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December 30, 2006

Has the Blogging Phenomenon Peaked?

The growing number of "abandoned" law blogs would seem to suggest so, as Peter Spiro (Temple) discusses.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 30, 2006 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

December 29, 2006

Freshman from Miami to Hastings

Clark Freshman (alternative dispute resolution) at the University of Miami Law School has accepted a senior offer from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he was a visiting professor in 2006.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 29, 2006 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

December 27, 2006

Three Finalists for Duke Law Deanship

Via Blog Emperor Caron, I learn of this article which claims there are three finalists for the Duke Law Deanship:  Erwin Chemerinsky (Duke), Judge David Levi (N.D. Cal.), and Kyle Logue (Michigan).  (Judge Levi is the son of former A.G., Chicago Dean and President Edward Levi.) 

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 27, 2006 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

December 26, 2006

Wilson from Maryland to Washington & Lee

Robin Wilson (family law, health law) at the University of Maryland has accepted a senior offer from the law school at Washington & Lee University, where she is a visiting professor this year.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 26, 2006 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

December 23, 2006


This Brian Leiter is now back in Austin, and while e-mail is still being forwarded from my Chicago address, it would be best now to reach me via the Texas address.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 23, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

Erstling from the UN's WIPO to William Mitchell

Jay Erstling, an expert on intellectual property who is currently Director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, part of the World Intellectual Property Organization (a UN agency) has accepted a senior appointment with tenure as Professor of Law at William Mitchell College of Law, where he will also start an intellectual property law clinic.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 23, 2006 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

Academic Job Ad

Once again, this isn't from law, but it is still quite funny.  One of our PhD students sent along this letter from the Irish Times:
Madam, - This week's Health Supplement publishes an employment advertisement from Trinity College for a "Lecturer in Conscious Sedation". It is not clear whether this job description refers to the preferred state of mind of the academics who are sought, or to the effect applicants are intended to have on their students.  In either case, no doubt there will be a wide range of qualified candidates from within the third level system. - Yours, etc,
DAVID LOWE, Abingdon Park, Shankill, Dublin 18.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 21, 2006 in Legal Humor | Permalink | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

Texas "Emerging Scholars Program" Still Taking Applications!!!

I don't usually post these kinds of items, but will make an exception for my beloved home institution; one of my colleagues involved in the selection of candidates passes the following along:

The Emerging Scholars Program at the University of Texas School of Law is still taking application for fellowships beginning in Fall 2007.  The ESP provides financial and institutional support for three or four semesters of teaching and scholarship in residence at UT for persons who intend to pursue an academic career.  ESP Fellows are welcome into the community of scholars at UT and receive substantial faculty assistance with their scholarly projects.  More information about the program can be found on the ESP webpage.

Interested candidates should send their applications before January 26, 2007 to the address found on the webpage.  If you are already in the academy  and know someone (especially someone in practice) who might be interested and well qualified, please forward this information to him or her.

Let me add a few comments of my own.  First, our program--this is, in the more common vernacular, a kind of Visiting Assistant Professor program--is relatively new (this fall is only the third year we have welcomed faculty to the ESP), but so far quite successful.  We've had a total of three participants who have entered the job market--the first is now in a tenure-track job at a very good law school (and got a huge amount of play on the job market, with interviews at most of the very top law schools), and the next two (on the market now) have had dozens and dozens of interviews at excellent law schools, from the very top national law schools to the very best regional law schools, and already have two offers in hand (last I heard, two weeks ago--I've been out of the loop a bit because I was visiting at Chicago this fall).  So our track record is good!  Because our faculty is large and congenial, whatever your interests, you're likely to find helpful colleagues in your areas.  The teaching is structured so as to maximize the candidate's research, but also to provide opportunity for teaching experience in a "bread and butter" class.  (Basically what this has meant in practice is one course a term:  either a seminar in the area of research or an upper-level course in one of the candidate's primary areas.) 

Candidates who are on the general teaching market this year who haven't received attractive tenure-track offers should consider applying specifically to the ESP.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 20, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

Cunningham from Boston College to GW

Lawrence Cunningham (corporate law) at Boston College has accepted a senior offer from the law school at George Washington University, where he will start next August.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 20, 2006 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

Changes in Law School Hiring Practices Over the Past Generation

A faculty member who has taught at several of the top law schools writes about his perceptions of how the job market for faculty has changed over the last generation:

In the last 20 years, there have been two huge shifts in hiring.  20 years ago, lateral hiring was unusual:  almost everyone built their faculties from the entry level, and almost no one moved---at least among the top 10-15 schools---unless it was for personal reasons.  Hiring committees were essentially about entry-level hiring and you only looked at a lateral hire when someone reached out because they had an interest.  Beginning in the early 1990s, lateral movement became much more common, leaving us in our present state of constant churning.

Second, once the initial round of churning was over and all the low hanging fruit had been picked, we shifted to lateral hiring of people just before or just after tenure.  I think of this kind of hiring as a hybrid:  it's almost an extension of the entry level.  People are hired before they've really done significant work based on some early work that signals promise.

A few observations of my own, though I am happy to stand corrected by those with longer memories or more information.  I suspect it is correct that the amount of lateral hiring has increased since the 1990s, though Texas in the 1970s was still doing a significant amount of lateral hiring (I can think of faculty hired from Toronto, Arizona State, SUNY-Buffalo, Indiana, and Washington-Seattle during that decade, and there were no doubt others--though it would still have been true that the majority of the faculty had been hired as rookies).  But even at Texas, the pace of lateral hiring has accelerated, with the majority of new hires since 2000, for example, being lateral appointments (Mark Ascher from Arizona, Wendy Wagner from Case Western, Jane Cohen from BU, Larry Sager from NYU, Derek Jinks from Arizona State, Bernard Black from Stanford, Karen Engle from Utah, Ronald Mann from Michigan, Bob Peroni from George Washington, Leslie Green (on a half-time basis) from York/Toronto, Jane Stapleton (on a half-time basis) from the Australian National University, John Deigh from Northwestern, William Sage from Columbia, Daniel Rodriguez from San Diego, and Mechele Dickerson from William & Mary, in contrast to just five--Litvak, Kadens, Bracha, Damann, and Golden--at the rookie level). 

So, too, when I think back to the University of Michigan Law School faculty of the mid-1980s (when I was a student), many of the biggest names had been lateral hires (Yale Kamisar from Minnesota, Terrance Sandalow from Minnesota, James Krier from UCLA, Joseph Sax from Colorado, James Boyd White from Chicago, Frederick Schauer from William & Mary), though some others were rookie hires who had stayed on (Richard Lempert, Donald Regan, Peter Westen), though many of what the students perceived (largely correctly, in retrospect) to be weak links on the faculty were in fact rookie hires who had been, as a matter of course, granted tenure.  (Note, though, with both the Michigan and Texas examples that, until recently, most of the lateral hiring was not from scholars already ensconsed at top 15 law schools.)

Stanford, of course, rose to prominence with lateral raids on Columbia in the 1960s.  My impression is that Yale has long depended on the lateral market to fill its faculty ranks.

I wonder how all of the preceding jibes with the experience of others who have been in the legal academy as long or longer than me or my correspondent?  Has the job market experienced the shifts described?  Are these shifts confined to a handful of top law schools or has the market for faculty changed throughout, from the most national to the most regional law schools?  What do legal academics think of these changes? 

And assuming, as I think likely, that there is more lateral movement in the last 15 years than in the prior generation, what explains that development?  It can't be the U.S. News rankings since their reputational surveys are almost wholly unresponsive to actual faculty quality, as we have had occasion to note before.  (Perhaps schools don't realize this, so maybe U.S. News has played a role?)  Is it the turn to interdisciplinary scholarship, since lateral hiring in other academic disciplines, like economics and philosophy, is much more common, since it is often thought to take ten or twenty years for a scholar to establish his or her reputation?

Non-anonymous comments will, as usual, be strongly preferred.  Comments may take awhile to appear, so please post only once.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 19, 2006 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack