May 12, 2022
The report is now available here. Professor Lawsky recorded 106 hires, the most in a good number of years, although nothing like the numbers before 2010, when 150 or more was the norm. Inevitably some rookie hires are missed: Chicago had three grads on the market, all three of whom received tenure-track offers, but it looks like one did not report to Professor Lawsky. Some misses are inevitable, but I'm confident her overall picture is quite informative.
UPDATE: Professor Lawsky very kindly updated her report to include the missing Chicago candidate. Thank you, Professor Lawsky!
May 09, 2022
A colleague elsewhere sent me data on law school endowments in 2019 (most probably went up in 2021, although they're probably back down now). We divided the total endowment by the total JD and non-JD student enrollment based on the 2021 ABA disclosures to determine the per student value of the endowments. Endowments, of course, are not the only source of income beyond tuition: public law schools, for example, get substantial amounts of money from the state, while some law schools get substantial annual gifts (for more than a decade, for example, Chicago has benefitted from renewable three-year gifts supporting the Rubenstein Scholarships in an amount that would be equivalent, by my estimate, to another $125,000,000 in endowment!). There is, of course, a striking if hardly perfect correlation between per student value of endowments and US News.com rankings, in part because per capita expenditures account for all the differences between otherwise comparable schools.
Interestingly, several of the very wealthy law schools (e.g., Yale, Stanford, Harvard, and Notre Dame) actually have lower per student endowments than their parent universities as a whole; while others (like Virginia and Michigan) have far more.
In any case, here are the top 20 law schools by the per student value of their endowments (schools with an *asterisk outside the top 10 have a gross endowment greater than $100 million; all the schools in the top ten have gross endowments greater than $100 million).
1. Yale University ($2,033,106)
2. Stanford University ($1,422,512)
3. Harvard University ($1,060,304)
4. University of Notre Dame ($670,157)
5. University of Chicago ($623,318)
5. University of Virginia ($623,923)
7. Columbia University ($496,710)
8. University of Michigan ($480,237)
9. University of Pennsylvania ($403,714)
10. Duke University ($352,594)
May 06, 2022
ABA Committee recommends dropping the requirement of standardized testing (e.g., the LSAT) for law school admission
Here. While the ABA has some power, the real power rests with USNews.com: if they still want LSAT scores, law schools will still use them. If USNews.com drops the LSAT scores, then the race to get the highest median GPA, regardless of the difficulty of the undergraduate course of study, will accelerate, since that will be the only numerical measure left for student admissions. That would be a disaster. Comments are open for thoughts from readers on this development and what it portends; submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.
May 05, 2022
April 26, 2022
Professor Jeff Sovern (St. John's) writes:
I wonder whether schools that perform better on lists like the citation lists posted on this blog from time to time have lower requirements for the amount of teaching professors do and if so, how much. I am also curious to know what standard law school teaching expectations are these days, something others may also wonder about. Could those of you who read this please post the teaching requirements at your law school in the comments? At my school, St. John’s, the default teaching load is twelve credit hours per year. Professors with chairs are expected to teach ten hours per year while early-career professors get a course reduction of about one course a year and in one semester in their first few years teach no courses. Professors may seek a research leave every seventh year consisting of a semester at full pay or a year at half-pay.
Comments are open; submit your comment only once, they are moderated and may take awhile to appear. Include a valid university email address, which will not appear. It would be preferable for posters to name the school in question, which is why I need to know the email address, even if you choose not to post your full name.
April 21, 2022
April 19, 2022
This time in CHE; an excerpt:
Some professors lay the blame at Gerken’s feet. “I have the sinking feeling that the values of the school are being eroded under this deanship,” one faculty member told me. Another said Gerken is a “genuinely nice person who doesn’t like telling people hard truths to their face.” The critics, who sought anonymity, basically accused the dean of repeatedly caving in to progressive students.
Gerken’s defenders were likewise reluctant to have their names printed. Several I spoke with argued that those taking shots at the dean are the law school’s old guard, and what they’re really upset about is Gerken’s emphasis on diversity and on punishing sexual harassment. One faculty member told me he thought the dean’s critics were setting a poor example for students.
The fact that no one will talk frankly on the record speaks to an overall loss of trust between certain factions of professors. More than one of them mentioned to me that they feared their comments in faculty meetings would be recorded and leaked.
I hope this doesn't need saying, but: secretly recording a faculty meeting and leaking the recording is not protected by academic freedom, and a tenured faculty member could be severely sanctioned for such misconduct.
In addition, as the recent scholarly impact studies show, Yale needs its "old guard"!
April 07, 2022
...from the AALS. A couple of striking data points: "Most successful dean candidacies are initiated by someone else (62%)" and "More than one-half (59%) of deans are selected after a search that involves a search firm." The latter is particularly surprising, given how clueless these search firms usually are, at least in my experience.
On the other hand, polling the Deans themselves about what helps them succeed in their role as Dean seems like an unsound methodology: my impression is that a majority of Deans do not succeed and are not very good at the job (it's a rather difficult and often unpleasant job, or so it seems to me!). It would be more interesting to poll just those Deans whom others (e.g., faculty, alumni, students) judge to be successful!
April 05, 2022
Yale Law melodrama continues: Professor Stith disagrees with Dean, says student protest violated the Law School's Free Speech Policy
Story here (prior coverage--and earlier examples of the clearly dysfunctional institutional culture). Despite the continued bad press, and even as its USNews.com reputation score falls to 3rd, its #1 scholarly impact positions depends increasingly on an ageing faculty, and its younger faculty increasingly live in New York City (or decamp to NYC schools), the per capita expenditures metric will still keep Yale at #1 in USNews.com.