The big news out of Newark, Delaware this weekend is that the University of Delaware has delayed plans to open a law school. Delaware President had ordered a feasibility study just last December - but the results weren't good. It turns out (surprise, surprise) that quality law schools are not cash cows. And given the economy, fundraising is apparently quite slack.
Delaware goes the way of several other new law school projects languishing on the drawing board. SUNY Binghamton put their new law school on hold. Wilkes University Law School is stalled. And law school plans at SUNY Stony Brook, St. John Fisher, and the University of North Texas have also gone silent.
If the legal economy bounces back, some of these proposals may be reactivated. And the folks at Belmont University College of Law seem to be moving forward with a Fall 2011 entering class. But times have certainly changed in the law school expansion world. Opening a law school is no more of sure thing for universities than a JD is for students contemplating grad school.
So I finally got around to examining this new book from the ABA, which is preposterously overpriced at nearly $100! It's clearly not worth that price, since most of the information it contains is available on-line and for free. (Examples here, here, and here.) That being said, it would be easy to recommend if it were $9.99, since it does aggregate a lot of the information that is dispersed around cyber-space, and it adds some useful commentary on a variety of issues aspiring law teachers confront. Those interested in law teaching might see about getting a library copy of this book to peruse.
Back in December I noted that David Rudovsky, a Senior Fellow on the Penn Law faculty, and Len Sosnov, Professor of Law at Widener, won a $5 million dollar punitive damages verdict in a defamation case against West Publishing. The case arose when West published an allegedly crappy update to Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure without the permission (or participation) of the authors.
Fordham University School of Law announced yesterday that Professor Michael Martin, who has been serving as interim dean since the departure of Dean Bill Treanor, has been named permanent dean. This will no doubt raise a few eyebrows because Martin was not one of the three finalists forwarded to the university administration. Indeed, Martin was not a candidate for the deanship. My understanding is that one finalist was offered, and declined, the deanship.
The new members are Associate Justice Elena Kagan of the U.S. Supreme Court (who taught previously at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago Law School); Robert C. Post, Dean of Yale Law School; and Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University and a current professor of politics and public affairs there, who taught previously at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago Law School.
Lee Epstein, a leading scholar in the study of judicial behavior, and Nancy Staudt (tax law), both professors of law at Northwestern University, have accepted senior offers from the University of Southern California (the USC press releases are here). Epstein will hold a joint appointment with the College of Liberal Arts at USC. Not long ago, USC also recruited a leading positive political theorist, Mathew McCubbins (from UC San Diego). With the addition of Epstein, USC will now be a very top destination of choice for students interested in a JD/PhD in political science.