June 12, 2017

Applicants down half of one percent in 2016-17 cycle...

...while the drop in high-end LSAT scores is steeper.

I'll be on a reduced blogging schedule for the summer (look for one or two items per week), but will update the lateral moves list periodically as well as start the new one in August.  (Mike Simkovic, who has posting privileges here as well, may be posting as well in the summer.)

Thanks for reading, and I wish everyone a productive and pleasant summer.


June 12, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

June 01, 2017

Rookie hiring collapsed again this year (only 60+ rookie hires nationwide)...

...according to the data helpfully compiled by Professor Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern).  On the other hand, my strong impression is that there's been an increase in untenured lateral movements--several schools that advertised for rookies, and indeed interviewed at the "meat market," ended up hiring untenured laterals--not surprising, given that the tight market the last few years means many candidates probably underplaced to how they would have done in normal times.

You can see figures on the total number of graduates each school had on the market this year here.  The top ten were:

Harvard University (35)

Georgetown University (31)

Yale University (26)

New York University (25)

University of Michigan (18)

Columbia University (16)

Northwestern University (14)

Stanford University (12)

University of California, Berkeley (12)

University of Pennsylvania (9)

George Washington University (8)

(Chicago had a light year, just three graduates on the market, only two of whom we were working with, one of whom got multiple offers and did accept a job.  Some other recent Chicago JDs were among the untenured laterals this year as well.)


June 1, 2017 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

May 30, 2017

George Fletcher sues Columbia and his Law School Deans for age discrimination

The complaint is here.  Fletcher has apparently enjoyed an arrangement in which he teaches his 10 credits in the fall and then spends the Spring in Israel.  His new Dean, Gillian Lester, and the Associate Dean, Avery Katz--both defendants in the suit--had concerns about student enrollments and evaluations of some of his classes.  Fletcher claims they want him to retire, and so are trying to disrupt his cozy teaching arrangement, or something like that.  This ranking of mine makes a surprising implicit appearance in paragraph 29 of the complaint: 

[Dean Gillian] Lester further stated in her communication [to Professsor Fletcher] in January of 2016 that the Law School would "like to go back to offering just two sections of Introduction to American Law, taught by the other instructors." The other instructors referenced by Lester are less qualified than Fletcher: for instance, they are not members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to which Fletcher was elected in 2004. Membership in the Academy is a primary measurement of prestige in law school circles, and is used in determining law school rankings. Upon information and belief, the other two professors are ten (10) or more years younger than Fletcher.

The argument here is obviously absurd:  no one is elected to the AAAS because of their teaching ability, but because of their scholarly accomplishments--often ones from long ago.  Moreover, faculty are typically elected later in their career, as Fletcher was--of course most of his younger colleagues are not elected to the American Academy!  

Be that as it may, I'm not sure the complaint pleads enough facts to suggest that age discrimination was at work here, but we will find out soon enough, as Columbia has moved, predictably, to dismiss.

ADDENDUM:  The complaint mentions that Fletcher taught at UCLA from 1969 until 1983, when he moved to Columbia.  For reasons unknown, it omits that his first teaching job was at the University of Florida (1965-66), and then the University of Washington (1966-1969), where he was, bizarrely, denied tenure, a decision that did not redound to the credit of the UW law school. 

UPDATE:  Reader Eric Chiappinelli kindly passed along a copy of Columbia's motion to dismiss:   Download 2017.05.23 Fletcher v. Columbia MOTION TO DISMISS.  I expect the case will be dismissed.


May 30, 2017 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

May 05, 2017

Law school transfer market 2016

Striking data.  A lot, but not all, of this is motivated by attempts to game the USNEWS rankings.


May 5, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

May 02, 2017

Top corporate and securities articles for 2016

Robert Thompson (Georgetown) kindly shared the 2016 results (this is the 25th year they've been running these surveys about leading articles):

The Top 10 Corporate and Securities Articles of 2016

 

The Corporate Practice Commentator is pleased to announce the results of its twenty-third annual poll to select the ten best corporate and securities articles.  Teachers in corporate and securities law were asked to select the best corporate and securities articles from a list of articles published and indexed in legal journals during 2016.  More than 490 articles were on this year’s list.  Because of the vagaries of publication, indexing, and mailing, some articles published in 2016 have a 2015 date, and not all articles containing a 2016 date were published and indexed in time to be included in this year’s list. 

The articles, listed in alphabetical order of the initial author, are:

 

Baker, Lynn A., Michael A. Perino and Charles Silver. Is the Price Right? An Empirical Study of Fee-setting in Securities Class Actions. 115 Colum. L. Rev. 1371-1452 (2015).

 

Cain, Matthew D., Jill E. Fisch, Sean J. Griffith & Steven Davidoff Solomon. How Corporate Governance is Made: The Case of the Golden Leash. 164 U. Pa. L. Rev. 649-702 (2016).

 

Catan, Emiliano M. and Marcel Kahan. The Law and Finance of Antitakeover Statutes. 68 Stan. L. Rev. 629-680 (2016).

 

Cremers, K.J Martijn and Simone M. Sepe. The Shareholder Value of Empowered Boards. 68 Stan. L. Rev. 67-148 (2016).

 

Elhauge, Einer. Horizontal Shareholding. 129 Harv. L. Rev. 1267-1317 (2016).

 

Fox, Merritt B., Lawrence R. Glosten and Gabriel V. Rauterberg. The New Stock Market: Sense and Nonsense. 65 Duke L.J. 191-277 (2015).

 

Goshen, Zohar and Assaf Hamdani. Corporate Control and Idiosyncratic Vision. 125 Yale L.J. 560-619 (2016).

 

Korsmo, Charles R. and Minor Myers. Appraisal Arbitrage and the Future of Public Company M&A. 92 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1551-1615 (2015).

 

Talley, Eric L. Corporate Inversions and the Unbundling of Regulatory Competition. 101 Va. L. Rev. 1649-1751 (2015).

 

Thompson, Robert B. Anti-Primacy: Sharing Power in American Corporations. 71 Bus. Law. 381-425 (2016).


May 2, 2017 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

April 18, 2017

The 10 most cited health law scholars, 2010-2014 (Michael Simkovic)

Mark Hall and Glenn Cohen have extended Brian Leiter's approach to ranking faculty by scholarly citations (based on Sisk data) to the field of health law.

According to Hall and Cohen, the most cited health law scholars in 2010-2014 (inclusive) are:

Rank Name School Citations Approx. Age in 2017
1 Larry Gostin Georgetown 510     67
2 Mark A. Hall Wake Forest 480     62
3 David A. Hyman Georgetown 360     56
4 I. Glenn Cohen Harvard 320     39
5 John A. Robertson Texas 310     74
6 Mark Rothstein Louisville 300     68
6 Michelle M. Mello Stanford 300     46
6 Frank Pasquale Maryland 300     43
9 Lars Noah Florida 280     52
10 George J. Annas Boston U 270     72

 

The full ranking is available here.


April 18, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Rankings, Weblogs | Permalink

April 12, 2017

February Bar Exam, Florida results

The big winners were graduates of Florida International University and the University of Miami.


April 12, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

April 11, 2017

USNews.com adds GRE scores to ranking formula

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?


April 11, 2017 in Rankings | Permalink

March 14, 2017

University of Florida embarrasses itself...

...by promoting random movement in the "overall" US News rank as meaningful, rather than noise.  This only came to my attention because their PR office actually sent it to me!  They should do some research about whom they send this stuff too!  What's especially unfortunate about press releases like this is that it legitimizes the US News metrics, which can only come back to haunt schools when the "overall" nonsense number moves in the opposite direction for no discernible (or, in any case, meaningful) reason.

UPDATE:  More superficial reporting, treating random movements as having meaning, or as worthy of note.  95% of movement in the US News "overall" rank is attributable to schools puffing, fudging or lying more than their peers in how they report the data to US News (or the reverse, for schools that drop); US News, recalls, audits none of the self-reported data.


March 14, 2017 in Legal Profession, Rankings | Permalink

March 13, 2017

Law Schools Unfairly Ranked by U.S. News

MOVING TO FRONT (ORIGINALLY POSTED FROM OCT. 3 2011, WITH MINOR REVISIONS), SINCE IT IS TIMELY AGAIN

I've occasionally commented in the past about particular schools that clearly had artificially low overall ranks in U.S. News, and readers e-mail me periodically asking about various schools in this regard.   Since the overall rank in U.S. News is a meaningless nonsense number, permit me to make one very general comment:   it seems to me that all the law schools dumped into what U.S. News calls the "second" tier--indeed, all the law schools ranked ordinally beyond the top 25 or 30  based on irrelevant and trivial differences-- are unfairly ranked and represented.  This isn't because all these schools have as good faculties or as successful graduates as schools ranked higher--though many of them, in fact, do--but because the metric which puts them into these lower ranks is a self-reinforcing one, and one that assumes, falsely and perniciously, that the mission of all law schools is the same.  Some missions, to be sure, are the same at some generic level:  e.g., pretty much all law schools look to train lawyers and produce legal scholarship.  U.S. News has no meaningful measure of the latter, so that part of the shared mission isn't even part of the exercise.  The only "measures" of the former are the fictional employment statistics that schools self-report and bar exam results.  The latter may be only slightly more probative, except that the way U.S. News incorporates them into the ranking penalizes schools in states with relatively easy bar exams.  So with respect to the way in which the missions of law schools are the same, U.S. News employs no pertinent measures. 

But schools differ quite a bit in how they discharge the two generic missions, namely, producing scholarship and training lawyers.  Some schools focus much of their scholasrhip on the needs of the local or state bar.  Some schools produce lots of DAs, and not many "big firm" lawyers.    Some schools emphasize skills training and state law.  Some schools emphasize theory and national and transnational legal issues.   Some schools value only interdisciplinary scholarship.  And so on.  U.S. News conveys no information at all about how well or poorly different schools discharge these functions.  But by ordinally ranking some 150 schools based on incompetently done surveys, irrelevant differences and fictional data, and dumping the remainder into a "second tier", U.S. News conveys no actual information, it simply rewards fraud in data reporting and gratuitously insults hard-working legal educators and scholars and their students and graduates.


March 13, 2017 in Rankings | Permalink