March 21, 2014
More signs of the times
Appalachian cutting faculty. In addition, I recently spoke to a colleague at another law school--a strong, regional school but with a faculty with a national scholarly reputation--who reported the teaching load has been raised from 10 hours per year per faculty member to 12 hours. Twenty years ago, 12 hours was the norm at most law schools, except for the very top ones. Over the last twenty years, 10 hours/3 courses became increasingly common. For a school of this caliber to make the move back to 12 suggests that other schools are following or will soon follow suit.
March 20, 2014
Falsehood of the day: "U.S. News, for all of its faults, is how employers think of you"
Elie Mystal, one of the bloggers at "Above the Law," wrote this last week (a reader forwarded it to me). No evidence was offered, and that's not surprising: the statement is false in almost all cases. Employers, to be sure, have views about different law schools, but they are based on experience, in some cases, experience that stretches over decades. Actual lawyers and judges do not, in my experience, pay any attention to U.S. News at all. A couple of years ago, for example, I was speaking to a distinguished group of Northwestern University Law School alumni about the U.S. News rankings. There were about 125 to 150 lawyers (and a few judges) there. Many of the lawyers in attendance had been or were the current hiring partners at their firms. I asked a simple question: how many had looked at the recent U.S. news rankings of law schools? Maybe five hands went up in the entire room. To a person, all these lawyers and judges said they based their evaluations of law schools--where they recruit, how deep into the class they will go for new hires--on their past experience with the schools and their graduates. Full stop. No one was waiting for the U.S. News law school rankings to decide where to interview or whom to hire.
So if lawyers and judges don't care about them, who does care about the U.S. News rankings? Prospective students and journalists. Prospective students are very clearly influenced by them, in part because journalists hype them and report on them irresponsibily. And because of those two constituencies, law schools have to care as well: if, in fact, the students a school wants will go elsewhere because of a precipitous drop in the US News ranking, this will over a period of time affect how the employers that hire frm that school perceive it, not because they follow U.S. News, but because they will notice the change in the caliber of the student body.
March 18, 2014
Buffalo offers retirement incentives to faculty over 55...
...and eight accept, bringing the size of the full-time faculty from 48 down to 40. The school is also shrinking its class size slightly. Seems like sensible responses to the current economic climate for legal education.
March 17, 2014
ABA votes to retain tenure (good) and require 6 hours of experiential learning of ALL students (bad)
ADDENDUM: As a couple of readers noted, I have in the past expressed the view that tenure need not be an accreditation requirement, which is still my view. But given some of the administrative mischief afoot, and some of the reasons given for opposing tenure, I am happy to see the ABA leave it alone for now.
February LSAT takers up very slightly from last year
A bit more than 1%. A first indication that applications and enrollments may be about to level off in the next year or so.
March 07, 2014
Rookie hiring in 2013
A complete report. Interesting. Only 125 positions filled last year, though I expect that will be double the number filled this year. This means we can also revise the placement rate, based on the number of candidates from each school on the market last year.
1. Univeristy of Virginia (57%, 4 total)
1. Yale University (57%, 21 total)
3. University of Chicago (50%, 6 total)
4. Duke University (46%, 6 total)
5. New York University (42%, 13 total)
6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (39%, 5 total)
7. Harvard University (32%, 18 total)
8. University of California, Berkeley (25%, 5 total)
8. University of California, Los Angeles (25%, 2 total)
10. Cornell University (21%, 3 total)
10. Northwestern University (21%, 3 total)
12. University of Texas, Austin (18%, 2 total)
13. Columbia University (17%, 3 total)
13. Georgetown University (17%, 3 total)
13. Stanford University (17%, 2 total)
March 06, 2014
Scrutinizing the data about the legal job market
Facts are never welcome by cyber-miscreants, but sometimes they are worth considering by those hoping to make informed decisions.
March 05, 2014
More signs of the time: declining 1L enrollments
Blog Emperor Caron has the sordid details. Not all declines are created equal: some are due to dramatic drops in applicants, but some are surely due to a desire to preserve the numerical quality of the study body and thus rankings. The schools with increases in enrollment, also noted, are interesting.
March 03, 2014
More signs of the times: Thomas Jefferson Law School offering huge discounts across the boards
Blog Emperor Caron has the details.
February 28, 2014
New York Times v. Sullivan fifty years later
What do you think? I'm sure everyone would have their preferred wording, but I assume everyone can locate their own view in one of the three options below, so don't get hung up on the precise wording--choose the option closest to your view of the case and its legacy. (The second and third options got chopped: the second should say "by requiring the plaintiff too prove too much" and the third should conclude "into public figures who can be defamed with impunity".)