April 29, 2013
Brooklyn Law's Dean Allard Replies to Concerns about Academic Freedom
On Friday, Dean Nicholas Allard at Brooklyn Law School, sent me a constructive reply to the concerns raised on Thursday about the proposed definition of "adequate cause" (and, in particular, "demonstrated incompetence") for termination of tenured faculty. Dean Allard also kindly gave me permission to share his response with the academic community. I post it below in its entirety:
I appreciate your acknowledgment of Brooklyn Law School as a school of long-standing and good reputation. I also share, and applaud, your commitment to academic freedom, and I welcome a vigorous discussion about how best to achieve it. It is a critical issue and a core value at Brooklyn Law School.
The recent change to our faculty regulations that you wrote about added the concept of “demonstrated incompetence,” which, as I understand it, is a long-recognized and widely accepted regulatory term supported by the AAUP and others. Our regulations did not previously include any reference to “demonstrated incompetence.”
The definition of the term “demonstrated incompetence” that was also included in the new regulations was not meant to expand its scope, but quite the opposite: the intent was to offer additional language to clarify a term that seemed potentially vague without further explication. The
particular language of the definition obviously has raised concerns and will be addressed. To that end, I welcome further input from the faculty — and from other sources, like the AAUP, as referenced by the post on your blog — and that is exactly why the matter has been referred to our Faculty Hearing Committee for its review and guidance.
Last week I asked the Hearing Committee, which is the panel of BLS professors that applies internal regulations to tenured faculty, to review the definition for “adequate cause.” Under our regulations, this committee assures that peers are responsible for performance review — an important safeguard of both due process and academic freedom. I await their suggestions, concerns, and improvements, which I will take to our Board of Trustees to address.
I have full confidence that faculty peers will apply the standard fairly and in alignment with Brooklyn Law School’s tradition of outstanding scholarship.
I view this as welcome news, and will be interested to see the final standards that emerge from the process. I think this will also be an instructive process for other academic institutions.
April 25, 2013
Academic freedom (and due process) under threat at Brooklyn Law School?Details here.
April 18, 2013
So which areas of law deserve more attention in the legal academy?
The results of our earlier poll, with over 200 votes cast:
|1. Consumer Law (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)|
|2. Energy Law/Natural Resources Law/Water Law loses to Consumer Law by 109–73|
|3. Employment Law loses to Consumer Law by 115–73, loses to Energy Law/Natural Resources Law/Water Law by 91–85|
|4. Alternative Dispute Resolution loses to Consumer Law by 106–80, loses to Employment Law by 89–83|
|5. Immigration Law loses to Consumer Law by 118–67, loses to Alternative Dispute Resolution by 87–86|
|6. Family Law loses to Consumer Law by 123–61, loses to Immigration Law by 99–72|
|7. Insurance Law loses to Consumer Law by 130–53, loses to Family Law by 100–77|
|8. Comparative Law loses to Consumer Law by 117–68, loses to Insurance Law by 91–87|
|9. Elder Law loses to Consumer Law by 135–47, loses to Comparative Law by 88–80|
|10. Wills, Trusts & Estates loses to Consumer Law by 126–58, loses to Elder Law by 88–79|
Thoughts from readers? Signed comments only: full name and valid e-mail address.
April 17, 2013
How hard are the different state bar exams?This is informative. Illinois's will be a bit harder to pass, but not a lot harder.
April 15, 2013
Standard & Poor's Downgrades Albany Law School's RatingOf course, the track record of these agencies is sufficiently poor that it's hard to know what to make of this, but it is still a "sign of the times," as it were.
April 11, 2013
Which areas of law deserve more attention/investment from law schools...
...in the form of more full-time faculty doing research in the area. It's our topic du jour, so perhaps a poll of readers will prove informative. No lobbying for votes by blogs in particular areas! The poll only includes areas about which one hears with some regluarity concern that they are under-treated by law schools (so no constitutional law, corporate law, tax, criminal law, which almost all law schools are well-represented in or try to be).
When the results are in, I'll open them for discussion next week.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, the Workplace Law blog linked to the poll, which resulted in a surge for employment law. I've asked them to remove the link, otherwise we will have to drop employment law from the results, which would be unfortunate.
Is hiring of labor and employment law professors disproportionately down?I'm skeptical.
April 01, 2013
Disclosing material/economic interests in scholarshipMore law reviews should adopt this policy.
February 28, 2013
Georgetown's Report on the State of the Legal Market for 2013Not good news (not surprising), and definitely worth reading. It comes pretty squarely down in favor of Bill Henderson's longstanding hypothesis that the changes afoot are structural not cyclical.
February 20, 2013
Paul Campos admits he doesn't "even [know] what it means" to think like a lawyer
This probably explains a lot. Fortunately, Fred Schauer has recently written a book that could help him with his questions, like, "What does it mean to teach people to think like lawyers? How is thinking like a lawyer different from ordinary thinking?"
(Thanks to Nick Smith for the pointer.)
UPDATE: A senior legal academic, who has been involved extensively with legal education reform, writes: "Keep up the Campos bashing. I think that some of the law school critics have done a good service. Even when I don't agree with everything, it was necessary for legal educators to give up a bit of complacency. I've never met Campos, but he is disgraceful." It's hard to disagree with any of that, but I don't really plan to keep up the "bashing," since, as we saw a few weeks back, by Campos's own admission, there really isn't much content to his routine.