April 22, 2016

Book encouraging law students to be happy is latest target for scambloggers (Michael Simkovic)

Professor Paula Franzese of Seton Hall law school is something of a patron saint of law students. Widely known for her upbeat energy, kindness, and tendency to break into song for the sake of helping students remember a particularly challenging point of law, Paula has literally helped hundreds of thousands of lawyers pass the bar exam through her video taped Property lectures for BarBri.

Paula is such a gifted teacher that she won teacher of the year almost ever year until Seton Hall implemented a rule to give others a chance: no professor can win teacher of the year more than two years in a row. Since the rule was implemented, Paula wins every other year. She’s also incredibly generous, leading seminars and workshops to help her colleagues improve their teaching.

Paula recently wrote a book encouraging law students to have a productive, upbeat happy, and grateful outlook on life (A short & happy guide to being a law school student).

Paula’s well-intentioned book has rather bizarrely been attacked by scambloggers as “dehumanizing”, “vain”, “untrustworthy” and “insidious.” The scambloggers are not happy people, and reacted as if burned by Paula’s sunshine. They worry that Paula’s thesis implies that “their failure must be due to their unwillingness to think happy and thankful thoughts.”  

Happiness and success tend to go together. Some people assume that success leads to happiness. But an increasing number of psychological studies suggest that happiness causes success. (here  and here) Happiness often precedes and predicts success, and happiness appears to be strongly influenced by genetic factors.

Leaving aside the question of how much people can change their baseline level of happiness, being happier—or at least outwardly appearing to be happier—probably does contribute to success, and being unhappy probably is a professional and personal liability.

People like working with happy people. They don’t like working with people who are unhappy or unpleasant. This does not mean that people who are unhappy are to blame for their unhappiness, any more than people who are born with disabilities are to blame for being deaf or blind.

But it does raise serious questions about whether studies of law graduates’ levels of happiness are measuring causation or selection. We would not assume that differences between the height of law graduates and the rest of the population were caused by law school attendance, and we probably should not assume that law school affects happiness very much either.

 


April 22, 2016 in Faculty News, Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Science, Student Advice, Weblogs | Permalink

April 21, 2016

A big year for law professors at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

The following law professors were elected to the Academy this year:  Bernard Black (Northwestern), Erwin Chemerinsky (UC Irvine), Liz Magill (Dean, Stanford), Trevor Morrison (Dean, NYU), and Peter Schuck (emeritus, Yale).  In addition, Kim Lane Scheppele (now Princeton, formerly a law professor at Penn) was also elected in the "Law" section of the Academy.  Also elected in other sections of the academy were law professors Jack Knight (Duke), elected in Political Science, and John Monahan (Virginia), elected in Psychology.  In addition, two former law professors were elected in the "Educational Administration" section:  David Leebron, President of Rice University (and formerly a law professor at Columbia), and Joel Seligman, President of the University of Rochester (and formerly a law professor at the University of Michigan and other schools).


April 21, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

April 14, 2016

Three finalists for the Deanship at Florida State

They are:  Erin O'Hara O'Connor (Vanderbilt), Hari Osofsky (Minnesota), and Heidi Hurd (Illinois).  A strong line up of candidates, as one would expect for a school with a national scholarly profile.  Hurd was a very successful Dean at the University of Illinois, who then got unfairly smeared during an expose of political meddling in admissions.  Kudos to Florida State for correctly assessing what transpired and making her a finalist for their Deanship.


April 14, 2016 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

April 11, 2016

Journalists with an agenda

You would never know from this article  about the Choudhry case at Berkeley that I spent most of the time talking to this reporter about tenure and the due process rights of faculty--indeed, she had called me because of this.


April 11, 2016 in Faculty News, Legal Profession | Permalink

April 09, 2016

Percentage of job seekers who secured tenure-track jobs, by school

MOVING TO FRONT FROM MARCH 17--IF YOU'VE BEEN HIRED, PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR INFORMATION AT THE PRAWFS BLOG LINK, BELOW

As Prof. Lawsky collects the data on entry-level hiring, bear in mind that the total number of graduates on the teaching market varies considerably by school; once all the hiring results are in, I'll post the percentage success rates.  But here are the total number of graduates by school that were on the market this year:  45 from Harvard; 42 from Yale; 29 from Georgetown; 29 from NYU; 21 from Columbia; 19 from Stanford; 16 from Berkeley; 12 from Chicago; 12 from Virginia; 10 from Northwestern; 9 from Michigan; 6 from Duke; 5 from Penn; 5 from Cornell; 5 from UCLA; 3 from Southern California; 3 from Texas.  I know that 75% of the Chicago grads on the teaching market secured a tenure-track job; I'll post the final listing in a couple of weeks.

4/9/16 UPDATE:  So as I surmised awhile back, we seem to be closing in on about eighty tenure-track hires this year, compared to about 65 the last two years.  Based on the data so far, here's how the placement looks for the preceding schools that had at least two placements (the data is not yet complete, however; it counts only JD placements, though some of the gross numbers, above, include some LLM or SJDs, though those appear to be distributed across the schools with the biggest numbers--I'll fix that in the final count when Prof. Lawsky is done collecting the data):

Chicago:  6 of 12 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (50%)

UCLA:  2 of 5 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (40%)

Yale    17 of 42 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (40%)

Stanford:  7 of 19 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (37%)

Michigan:  3 of 9 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (33%)

Columbia:  6 of 21 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (29%)

Harvard:  11 of 45 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (24%)

NYU:  7 of 29 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (24%)

Virginia:  3 of 12 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (25%)

Berkeley:  2of 16 candidates secured tenure-track jobs (13%)


April 9, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink

April 08, 2016

Four law professors win Guggenheim Fellowships

They are:  Andrea McDowell (Seton Hall), Alexandra Natapoff (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles), David Rabban (Texas/Austin), and Robert Spoo (Tulsa).


April 8, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

April 07, 2016

Finalists for the Deanship at the University of Minnesota

Here.  An unusual list, only one or two seem like obviously suitable candidates for a major academic law school usually viewed as one of the top 20 or so in the U.S.  But I may also not be well-informed about some of the others.

(Thanks to Susan Franck for the pointer.)


April 7, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

Professor Bainbridge, corporate "tool"

You knew it was so, didn't you?


April 7, 2016 in Faculty News, Legal Humor | Permalink

April 06, 2016

Law school co-deans...

April 05, 2016

Most cited intellectual property articles in the last decade...

...though calculated with HeinOnLine, which I've found to be a bit quirky, but perhaps still interesting results.


April 5, 2016 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink