Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Presidential commission on reform of the Supreme Court includes many law professors

They are:  Michelle Adams (Cardozo); Kate Andrias (Michigan); Jack Balkin, Justin Driver, Heather Gerken, and Cristina Rodriguez (all Yale); William Baude, Alison LaCroix, and David Strauss (all Chicago); Elisa Boddie (Rutgers); Guy-Uriel Charles (Duke, soon moving to Harvard); Andrew Crespo, Richard Fallon, Jr., and Jack Goldsmith (all Harvard); Tara Leigh Grove (Alabama); Bert Huang and Olatunda Johnson (both Columbia); Michael Kang (Northwestern); Margaret Lemos and David Levi (both Duke); Trevor Morrison and Richard Pildes (both NYU); Caleb Nelson (Virginia); Michael Ramsey (San Diego), Kermit Roosevelt (Penn), Bertrall Ross (Berkeley), and Adam White (George Mason).

April 13, 2021 in Faculty News | Permalink

In Memoriam: Zipporah B. Wiseman (1930-2021)

An expert in commercial law and feminist legal theory, Professor Wiseman was a longtime member of the law faculty at the University of Texas, and also taught at Northeastern and Harvard.  The Texas memorial notice is here.

(Thanks to Steve Ratner for the pointer.)

April 13, 2021 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Monday, April 12, 2021

Two law professors win 2021 Guggenheim Fellowships

They are:  Amalia Kessler (Stanford) and Michael Tonry (Minnesota).

April 12, 2021 in Faculty News | Permalink

Friday, April 9, 2021

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.


*Aziza Ahmed (health law, constitutional law, gender/race & law) from Northeastern University to the University of California, Irvine.


*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).


*Shyamkrishna Balganesh (intellectual property, private law theory) from the University of Pennsylvania to Columbia University (effective January 2021).


*Curtis A. Bradley (international law, foreign affairs law, federal courts) from Duke University to the University of Chicago.


*Jay Butler (international business transactions, corporate law) from the College of William & Mary to the University of Virginia.


*Nancy Chi Cantalupo (civil rights, human rights, sex discrimination) from California Western School of Law to Wayne State University (untenured lateral).


*Guy-Uriel Charles (constitutional law, election law, race & law) from Duke University to Harvard University.


*Danielle Citron (privacy, civil rights, freedom of expression, Internet law) from Boston University to the University of Virginia (effective January 2021).


*Kimberly Clausing (public finance, tax, international trade) from Reed College (Economics) to the University of California, Los Angeles.


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


*Colin Crawford (environmental law, land use) from the University of Louisville (where he is Dean) to Golden Gate University (to become Dean).


*Deborah Dinner (legal history, employment discrimination, family law) from Emory University to Cornell University.


*Tonya Evans (intellectual property, trusts & estates, entertainment law) from the University of New Hampshire to Pennsylania State University-Dickinson School of Law.


*Roger A. Fairfax, Jr. (criminal law & procedure, criminal justice administration) from George Washington University to American University (to become Dean).


*Joseph Fishkin (constitutional law, employment discrimination, election law, equal opportunity) from the University of Texas, Austin to the University of California, Los Angeles.


*Pamela Foohey (bankruptcy, commercial law, consumer law) from Indiana University, Bloomington to Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University.


*Cary Franklin (constitutional law, antidiscrimination law, legal history) from the University of Texas, Austin to the University of California, Los Angeles.


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


*Kevin Greene (intellectual property, entertainment law) from Thomas Jefferson School f Law to Southwestern Law School (effective January 2021).


*Linda Greene (constitutional law, civil rights, sports law) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison to Michigan State University (to become Dean).


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


*Jason Iuliano (contracts, commercial law, consumer law) from Villanova University to the University of Utah (untenured lateral).


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


*Jamila Jefferson-Jones (property, real estate transactions, housing law) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City to Wayne State University.  


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


*Michael J. Kaufman (civil procedure, education law) from Loyola University, Chicago (where he is Dean) to Santa Clara University (to become Dean).


*Melvin Kelley (property, fair housing, critical race theory) from Villanova University to Northeastern University (untenured lateral).


*Ariel Jurow Kleiman (tax) from the University of San Diego to Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.


*Craig Konnoth (health law, law & sexuality) from the University of Colorado, Boulder to the University of Virginia.


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


*Guha Krishnamurthi (criminal law & procedure, constitutional law, jurisprudence) from South Texas College of Law to the University of Oklahoma, Norman (untenured lateral).


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


*Stacy Leeds (Federal Indian law) from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville to Arizona State University (effective January 2021).

Continue reading

April 9, 2021 in Faculty News | Permalink

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Notre Dame Law's "run" on admissions deposits

A curious story, no doubt reflecting what an unusual admissions season this is.   I imagine this is going to lead to a run on deposits at other schools too, even those who don't issues these kinds of announcements.

April 8, 2021 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Attack on academic freedom at U of San Diego School of Law continues

The irresponsible complaint about Professor Tom Smith's blog post criticizing the Chinese government has now been forwarded to the University "for review."  This is a disgrace and a direct attack on the academic freedom of every professor at USD, who are now on notice that if students file a frivolous complaint it will lead to an investigation and "review" (and possible sanction?).  What a shame that Dean Schapiro should have torpedoed his own Deanship so soon after taking office with this spineless behavior.  The faculty should demand his resignation.

April 7, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

Seven Chicago alums clerk on SCOTUS for second year in a row

I hope readers will indulge my sharing some local good news.

April 7, 2021 in Legal Profession, Navel-Gazing | Permalink

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Report finds no clear evidence that judge's political objection to a faculty candidate at Toronto affected hiring decision...

Monday, April 5, 2021

9th Circuit's Equal Pay Act decision could have ramifications for retention offers to faculty


Blog Emperor Caron excerpts the relevant parts of the decision.   To put it simply:  if Professor Male turns down an offer from Harvard for an extra 40k in salary, Professor Female (in the same department, doing the same general kind of work, who previously had been paid the same as Professor Male) may have an equal pay claim even if she never got a Harvard offer.   Thoughts from experts on these issues?  Do I misunderstand the potential import of the decision?  Submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.

April 5, 2021 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (2)

More on the academic freedom case at USD School of Law

Professor Nadine Strossen kindly gave permission me permission to share the letter she sent yesterday to Dean Robert Schapiro regarding the case we noted previously:

April 4, 2021

Dean Robert Schapiro

Warren Hall 200

University of San Diego School of Law

5998 Alcala Park

San Diego, CA 92110

             Re:  Prof. Tom Smith

Dear Dean Schapiro,

I have been following with concern the situation of USD Law School Professor Tom Smith, who has been unjustly accused by some students of racial bias for having expressed criticism of the government of the People’s Republic of China.  Law students certainly should appreciate the distinction between criticizing specific government policies and expressing bias against people based on their racial/ethnic identities.  However, from all the reports I have read, you did not explain this critical distinction to the students, but rather, endorsed the students’ misunderstanding.  Perhaps these reports are inaccurate, and if so, I would be delighted to learn that you have in fact honored the academic freedom and free speech principles to which your fine law school has pledged adherence. 

Continue reading

April 5, 2021 | Permalink

Thursday, April 1, 2021

US News releases yet a 4th "corrected" ranking, retracting the one issued on Tuesday!

According to a statement from US News.com editor Bob Morse:

Tuesday afternoon, after the rankings had been released, the Oracle of Delphi got in touch to inform us that per capita expenditures had been given too much weight in the formula, and had to be reduced by 5.731 percentage points, which were to be redistributed among employment rate at graduation (+1.21%), faculty/student ratio (.49%), volumes in the library (.21%), bar passage (.89%), and reputation among lawyers/judges (2.269%).   We did raise with the Oracle the fact that only 17 lawyers and judges in the country respond  to the latter survey anymore, so she informed us that percentage should instead be applied to a new category, "proportion of the curriculum that involves the study of law."

These revisions changed the rank of every law school, excerpt Mercer (which remained at #127).  Yale even dropped from #1 to #14.  The full revised rankings are here.

April 1, 2021 in Legal Humor | Permalink

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Derek Muller (Iowa) on the US News rankings disaster this year

Professor Muller's analysis and his recommendations are worth taking seriously.   I'm far from being against rankings, as readers know; but the US News rankings use mostly garbage data, aggregate it through a meaningless and indefensible formula, and create massive incentives for dishonesty and strategic behavior, that distort educational goals and values.  As Professor Muller suggests, we need massive non-cooperation to put Bob Morse & co. out of business.

ADDENDUM:  Some examples of perverse strategic behavior to game the rankings, from law professor Jeffrey Harrison (Florida).

March 30, 2021 in Rankings | Permalink

Monday, March 29, 2021

US News seems intent on driving home the fact that the ranking formula is arbitrary and meaningless

Yesterday, they issued the third correction to the embargoed rankings (which will be released tomorrow) in the last week!   Here's the explanation:

For the overall ranking, U.S. News removed the metric for ratio of credit-bearing hours of instruction provided by law librarians to full-time equivalent law students [.25%, reducing the library weighting to 1.75%] and increased the weighting for the bar passage rate indicator [by .25%, for a new total of 2.25%]. As a result, we recalculated the rankings.

Why these one-quarter of one percent adjustments?  Who knows?  Certainly not the US News.com editors.  But here's the real kicker:  this tiny change altered the rank of 35 law schools, including 9 in the top 30!  Imagine what might have happened had they decided the bar passage indicator should be 3.5%!

Is it possible to overstate the sheer stupidity of all this?


March 29, 2021 in Rankings | Permalink

Your annual reminder that movements in the US News.com rankings are almost all meaningless

With the new nonsense numbers about to appear, it's worth reminding everyone (and especially journalists) that:  95% of movement in the US News.com "overall" rank is attributable to (1) schools puffing, fudging or lying about the self-reported data more than their peers (or the reverse, for those schools that drop); or (2) simply being more aggressive at  manipulating the metrics they can control than their peers (or the reverse, for schools that drop in the overall ranking). 

Remember that US News.com audits none of the self-reported data on job placement, expenditures, student credentials, faculty-student ratios etc..   Schools can also inflate their rank by shrinking the size of their 1L class (thus improving median credentails), and taking more transfers or LLM students, among other "tricks of the trade."

Any journalist that reports a change in US News rank as "news" without further investigation of the underlying "data" is perpetuating a fraud on the public.

ADDENDUM:  As law professor Derek Muller (Iowa) reminds me, some movement this year will be due to the new criterion US News.com added:  5% of the total score will factor in a mix of average debt (for those students with debt) and the percentage of students with debt.  To make room for this, they arbitrarily reduced the weights of some of the other factors by small amounts (e.g., expenditures, student credentials) in their arbitrarily weighted stew of factors.  This change will, of course, lead to new forms of "gaming" the rankings, which I'll write about soon.

March 29, 2021 in Rankings | Permalink

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) statement on University of San Diego law professor case

A propos this, the AFA has issued an excellent statement.  USD Dean Schapiro, as an experienced administrator and academic, must surely realize his misstep here.

March 23, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, March 22, 2021

Yet another, much more serious academic freedom violation at the University of San Diego School of Law

Readers may recall that the last USD Law Dean did not understand academic freedom, but his transgressions pale by comparison to this new incident with a new Dean, Robert Schapiro.

The background:   USD law professor Tom Smith posted about the alleged dischonesty of the Chinese government, including the possibility that the coronavirus emerged from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan.   Professor Smith quipped:  "If you believe that the coronavirus did not escape from the lab in Wuhan, you have to at least consider that you are an idiot who is swallowing whole a lot of Chinese cock swaddle."  I confess I'd never heard the phrase "cock swaddle" before, but in context the meaning clear:   the Chinese government is spinning and concealing information.

Unbelievably, students complained, misreading this as a slur aimed at Chinese people.  Even more remarkably, the Dean treated the complaint seriously and an "investigation" is allegedly under way.  

Continue reading

March 22, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Did Georgetown violate its own "free speech principles" in the case of the adjunct fired for offensive and racially charged remarks?

Almost all readers will have heard about this case (if not, see Blog Emperor Caron's coverage), but now a philosopher in the business school at Georgetown, who serves on the university's free speech committee, has called for the committee to investigate further what transpired.

March 16, 2021 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, March 15, 2021

Reform of the American Presidency after Trump

Law professors Jack Goldsmith (Harvard) and Eric Posner (Chicago) discuss the topic with Dr. Donna Lyons (Law, Trinity College Dublin).

March 15, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

The big increase in applicants to law schools this year (and the big increase in high-end LSAT scores)

Informative piece at the ABA Journal.  This bodes very well for the law teaching market in 2021-22, as does the impending end of the pandemic.  I wouldn't be surprised if next academic year more than 100 new tenure-track faculty were hired, a figure we haven't seen in a decade.

March 15, 2021 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink