March 22, 2023

Stanford Law Dean Martinez's letter to the SLS community about the disruption of Judge Duncan's talk

It's a very methodical and substantial letter, worth reading by Deans and other academic administrators faced with situations like this.  The Associate Dean who contributed to the disruption of the event is currently on leave.  Individual students will not be disciplined because of the difficulty of identifying the perpetrators, and because the administrator present exacerbated the disruption rather than instructing students correctly about university rules.  (Dean Martinez's explanation is more nuanced than this simple summary suggests.)

The Dean also alludes, more than once, to the threats and abuse directed at members of the Stanford community in the wake of the media coverage.  It would be nice if law enforcement actually went after those making unlawful threats:  those people are as bad or worse for the functioning of society than the disruptive students.

March 22, 2023 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

March 20, 2023

NY Times catches up with the Amy Wax case at Penn...

...but doesn't understand academic freedom, in ways that are typical.  The reporter says that Dean Ruger's move to sanction Wax threatens "one of tenure’s key tenets — the right of academics to speak freely, without fear of punishment, whether in public or in the classroom."   That "or" conceals a world of difference! 

Continue reading

March 20, 2023 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

March 15, 2023

Stanford law students protest the apology to Judge Duncan

That's the story according to this journalist (with a somewhat selective interest in free speech matters in my experience).  I'd be curious to hear from those at Stanford, faculty or students, whether this is accurate.  Please use a valid email address, which will not appear.  (Submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.)

March 15, 2023 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 11, 2023

The Stanford Law disaster involving a FedSoc event with Judge Duncan

UPDATE:  The Stanford President and Dean Martinez in the law school have now issued an appropriate apology for this fiasco, including an acknowledgment (unlike in Dean Martinez's letter to the SLS community) that Dean Steinbach's conduct was inappropriate.

=======original post follows==========

The video online gives a sense of the chaos and heckling which disrupted the event.  F.I.R.E. offers a summary of the events, as well as a transcript of the peculiar and inappropriate remarks of Dean Steinbach, the DEI Associate Dean at the Law School.

Stanford is a private university, so the Law School could, of course, adopt the rule that they will not permit Republican-appointed judges to speak on campus, and they will not permit a student chapter of the Federalist Society.  They do not do that, I assume for a mix of reasons of principle and prudence.  Moreover, they have a free speech policy that specifically prohibits disrupting speakers invited to campus.

SLS Dean Martinez's letter to the community is posted below the fold.  I do not think it is a particularly good response (it is in the "mistakes were made, but we have good intentions" genre), but readers will judge for themselves.  A better response would have been simpler:

On March 9, students disrupted a speech by a federal judge invited by a student group.  This violates law school policies, and a disciplinary investigation has commenced, and students found to have participated in the violation will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary procedures.  We apologize to Judge Duncan for the disruption of the event, and administrative staff will receive training about how to manage situations like this to insure that an invited speaker may address students.

Dean Martinez's actual email in response to these events is below the fold:

Continue reading

March 11, 2023 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

March 08, 2023

Professor Lawsky's "Entry-Level Hiring Report" for the 2022-23 season... now open and collecting information.  When you accept an entry-level position this year, submit your information to Professor Lawsky please.

March 8, 2023 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

March 06, 2023

Academic freedom and diversity

Rutgers lawprof Stacy Hawkins argued in the Chronicle of Higher Education that "Sometimes Diversity Trumps Academic Freedom," and I point out some errors in her analysis.

March 6, 2023 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 27, 2023

The debate over requiring the LSAT (or some other admissions test) continues...

...despite the last proposal being rebuffed.  As the NYT notes:

The association is considering dropping that requirement, and letting each law school decide for itself whether tests are necessary.

Opponents and supporters of the change both make arguments on behalf of diversity — a sensitive subject in the field of law, which is disproportionately white. The arguments echo other debates over standardized testing at all levels of higher education, a practice that some see as an equalizer and others see as a barrier.

What's odd, of course, is that more attention is not being given to the question whether the LSAT is a useful predictive tool, regardless of its effects on "diversity."

February 27, 2023 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 17, 2023

Who were the best American judges of the 20th-century?

Here's a poll with I hope most of the likely choices for the "top 10".  You can write-in others.  Only judges no longer serving were eligible.  Have fun!

February 17, 2023 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

February 15, 2023

Another law school faces demands for compensation from descendants after removing the name of slaveholding namesake

This time it's the University of Richmond, with the descendant estimating they are owed $3.6 billion!  No lawsuit filed yet.

February 15, 2023 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 14, 2023

We're about 2/3rds of the way through the law school application season...

...and total applicants are down just slightly from last year, about 3.5% according to LSAC data--but that's off 12% from two years ago.  If we continue to see slippage the next couple of years that will almost certainly start to have an adverse effect on the job market for new law teachers.


February 14, 2023 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink