Friday, October 23, 2020

Lateral hires with tenure or on tenure-track, 2020-21

These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2021 (except where noted); I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in.   (Recent additions are in bold.)  Last year's list is here.  Feel free to e-mail me with news of additions to this list.


*Ifeoma Ajunwa (law & technology, race & law, labor & employment law, health law) from Cornell University (Industrial & Labor Relations School) to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (effective January 2021).


*Robin Kundis Craig (environmental law, water law) from the University of Utah to the University of Southern California.


*Michael Z. Green (labor & employment law) from Texas A&M University to Chicago-Kent College of Law/Illinois Institute of Technology.


*G. Mitu Gulati (contracts, sovereign debt, law & economics, empirical legal studies, race/gender & law) from Duke University to the University of Virginia.


*Osamudia James (administrative law, race & law, education law) from the University of Miami to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


*Kristin Johnson (financial regulation, securities regulation) from Tulane University to Emory University (effective January 2021).


*Kimberly Krawiec (corporate) from Duke University to the University of Virginia.


*David S. Law (comparative constitutional law, law & social science) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of Virginia.


*Eduardo Penalver (property) from Cornell University (where he is currently Dean) to Seattle University (to become President of the University).


*D. Theodore Rave (civil procedure, constitutional law, election law) from the University of Houston to the University of Texas, Austin.


*Darren Rosenblum (corporate, international business transactions) from Pace University to McGill University.


*Sarah Schindler (land use, property, local government law) from the University of Maine to the University of Denver (effective January 2021).


*Jessica Silbey (intellectual property, law & society) from Northeastern University to Boston University (effective January 2021).


*Robert Tsai (constitutional law, legal history) from American University to Boston University (effective January 2021).

October 23, 2020 in Faculty News | Permalink

The era of Condorcet polls is over

The results of the last poll are here, and basically regurgitate US News (or the "halo effect" of school name) with a couple of exceptions.  But there was also more mischief this time.   As one reader reported (by examining the detailed breakdown of votes):

I’m reaching out because I was looking at the raw balloting data on the website and I noticed something curious.  There are 66 voters in your survey who rank UC Davis as one of the top 10 law schools and UC Hastings as one of the bottom 8 law schools.  Interestingly, only 5 voters rank UCLA as one of the top 10 law schools and UC Hastings as one of the bottom 8 law schools and only 2 voters rank UC Irvine as one of the top 10 law schools and UC Hastings as one of the bottom 8 law schools.  Whoever these pro-Davis, anti-Hastings voters are, they appear to be a large percentage of the respondents and to have a material impact on Hastings’ rank.  It is possible my read of the data is incorrect, but this is what jumps out at me once I load your spreadsheet into Stata.

Conversely, no voters rank Hastings in the top 10 and Davis in the bottom 8.

There were other, shall we say, peculiar patterns in the voting.   If someone wants to undertake a serious and informed survey about law faculty quality, get in touch, and I'll offer guidance about how to do it.  I don't have the time myself, but am happy to be an advisor and to publicize the results.

October 23, 2020 in Rankings | Permalink

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Everything (and then some) you might want to know about the appointments scandal at Toronto Law... collected here.  (Earlier coverage.)

October 21, 2020 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Rank the top 40 law schools in terms of the scholarly strength of the faculty

It's time for our annual Condorcet poll of the best scholarly faculties in U.S. law schools.   Please note the instructions:  "Rank order the law schools below in terms of the scholarly strength of the faculty (consider only scholarly strength in your best judgment, not current U.S. News rank!)."  If you don't have informed opinions about the scholarly strength of different law faculties, then you should not participate. 

I listed 58 schools that might have some claim to being in the top 40 for scholarly accomplishment.   Have fun!  Note that the more schools you rank, the more impact your vote will have on the results.

(Any faculty found mobilizing votes on social media will have their school eliminated from the results!)

October 20, 2020 in Rankings | Permalink

What do you need to find out now that you've gotten a tenure-track offer?


With luck, some of you seeking law teaching jobs will get offers of tenure-track positions in the next couple of months; a handful of offers have already been extended this season (2019-20).  What then?  Here's roughly what I tell the Chicago job candidates we work with that they need to find out, and in the interest of having it written down in one place and for the benefit of others too, here it is (not in order of importance):

1.  You will want to get (in writing eventually) the basic salary information, obviously, and the nature of summer research support and the criteria for its award (is it automatic for junior faculty?  contingent on prior publication [if so, how much?]?  awarded competitively (if so, based on what criteria/process)?).   You should also find out how salary raises are determined.  Are they, for example, lock-step for junior faculty?  Fixed by union contract?  (Rutgers faculty, for example, are unionized, a huge advantage and why they are among the best-paid faculty, not just in law, in the country.)  Is it a 'merit' system, and if so is it decanal discretion or is their a faculty committee that reviews your teaching and work each year?

2.  You should ask for a copy of the school's tenure standards and get clear about the expectations and the timeline.  Does any work you have already published count towards meeting the tenure standard?

3.  What research leave policy, if any, does the school have?  A term off after every three full years of teaching is a very good leave policy; some schools have even better policies, most have less generous leave policies.  (If there is a norm, it is a term off after every six years.)  Many schools have a special leave policy for junior faculty, designed to give them some time off prior to the tenure decision.  Find out if the school has such a policy.

4.  One of the most important things to be clear about is not just your teaching load, but what courses you will be teaching precisely.  You should ask whether the school can guarantee a stable set of courses until after the tenure decision.  Preparing new courses is hugely time-consuming, and you also get better at teaching the course the more times you do it.  As a tenure-track faculty member, having a stable package of, say, three courses (plus a seminar) will make a huge difference in terms of your ability to conduct research and write.   In my experience, most schools will commit in writing to a set of courses for the tenure-track years (and do ask for this in writing), but some schools either won't or can't.   In my view, it's a good reason to prefer one school to another that one will give you the courses you want and promise them that they're yours, while another won't--a consideration that overrides lots of other factors, including salary.

Continue reading

October 20, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink | Comments (14)

Monday, October 19, 2020

Blast from the past: an open letter to Bob Morse at US News about steps to take to prevent the "gaming" of the rnakings

Ten years ago.  U.S. News took none of the recommended steps, which pretty well sums up what the law school rankings are really about (and it's not providing help to students).

October 19, 2020 in Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The timing of this year's job market

Without a "meat market" around which schools and candidates coordinate their behavior, the timing is quite various this year.  Some schools are still scheduling initial interviews, while other schools hosted call-backs as early as September.  Some schools have even started extending offers.  This is going to make things more challenging all around; I hope hiring schools will give candidates at least one month to consider an offer.  By the same token, candidates should be timely in letting schools know if they are no longer interested in being considered because they have other offers in hand.

October 15, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Law professor Thomas W. Mitchell (Texas A&M) is a 2020 MacArthur Foundation Fellow...

...along with 20 others.  It's a big award, $625,000 over five years!

(As I noted a number of years ago, these awards were, back in the 1980s, known informally as the genius" awards, until it became obvious that that wasn't the selection criterion. What is the selection criterion? No one is really sure, since both the nomination and selection process are secret.)

October 13, 2020 in Faculty News | Permalink

Monday, October 12, 2020

"Farmer's intent"

That's not a typo.  Important insights from legal philosopher Leslie Green (Oxford & Queen's U).

October 12, 2020 in Legal Humor | Permalink

600 law students pledge to boycott Paul Weiss because of its representation of Exxon and its role in thwarting action on climate change

Their press statement is here:  Download Press Release--Six hundred law students pledge not to work for law firm defending Exxon's role in the climate crisis.

I asked Mr. Hirschel-Burns, a Yale law student and one of the organizers, for a list of the signatories, which he kindly provided but did not give permission to share.  A bit more than two-thirds of the 600 signatories come from the elite law schools from which Paul Weiss usually hires, including large contingents from Harvard (78), NYU (94), Stanford (80), Michigan (79), and Yale (76).

October 12, 2020 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Friday, October 9, 2020

Where did those teaching in "top" law schools go to law school?

You can guess the answer, but I recently came across this systematic study by law professor Eric Segall (Georgia State) and a political scientist.   Faculty at the top ten law schools graduated from the following law schools (I'm going off a graph in the paper that is a little hard to read):   Yale (more than 190); Harvard (a bit less than 190); Chicago (more than 40); Columbia (more than 30); Virginia (not quite 30); Stanford (about 25); Berkeley and NYU (a bit more than 20); Michigan (not quite 20); Penn (fewer than 10).  Bear in mind that Harvard graduates more than 2 1/2 times as many students each year as Yale, Chicago, or Stanford.  If we normalize for the size of the typical Harvard class, then the figures would be something like this (with rounding to nearest ten):  Yale (480); Harvard (190); Chicago (110); Columbia (60); Stanford (60); Berkeley and Virginia (50); Michigan and NYU (30); Penn (20).

October 9, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Some jurisprudential articles

"The Roles of Judges in Democracies:  A Realistic View" is now out in Journal of Institutional Studies, and  will also be reprinted in P. Chiassoni & B. Spaic (eds.), Judges and Adjudication in Constitutional Democracies: A View from Legal Realism (Springer, 2021).  From the abstract (taken from the penultimate SSRN version):

What are the “obligations” of judges in democracies? An adequate answer requires us to be realistic both about democracies and about law. Realism about democracy demands that we recognize that electoral outcomes are largely, though not entirely, unrelated to concrete policy choices by elected representatives or to the policy preferences of voters, who typically follow their party based on “tribal” loyalties. The latter fact renders irrelevant the classic counter-majoritarian (or counter-democratic) worries about judicial review. Realism about law requires that we recognize that judges, especially on appellate courts, will inevitably have to render moral and political judgments in order to produce authoritative resolutions of disputes, one of the central functions of a legal system in any society. That means it is impossible to discuss the “obligations” of judges without regard to their actual moral and political views, as well as the moral and political ends we believe ought to be achieved.

"Critical Remarks on Shapiro's Legality and the 'Grounding Turn' in Recent Jurisprudence," is now up on SSRN; here's the abstract:

The essay discusses some difficulties in Scott Shapiro’s LEGALITY (2011).  Many are well-known among specialists, but I set them out systematically here for the benefit of non-specialists.  These include the mischaracterization of core jurisprudential questions in terms of “grounding” relations, which unfortunately erases the major natural law positions in the field (e.g., those of Finnis and Murphy), and results in a version of “positivism” that major legal positivists (e.g., Hart) do not accept (cf. pp. 2, 10-13); but also the false claims that:  (1) “knowledge of law is normative” such that to say X has “a legal right is to draw a normative conclusion” (cf. p. 15); (2) officials have a legal obligation to follow the rule of recognition (cf. p. 17); and (3) Hart commits a “category mistake” in his discussion of social rules (cf. p. 19).  The essay also criticizes Shapiro’s discussion of jurisprudential methodology (pp. 3-8) and his (Dworkinian) attempt to show that the answer to jurisprudential questions matters to how courts should decide cases (pp. 13-14). 

The SSRN version will remain on-line and is citable, but much of the material will probably migrate into my From a Realist Point of View (Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2022 or 2023).

Finally, "The Naturalized Epistemology Approach to Evidence," (co-authored with Gabe Broughton, who is the lead author) is also on SSRN, and will appear in C. Dahlman, A. Stein, & G. Tuzet (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Evidence Law (Oxford University Press, 2021).  Here is the abstract:

Continue reading

October 8, 2020 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Big jump in law school applicants at the start of the 2020-21 admissions season

Blog Emperor Caron has the details.  If this holds, that will bode well for law faculty hiring in 2021-22, and may even lead to some late entries to the hiring market this year.

October 6, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, October 5, 2020

A new legal scholarship podcast, "Digging a Hole"...

...hosted by Samuel Moyn and David Schleicher (both Yale Law School).  It prompted this amusing reaction on Twitter from Rick Hills (NYU).

October 5, 2020 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Friday, October 2, 2020

Former Alabama Law Dean Ken Randall to become the new Dean at George Mason

GMU's press release is here.  He did oversee the transformation of Alabama from a solid but sleepy regional law school to one of the nation's best state flagship law schools.

October 2, 2020 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, October 1, 2020

3rd AALS Placement Bulletin came out the other day...

...and it actually has new job ads from about ten schools, including Akron, Kentucky, McGeorge, Rutgers, South Carolina, and Stanford, among others.

October 1, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Blast from the past: the mystery of SSRN e-journal classifications

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Harvard's Noah Feldman thinks his friends and former co-clerks are "brilliant" and should be on SCOTUS

That's the short version, I think.  (I could count on one hand the number of "brilliant" people I've met in the legal academy, but maybe I don't use it in the hyberbolic way Yale graduates do!)  Joking aside, there's no doubt Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a smart and capable lawyer.  But Professor Feldman knows as well as I do that those are a dime a dozen, and that the only reason she was chosen from among the many dozens was because she is a religious conservative whom religious conservatives expect will exercise her inevitable discretion in a way congenial to their moral and political objectives.  Why not educate the public about what the Supreme Court really does and why the moral and political views of the nominees matter, instead of offering up misleading bromides like she "will analyze and decide cases in good faith, applying the jurisprudential principles to which she is committed"?   All judges who act in good faith and with adherence to their "principles" will nonetheless have to make moral and political choices on the Supreme Court.  Once we get over that low bar of acting in good faith in accordance with "principles," the real question is what will the nominee's moral and political choices be?

September 26, 2020 in Faculty News, Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink