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May 27, 2021

"Why are so few law professors interested in antitrust?"

Lawprof, antitrust expert and Chicago alum Daniel Crane (Michigan) comments.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 27, 2021 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

May 25, 2021

U Miami Law Dean Varona ousted by President and Provost effective July 1...

...and apparently without consultation with the faculty.  He moved to Miami just two years ago.  I don't know more at this stage, just that faculty were caught by surprise.

UPDATE:  More details here.

ANOTHER:  Another news item.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 25, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 24, 2021

UIC John Marshall Law School to strike "John Marshall" from its name

Although the reason given is the historical John Marshall's racist views, I strongly suspect this will also have a positive effect on the school's peer evaluation scores in the USNEWS.COM rankings because of the  well-known halo effect of school names on scores (better to be a law school at the "University of Illinois" than a "John Marshall" law school).  (Recall the case of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles a few years back, where the loss of the brand known among law professors caused the reputation scores to plunge.)

UPDATE:  Derek Muller (Iowa) calls to my attention that the law school already got a huge boost in reputation score from the initial name change; we'll see if this new one has a further effect.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 24, 2021 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

May 21, 2021

Judge at center of U of Toronto hiring scandal found by Judicial Council to have made a "serior error;" judge expresses "remorse"

(Earlier coverage.)  From the public announcement:

The Review Panel did find...that it was an error for Justice Spiro to raise such concerns [about the faculty candidate] in the manner he did. The judge properly recognized the mistakes he made and expressed remorse. The Review Panel found this error serious but that it did not warrant removal of Justice Spiro from office.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 21, 2021 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

The class composition of the student body at Yale Law School...


...and the effect of class background on the student experience.  As the report notes near the start, during the 2018-19 academic year,

"Students called out the 'whisper networks' and gamesmanship that funnel prized opportunities, like clerkships and Coker Fellowships, to those under the wings of a few connected faculty. Those networks were exposed for what they truly reward: savvy over skill, and privilege over equity."
   Some of this, of course, is the predictable consequence of the school not having grades, and it no
doubt disadvantages those less skilled at the upper-class arts of brown-nosing, social climbing etc.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 21, 2021 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 19, 2021

In Memoriam: Christopher Stone (1937-2021)

A longtime member of the law faculty at the University of Southern California, Professor Stone was probably best-known for his contributions to environmental law.  The USC memorial notice is here.

(Thanks to Scott Altman for the pointer.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 19, 2021 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

May 17, 2021

Lawsky's Entry-Level Hiring Report for 2021

Although Professor Lawsky will continue to update the report, an initial version is here.  A few notable results:

*There were 64 rookie hires, down from 88 last year.

*There were only 45 schools hiring, down from 66 last year.

*All rookie hires had some combination of a clerkship, a fellowship, and/or an advanced degree.  If I'm reading the data rightly, only one candidate got hired with only a clerkship.  88% of those hired had done a fellowship, and 45% of those hired had a PhD.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 17, 2021 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink

Entry-level hiring report: today is the last day to submit information...

...before Professor Lawsky compiles the results for this year.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 17, 2021 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

May 12, 2021

In Memoriam: Eugenio Bulygin (1931-2021)

An Argentinian legal philosopher, and longtime member of the law faculty at the University of Buenos Aires, Professor Bulygin enjoyed an international reputation for important contributions to all aspects of jurisprudence (see a collection of his papers from OUP for a sense of the range of issues he worked on); his most famous and influential work was probably 1971's Normative  Systems.  An obituary in Spanish is here.

On a personal note, I had the great honor of meeting him a number of years ago when he came to my lecture at the University of Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires.   A great legal philosopher and a very gracious man.

(Thanks to Luís Duarte d'Almeida for calling his death to my attention.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 12, 2021 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

May 10, 2021

The Northwestern Law Dean search (UPDATED)

There's an alarmist, and not entirely accurate, report here.  I received an anonymous e-mail to the same effect.  I do not know who sent it, or if they were even at Northwestern.  A few points:

First, there were several faculty on the Dean search committee.  The finalists did not, however, meet the full faculty, which is unusual, but also not unheard of at other schools (including other top law schools).  Outside Deans (and Presidents and Provosts) are always hired with tenure in the appropriate unit and, more often than not, without doing a job talk.   I assume the search committee would have been tasked with making sure candidates were suitable for tenure in the law school and prepared a report to that effect.  If not, that would be a violation of normal procedures.

Second, the final candidate, Dean Hari Osofsky of Penn State-University Park, is not a "Critical Race Theory" scholar.  (There was another finalist who does work in CRT, who would have been an excellent choice too by the way.)   My impression is Professor Osofsky has been a successful and quite capable Dean, which no doubt explains why she was also a finalist for the Presidency at the University of Iowa.   (Osofsky was, by the way, previously a tenured professor at the University of Minnesota, a top 20ish law school.)

Third, after talking to a few Northwestern folks, the only "threat" I've heard of is that the Provost threatened to put the law school in receivership if the faculty torpedo the Dean search.   That's pretty autocratic behavior by the Provost, but par for the course at Northwestern, which has tended to centralize power in administrators, including Deans (recall the Van Zandt era at Northwestern Law).  (UPDATE:  A faculty member at Northwestern tells me that while someone on the search committee expressed the view that the Provost might put the law school into receivership if the Dean search were torpedoed, that view was not expressed by the Provost to the faculty.)

So a rather too secretive process, with (possible) bad behavior by the Provost, but a rather good outcome, or so it seems to this observer.  

(Faculty at Northwestern should feel free to email me corrections, but not anonymously; I will preserve the confidentiality of any communications.)

UPDATE:  A colleague elsewhere points out to me that after the police killing of George Floyd last year, Dean Osofsky solicited signatures to an open letter condemning racist violence, police brutality, and systemic racism.   That seems to me a serious violation of academic freedom:  the Dean of a law school should not be proclaiming the correct interpretation of public events (e.g., that this killing reflected racism, or was connected to something called "systemic racism"), let alone using her position to solicit support for her interpretation.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 10, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink