Wednesday, September 23, 2020
MOVING TO FRONT FROM SEPTEMBER 21--CORRECTED
Following up on an earlier post, I thought it would be interesting to look at where tenure-stream academic faculty at top law schools began their academic career. I'll limit this round to the top five law schools in scholarly impact; I'll expand the list to the top ten or so in a future post. I list, below, the school where the faculty member began their legal academic career in parentheses after their name (this may not be the school they were hired from by one of the top five schools):
Columbia University: Fletcher (Washington/Seattle), Fox (Indiana/Bloomington), Franke (Arizona), Hamburger (Connecticut), Harcourt (Arizona), Mann (Wash U/St. Louis), Monaghan (BU), Richman (Fordham), Sanger (Santa Clara), R. Scott (William & Mary), Seo (Iowa).
Harvard University: Brennan (Drexel), Brown-Nagin (Wash U/St. Louis), Gordon-Reed (New York Law School), Lazarus (Indiana/Bloomington), Mann (Connecticut), Natapoff (Loyola/Los Angeles), Okediji (Oklahoma), Rabb (Boston College), Roe (Rutgers-Newark), Singer (BU), Stilt (Washington/Seattle).
New York University: B. Adler (George Mason), Arlen (Emory), Beebe (Cardozo), de Burca (Fordham), First (Toledo), Frommer (Fordham), Gillette (BU), Golove (Arizona), Huslebosch (St. Louis), Richards (Fordham), Strandburg (DePaul), Upham (Ohio State),
University of Chicago: Bernstein (BU), Dharmapalla (Illinois), Ginsburg (Illinois), Helmholz (Wash U/St. Louis), Leiter (San Diego), McAdams (Chicago-Kent), Starr (Maryland).
Yale University: Balkin (Missouri/Kansas City), Kronman (Minnesota), Macey (Emory), NeJaime (Loyola/Los Angeles), G. Priest (Puget Sound), Schleicher (George Mason), Schultz (Wisconsin), Shapiro (Cardozo), Torres (Pittsburgh).
September 23, 2020 | Permalink
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
A popular narrative is that business school is not worth the time and money, especially outside of a handful of elite programs. This narrative closely echoes earlier critiques of legal education that have since been thoroughly debunked. (See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here). As was the case with legal education, the anti-business school narrative has been followed by multi-year declines in applications to business school and a shift toward more online programs.
As with legal education, the anti-business school narrative does not appear to be supported by the data. A careful study by Peter Arcidiacono at Duke tracked the incomes of GMAT test takers who attended business school, before and after business school. The study compared the income trajectory of business school students to the income trajectory of similar test takers who did not attend business school.
Arcidiacono et al. found evidence of negative selection into non-elite business schools. That is, the sorts of people who attend non-elite business schools had lower incomes before business school than one would expect given their test scores, academic performance, demographics, and other observable characteristics. The areas in which they likely had lower (but difficult to observe) earning potential included less developed social skills and more limited social connections.
This means that non-elite business schools actually boosted their students' earnings by more than has been previously assumed. Moreover, the fact that Arcidiacono et al. focused on earnings within a few years of graduation means that they very likely understated the benefits of business education. Those with graduate degrees typically see the annual boost to earnings from their degrees rise until they reach peak earnings, usually in their 50s.
One key takeaway is that social connections are an important part of the value of education. Even non-elite graduate programs can help their students improve social skills and forge valuable connections. This may not bode well for the value of online education relative to traditional brick & mortar education.
Arcidiacono's study came out in 2008, but discussion of it has been remarkably absent from press coverage regarding the value of business education. My next post will delve into some of the possible reasons for low quality and overly negative education news coverage.
Monday, September 21, 2020
"Court packing" is typically used to refer to FDR's proposal in the 1930s to expand the size of the Supreme Court, which had been holding New Deal legislation unconstitutional. The idea was that FDR would add justices sympatico to the New Deal, and thus change the political leanings of the Court that would, in turn, influence its constitutional decisions.
FDR's proposed method of court packing was to expand the court, which would change a century-old norm governing the court's composition. But the essence of court packing is not expanding the size of the court, it is changing the norms governing Supreme Court appointments for partisan ends: you can do that by expanding the size of the Court, or you can do it, as Senator McConnell did in 2016, by denying a sitting President even a vote on his nominee for a vacancy on the Court, also a massive violation of an established norm.
Senator McConnell could, perhaps, have been trying to start a new norm, but now it's clear (if anyone had doubts) that was not what he was doing: he wants to pack the court for partisan ends by adjusting the norms for appointments to suit his political preferences, one rule for 2016 when a Democrat is President, another for 2020 when a Republican is President.
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Toronto Law scuttles search after sitting judge (and major donor) criticizes the final candidate on political grounds
MOVING TO FRONT FROM SEPTEMBER 17--UPDATED
What an embarrassment. If these allegations are borne out, the Dean of the Law School there will have to resign.
UPDATE: The University of Toronto's Students' Law Society has written a public letter to the Dean. And various faculty, at Toronto and elsewhere, have apprently called for an ethics investigtion of the judge who allegedly interjected himself into the search: e.g, Download Ethics complaint CJC-20-09-17 (003).
AND STILL MORE:
Today’s press now reports [paywall] that ‘In a written statement to what he described as the ‘faculty of law community’… Edward Iacobucci [Dean of the Law School] did not deny that a Tax Court Judge contacted the administration to express concerns about the candidate, Valentina Azarova.’
...A law dean did not deny published reports that a sitting judge attempted to influence a University hiring decision. Presumably, then, he also did not deny that a judge had found out, or was told, who was on that short list? (Even the University of Toronto law school is not yet required to get pre-clearance from the judiciary.) And, presumably, if ‘contact’ was made, it was made with someone. So who was listening (reluctantly? anxiously? eagerly?) to the judge’s ‘concerns’? It was not the faculty members of the Advisory Board. They resigned in protest.
SEPTEMBER 19 UPDATE: The media is now reporting internal e-mails that contradict the Dean's public assertions about this case. What a mess.
In the NY Review of Books (recently republished online):
Nazism was so horrifying and so barbaric that for many people in nations where authoritarianism is now achieving a foothold, it is hard to see parallels between Hitler’s regime and their own governments. Many accounts of the Nazi period depict a barely imaginable series of events, a nation gone mad. That makes it easy to take comfort in the thought that it can’t happen again. . . .
Milton Mayer’s 1955 classic They Thought They Were Free, recently republished with an afterword by the Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans, was one of the first accounts of ordinary life under Nazism. [H]is subjects were working as a janitor, a soldier, a cabinetmaker, an office manager, a baker, a bill collector, an inspector, a high school teacher, and a police officer. All of them referred to themselves as "we little people.”
Nazism took over Germany not “by subversion from within, but with a whoop and a holler.” ... Mayer’s subjects “did not know before 1933 that Nazism was evil. They did not know between 1933 and 1945 that it was evil. And they do not know it now [in 1952].” Seven years after the war, they looked back on the period from 1933 to 1939 as the best time of their lives.
Even in retrospect Mayer’s subjects liked and admired Hitler. They saw him as someone who had “a feeling for masses of people” and spoke directly in opposition to the Versailles Treaty, to unemployment—to all aspects of the existing order. They applauded Hitler for his rejection of “the whole pack”—“all the parliamentary politicians and all the parliamentary parties”—and for his “cleanup of moral degenerates.” The bank clerk described Hitler as “a spellbinder, a natural orator. I think he was carried away from truth, even from truth, by his passion. Even so, he always believed what he said.”...
Friday, September 18, 2020
With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Republican control of the White House and Senate, the Supreme Court will likely soon become more conservative. Given Republicans' penchant for increasing the value of appointments by choosing relatively young appointees, the court's conservative shift is likely to persist for decades unless Democrats achieve sufficient electoral success to expand the number of seats on the court.
Note: In an amusing omission of a hyphen, the NY Times discussed Justice Ginsburg's "prejudicial career as a litigator and strategist." Hat tip Alex Capron.
Thursday, 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.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Today in falsehoods about Nietzsche, courtesy of the "Jurisprudence & Legal Philosophy ejournal" from SSRN...
...which is one of the handful I subscribe to, even though about a quarter of the content is not "jurisprudence & legal philosophy" (authors self-select categories, and the ejournal editors are rather too tolerant). Yesterday's ejournal included a piece by Professor Nicholas Aroney (Queensland), whom I do not know, writing about "The Rise and Fall of Dignity," which at least is relevant to the ejournal's subject. Alas, the abstract reports that, "Defining human dignity solely in terms of human freedom and autonomy has resulted in a hollowing, flattening and atomizing of human dignity, culminating in the postmodern thought of Friedrich Nietzsche in which human dignity is reduced to the ‘will to power’...." Put aside the inapposite epithet "postmodern," the real problem is that Nietzsche has no account of "human dignity," let alone a reductive one, let alone one that reduces it to "will to power" (whatever that would mean, I've no idea). Readers beware!
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
...as measured by the number of faculty from the 2006-07 academic year that were subsequently hired by a top 18 law school (i.e., Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, NYU, Penn, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Yale). This is a propos the discussion I had with Orin Kerr noted the other day. I excluded here top 25ish law schools, which are regularly schools that the top 18 try to raid. I happened to have a 2006-07 AALS Directory handy, which is why I chose that year to study. I list below the schools that had at least two faculty who moved on; please e-mail me with additions or corrections:
1. Florida State University (5) (Craig to USC, Galle to Georgetown, Klick to Penn, Rossi to Vanderbilt, Ruhl to Vanderbilt)
2. Brooklyn Law School (4) (Cheng to Vanderbilt, Hunter to Georgetown, Schwartz to Berkeley, Serkin to Vanderbilt)
2. Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University (4) (Beebe to NYU, Crane to Michigan, Lemos to Duke, Stack to Vanderbilt)
2. University of San Diego (4) (Law to Virginia, Partnoy to Berkeley, Prakash to Virginia, Rodriguez to Northwestern)
5. Fordham University (3) (Fisch to Penn, Katyal to Berkeley, Treanor to Georgetown)
6. New York Law School (2) (Gordon-Reed to Harvard, Rostain to Georgetown)
6. University of Alabama (2) (Geis to Virginia, Pardo to Georgetown)
6. University of Arizona (2) (Adelman to Texas, Marcus to UCLA)
6. University of Colorado, Boulder (2) (Bowen to Virginia [now Dean at GW], Ohm to Georgetown)
6. University of Connecticut, Hartford (2) (Baker to Penn, Mason to Virginia)
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
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.