Wednesday, May 12, 2021
An Argentinian legal philosopher, and longtime member of the law faculty at the University of Buenos Aires, Professor Bulygin enjoyed an international reputation for important contributions to all aspects of jurisprudence (see a collection of his papers from OUP for a sense of the range of issues he worked on); his most famous and influential work was probably 1971's Normative Systems. An obituary in Spanish is here.
On a personal note, I had the great honor of meeting him a number of years ago when he came to my lecture at the University of Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires. A great legal philosopher and a very gracious man.
(Thanks to Luís Duarte d'Almeida for calling his death to my attention.)
Monday, May 10, 2021
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.)
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Here. The AALS also cancelled last fall's in-person hiring convention for the obvious reasons.
What this means for academic jobs seekers is that they have to be ready to do screening interviews (via Zoom) within a week or two of the FAR forms being released next August 18 (forms will be due before that of course). It will also mean that the hiring "season" will have a less predictable timetable, with many callbacks in September and October and offers before Thanksgiving likely. That happened last year too, but a countervailing force was that many law schools entered the market quite late in 2020-21, as it became clearer that the pandemic might end and that enrollments (and thus income) were shaping up favorably: as a result, many hiring schools did not enter the market until early 2021.
2021-22 promises to be an excellent year for law school enrollments, and early indicators suggest that the 2022-23 year will be at least as strong. Since enrollments drive hiring at 80-85% of the law schools in the country, this bodes very well for academic job seekers. I expect many more law schools to be in the market for new teachers this coming year, compared to this past year. (This past year, 1 in 5 tenure-track jobs weren take by Chicago alums and/or Fellows. Needless to say, we hope that will continue, and we appreciate the strong interest in law schools in our graduates and Fellows.) I doubt we'll get back to the pre-2010 levels of hiring (when 150+ new faculty were hired each year), but I would not be surprised if next year saw 100 or so new faculty hired.
ADDENDUM: A colleague elsewhere points out to me a possible countervailing consideration: namely, uncertainty about whether foreign LLMs will be able to come to the US next year for their degrees. LLM enrollment is a significant source of tuition revenue at many schools. My guess is that a majority of foreign LLM students will be able to enter the country for purposes of study.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
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.
Monday, May 3, 2021
Cardozo Law faculty protest Yeshiva University's continued discrimination against LGBT student groups
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Texas House authorizes public universities in Rio Grande Valley and El Paso to establish up to two new law schools
The bill still has to get through the state Senate. Texas established a new public law school at the University of North Texas (near Dallas), which began admitting students in 2014, but is only still provisionally accredited by the ABA. Texas acquired an additional public law school when Texas A&M University acquired the former Texas Wesleyan law school (in the Dallas-Fort Worth area). The only law school in West Texas is at Texas Tech University, so the case for a law school in El Paso is probably a good one.
Friday, April 23, 2021
Report finds no clear evidence that judge's political objection to a faculty candidate at Toronto affected hiring decision...
MOVING TO FRONT, ORIGINALLY POSTED APRIL 6--UPDATED AGAIN
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.
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Although I do blog about some of these issues here, usually when law faculty are involved, I cover the issue more thoroughly in the modern academy at my philosophy blog, for those who are interested. You can bookmark that category for posts on academic freedom issues (and so you're spared philosophy-related news).