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.)

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May 10, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 04, 2021

U of San Diego Provost finds that statements by Professor Smith are protected by academic freedom

The Provost has issued a statement regarding the case we noted previously, that reads in part:

We recently received complaints relating to a post by USD Law Professor Tom Smith on his personal blog concerning the causes of COVID-19. The complaints alleged violations of various university and School of Law policies.

As a threshold matter, we sought to determine whether the blog post at issue was protected by our policy on academic freedom. After a thorough legal review, it was determined that the expression was protected by that policy.

This conclusion in no way amounts to an endorsement by the university of the opinions shared in the blog post.

Happily, the Provost reached the correct conclusion; it should not have taken so long.  This is about as easy an academic freedom case as one can imagine.

May 4, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

April 23, 2021

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


...but the separate investigation of the judge continues.  (Earlier coverage.)

UPDATE:  Apparently, the investigation did not evaluate the credibility of the testimony collected, which may be a problem.

4/22/21 UPDATE:   The Canadian Association of University of Teachers clearly did not agree with the earlier investigations' finding, and has now censured the University of Toronto, which is a quite dramatic move.

AND ANOTHER:  Law professor Denise Reaume (Toronto) has shared this helpful account of what has transpired:

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) on April 22 imposed censure on the University of Toronto over its decision to terminate the candidacy of Dr. Valentina Azarova for the Directorship of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the Faculty of Law. The consequences of censure are detailed here.


The University had tried to stave off censure by commissioning a report on the controversy from former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell. The report was flawed by factual inaccuracy and misleading assertions. Widely criticized, it failed in the ambition to exonerate the administration. In some ways, it made matters worse.

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

April 22, 2021

Five law professors elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

They are:  Jose Alvarez (NYU), Kimberle Crenshaw (UCLA & Columbia), Gillian Lester (Dean, Columbia), Anup Malani (Chicago), and Angela Onwuachi-Willig (Dean, Boston University).

April 22, 2021 in Faculty News | Permalink

Blast from the past: when Paul Campos had trouble with long division

Back in 2015.  Still a remarkable mistake.

ADDENDUM:  And here's the correct link to Campos's smear of Mike Simkovic (the link in the 2015 item is broken.)

April 22, 2021 in Faculty News | Permalink

April 21, 2021

Corporate Practice Commentator's 10 Best Articles of 2020

This and prior lists are available at the website of Professor Robert Thompson (Georgetown).  Here are the winners for 2020 (with academic affiliations, where authors have them):

Bartlett, Robert (Berkeley); Partnoy, Frank (Berkeley). The Misuse of Tobin's q.  73 Vand. L. Rev. 353-424 (2020).

Barzuza, Michal (Virginia); Curtis, Quinn (Virginia); Webber David H. (Boston University). Shareholder Value(s): Index Fund ESG Activism and the New Millennial Corporate Governance.  93 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1243-1322 (2020).

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April 21, 2021 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

April 14, 2021

Amy Chua vs. Yale

This surely qualifies as an embarrassing spectacle.  (It comes on the heels of this and this.)

ADDENDUM:  In right-wing crazy land, they think this is all retaliation for Professor Chua's public support of Justice (then Judge) Kavanaugh (for whom Chua's daughter subsequently clerked).  Meanwhile, David Lat, who wisely bailed from the irrelevant Above the Law cesspool (which I'm surprised still exists--Lat was the only capable writer there), opines that Professors Chua and Rubenfeld may leave Yale after all these sanctions.  About their plans I have no knowledge, although I'm skeptical they would take the big step down required for such a move at this stage.

April 14, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

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

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

April 07, 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