February 02, 2017
Should a law school Dean be writing op-eds in support of controversial (or even uncontroversial) political appointees?
That's an issue posed by a dispute between Nancy Staudt, Dean of the law school at Washington University, St. Louis--who wrote an opinion piece in support of Andrew Puzder, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Labor, who is also an involved alum of Wash U--and Emeritus Professor Richard Kuhns, whose open letter you can read here: Download Puzder letter Kuhns. Professor Kuhns thinks it was inappropriate for the Dean to write this column; I am inclined to agree. But I am curious what others think about the propriety of Dean Staudt's piece. Signed comments only: full name and valid e-mail address. Submit the comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.
January 27, 2017
Some want to play an "indispensable" role in the search for a new Dean. I'm sure student feedback on candidates will receive some weight, but that's about it. Were I a betting man (I am not), I would bet on John Goldberg or John Manning--both current HLS faculty--to be chosen as the new Dean.
January 10, 2017
U of Oregon President Mike Schill (former Dean of U of Chicago and UCLA Law Schools) responds to commentary on Shurtz case
January 09, 2017
With the start of a new year, here they are:
1. Cass Sunstein (Harvard), 266,146 downloads of 232 papers (posting papers since 1996)
2. Daniel Solove (George Washington), 263,111 downloads of 45 papers (remarkably, more than 60% of the downloads are due to a single paper!) (posting papers since 2001)
3. Lucian Bebchuk (Harvard), 249,457 downloads of 174 papers (posting papers since 1996)
4. Mark Lemley (Stanford), 188,578 downloads of 161 papers (posting papers since 1996)
5. Bernard Black (Northwestern), 178,719 downloads of 155 papers (posting papers since 1996)
6. Stephen Bainbridge (UCLA), 123,522 downloads of 98 papers (posting papers since 1997)
7. Dan Kahan (Yale), 122,574 downloads of 69 papers (posting papers since 1996)
8. Brian Leiter (Chicago), 122,416 downloads of 67 papers (posting papers since 2000)
9. Orin Kerr (George Washington), 108,160 downloads of 54 papers (posting papers since 2002)
10. Eric Posner (Chicago), 105,954 downloads of 135 papers (posting papers since 1997)
January 03, 2017
December 22, 2016
...according to an investigation by outside counsel. The report (available at the preceding link) ultimately turns on a Pickering balancing analysis, which like most such analyses could easily have come out the other way.
UPDATE: Some additional context here.
ANOTHER: Oregon law professor Shurtz objects to release of report, claiming errors and violations of confidentiality. I suspect this matter is heading to court.
December 19, 2016
December 14, 2016
Congratulations to my occasional co-blogger here, Daniel Filler, who has been named the new Dean at Drexel. Given his new responsibilities, we agreed it was time for Dan to retire from his occasional posting here, where he had mainly covered memorial notices. In light of that, and in the interest of time, I will revert to my older practice of only posting memorial notices in cases where a law professor was likely to be nationally known.
Congrats again to Prof. Filler!
December 06, 2016
My former Texas colleague Mark Lemley (now at Stanford) kindly gave me permission to share this little story he posted on Facebook:
I have an article with the (admittedly extremely boring) title "Rethinking Assignor Estoppel" coming out in the Houston Law Review. It has been on SSRN for nine months. I have posted about it twice on Facebook and Twitter, and it has shown up in all the SSRN journals. In that nine months it has garnered 982 views and 172 SSRN downloads.
Late Friday afternoon, prompted by some friends teasing me for the boring headline, I posted the exact same article, with the exact same abstract, but with a new, click-baity title: Inventor Sued for Infringing His Own Patent. You Won't Believe What Happened Next. I did this in part as a joke, and in part as an unscientific test to see how susceptible law professors were to clickbait.
The answer is, quite susceptible indeed. In less than two hours on a Friday night the number of views for this "new" article surpassed the old one. In 26 hours, by late Saturday, more people had downloaded the new article than the old one, even though before downloading you are exposed to the same old boring abstract. And by the end of the weekend, the article had been viewed nearly six times as often as the original and downloaded three times as often as the original.
The article will soon appear in the Houston Law Review under its old, boring title. But it sure looks like titles matter.
This will remind long-time readers of the late Christopher Fairman's article "Fuck," an even bigger download sensation (see here, here, and here). Of course, a download surge due to a "clickbait" title doesn't necessarily mean additional actual readers.