Monday, April 17, 2017
UNC's Gene Nichol blasts politically motivated attack on Civil Rights Center, as well as university leadership
Friday, April 14, 2017
Former Berkeley Law Dean Choudhry settles lawsuits with Berkeley and with the secretary, Ms. Sorrell, who accused him of sexual harassment
The full settlement agreement with Berkeley is here: Download Choudhry - Fully Executed SA
Briefly: Prof. Choudhry will resign at the end of the 2017-18 academic year; he will pay $50,000 towards Ms. Sorrell's legal fees and $50,000 towards a designated charity; the university acknowledges that Prof. Choudhry was not found to have committed any sexual assault or to have acted with any sexual intent. I am on the road, so if I've missed relevant details in my cursory review of the settlement, please e-mail me.
UPDATE: I was astonished to see these statements from Ms. Sorell and her lawyer:
A woman who sued the University of California and the former dean of UC Berkeley's law school for sexual harassment is outraged that the school is allowing him to keep his tenured professorship, she announced Saturday...
"This is just one more example of UC refusing to take sexual harassment seriously and once again offering a soft landing even after a finding of harassment," Sorrell's attorney, Leslie F. Levy, said Saturday.
One of Prof. Choudhry's attorneys wrote to me: "You will be interested to know that Ms. Sorrell and her lawyers have had our agreement with UC for over a month and had no objection." But put that to one side: this reaction to the settlement is insane. Prof. Choudhry has given up his tenured position, and given up his salary effective July 1; he gets the "title" for another year, but is on an unpaid "sabbatical" [sic]. That is supposed to be evidence that Berkeley offered the accused a "soft landing"? What exactly does the plaintiff want here?
Everyone I have heard from speaks very highly of Ms. Sorrell, who was undoubtedfly subjected to wrongful treatment, even if it was done, as Berkeley admits, without sexual intent; so I fear she has here been given very bad advice by her attorney at this point, who is presumably responsible for this absurd and vindictive pronouncement.
ANOTHER: Ms. Sorrell and her attorney got a payout of $1.7 million from Berkeley as part of their settlement. That's an astonishing number when you recall that, e.g., Steven Salaita, wrongfully fired from a tenured position by the University of Illinois and his attorneys got only $850,000 a few years ago. The exraordinarily large settlement also makes the vindictive comments about Choudhry all the more striking.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Bill Henderson (Indiana) comments. (I'm more skeptical than Henderson appears to be that the adoption of GRE by Harvard had anything to do with rankings, though. Harvard's US News problem has to do with its size, and nothing else--if it were even half the size it is, it would be #1 every year. But being more than twice the size of Yale, Stanford, and Chicago means it is punished in the per capita expenditures measure because of economies of scale.)
Isn't it a bit nutty that law school admissions in the United States are run by a guy who works for a ranking website?
Friday, April 7, 2017
"As of 3/31/17, there are 319,072 applications submitted by 47,916 applicants for the 2017–2018 academic year. Applicants are down 1.9% and applications are up 0.3% from 2016–2017. Last year at this time, we had 87% of the preliminary final applicant count."
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Leslie Green, who holds one of the two statutory (i.e., university-wide) Chairs in Philosophy of Law at Oxford, has now expanded on his thoughts about the Gorsuch plagiarism case and the claims of John Finnis (who held a personal chair in legal philosophy, but is now emeritus). (Earlier posts here and here.)
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
In fact, plagiarism is not, contrary to John Finnis, normal practice at Oxford. This also is irrelevant to his nomination, but the Judge should acknowledge the error.
Monday, April 3, 2017
Mary Bilder (Boston College) wrote an opinion piece for the Boston Globe about originalism and Judge Gorsuch. This elicited the following astonishing reply from originalist Larry Solum (Georgetown) on his usually benign and informative Legal Theory Blog. Some of the questions might have made sense were Solum the referee for a scholarly article making some of these claims; as a response to an op-ed, they are almost comical overreactions. Take just Solum's first intervention:
Question One: You wrote the following:
Today, most originalists contend that a judge should abide by the text’s “original public meaning” — a term of art that originalist scholars have written thousands of pages trying to explain.
What is the basis for the page count? Which articles by which originalists scholars are you discussing? I am very familiar with the theoretical literature on original public meaning, but if this claim is correct there is a large body of work that I have missed entirely.
The basis for the "page count"? Seriously? One can look just at Solum's own SSRN page to find at least 400 pages of writing on this topic. And that's just one author. Add in Randy Barnett, Keith Whittington, the late Justice Scalia, John McGinnis, Michael Rappaport, Larry Alexander, Will Baude, and Stephen Sachs, and "thousands" seems like a plausible off-the-cuff estimate. But why quibble about nonsense like this?
I would advise Prof. Bilder to let these questions pass in silence.
UPDATE: Prof. Solum replies here; I will give him the final word on this matter!
Sunday, April 2, 2017
New York Times Reporter Elizabeth Olson Claims That Professors Earning Less than First Year Associates are Paid like Law Firm Partners (Michael Simkovic)
New York Times reporter Elizabeth Olson recently complained that the Dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law was suspended after attempting to slash faculty compensation (“Cincinnati Law Dean Is Put on Leave After Proposing Ways to Cut Budget”). According to Olson, “law schools like Cincinnati [pay hefty] six-figure professor salaries that are meant to match partner-level wages.”
Olson goes on to cite the compensation of the current and former Dean of the law school. This makes about as much sense as citing newspaper executive compensation in a discussion about reducing pay for beat reporters.
Data from 2015—the latest readily publicly available—shows that law professors at Cincinnati earned total compensation averaging $133,000. A few professors earned less than six figures. Only one faculty member—a former dean and one of the most senior members of the faculty—earned more than $180,000. Including only Full Professors—the most senior, accomplished faculty members who have obtained tenure and typically have between seven and forty years of work experience—brings average total compensation to $154,000 per year.
As Olson herself reported less than a year ago, first year associates at large law firms earn base salaries of $180,000 per year, not counting substantial bonuses and excellent benefits. With a few years of experience, elite law firm associates’ total compensation including bonus can exceed $300,000. Law firm partners at the largest 200 firms can earn hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year according to the American Lawyer, and often receive large pensions after retirement.