September 17, 2020

Statement in defense of "Critical Race Theory" by the five Deans of University of California law schools

This is in response to recent bluster by the monster-child who is President of the United States.  What the Deans say is fair, but it's predicated, I suspect, on a mistaken assumption that the President's reference to "critical race theory" was a reference to the academic literature known to law professors, which I've seen no evidence is actually being taught to employees of the federal government.   Government employees may have been subjected to blather inspired by Ibram Kendi (for an amusing anti-Kendi polemic from the Black left, see this) and to now-discredited implicit bias "training," but none of this has anything to do with the legal academic literature by Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Patricia Williams, Mari Matsuda, Charles Lawrence et al.  It's a shame "critical race theory" has become the new buzz word for "stuff we don't like" in the right-wind echo chamber.

ADDENDUM:  Perhaps federal employees have been subjected to "diversity training," which has a poor track record of accomplishing anything.  In any case, that too is unrelated to critical race theory in the legal academy as best I can tell.


September 17, 2020 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 09, 2020

How to hire a strong scholarly faculty (and a sidenote about status anxiety)

As part of the very enjoyable discussion on "The Legal Academy," Orin Kerr (Berkeley) asked me about how a school can hire strong scholarly faculty.  I made a variety of observations related to this topic.   A school must constitute a good hiring committee, meaning one with faculty who are engaged in scholarship and have good judgment about scholarship.   Schools like Florida State and San Diego (two examples I gave) have, historically, done very strong rookie hiring (better than their peers), in part because Deans have invested serious faculty with good judgment with a decisive role in hiring at those schools.   While "objective" metrics (like citations or place of publication) can be useful proxies, there is, as I said, "no substitute for reading" (as long as those reading satisfy the prior desiderata!). 

Finally, there's the question of how to use recommendations from faculty elsewhere (no committee can read everything, so recommendations are often used to figure out which candidates deserve further scrutiny).   Everyone who has done hiring has their own list of reliable and unreliable references, and everyone of course gives different weight to references based on their opinion of the recommender (if they have one).   I gave the example of a recommendation from a professor at San Diego (an expert I respected in the candidate's area) that ultimately led to Texas hiring someone when I was chairing appointments there.  I also gave the example of the Yale recommender who "never met a candidate he didn't love":  such recommendations are useless, of course.  I remarked that my own approach was not to credit or give weight to references from faculty I wouldn't hire, i.e., those I don't respect on the intellectual merits.

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September 9, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

September 03, 2020

8 more accredited law schools advertise in 2nd AALS jobs bulletin...

...bringing the total number of schools advertising up to 40 (this includes some of the law schools which I alluded to previously that weren't in the first bulletin).  A number of highly ranked law schools are looking selectively this year, although they have not advertised in either bulletin.


September 3, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

August 31, 2020

I talk with Orin Kerr (Berkeley) on "The Legal Academy"...

...about law school hiring trends, rankings, the effect of COVID on the teaching market, and other topics. (Link now added!)


August 31, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

Bad news for Alan Dershowitz in his various legal disputes with Epstein accusers and their lawyers

Virginia Guiffre, one of Jeffrey Epstein's accusers who has implicated Dershowitz in misconduct, has sued Dershowitz for defamation--as has her former lawyer David BoiesThis development is bad news for Dershowitz.


August 31, 2020 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

August 20, 2020

Blast from the past: when Forbes opiner Mark A. Cohen didn't know what he was talking about

August 14, 2020

AALS jobs bulletin is out

I count 32 AALS-member schools that are advertising, in several cases for multiple positions (roughly half the number last year, if my memory is correct).  As noted earlier, more than 100 schools have constituted appointments committees, but some are only looking at laterals I've learned, while others are probably constituted in case it's possible to hire.  I should note I've already heard from one law school (not a top 20 school) that is planning on hiring that has not advertised in the bulletin.

UPDATE:  I've now looked at the first AALS job bulletin from last August, and there were 76 accredited schools advertising, some (again) for multiple positions.  So the drop this year is by more than 50%.  Some schools may yet return to the market, of course, depending on developments in the months ahead.


August 14, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

August 11, 2020

Penn State-Dickinson and Pepperdine law deans donate 125k each to help students at their schools with "emergency needs"

June 24, 2020

Vast majority of George Washington law faculty sign open letter condemning GW alum and current AG William Barr

CNN reports.  Signatories include most of the best-known legal scholars on the GW faculty, including Stephen Saltzburg, Richard Pierce, Jr., Daniel Solove, Naomi Cahn, and Michael Abramowicz, among others.  You can read the full letter here:   Download Gw-barr-statementBarr has become a disgrace to the office, so kudos to them for making a public statement.


June 24, 2020 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

June 15, 2020

Impact of COVID on summer programs and OCI

Useful summary of recent NALP data.


June 15, 2020 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink