Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A couple of thoughts on FAR forms

It's that time of year when I spend a lot of time looking at draft FAR forms and learning about the sometimes strange advice others in the profession are giving to candidates.  Let me set out a few of my own thoughts, and invite readers to comment:

1.  My rule of thumb is that in a given year about 10% of schools are looking to hire "best athletes" and about 90% are doing curricular-driven hires.  Those are rough estimates--many of the 90% want "best athletes" too, of course, assuming they can plausibly meet the curricular need.  That means the curricular listings on the FAR form are crucial.   Under the new FAR regime, there are two lists of five:  the left-hand list is the most important, signalling both the candidate's primary teaching and research interests.  It is crucial, in my view, to fill all five slots on the left.  It is also crucial, in my view, for candidates not to pretend to be someone they are not.  True story, from a couple of years ago, though I've changed a few identifying details:  we had a candidate, call him Mr. C, who was clearly a specialist in XYZ, a course that all law schools offer, but which they don't often advertise in.  Mr. C was advised by faculty not at Chicago to list XYZ fifth in the left-hand column, or perhaps move it to the right-hand column, and instead list two or three 1L courses at the top of the lefthand column.  I said this was horrible advice, Mr. C followed my advice and listed XYZ at the very top of the left-hand column, followed by areas in which Mr. C was genuinely interested, including one or two bread-and-butter courses.  Mr. C had no trouble getting a job.  My advice:  be who you are, and not someone else.  Strategic decisions about what courses to list stand out like a sore thumb.  The courses in the lefthand column, your writing, your recommenders, your practice experience should, ideally, form a coherent and mutually reinforcing package.

2.  With regard to the right-hand list of courses, I think it is less crucial to have five, and it is reasonable to treat these as "courses you'd be willing to teach if asked," but which you are unlikely to be questioned about at interviews in any detail.

3.  I generally disfavor adding "comments."  My basic attitude is:  you don't list yourself as a reference, don't recommend yourself in the comment sections.  Sometimes factual information can be added to comments:  e.g., specifying what your litigation practice focused on; or listing additional references beyond the "big three."  Comments of the form, "My practice experience complements my research, and will allow me to bring a unique perspective to the classroom" are an embarrassment and should never appear anywhere on a FAR form.

4.  Speaking of the "big three" references:  my general advice is to list them alphabetically, unless it is really important to signal that some really knows you much better.   Do not list the judges you clerked for, schools will assume they are available as references.   If you are in a VAP or Fellowship, at least one academic reference from the VAP/Fellowship school is highly desireable.  

5.  In general, do not list works-in-progress under "publications" since they are not; the exception is for someone who has no other publications, or few publications, or publications a bit unrelated to the candidate's current area.  And in that case, make sure to clearly identify it as a work-in-progress.

6.  Needless to say, don't list any "work-in-progress" you aren't prepared to share.  If it's on the FAR, it's fair game for a school to ask for it.

What do readers think?  Signed comments only, full name and valid e-mail address.


August 12, 2014 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lateral hires with tenure 2013-14

MOVING TO FRONT FOR THE LAST TIME (originally posted Oct. 16, 2013)--far more lateral hires than one would have expected given the economic climate.  Late additions bolded.

These faculty haved accepted appointments with tenure that will begin in 2014-15:

*Howard Abrams (tax) from Emory University to the University of San Diego.

 

*Mark L. Adams (labor & employment law) from Valparaiso University to the University of Idaho (as Dean).

 

*Michelle Wilde Anderson (local government, land use) from the University of California, Berkeley to Stanford University.

 

*Anthony Appiah (moral & political philosophy) from Princeton University (Philosophy) to New York University (joint with the Philosophy Department, Law School, and NYU-Abu Dhabi).

 

*Kenneth Ayotte (bankruptcy, law & economics) from Northwestern University to the University of California, Berkeley. [Listed last year, but move is effective in 2014]

 

*Oren Bar-Gill (contracts, law & economics) from New York University to Harvard University.

 

*Mitchell N. Berman (criminal law, constitutional law, jurisprudence) from the University of Texas, Austin to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*John Borrows (indigenous law, comparative law, human rights) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities back to the University of Victoria.

 

*Mark Brandon (constitutional law) from Vanderbilt University to the University of Alabama (to become Dean).

 

*William Buzbee (environmental law, administrative law) from Emory University to Georgetown University.

 

*Jenny Carroll (criminal procedure) from Seton Hall University to the University of Alabama.

 

*Sujit Choudhry (comparative constitutional law) from New York University to the University of California, Berkeley (to become Dean).

 

*Steve Clowney (property, land use) from the University of Kentucky to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

 

*Andrew Coan (constitutional law, civil procedure) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison to the University of Arizona.

 

*Jennifer Collins (criminal law, family law) from Wake Forest University to Southern Methodist University (to become Dean).


*Jorge Contreras (intellectual property, patents) from American University to the University of Utah.  

 

*Steven Davidoff (corporate law) from Ohio State University to University of California, Berkeley. [move listed last year, but is actually effective in 2014]

 

*Dhammika Dharmapala (tax, corporate law & finance, law & economics) from the University of Illinois to the University of Chicago.

 

*Michael Doran (tax) from Georgetown University back to the University of Virginia.

 

*Justin Driver (constitutional law) from the University of Texas, Austin to the University of Chicago.

 

*Lee Epstein (empirical legal studies, judicial behavior, law & politics) from the University of Southern California to Washington University, St. Louis.

 

*Kimberly Ferzan (criminal law, jurisprudence) from Rutgers University, Camden to the University of Virginia.

 

*Kaaryn Gustafson (law & inequality, poverty law, criminal procedure) from the University of Connecticut to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*Michele B. Goodwin (law & technology, bioethics, constitutional law) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*G. Mitu Gulati (contracts, corporate, law & economics, empirial legal studies) from Duke University to the University of Southern California. (Gulati will stay at Duke)

 

*Emily Hammond (energy law, environmental law, administrative law) from Wake Forest University to George Washington University.

 

*Bernard Harcourt (criminal law, critical theory) from the University of Chicago to Columbia University.

 

*David Hasen (tax) from Santa Clara University to the University of Colorado, Boulder.

 

*Michael Hatfield (tax, legal ethics, wills & estates) from Texas Tech University to the University of Washington, Seattle.

 

*Christine Hurt (corporate law, tax) from the University of Illinois to Brigham Young University.

 

*Darian Ibrahim (corporate) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison to the College of William & Mary.

  

*Charles Jalloh (international human rights, international criminal law) from the University of Pittsburgh to Florida International University.

 

*Cathleen Kaveny (law & religion, ethics) from the University of Notre Dame to Boston College.

 

*Kimberly Krawiec (corporate) from Duke University to the University of Southern California. (Krawiece will stay at Duke)

 

*Andrew Kull (restitution, contracts, constitutional law) from Boston University to the University of Texas, Austin.

 

*Amy Landers (intellectual property) from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law to Drexel University.

 

*Gillian Lester (employment law) from the University of California, Berkeley to Columbia University (as Dean in January 2015).

 

*Jacqueline Lipton (intellectual property, Cyberlaw) from the University of Houston to the University of Akron.

 

*Robert MacCoun (law & psychology) from the University of California, Berkeley to Stanford University.

 

*Patricia McCoy (insurance law, consumer law, regulation of financial services) from the University of Connecticut to Boston College.

 

*Edward R. Morrison (bankruptcy, law & economics, empirical legal studies) from the University of Chicago back to Columbia University.

 

*Andrew Morriss (law & economics, labor & employment law, energy law, environmental law, business regulation) from the University of Alabama to Texas A&M University [formerly Texas Wesleyan Law] (to become Dean)

 

*Samuel Moyn (legal history) from Columbia University (History Dept) to Harvard University (Law School).

 

*Xuan-Thao Nguyen (intellectual property, tax) from Southern Methodist University to Indiana University, Indianapolis.

 

*Saule Omarove (banking law, financial regulation, corporate finance) from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to Cornell University.

 

*Eduardo Penalver (property, law & religion) from University of Chicago back to Cornell University (to become Dean).

 

*Wendell Pritchett (land use, legal history, urban policy) from Rutgers University, Camden (where he was Chancellor) back to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*Intisar A. Rabb (Islamic law) from New York University to Harvard University.

 

*Robert Rhee (corporate law & finance) from the University of Maryland to the University of Florida, Gainesville.

 

*L. Song Richardson (criminal law & procedure) from the University of Iowa to the University of California, Irvine.


*Kalyani Robbins (environmental law) from the University of Akron to Florida International University.

 

*Troy Rule (property, natural resources & energy law, land use, real estate) from the University of Missouri to Arizona State University. 

 

*Gregory Shaffer (international law, international trade) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*Stephen Sheppard (international, environmental, and constitutional law; legal history) from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville to St. Mary's University (to become Dean).

 

*David Sklansky (criminal law & procedure) from the University of California, Berkeley to Stanford University.

 

*A. Benjamin Spencer (civil procedure) from Washington & Lee University to the University of Virginia.

 

*Paul Stancil (civil procedure, antitrust) from the University of Illinois to Brigham Young University.

 

*Nancy Staudt (tax) from the University of Southern California to Washington University, St. Louis (to become Dean).

 

*Adam Steinman (civil procedure, federal courts) from Seton Hall University to the University of Alabama.

 

*Kristen Stilt (Islamic law and society, legal history) from Northwestern University to Harvard University.

 

*David Studdert (health law, empirical legal studies) from the University of Melbourne to Stanford University (joint with the Law School and the Medical School). 

 

*Eric Talley (corporate law, law & economics) from the University of California, Berkeley to Columbia University (in 2015).

 

*Donald Tobin (tax, election law) from Ohio State University to the University of Maryland (to become Dean).

 

*Christopher Tomlins (legal history) from University of California, Irvine to the University of California, Berkeley.

 

*Gerald Torres (environmental law, Federal Indian law, critical race theory) from the University of Texas, Austin to Cornell University.

 

*Deborah Tuerkheimer (criminal law, domestic violence, feminist legal theory) from DePaul University to Northwestern University.

 

*Jeremy Waldron (political & legal philosophy), who had been part-time at Oxford University and part-time at New York University the past two years, will return full-time to NYU.

 

*Robert Weber (corporate law & finance, banking law) from the University of Tulsa to Georgia State University (he is moving to GSU, but it is a lateral tenure-track move, not tenured)

 

I will move this to the front of the blog at various intervals during the year.


August 10, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Friday, August 8, 2014

More signs of the times: Albany Law School exploring "operational alliance"...

...with the State University of New York at Albany (which does not have a law school--there's only one state law school in New York, at Buffalo; there's one other public law school, in the City University of New York system).

UPDATE:  You can get a sense of the extent of the faculty buyouts at Albany from the much-expanded list of emeriti, many rather youthful by current retirement standards.  The new emeriti faculty includes Albany's most nationally eminent scholar, the legal historian Paul Finkelman.


August 8, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summary of proposed changes to ABA regs governing law schools

NLJ has a useful account, but it seems an exaggeration to describe this as a "makeover."  Some (like the pointless increase in required clinical hours for law students) will raise the cost of legal education, but others (no minimum student-faculty ratio, no requirement of private faculty offices [!], greater latitude in granting variances from the other regs) may, at the margins, reduce costs, but only at the margins--the majority of law schools, who want to compete for students and faculty are not going to let their student-faculty ratios go sky-high or stop providing faculty their own offices.  My guess is that, in the end, this is all much ado about nothing, except for the windfall for experiential teachers.   The real changes afoot are being brought on by the declining applicant pool, which is affecting, in differing ways, 90% of the law schools in the country; most are contracting, some are increasing the teaching loads of their faculty, and a handful will probably close, barring a sudden turnaround.

 


August 5, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

Monday, August 4, 2014

Government has been systematically misstating the increase in the cost of college

A good piece of reporting; I would be surprised if the same weren't true with the increased cost of law school as well.


August 4, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Still more on international law and Gaza

This is a useful summary of the legal debate.


August 2, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, July 31, 2014

One more lateral hire for the 2013-14 season

I've added it to the earlier list, but am happy to report that Dhammika Dharmapala (tax law & policy, corporate law & finance, law & economics) from the Universityi of Illinois has accepted a tenured offer to join the faculty here at Chicago, beginning this academic year (14-15).


July 31, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Leila Sadat's "Crimes Against Humanity Initiative" to be taken up by U.N.

Story here.


July 31, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Petition in support of Hanoch Sheinman

I would urge readers to sign this well-crafted petition in support of Prof. Sheinman, drafted by lawyer/philosopher Matthew Kramer (Cambridge) and philosopher Sergio Tenenbaum (Toronto).

UPDATE:  An editorial in Haaretz criticizes the Bar-Ilan Dean, rightly so.


July 30, 2014 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Israeli legal academic in the news, this time for sending an e-mail expressing some recognition of the suffering in Gaza (but not only there)

I am grateful to Prof. Ariel Katz (Toronto) for translation of the pertinent parts of this news item concerning Prof. Hanoch Sheinman, a well-known legal philosopher at Bar-Ilan University.  Prof. Sheinman sent an e-mail announcing another exam date to his students.  The message opened by expressing the hope that the message,

finds you in a safe place and that you, your families and friends...are not among the hundreds of people killed, thousands injured, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed or forced to leave their homes during or as a direct result of violent conflict in the Gaza Strip and the surrounding area.

The Dean at Bar-Ilan was “shocked” and called the email “highly offensive”. The Dean announced that the,

Letter from Professor Scheinman - both content and style – is contrary to the values ​​of the University and the Faculty of Law. The Faculty of Law champions the values ​​of pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression, but the inclusion of positions [such as those expressed in Prof. Scheinman’s email] in an administrative notice sent by Professor Scheinman to students regarding examinations is not an exercise of academic freedom or freedom of personal expression in every way acceptable. This is abuse of power by a lecturer who exploits his position as a jurisprudence teacher to send messages reflecting his views, which are highly offensive to the feelings of students and their families.  

I agree with the Dean that this is not an issue of academic freedom, but his response to the benign recognition that many people are suffering and Prof. Sheinman's hope that his students are not among them is bizarre.  As Prof. Katz wrote to me, "I guess this is what it looks like when a democracy is losing its mind."


July 29, 2014 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink