January 05, 2014
SSRN Download Mystery
I just happened to look, for the first time in a few months, at the download stats for law professors at SSRN, and here's what I found for the last 12 months (the first number is the total number of downloads in the last 12 months, the second is the download rank, and the third is the number of new papers in the last 12 months):
The mystery is: what happened to Cass Sunstein (Harvard) and Daniel Solove (George Washington), who are usual mainstays of the top ten? (Several years ago, Solove published a paper that got picked up by the media and which has been downloaded some 135,000 times all by itself!). Shoot me an e-mail if you know.
UPDATE: An astute reader notes that it appears Harvard and George Washington faculty were somehow not counted, since also missing from the law list are high download authors like Lucian Bebchuk (Harvard) and Orin Kerr (George Washington)!
SOLUTION: The "all authors" list includes the missing law professors, yielding the following top ten list for law faculty:
1. Cass Sunstein (Harvard)
2. Daniel Solove (George Washington)
3. Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee)
4. Dan Kahan (Yale)
5. Lucian Bebchuk (Harvard)
6. Mark Lemley (Stanford)
7. Brian Leiter (Chicago)
8. Orin Kerr (George Washington)
9. Ryan Goodman (NYU)
10. G. Mitu Gulati (Duke)
The only real surprise there is Reynolds, though considering his blog has at least a half million readers, I'm surprised he isn't #1!
December 31, 2013
Signs of the times: 2013 in review
A useful wrap-up from Karen Sloan at The National Law Journal.
Happy New Year to all readers!
December 17, 2013
1l Enrollment in fall 2013 down 11% from the prior year
The ABA report is here:
The 202 ABA-approved J.D. programs reported that 39,675 full-time and part-time students began their law school studies in the fall of 2013. This is a decrease of 4,806 students (11 percent) from the fall of 2012 and a 24 percent decrease from the historic high 1L enrollment of 52,488 in the fall of 2010.
Approximately two-thirds of ABA-law schools (135) experienced declines in first-year enrollment from last year. At 81 law schools, 1L declines exceeded 10 percent.
At 63 schools, 1L enrollment increased from 2012. At 27 of those schools, enrollment increased 10 percent or more.
At 34 schools, the number of 1L students stayed within five students above or below last year’s figures.
December 13, 2013
More signs of the times: cost-competition among Philly law schools
December 12, 2013
Ranking of law schools by percentage of Class of 2012 that got jobs with large law firms or federal clerkships
It's here, and somewhat misleadingly titled "elite" employment outcomes. But since it uses a size cut-off, it means that graduates who go to Barlit Beck in Chicago, or Kellogg Huber in D.C. (high-end litigation boutiques that pay top dollar and only hire the best of the best) don't count as "elite" employment outcomes! Such is life, and no measure is ever perfect, and the results are still useful and not wholly surprising:
1. University of Pennsylvania (75.2%)
2. Stanford University (74.0%)
3. Harvard University (69.7%)
4. Columbia University (66.5%)
5. University of Chicago (66.0%)
6. Yale University (64.7%)
7. Cornell University (63.9%)
8. Duke University (63.7%)
9. University of California, Berkeley (60.3%)
10. New York University (57.3%)
11. Northwestern University (55.4%)
12. University of Virginia (52.7%)
13. University of California, Irvine (51.8%)
14. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (51.4%)
After these fourteen, there is a big-drop off to the next cluster:
15. Georgetown University (39.3%)
16. Vanderbilt University (38.8%)
17. University of California, Los Angeles (38.0%)
18. University of Southern California (37.6%)
19. University of Texas, Austin (34.9%)
20. Fordham University (33.2%)
21. Boston University (31.9%)
22. University of Notre Dame (31.1%)
23. Boston College (27.7%)
24. Emory University (27.0%)
25. University of Georgia (26.2%)
26. Washington University, St. Louis (25.9%)
27. George Washington University (24.2%)
28. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (22.8%)
29. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (20.7%)
30. West Virginia University (20.4%)
31. Wake Forest University (19.2%)
32. University of Houston (19.1%)
33. Southern Methodist University (17.4%)
33. University of Alabama (17.4%)
35. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul (17.2%)
36. Howard University (16.6%)
37. College of William & Mary (15.7%)
38. Washington & Lee University (15.4%)
39. Tulane University (15.2%)
39. Villanova University (15.2%)
41. University of California, Hastings (15.1%)
42. University of Kentucky (15.0%)
Why does Penn come out ahead of Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago and Yale? Penn clearly has excellent big firm placement, but I suspect they also have fewer JD/PhD students, fewer graduates going to elite litigation boutiques, and fewer going into government work--all jobs that don't count in this listing. Geography is clearly important, too: Fordham has long been the #3 law school in the country's biggest "big firm" legal market, and it shows up in their placement. Schools with regional importance, like West Virginia and Georgia, do well in federal clerkships and placement with the large firms in their areas. But this is useful information for students to keep in mind, since the 42 schools with 15% or more of their 2012 graduates at big firms or in federal clerkships does not correspond to the top 42 schools in terms of faculty quality, or U.S. News.
Latest LSAT report: total applicants down 13.4% from this time last year
Details here, but briefly: "As of 12/06/13, there are 90,032 Fall 2014 applications submitted by 14,171 applicants. Applicants are down 13.6% and applications are down 15.7% from 2013. Last year at this time, we had 28% of the preliminary final applicant count."
The decline in total applications is not surprising: applicants perceive, correctly, that their prospects for admission are much better than in the past, and so are applying to somewhat fewer schools. Harder to predict is what proportion of the applicant pool is currently in contention relative to where we will be in a few months. And that will no doubt be affected by a range of factors beyond anyone's control: the general fortunes of the economy, other job opportunities that become available for students weighing law school as an option, and media coverage of law and the legal profession. (If The New York Times does a front-page story on 300K bonsues at Boies Schiller, well, that will produce one scenario; if another big law firm implodes, and makes the front page, that will produce a rather different one.)
One immediate consequence of these numbers, I fear, is that law schools debating whether to hire new teachers will mostly postpone hiring.
December 10, 2013
ABA considering random audits of employment data posted by schools
Now that's something they ought to have done years ago!
December 06, 2013
Standard & Poor's: stand-alone law schools most at risk
With the caveat that Standard & Poor's track record is pretty abysmal, I should note that their latest credit report on U.S. law schools notes that stand-alone law schools are most vulnerable in the current economic climate for legal education. This is hardly surprising, but I guess now it's "official" in the make-believe world of financial analysis. S&P did not evaluate all law schools, let alone all stand-alone law schools, but they singled out five stand-alones for credit downgrades: New York, Brooklyn, Albany, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Cooley. Of these, my guess is that Thomas Jefferson is the most vulnerable, especially given the continuing lawsuit, but also given its market position as the third best law school in San Diego (after USD and Cal Western, both well-established), and its even weaker position in Southern California (where UCLA, USC, and, probably soon, UC-Irvine will dominate, while Loyola-LA, and Pepperdine are powerful regional players--I have less sense of the relative positions of Whittier and Southwestern, but they are better-established than Thomas Jefferson). Credit downgrades notwithstanding, I fully expect New York, Brooklyn and Albany to be training lawyers ten years from now. Thomas Cooley's business model is a bit opaque to me, so I venture no opinion!
(Thanks to Dean Rowan for the pointer.)
Top Ten Law Faculties in International Law, 2013
With slightly more than 120 votes cast, here are the top ten faculties in international law (both public and private) (in parentheses, I note first the number of faculty listed [larger faculties typically have an advantage], and then the number of votes separating the school from the one ahead of it):
1. New York University (14 faculty)
2. Yale University (11 faculty, 33 votes behind NYU)
3. Harvard University (12 faculty, 5 votes behind Yale)
4. Columbia University (12 faculty, 14 votes behind Harvard)
5. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (16 faculty, 50 votes behind Columbia)
6. Duke University (8 faculty, 1 vote behind Michigan)
7. Georgetown University (13 faculty, 19 votes behind Duke)
8. George Washington University (11 faculty, 19 votes behind Georgetown)
9. University of California, Berkeley (5 faculty, 4 votes behind George Washington)
10. University of California, Los Angeles (9 faculty, 17 votes behind Berkeley)
Runners-up for the top ten: University of Chicago (4 faculty, 3 votes behind UCLA); Northwestern University (8 faculty, 18 votes behind Chicago).
Schools not included in the survey--like Iowa, Arizona State, Fordham, Minnesota and Temple--would probably have outperformed some of the faculties surveyed, though I don't expect any would have made the top ten. (I'm less confident about Minnesota.)
I have to say it is impressive, to me at least, how sensible the results of these polls have so far been.
December 02, 2013
Best Faculties in International Law, 2013 (revised poll)
(Apologies to the 3 or 4 readers who completed the prior version, which wrongly omitted one top ten law school.)
Here's a new poll, covering international law, both what we usually call "public" and "private," so, e.g., international human rights, international institutions, international courts, international trade, international business transactions, internationl litigation, etc. Comparative law scholars were not included, unless their work dealt with international legal issues as well. Immigration law and national security law presented some tough cases, and no doubt there are some errors of inclusion and exclusion in these fields, but the idea was only to list those whose work had a significant international law dimension (as opposed to, e.g, mainly a constitutional law dimension).
I will be policing cheating, as before. Despite the bad behavior by some Berkeley supporters in the last poll, Condorcet polls are quite resistant to strategic voting (even in that case, the cheating would have gained Berkeley one spot, but those votes were substracted out).
We listed 18 faculties--the U.S. News top ten for international law, plus other top ten law faculties, plus a couple of others that might be contenders. Only the top ten will be announced.
Have fun, but only if you know something about internatoinal law!
TSK TSK, ALREADY! Someone who ranks Columbia #1 and NYU #17 is not playing the game honestly. Fortunately, such pettiness will wash out.
CORRECTION: In the faculty that begins Barr, Beny, it should be "Christine Chinkin" not "Catherine Chinkin."
AS NOTED PREVIOUSLY, these polls invariably leave out some schools that would perform as well or better than some included; one example pointed out to me is Arizona State, with Kenneth Abbott, Daniel Bodansky, and several other active international law scholars, is surely as strong as some of those listed (though I'm not sure if they would have made the top ten, but it is possible).
ANOTHER UPDATE: The faculty beginning Martin, Moore should also have included, at least, Ashley Deeks and John Harrison.