October 23, 2020

The era of Condorcet polls is over

The results of the last poll are here, and basically regurgitate US News (or the "halo effect" of school name) with a couple of exceptions.  But there was also more mischief this time.   As one reader reported (by examining the detailed breakdown of votes):

I’m reaching out because I was looking at the raw balloting data on the website and I noticed something curious.  There are 66 voters in your survey who rank UC Davis as one of the top 10 law schools and UC Hastings as one of the bottom 8 law schools.  Interestingly, only 5 voters rank UCLA as one of the top 10 law schools and UC Hastings as one of the bottom 8 law schools and only 2 voters rank UC Irvine as one of the top 10 law schools and UC Hastings as one of the bottom 8 law schools.  Whoever these pro-Davis, anti-Hastings voters are, they appear to be a large percentage of the respondents and to have a material impact on Hastings’ rank.  It is possible my read of the data is incorrect, but this is what jumps out at me once I load your spreadsheet into Stata.

Conversely, no voters rank Hastings in the top 10 and Davis in the bottom 8.

There were other, shall we say, peculiar patterns in the voting.   If someone wants to undertake a serious and informed survey about law faculty quality, get in touch, and I'll offer guidance about how to do it.  I don't have the time myself, but am happy to be an advisor and to publicize the results.


October 23, 2020 in Rankings | Permalink

October 20, 2020

Rank the top 40 law schools in terms of the scholarly strength of the faculty

It's time for our annual Condorcet poll of the best scholarly faculties in U.S. law schools.   Please note the instructions:  "Rank order the law schools below in terms of the scholarly strength of the faculty (consider only scholarly strength in your best judgment, not current U.S. News rank!)."  If you don't have informed opinions about the scholarly strength of different law faculties, then you should not participate. 

I listed 58 schools that might have some claim to being in the top 40 for scholarly accomplishment.   Have fun!  Note that the more schools you rank, the more impact your vote will have on the results.

(Any faculty found mobilizing votes on social media will have their school eliminated from the results!)


October 20, 2020 in Rankings | Permalink

October 19, 2020

Blast from the past: an open letter to Bob Morse at US News about steps to take to prevent the "gaming" of the rnakings

Ten years ago.  U.S. News took none of the recommended steps, which pretty well sums up what the law school rankings are really about (and it's not providing help to students).


October 19, 2020 in Rankings | Permalink

October 09, 2020

Where did those teaching in "top" law schools go to law school?

You can guess the answer, but I recently came across this systematic study by law professor Eric Segall (Georgia State) and a political scientist.   Faculty at the top ten law schools graduated from the following law schools (I'm going off a graph in the paper that is a little hard to read):   Yale (more than 190); Harvard (a bit less than 190); Chicago (more than 40); Columbia (more than 30); Virginia (not quite 30); Stanford (about 25); Berkeley and NYU (a bit more than 20); Michigan (not quite 20); Penn (fewer than 10).  Bear in mind that Harvard graduates more than 2 1/2 times as many students each year as Yale, Chicago, or Stanford.  If we normalize for the size of the typical Harvard class, then the figures would be something like this (with rounding to nearest ten):  Yale (480); Harvard (190); Chicago (110); Columbia (60); Stanford (60); Berkeley and Virginia (50); Michigan and NYU (30); Penn (20).


October 9, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

September 15, 2020

Regional law schools that do strong hiring... (MOVING TO FRONT FROM YESTERDAY--CORRECTED)

...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)


September 15, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Rankings | 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.

Continue reading


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

August 03, 2020

Ten lateral moves that made law professors take notice during 2019-20

Based on my in-box and conversations with others, these were the ten moves that transpired this past year that were thought to be the biggest hiring coups (I omit any lateral moves my school was part of and those that won't officially happen until 2021):

*Kimberly Kessler Ferzan (criminal law, law & philosophy) from the University of Virginia to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*Tara Leigh Grove (federal courts, constitutional law, civil procedure) from College of William & Mary to the University of Alabama.

 

*Alexandra Natapoff (criminal law & procedure) from the University of California, Irvine to Harvard University.

 

*Michael Pardo (evidence, law & philosophy, law & neuroscience) from the University of Alabama to Georgetown University.

 

*Frank Pasquale (law & technology, cyberlaw, privacy, health law) from the University of Maryland to Brooklyn Law School.

 

*Christopher Robertson (health law, bioethics, torts) from the University of Arizona to Boston University.

 

*Lawrence Solum (constitutional law & theory, civil procedure, law & philosophy) from Georgetown University to the University of Virginia.

 

*A. Benjamin Spencer (civil procedure, federal courts, military law) from the University of Virginia to the College of William & Mary (to become Dean).

 

*Karen Tani (legal history) from the University of California, Berkeley to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*Hannah Wiseman (energy law, environmental law, administrative law) from Florida State University to Pennsylvania State University, University Park.


August 3, 2020 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

June 25, 2020

Supreme Court clerkship placement, 2013 through 2019 terms (CORRECTED)

This covers the 2013 through 2019 terms of the U.S. Supreme Court.  The “per capita” rate reflects the total number of clerks from each law school during those seven terms divided by the average number of students per year at each school (based on ABA data), rounded to the nearest 25 (that number appears in parentheses after the school name).

Rank by “per capita” SCOTUS clerks, 2013-2019 terms (for schools with at least two clerks during this time)

Rank

School (avg. class size rounded to nearest 25)

“Per  capita” SCOTUS clerkship placement

1

Yale University (200)

.37

2

Harvard University (575)

.11

3

Stanford University (200)

.10

4

University of Chicago (200)

.08

5

Columbia University (400)

.04

 

University of Virginia (325)

.04

7

Duke University (225)

.02

 

New York University (450)

.02

 

Northwestern University (250)

.02

 

University of California, Berkeley (325)

.02

 

University of Michigan (375)

.02

 

University of Notre Dame

.02

13

Georgetown University (650)

.01

 

University of Pennsylvania (250)

.01

 

University of Texas, Austin (325)

.01

 

Vanderbilt University (175)

.01

Continue reading


June 25, 2020 in Rankings | Permalink

May 15, 2020

Lawsky's Entry-Level Hiring Report for 2019-20

Professor Lawsky (Northwestern) has released her typically excellent entry-level hiring report for this academic year.   I'll have more to say about some of what we learn from these results in a subsequent post.

I'll add one data point:  Professor Lawsky reports the number of graduates by school who got law teaching job, but not how many were on the market.  Using the first FAR distribution (not a perfect metric, since it includes LLMs as well as JDs, but that effect probably washes out across schools), here are the schools ranked by the success rate of their graduates on the market (for all schools that placed at least two graduates and had at least five graduates on the market):

1.  University of Chicago (57% [4/7])

2.  Stanford University (53% [9/17])

3.  Yale University (51% [18/35])

4.  University of California Berkeley (46% [5/11])

5.  Harvard University (33% [12/36])

6.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (23% [3/13])

7.  New York University (20% [6/20])

8.  Columbia University (15% [2/13])

9.  Georgetown University [14% [3/22])

Northwestern had only three graduates on the market, but placed two of them, so 67%!

I've calculated this a couple of times before:  here are the results for 2019 and 2016.


May 15, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink