Friday, November 16, 2018

UCLA Law Prof Sander sues University of California seeking anonymized admissions records to determine whether the university is still considering race in admissions

IHE has the details.

November 16, 2018 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Berkeley Law to drop the "Boalt Hall" name

A sensible explanation from Berkeley Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

November 15, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

In Memoriam: Alan Watson (1933-2018)

A leading authority on Roman law, legal history, and comparative law, Professor Watson taught for many years at the University of Georgia and, prior to that, at the University of Pennsylvania.  The Georgia memorial notice is here.

November 14, 2018 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

More on the case of Professor Kesan at the University of Illinois

Blog Emperor Caron has some new details and information.

November 13, 2018 in Faculty News | Permalink

Friday, November 9, 2018

Lateral hires with tenure or on tenure-track, 2018-19

These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2019 (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.

 

*Danielle Citron (privacy, civil rights, freedom of expression, Internet law) from the University of Maryland to Boston University.

 

*M. Elisabeth Magill (administrative law, constitutional law) from Stanford University to the University of Virginia (to become Provost).

 

*Jedediah Purdy (property, environmental law, constitutional law) from Duke University to Columbia University.

November 9, 2018 in Faculty News | Permalink

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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

MOVING TO FRONT, SINCE SOME SCHOOLS HAVE BEGUN VOTING OUT OFFERS (ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 24, 2009--I HAVE UPDATED CERTAIN NUMBERS)--SEE ALSO THE COMMENTS, WHICH HAVE HELPFUL ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS

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 (2018-19).  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.

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November 7, 2018 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink | Comments (14)

Friday, November 2, 2018

A Dark Winter at the University of Wisconsin (Michael Simkovic)

After crippling teachers unions in Wisconsin, the Republican controlled state government moved to slash education budgets and reduce educators' autonomy, both in K-12 education and in higher education.   Many experienced teachers have left the state or left education all together.  Student performance deteriorated.

Prominent professors have complained about changes to tenure standards which they say constitute the elimination of tenure or its substitution with "fake tenure."  A new law essentially forced the university to relinquish any semblance of academic standards with respect to approval of outside speakers.  It also subjects students, faculty, and administrators to potentially harsh discipline for disagreeing with political leaders or powerful donors. 

Massive budget cuts triggered efforts to eliminate academic programs, mainly in social sciences and the humanities.  Some programs have been given a stay of execution only through professors taking on such heavy teaching loads that academic research will grind to a halt.

Faculty are increasingly leaving for greener pastures, and the state--already suffering economically--risks continuing losses of educated professionals and the tax revenue and economic benefits they bring.

Wisconsin could be the canary in the coal mine as the politics of hostility to education go national.  As recent federal tax legislation shows, not even well-endowed private universities are immune from political pressure.

On the other hand, there is evidence of a political backlash in Wisconsin as voters increasingly support local property tax increases to fund investments in educaiton.  Political hostility to education may be limited to the extent that even voters focused on (largely trumped up) "cultural" issues will eventually reject disinvestment policies that damage the economy.

 

UPDATE Nov 4, 2018: Jason Yackee (Wisconsin) responded by email to the post above.  Professor Yackee views things in Wisconsin as better than they seem, at least on the Madison campus.  Yackee also argues that there was overcapacity in parts of the University of Wisconsin system and that budget cuts on some campuses serving smaller communities (or perhaps closures) make sense.  I have posted Profesor Yackee's email below, with his permission.  My skeptical reaction appears below Yackee's letter.

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November 2, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest, Weblogs | Permalink

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Valparaiso Law School to close

IHE has the details.  Good wishes to the students and the faculty.  Hopefully some other law schools will hire some of the excellent and experienced faculty there.

October 31, 2018 in Faculty News, Legal Profession | Permalink

89-year-old prisoner murdered upon transfer to a new prison

There are many threats to the "rule of law" these days, but notorious prisoners being murdered while in state custody should feature among the threats law professors are taking seriously.

October 31, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Chicago's Martha Nussbaum wins $1 million Berggruen Prize in Philosophy for 2018

Announcement here.

October 30, 2018 in Faculty News | Permalink

Monday, October 29, 2018

Michigan State College of Law to actually become part of Michigan State University

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

More on the allegations against Yale's Jed Rubenfeld

A more detailed account from Slate.  This passage sums up the accounts pretty well:

These students, alumni, and faculty all had slightly different reads on exactly how out of line Rubenfeld’s alleged behavior was (and some faculty members had no firsthand knowledge of it at all). Some described Rubenfeld as flirtatious and line-crossing; others called his behavior harassment. The picture we got from these conversations is not one of straightforward abuse but rather a fraught and uncomfortable situation full of insinuation and pushed boundaries that can make learning difficult and has the potential to push women out of the pipeline for the most prestigious and competitive areas of the law. This type of behavior, which is frequently dismissed as “borderline” or “creepy” and not worth making a formal fuss over, can have very real consequences.

If the allegations about this pattern of conduct are confirmed, then Yale would be within rights to fire him after an appropriate process.  This wouldn't be the first time Yale Law has ousted a faculty member over allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

(A sidenote:  the article does wildly overstate how important Supreme Court clerkships are.  The one thing they do guarantee are huge signing bonuses (on the order of 300K these days) from the top law firms!)

 

October 24, 2018 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

University of Illinois law professor Jay Kesan found to have violated Univeristy's Code of Conduct, but not to have violated sexual harassment rules

Details of the case, which dates from 2015, are here.  A colleague at Illinois asked me to share a statement issued by the law faculty protesting the insufficient sanctions imposed in this case: Download JOINT STATEMENT OF LAW PROFESSORS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

I've never before seen such a damning statement issued by law professors about a colleague's misconduct.

 

October 23, 2018 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

$25 million gift to Stanford Law School...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Schools with the highest percentage of tenured faculty on one or more of the most-cited lists by specialty, 2013-2017 (CORRECTED)

Since August, and drawing on the Sisk data, I have produced lists of the most-cited tenured faculty in 20 areas of specialization:  corporate law & securities regulation; constitutional law; commercial law (incl. contracts and bankruptcy); tax; property; torts & insurance; civil procedure; family law; legal history; law & economics, law & philosophy; law & social science (other than economics); election law; public law other than constitutional (including, e.g., administrative, environmental, legislation, telecommunication and regulatory law), critical theories of law:  feminist and critical race; legal ethics/legal profession; intellectual property & cyberlaw; evidence, antitrust; international law & security; and criminal law & procedure.  Some of these were "top 10" lists, some bigger, depending on the breadth (how many scholars working in it) and depth (i.e., volume of citations) of the field.  Obviously different choices (e.g., top 10 rather than top 15 or vice versa) would have made some difference to the number of tenured faculty represented on different lists.  Some excellent faculties (Virginia is the clearest example), partly in virtue of size and partly in virtue of other factors, didn't have a high percentage of tenured faculty on these most-cited lists (other factors in UVA's case include that some of their first-rate faculty [e.g., Goluboff in legal history, Mahoney in corporate] are just not identified by citation counts, while many highly productive and influential faculty [e.g., Prakash, C. Nelson] are in fields where citation counts overall are VERY high, and so just didn't make the lists).  With those caveats in mind, here are law schools with at least four faculty on the most-cited lists ranked according to what percentage of the tenured faculty in the Sisk study made one of the lists.   The "top 24" list is followed by a list of law schools that had three faculty on the "most-cited" lists and those that had two.

This concludes the citation rankings for the 2013-2017 period studied by Professor Sisk and colleagues at St. Thomas.

Rank

School

Percentage

# tenured faculty on most-cited lists

Total tenured faculty in Sisk study

1

Yale University

52%

27

52

2

University of Chicago

38%

12

32

3

Harvard University

37%

31

85

4

New York University

36%

30

83

5

Columbia University

34%

23

68

6

University of Pennsylvania

33%

13

40

7

University of California, Berkeley

30%

16

54

8

Stanford University

26%

13

50

9

University of California, Irvine

24%

6

25

 

Vanderbilt University

24%

9

37

11

Duke University

21%

9

42

12

University of California, Los Angeles

20%

12

60

13

Cornell University

18%

7

39

14

University of Minnesota

17%

7

41

15

George Washington University

16%

9

57

16

George Mason University

15%

5

34

 

Northwestern University

15%

6

40

18

University of Michigan

14%

7

49

19

University of Texas, Austin

13%

8

61

20

University of San Diego

12%

4

33

21

Boston University

11%

4

38

 

Georgetown University

11%

10

94

23

Fordham University

  9%

4

47

 

University of Virginia

  9%

6

65

 

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October 22, 2018 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Average salaries and indebtedness

Interesting stats, but bear in mind three things:  first, this includes only students who refinanced their law school loans; second, schools continue to be a bit slippery about how they report average starting salaries; and third, average starting salaries are sensitive to region of the country (any school that primarily places in NYC "big law" will come out with higher average salaries, all else equal).  The strong performance by major regional schools--like BYU and Georgia--is striking.

October 18, 2018 in Legal Profession, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Law schools ranked by *median* scholarly impact of the tenured faculty, 2013-2017

After reading an article about Duke Law School's strong performance in the Sisk study of scholarly impact, which emphasized its strong median score, I thought I'd take a look at how the schools rank by median citations.  Here's the top 25, with the median number in parentheses, followed by the overall rank based on mean and median (treating differences of one as ties):

1.  Yale University (394) (#1 overall)

2.  University of Chicago (331) (#3 overall)

3.  Harvard University (318) (#2 overall)

4.  New York University (281) (#4 overall)

5.  Columbia University (242) (#5 overall)

6.  Duke University (231) (#8 overall)

     Stanford University (230) (#6 overall)

8.  Cornell University (220) (#13 overall)

9.  University of California, Berkeley (193) (#7 overall) 

10. University of Pennsylvania (188) (#9 overall)

11. University of California, Los Angeles (182) #11 overall)

12. University of California, Irvine (174) (#12 overall)

13. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (172) (#14 overall)

14. Vanderbilt University (169) (#10 overall)

15. University of Notre Dame (145) (#26 overall)

      University of Texas, Austin (146) (#19 overall)

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October 17, 2018 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink