Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, August 10, 2012

SLU, Another Update--the Faculty Perspective

A faculty member at SLU writes:  "The theme of yesterday's emergency faculty meeting was one of sadness and dispiritment, especially as we learned how [University President] Biondi's theft of funds from the Law School (including perhaps a noted alum's estate-gift to the Law School) will impact the funding of student activities in this year and years forward.  For example, it looks like there may not be funds available for student travel (e.g. moot court), student-coordinated and student-oriented legal conferences, and also the research activities of our very strong faculty."

The more I hear, the more it seems Biondi is another Silber, i.e., an autocrat, but with even less of a sense of academic values than Silber had.

August 10, 2012 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

Declining Enrollments and Credentials at Law Schools

A very useful (and sobering) analysis of what's been going on since 2010; some excerpts:

ENROLLMENT IN DECLINE – Between 2010 and 2011, 141 law schools had a decline in enrollment (of which 63 had a decline of 10% or more), 30 had an increase in enrollment (of which 6 had an increase of 10% or more), and 26 had flat enrollment (within +/- 1% of 2010 enrollment).  This means over 70% of schools had a decline in enrollment and that nearly one-third had a decline in enrollment of 10% or more....

ENROLLMENT AND PROFILES IN DECLINE – Most significantly, 75 schools (roughly 38%) saw declines in enrollment and in their LSAT/GPA profiles, of which 37 schools saw declines in enrollment of greater than 10% and saw declines in their LSAT/GPA profiles....Four of the schools are ranked in the top-50, while the other 33 schools are relatively evenly divided between the second-50, the third-45 and the alphabetical schools....

FORECAST FOR 2012-- Given that LSAC has estimated a decline of roughly 14.4% in the number of applicants for fall 2012, from 78500 to roughly 67000, and given that the decline has been greatest among those with higher LSAT scores, one should anticipate further declines in enrollment and further erosion of entering class LSAT/GPA profiles for fall 2012....

IMPACT FELT ACROSS THE RANKINGS CONTINUUM, BUT WORSE FOR LOWER-RANKED SCHOOLS...-Among the top 100 schools, 55 schools (over one-half) had a decline in profile, while 67 (two-thirds) had a decline in enrollment, with 27 experiencing a decline in enrollment of 10% or more....Overall enrollment was down roughly 6%.

Across the bottom 97 schools then, 56 saw a decline in profile while 74 (more than three-quarters) saw a decline in enrollment, of which 36 (nearly 40%) saw a decline in enrollment of 10% or more.  Notably 40 schools saw a decline in enrollment and a decline in profile, of which 22 saw a decline in enrollment of 10% or more and a decline in profile.  Overall, enrollment was down nearly 10%.

August 10, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

Name Your Favorite Indy Bookstore!

I'm trying to create a useful list of the best independent bookstores in America here.  Who better than a bunch of law professors to offer up great suggestions?  

August 10, 2012 | Permalink

Thursday, August 9, 2012

More on the crisis at SLU

A faculty member there writes:  "We're going into an emergency faculty meeting today, and don't know what the result will be, but here's the latest,including the new 'dean's' insults towards our outgoing dean (who was beloved and admired by many)."  The link suggests that the President had planned to fire the outgoing Dean.  The new Interim Dean, a practitioner, self-describes himself as "nuttier than a fruitcake."  A natural choice!

UPDATE:  A reader writes:

You missed the new dean's key qualification:  "Keefe, a 1978 graduate of the law school, and a personal injury attorney in Belleville, Ill. says it's 'not in his DNA' to say no to a Jesuit priest."  Sounds like the President got his perfect candidate.

ANOTHER:  This story gets worse, and in a way that suggests the University President is, indeed, the source of the problem.  This article reports that the President has chosen not only a non-academic "yes man' to be Interim Dean, a man who self-describes as a "nut," but one who plans to keep practicing law--in other words, he will be a part-time Interim Dean.  SLU, as faculty will know, has done a lot of good hiring the last few years, and I expect a lot of the younger faculty, as well as the well-known senior faculty, will be heading out the door.  This actually seems worse than the DePaul situation of a couple of years ago.   About the only thing that may save SLU at this point is the tight market for faculty hires due to the general economic situation.  Even so....

August 9, 2012 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SLU Law Dean Resigns Abruptly

Her resignation letter is here, and if the allegations are accurate, then SLU will be hard-pressed to find a new Dean, at least with the current President and Provost in place.  What an embarrassment for SLU!

(Thanks to Sam Bagenstos for the pointer.)

UPDATE:  Dean Clark's letter to faculty and staff, which has even more appalling details.  The SLU Administration is starting to make their DePaul counterparts look like skilled professionals!

ANOTHER:  The University President, Father Biondi, has led the institution for 25 years!  That suggests either that (1) there is more to this story, or (2) he has the Board of Trustees in his pocket (much as the incompetent John Silber did during his years wrecking BU).

August 8, 2012 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Revisiting The Law Review Submission Process

As I noted here, the University of Chicago Law Review and California Law Review are no longer accepting submissions from ExpressO.  They now accept articles submitted for five dollars a pop via Scholastica.  The Stanford Law Review and Yale Law Journal only accept pieces submitted through their proprietary submission systems.  Over at the Faculty Lounge, I ponder the possibility of law review submission consortiums or law reviews charging authors for submissions as two possible routes to a new submission reality.  The submission process has only been getting more insane.  Is now the time for some (fairly) radical change?

August 8, 2012 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vik Amar (UC Davis) on Rankings


August 7, 2012 in Rankings | Permalink

Updated Law School Lateral Moves List

I've updated my Faculty Lounge list of lateral moves - tenured and untenured - here.

August 7, 2012 in Faculty News | Permalink

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hiring Chairs can announce themselves...

...and their hiring needs here.

August 6, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sunstein Returning from Obama Administration to Harvard

Story here.  Although I haven't confirmed this with Professor Sisk, my guess is that had Sunstein been included in the recent scholarly impact survey for Harvard, Harvard would have been #1.

(Thanks to Eric Freedman for the pointer.)

UPDATE:  Professor Sisk informs me that even with Sunstein, Harvard would still trail Yale in citations, though by a much smaller margin.  This may be a case where mean/median citation figures are misleading, since it seems to me (and I imagine others) that Harvard overtook Yale some time ago.

August 3, 2012 in Faculty News | Permalink