spreadsheets for both Cal-Irvine and U. St. Thomas....  [spread sheets omitted here, but I have them]

If our two schools had been included, California-Irvine would have ranked first, ahead of Florida State, with a score of 15.6; and the University of St. Thomas would have ranked ahead of No. 4 Case Western with a score of 10.8.

Posted by Brian Leiter on February 15, 2011 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

February 14, 2011

Might the lateral market improve soon given how tight the rookie market has been this year and last?

Here's a hopeful scenario, suggested by one job seeker:

The post on your blog...about lateral hiring reminds me of a conversation I had a few weeks ago with some of my fellow would-be entry level hires about what might happen in the lateral market over the next few years, given the demand-side weakness in the entry-level market this year. Our theory was that over the next few years there may be an increase in junior lateral hiring from lower-tier schools by upper-tier schools. This is based upon the observations (or beliefs, possibly incorrect) that there are as many or more high-quality candidates on the market this year as in a typical year, but fewer schools hiring, resulting in a stronger pool of talent in the lower tier schools than on the entry level market in the coming years; and that the upper-tier schools will prefer to use scholarly output from the first year or two in a tenure-track position to make decisions about lateral offers vs. using noisier signals from candidates' time in VAPs/fellowships/law school to make entry-level offers.

Of course, this is putting the cart before the horse for those of us who are still hoping for an entry-level offer -- but it certainly could affect the thinking of those who either have offers from lower-tier schools or possibly for multi-year fellowships or VAPs and are considering whether to accept such an offer or try again next year. And, more broadly, I think the issue may be of general interest to those who follow hiring trends in the academy. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this theory.

It's certainly true that both this year and to some extent last there seemed to be an unusually large number of good candidates who did not secure tenure-track positions, but who would have almost certainly done so in earlier years; this year, in particular, seems to be an especially tight year on the rookie market.  The question, of course, is whether the market for faculty will respond rationally to this phenomenon down the line.   There, I'm less optimistic, and only partly because the market for faculty talent has never shown itself to be especially rational.  I can think of two particular obstacles to the optimistic scenario described by my correspondent:  (1) lateral hiring is more costly and complicated than rookie hiring in most cases, which is a prima facie disincentive for most schools (and especially so in a time of tight budgets etc.); and (2) schools seem much better at projecting their hopes onto the blank slate of rookies with limited records than laterals with more substantial records, where "what you see is what you get."  But perhaps this is too pessimistic assessment.  Signed comments from readers are welcome, though current job seekers may post anonyously (but with a valid e-mail address, which will not appear). 

Posted by Brian Leiter on February 14, 2011 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 13, 2011

What makes for a good Teacher's Manual for a casebook?

Take the poll!

Posted by Brian Leiter on February 13, 2011 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | TrackBack

February 11, 2011

Pepperdine's New Dean: Judge Deanell Reece Tacha

Pepperdine University has named Tenth Circuit Judge Deanell Reece Tacha as its new dean. Tacha has been on the federal bench for 25 years, appointed in 1985 by Ronald Reagen.  Before joining the bench, she was a law school professor and associate dean, and vice chancellor for academic affairs, at the University of Kansas.  Pepperdine is now developing a tradition of tapping conservative federal judges as dean.  Tacha, of course, follows on the heels of Judge Kenneth Starr. 

Posted by Dan Filler on February 11, 2011 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

February 10, 2011

A Harvard Law Review Milestone

The Harvard Law Review has selected Mitch Reich as its new President.  Reich is the first openly gay President of the journal.  Reich may be unique in this respect, but he is otherwise a classic fit for the job.  He was his class president at Dalton and graduated from Yale College.

I particularly loved this quote from the Harvard Crimson article:

"When Mitch was in Kindergarten, he was writing books,” says his mother, Diane Cohen, referring to short picture books with plots and drawings her son started making from age three. “His teacher excused him from naptime, saying he was an author and had more important things to do than nap.”

Every boy should have such a kvelling mama!

Posted by Dan Filler on February 10, 2011 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack