« June 2013 | Main | August 2013 »

July 16, 2013

More schools shrinking their faculties (and their student bodies)

There is an informative piece (behind a paywall, however) in the WSJ about the elimination of faculty positions, mostly through retirements and buy-outs of existing faculty; besides Seton Hall and Vermont, other schools mentioned are:

Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minn....has shrunk its full-time faculty about 18% since 2010, and the school is exploring ways to further scale back its head count. Ten faculty members have retired since the school began offering early-retirement incentives in 2011, and four more have accepted agreements and plan to retire in the coming academic year....

This year's entering class at Hamline is expected to be about 100 students, Mr. Lewis [the Dean] said—a 55% drop from 2010....

Earlier this year, 21 professors accepted buyout packages at Widener University School of Law, which operates campuses in Wilmington, Del., and Harrisburg, Pa. And last fall, the University of Dayton School of Law offered early-retirement packages to 14 professors, seven of whom took them....

At University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, Calif....[s]everal professors have taken buyouts as the school rescales its JD program from 1,000 students to about 600, a size that Dean Jay Mootz said is better suited to the school's regional market....

The article also reports that George Mason, which had a 2012 entering class that was half the size of its 2010 class, is having faculty teach larger classes and not filling staff positions except when necessary.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 16, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

NYU's Misleading Presentation of its Academic Job Placement

Tsk, tsk--technically accurate, but also misleading, since it omits the fact that NYU also had the third highest number of candidates on the market (and by a wide margin).  In fact, NYU's percentage placement of its academic job seekers is quite respectable (and better than Harvard's, as it happens!), but the fact is most NYU teaching candidates did not get academic jobs.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 16, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

July 15, 2013

"Beyond Blame"...

...at the Boston Review.  A lead essay by law professor Barbara Fried (Stanford), with responses by legal scholars, philosophers, and psychologists, including Adriaan Lanni (Harvard), Christine Korsgaard and T.M. Scanlon (both Harvard), Paul Bloom (Yale), Gideon Rosen (Princeton), and yours truly, among others.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 15, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

June 2013 LSAT takers down almost 5% from prior year...

...my co-blogger Dan Filler reports.  A couple of observations about this, especially for the benefit of those readers thinking about the academic job market:

1.  The decline, though modest, indicates that we have probably not yet hit bottom on the significant decline in law school applications over the last three years.  That decline, of course, followed upon two significant developments:  the New York Times series on the recession in the legal employment market, and the pointed inquires by Senators Boxer and Coburn to the ABA about employment reporting, which led the ABA to revise the rules, thus forcing schools to disclose much more detailed (and often unflattering) employment outcomes for graduates. 

2.  We have already seen evidence of schools letting faculty go or simply not hiring new faculty, senior or junior.  Until applicant volumes stabilize, and schools can make realistic budgetary plans going forward, this will not change and will probably get worse:  faculty is the primary expense, and until schools can confidently predict a budget, they can not afford to add to that expense.  The competitiveness of the market this coming year will be exacerbated by the fact that, for example, all the junior faculty at Seton Hall will presumably be on the job market this year, and so too will junior faculty at schools with less publicized financial problems.

3.   Based on last year's applicant decline, I ventured that this year's rookie market would be even worse than last year's.  A continuing decline in LSAT-takers (and thus presumably applicants) will just add to the uncertainty schools face, making them even more reluctant to hire.

4.  There will be law schools hiring new faculty this year, and not only the richest law schools.  The economic pain is not evenly distributed across law schools, and I know of many law schools, both state and private schools, that will be hiring this year, in part because they expect (no doubt correctly) to be able to make strong hires that would have been out of reach a few years ago.

5.  Given all of the preceding, however, those thinking about pursuing careers in law teaching would be well-advised to postpone entering the teaching market if they can.  2013-14 is shaping up to be the worst year on the law teaching market ever in terms of the total number of positions that are likely to be available.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 15, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

July 12, 2013

Napolitano From DHS to UC

Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano is resigning to become the President of the University of California.  She holds a JD from the University of Virginia.  

Posted by Dan Filler on July 12, 2013 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

July 11, 2013

Final Faculty Lounge Lateral Moves List

It's here.  I'm hoping it's final, at least.  My list includes both tenured and untenured moves, as well as lateral long-term contract (i.e. 405(c)) hires.

Posted by Dan Filler on July 11, 2013 in Faculty News | Permalink

July 10, 2013

More on law schools penalized by the "expenditures" measure

A propos our post the other day, Dean Douglas at William & Mary calls to my attention this list of "efficient" law schools from U.S. News; what goes unmentioned by U.S. News is that every single school on this list rank 5 to 20 places lower than schools with comparable reputation scores and student credentials precisely because they are"efficient"!  (The list is overwhelmingly dominated by state schools and large schools, which have economies of scale, for which they are also penalized by the per capita expenditures measure.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 10, 2013 in Rankings | Permalink

July 8, 2013

ABA to eliminate expenditures reporting requirement--what will US News do?

A Dean elsewhere writes:

Toward the end of last week, law school deans received the following email from the ABA:

"Dear Deans:

At its June 2013 meeting the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved the 2013 Annual Questionnaire (AQ) that you are required to complete and submit as part of the ABA accreditation process. I write to highlight several of the changes from last year’s AQ. 

1.            Elimination of expenditures questions.  The expenditures component of the Finances section of the AQ has been eliminated, as we had previously reported we planned to do.  There are no longer any questions or entries regarding expenditures.  The Revenues and the Reserves components of the Finances section of the AQ remain.  In connection with the sabbatical site visit process, schools will be required to report expenditures information for the year of the visit and the two preceding years."

Thus, it appears that the ABA will no longer be requiring schools to report expenditures information each year.  

It very much remains to be seen how US News will respond to this change and whether it will nonetheless continue to request such information from law schools (thereby, among other things, imposing an additional reporting burden on law schools that the ABA has now lifted). In my view, the optimal outcome would be for US News to stop asking for expenditure information altogether, but I suppose we'll see what their approach is.

This is a rather significant development, since the expenditures data (more than 10% of the total score in U.S. News) has been the tail that wags the dog in the U.S. News rankings.  Back in 1999, when U.S. News first adjusted the expenditures data for differences in cost-of-living, the results were dramatic:  Baylor and Alabama popped into the top 50, for example, and Boston College and Fordham fell out of the top 25.  That year, U.S. News also stopped printing the "faculty resources" (their name for expenditures) rank in the magazine, for it would have made it far too obvious how the ordinal differences between comparable schools in every other respect were an artifact of this single measure.  But without the ABA collecting this data, U.S. News will have no check on the accuracy of what schools report; if they don't drop expenditures, this will just open up a new avenue for "creative" reporting and fraud.  If they do drop it, as they should have long ago, expect to see Yale lose its #1 spot, expect to see NYU drop, and expect to see state schools like Hastings and Wisconsin rise.

UPDATE:  Deborah Merritt (Ohio State) has a useful overview of what U.S. News might do.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 8, 2013 in Rankings | Permalink

IBR Programs and "Harvard-Style" Legal Education

Gregory Crespi (SMU) comments.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 8, 2013 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

July 5, 2013

Comedy gold: Paul Campos offering advice to untenured law faculty...

...at another blog (yes, that Paul Campos). A commenter sums up the absurdity of the advice aptly:  "Making a pain in the ass of yourself does not sound like a great way to hold onto your job when the axe comes down."   

Campos is prompted to dispense his wisdom by the recent events at Vermont and Seton Hall (though in keeping with his pathological dishonesty in all matters Leiter-related, he complains that law blogs that cover faculty comings-and-going ignored these events).  Up next:  Campos will offer advice to tenured faculty on how to do well on their annual reviews.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 5, 2013 in Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Of Academic Interest | Permalink