Saturday, September 19, 2020

Toronto Law scuttles search after sitting judge (and major donor) criticizes the final candidate on political grounds

MOVING TO FRONT FROM SEPTEMBER 17--UPDATED

What an embarrassment.  If these allegations are borne out, the Dean of the Law School there will have to resign.

UPDATE:   The University of Toronto's Students' Law Society has written a public letter to the Dean.   And various faculty, at Toronto and elsewhere, have apprently called for an ethics investigtion of the judge who allegedly interjected himself into the search:  e.g, Download Ethics complaint CJC-20-09-17 (003).

AND STILL MORE:

Today’s press now reports [paywall] that ‘In a written statement to what he described as the ‘faculty of law community’… Edward Iacobucci [Dean of the Law School] did not deny that a Tax Court Judge contacted the administration to express concerns about the candidate, Valentina Azarova.’

...A law dean did not deny published reports that a sitting judge attempted to influence a University hiring decision.  Presumably, then, he also did not deny that a judge had found out, or was told, who was on that short list?  (Even the University of Toronto law school is not yet required to get pre-clearance from the judiciary.)  And, presumably, if ‘contact’ was made, it was made with someone.  So who was listening (reluctantly? anxiously? eagerly?) to the judge’s ‘concerns’? It was not the faculty members of the Advisory Board. They resigned in protest.

SEPTEMBER 19 UPDATE:   The media is now reporting internal e-mails that contradict the Dean's public assertions about this case.  What a mess.

September 19, 2020 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Cass Sunstein reviews books describing the mass appeal of ultra-nationalism (Michael Simkovic)

In the NY Review of Books (recently republished online):

Nazism was so horrifying and so barbaric that for many people in nations where authoritarianism is now achieving a foothold, it is hard to see parallels between Hitler’s regime and their own governments. Many accounts of the Nazi period depict a barely imaginable series of events, a nation gone mad. That makes it easy to take comfort in the thought that it can’t happen again. . . .

Milton Mayer’s 1955 classic They Thought They Were Free, recently republished with an afterword by the Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans, was one of the first accounts of ordinary life under Nazism. [H]is subjects were working as a janitor, a soldier, a cabinetmaker, an office manager, a baker, a bill collector, an inspector, a high school teacher, and a police officer.  All of them referred to themselves as "we little people.” 

Nazism took over Germany not “by subversion from within, but with a whoop and a holler.” ... Mayer’s subjects “did not know before 1933 that Nazism was evil. They did not know between 1933 and 1945 that it was evil. And they do not know it now [in 1952].” Seven years after the war, they looked back on the period from 1933 to 1939 as the best time of their lives.

Even in retrospect Mayer’s subjects liked and admired Hitler. They saw him as someone who had “a feeling for masses of people” and spoke directly in opposition to the Versailles Treaty, to unemployment—to all aspects of the existing order. They applauded Hitler for his rejection of “the whole pack”—“all the parliamentary politicians and all the parliamentary parties”—and for his “cleanup of moral degenerates.” The bank clerk described Hitler as “a spellbinder, a natural orator. I think he was carried away from truth, even from truth, by his passion. Even so, he always believed what he said.”...

Continue reading

September 19, 2020 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic | Permalink

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Supreme Court is about to become more conservative (Michael Simkovic)

With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Republican control of the White House and Senate, the Supreme Court will likely soon become more conservative.  Given Republicans' penchant for increasing the value of appointments by choosing relatively young appointees, the court's conservative shift is likely to persist for decades unless Democrats achieve sufficient electoral success to expand the number of seats on the court. 

 

Note: In an amusing omission of a hyphen, the NY Times discussed Justice Ginsburg's "prejudicial career as a litigator and strategist."  Hat tip Alex Capron.

September 18, 2020 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic | Permalink

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Statement in defense of "Critical Race Theory" by the five Deans of University of California law schools

This is in response to recent bluster by the monster-child who is President of the United States.  What the Deans say is fair, but it's predicated, I suspect, on a mistaken assumption that the President's reference to "critical race theory" was a reference to the academic literature known to law professors, which I've seen no evidence is actually being taught to employees of the federal government.   Government employees may have been subjected to blather inspired by Ibram Kendi (for an amusing anti-Kendi polemic from the Black left, see this) and to now-discredited implicit bias "training," but none of this has anything to do with the legal academic literature by Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Patricia Williams, Mari Matsuda, Charles Lawrence et al.  It's a shame "critical race theory" has become the new buzz word for "stuff we don't like" in the right-wind echo chamber.

ADDENDUM:  Perhaps federal employees have been subjected to "diversity training," which has a poor track record of accomplishing anything.  In any case, that too is unrelated to critical race theory in the legal academy as best I can tell.

September 17, 2020 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Today in falsehoods about Nietzsche, courtesy of the "Jurisprudence & Legal Philosophy ejournal" from SSRN...

...which is one of the handful I subscribe to, even though about a quarter of the content is not "jurisprudence & legal philosophy" (authors self-select categories, and the ejournal editors are rather too tolerant).  Yesterday's ejournal included a piece by Professor Nicholas Aroney (Queensland), whom I do not know, writing about "The Rise and Fall of Dignity," which at least is relevant to the ejournal's subject.   Alas, the abstract reports that, "Defining human dignity solely in terms of human freedom and autonomy has resulted in a hollowing, flattening and atomizing of human dignity, culminating in the postmodern thought of Friedrich Nietzsche in which human dignity is reduced to the ‘will to power’...."   Put aside the inapposite epithet "postmodern," the real problem is that Nietzsche has no account of "human dignity," let alone a reductive one, let alone one that reduces it to "will to power" (whatever that would mean, I've no idea).   Readers beware!

September 16, 2020 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Regional law schools that do strong hiring... (MOVING TO FRONT FROM YESTERDAY--CORRECTED)

...as measured by the number of faculty from the 2006-07 academic year that were subsequently hired by a top 18 law school (i.e., Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, NYU, Penn, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Yale).   This is a propos the discussion I had with Orin Kerr noted the other day.  I excluded here top 25ish law schools, which are regularly schools that the top 18 try to raid.  I happened to have a 2006-07 AALS Directory handy, which is why I chose that year to study.  I list below the schools that had at least two faculty who moved on; please e-mail me with additions or corrections:

1.  Florida State University (5) (Craig to USC, Galle to Georgetown, Klick to Penn, Rossi to Vanderbilt, Ruhl to Vanderbilt)

 

2.  Brooklyn Law School (4) (Cheng to Vanderbilt, Hunter to Georgetown, Schwartz to Berkeley, Serkin to Vanderbilt)

2.  Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University (4) (Beebe to NYU, Crane to Michigan, Lemos to Duke, Stack to Vanderbilt)

2.  University of San Diego (4) (Law to Virginia, Partnoy to Berkeley, Prakash to Virginia, Rodriguez to Northwestern)

 

5.  Fordham University (3) (Fisch to Penn, Katyal to Berkeley, Treanor to Georgetown)

 

6.  New York Law School (2) (Gordon-Reed to Harvard, Rostain to Georgetown)

6.  University of Alabama (2) (Geis to Virginia, Pardo to Georgetown)

6.  University of Arizona (2) (Adelman to Texas, Marcus to UCLA)

6.  University of Colorado, Boulder (2) (Bowen to Virginia [now Dean at GW], Ohm to Georgetown)

6.  University of Connecticut, Hartford (2) (Baker to Penn, Mason to Virginia)

September 15, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, September 10, 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.

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

 

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

 

*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.

 

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

 

*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).

September 10, 2020 in Faculty News | Permalink

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

How to hire a strong scholarly faculty (and a sidenote about status anxiety)

As part of the very enjoyable discussion on "The Legal Academy," Orin Kerr (Berkeley) asked me about how a school can hire strong scholarly faculty.  I made a variety of observations related to this topic.   A school must constitute a good hiring committee, meaning one with faculty who are engaged in scholarship and have good judgment about scholarship.   Schools like Florida State and San Diego (two examples I gave) have, historically, done very strong rookie hiring (better than their peers), in part because Deans have invested serious faculty with good judgment with a decisive role in hiring at those schools.   While "objective" metrics (like citations or place of publication) can be useful proxies, there is, as I said, "no substitute for reading" (as long as those reading satisfy the prior desiderata!). 

Finally, there's the question of how to use recommendations from faculty elsewhere (no committee can read everything, so recommendations are often used to figure out which candidates deserve further scrutiny).   Everyone who has done hiring has their own list of reliable and unreliable references, and everyone of course gives different weight to references based on their opinion of the recommender (if they have one).   I gave the example of a recommendation from a professor at San Diego (an expert I respected in the candidate's area) that ultimately led to Texas hiring someone when I was chairing appointments there.  I also gave the example of the Yale recommender who "never met a candidate he didn't love":  such recommendations are useless, of course.  I remarked that my own approach was not to credit or give weight to references from faculty I wouldn't hire, i.e., those I don't respect on the intellectual merits.

Continue reading

September 9, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Best of the summer blog

Thursday, September 3, 2020

8 more accredited law schools advertise in 2nd AALS jobs bulletin...

...bringing the total number of schools advertising up to 40 (this includes some of the law schools which I alluded to previously that weren't in the first bulletin).  A number of highly ranked law schools are looking selectively this year, although they have not advertised in either bulletin.

September 3, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Chicago Alumni and Fellows on the teaching market, 2020-21

MOVING TO FRONT FOR LAST TIME--ORIGINALLY POSTED AUGUST 12

This post is strictly for schools that expect to do hiring this year.

In order to protect the privacy of our candidates, please e-mail me at bleiter@uchicago.edu to get a copy of the narrative profiles of our candidates, including hyperlinks to their homepages.  All these candidates (with one exception) are in the first FAR distribution.

We have an excellent group of ten candidates this year (six alumni, three Bigelows, and one Dickerson Fellow), who cover many curricular areas including legal profession/professional responsibility, constitutional law, corporate law and finance, contracts, health law, food law, administrative law, legislation, torts, immigration law, criminal law, criminal procedure, comparative law, financial regulation, tax law (including corporate and partnership law), First Amendment, evidence, Indian law (both Federal and Tribal), federal courts, race & the law, civil procedure, law & economics, empirical legal studies, law & technology, civil rights, energy law, legal history, and international law.  Our candidates include former federal appellate clerks; Law Review editors; JD/PhDs in History, Economics, Health Policy & Management and Political Science; current Fellows and VAPs, and accomplished practitioners as well as scholars.  All have publications, sometimes multiple publications, and all have writing samples available upon request.

If when you e-mail, you tell me a bit about your hiring needs, I can supply some more information about all these candidates, since we have vetted them all at some point in the recent past.

September 2, 2020 in Faculty News | Permalink

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

"Legal Positivism as a Realist Theory of Law"

The penultimate version is now online; main change was in the final section, discussing Raz's "Service Conception" of authority.

September 1, 2020 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Monday, August 31, 2020

I talk with Orin Kerr (Berkeley) on "The Legal Academy"...

...about law school hiring trends, rankings, the effect of COVID on the teaching market, and other topics. (Link now added!)

August 31, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

Bad news for Alan Dershowitz in his various legal disputes with Epstein accusers and their lawyers

Virginia Guiffre, one of Jeffrey Epstein's accusers who has implicated Dershowitz in misconduct, has sued Dershowitz for defamation--as has her former lawyer David BoiesThis development is bad news for Dershowitz.

August 31, 2020 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Yale law professor Jed Rubenfeld suspended for two years as outcome of sexual harassment investigation

Story here; an excerpt:

On Monday morning, members of the Yale Law School faculty received a terse message from their provost informing them that Professor Jed Rubenfeld “will leave his position as a member of the YLS faculty for a two-year period, effective immediately,” and that upon his return, Rubenfeld would be barred from teaching “small group or required courses. He will be restricted in social gatherings with students.” As of Tuesday morning, he was no longer listed on the Yale Law faculty site.

 

Three people familiar with the investigation that led to Rubenfeld’s suspension said it stemmed from the university finding a pattern of sexual harassment of several students. The allegations, which spanned decades, included verbal harassment, unwanted touching, and attempted kissing, both in the classroom and at parties at Rubenfeld’s home.

 

In a phone conversation Tuesday, Rubenfeld told me, “I absolutely, unequivocally, 100 percent deny that I ever sexually harassed anyone, whether verbally or otherwise. Yes, I’ve said stupid things that I regret over the course of my 30 years as professor, and no professor who’s taught as long as I have that I know doesn’t have things that they regret that they said.”

It is striking that he's been erased from the website.  I wonder whether he will be returning in two years as a member of the tenured faculty; it is unclear from the news report.

 

August 26, 2020 in Faculty News | Permalink

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The first Faculty Appointments Registry is out...

MOVING TO FRONT FROM AUGUST 20--UPDATED

...with only 297 candidates, down from just under 400 last year.   That's good news, given that there are also fewer jobs.   The new format, however, is a bit harder to search than last year's.  Last year, for example, it was quite easy to search by subjects a candidate was interested in.

ADDENDUM:  Unless I'm missing something (and I may be, given my technical ineptitude), a school needing a contracts professor can't search the 297 candidates to find those interested in teaching contracts!   E-mail me if I'm wrong.  I find it hard to believe they could have reduced the search functionality of the website so dramatically.

CORRECTION:  Thanks to Professor Lawsky, I can report that the first FAR last year had 334 candidates, not "just under 400" (which was more like the final tally after all distributions).

UPDATE:  Professor Jamie Macleod (Brooklyn) helpfully explains how to search by subjects taught:

  1. When viewing the long list of applicants unfiltered, click “Filter”.
  2. At the bottom right corner of the drop-down box that appears, click “Filter by Form Responses”.
  3. In the new window that appears, click “Select Form”à”Position Sought and Teaching Preferences”.
  4. I’m guessing the rest is self-explanatory. But do note that you can then click “Save” and name the filtered view you create, then return to that filtered view later by clicking “Saved Views” (which is next to the “Filter” button).

August 25, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink