Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sunstein, Harvard, Chicago

It is with very mixed feelings that I must report that my great colleague Cass Sunstein at the University of Chicago has accepted the senior offer from Harvard Law School.  (We can't win 'em all!)  But the good news (for us Chicago [or Chicago-to-be] folks) is that, as Cass told me, he will be keeping his Chicago apartment and an office at the University of Chicago Law School, and he will also continue teaching part-time at Chicago as the Harry Kalven Visiting Professor of Law (probably in the winter quarters).  So I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I will still get to enjoy Cass's warm collegiality and amazing intellectual energy for at least part of each year.

Congratulations to Harvard Law School on the appointments coup of the year!  (Perhaps I should say the second appointments coup of the year!)

Cass kindly gave me permission to share a portion of an e-mail he sent to colleagues at Chicago:

Everything I know, I have learned at the University of Chicago Law School. It is an amazing institution. It is a unique combination of high standards, curiosity, intellectual excitement, refusal to follow the herd, focus, generosity, personal kindness, intensity, desire to get it right, a nonsense-free zone, toughness, gentleness, amusement, and a sense of fun amidst it all -- and much more.

The University of Chicago Law School was an astoundingly good place back in 1981, when I arrived. Miraculously, it is even better now -- a stronger institution today than it has been at any time during my years here.

UPDATE:  A reader asked how Sunstein's move would affect last summer's study of per capita scholarly impact, in which the top six schools (with the per capita figure in parentheses) were:  1.  Yale (790), 2.  Chicago (750), 3.  Stanford (660), 4.  Harvard (590), 5.  Columbia (430), and 6.  NYU (420).  Moving Sunstein from Chicago to Harvard (which, by the criteria I used last summer, one would have to do, since while he will continue teaching at Chicago, he will not be a tenure-stream faculty member), the results would be 1.  Yale (790), 2.  Stanford (660), 3.  Harvard (650), 4.  Chicago (550), 5.  Columbia (430), and 6.  NYU (420).  (Chicago is less than half the size of Harvard, hence the differential impacts.)  By way of comparison, NYU's per capita impact would drop to 390 without Ronald Dworkin. the most-cited member of that much larger faculty (which would put NYU in a tie with Berkeley).  Although this is undoubtedly a serious loss for the public law faculty at Chicago, Chicago still retains a dominant position in areas like law and economics and law and philosophy, among others.

ANOTHER:  See also "Nussbaum on Her Decision to Stay."


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