Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Visiting Faculty at the Top Six Law Schools, 2016-17, Penultimate Draft

 As I've done in the past, I'm posting a list of the visiting professors (who hold university appointments elsewhere) at the top six law schools, the schools that are "top six" by almost all measures of faculty quality--which are also the schools that also typically have the most visiting professors on a regular basis. While many visiting stints are made with an eye to possible permanent appointment, not all are; some are so-called "podium" visits, which aim to fill an immediate teaching need at the school. By my calculation, for example, less than 5% of the visits last year resulted in (or are in process of resulting in) offers of permanent employment--perhaps a slightly higher percentage of the non-podium visits resulted in such offers. Often visitors from local schools in the area are invited for podium visit purposes--though some "locals" may also be "look-see" visitors, i.e., under consideration for appointment. NYU also has a fair number of "enrichment" and "global" visitors, well-known senior folks who are keen to spend some time in New York, but who aren't necessarily interested in, or being considered for, lateral moves. (Columbia gets some of these folks too.) From the outside, of course, it's very hard to tell all these apart, so here, without further comment, are the visiting professors for 2016-17; please e-mail me about omissions or corrections (though I'm hopeful this is the final version).

Please note that not every visit, below, is for the entire academic year; indeed, my guess is at least half are not, meaning students can expect many of these faculty to *also* be teaching at their home institution. In the case of HLS, many of the visitors come in the Winter Term, i.e., just the month of January.

Columbia Law School

Yishai Beer (Radzyner Law School)

Albert Choi (University of Virginia)

Sherman Clark (University of Michigan)

Sean Farhang (University of California, Berkeley)

David Gilksberg (Hebrew University, Jersualem)

Alexander Greenawalt (Pace University)

Assaf Hamdani (Hebrew University, Jersualem)

Solangel Maldonado (Seton Hall University)

Florencia Marotta-Wurgler (New York University)

Eric Posner (University of Chicago)

Catherine Powell (Fordham University)

Jedediah Purdy (Duke University)

Cristina Rodriguez (Yale University)

Rose Villazor (University of California, Davis)

Harvard Law School

Robert Anderson (University of Washington)

Matthew Bodie (Saint Louis University)

Khiara Bridges (Boston University)

Stuart Brotman (Communications & Journalism, University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Kristen Carpenter (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Amy Cohen (Ohio State University)

Daniel Coquilette (Boston College)

Ashley Deeks (University of Viriginia)

Bala Dharan (Management, Rice University)

Mark Greenberg (University of California, Los Angeles)

Jamal Greene (Columbia University)

Rebecca Hollander-Blumoff (Washington University, St. Louis)

Leslie Kendrick (University of Virginia)

Alison LaCroix (University of Chicago)

Sanford Levinson (University of Texas, Austin)

James Liebman (Columbia University)

Catharine MacKinnon (University of Michigan)

Nina Mendelson (University of Michigan)

Michael Meuerer (Boston University)

Abigail Moncrieff (Boston University)

Rachel Moran (University of California, Los Angeles)

Douglas NeJaime (University of California, Los Angeles)

Christopher Nicholls (University of Western Ontario)

Jonathan Rapping (John Marshall Law School, Atlanta)

Chaim Saiman (Villanova University)

Hillary Sale (Washington University, St. Louis)

James Salzman (University of California, Los Angeles; Environmental Science, University of California, Santa Barbara)

Kim Scheppele (Wilson School, Princeton University)

Joanna Schwartz (University of California, Los Angeles)

Ted Sichelman (University of San Diego)

Alexander Stein (Brooklyn Law School)

Rebecca Stone (University of California, Los Angeles)

George Triantis (Stanford University)

Alain Laurent Verbeke (University of Leuven; University of Tilburg)

Pierre-Hugues Verdier (University of Virginia)

Rhonda Wasserman (University of Pittsburgh)

New York University School of Law

Anne van Aaken (University of St. Gallen)

Richard Brooks (Columbia University)

Robert Frank (Graduate School of Management, Cornell University)

Christsopher Geiger (University of Strabourg) 

Kon Sik Kim (Seoul National University)

Michael Klausner (Stanford University)

Martti Koskennieme (University of Helsinki/London School of Economics)

Christopher Robertson (University of Arizona)

Holger Spamann (Harvard University)

Symeon Symeonides (Willamette University)

Dirk Van Zyl Smit (University of Nottingham)

Richard Vann (University of Sydney)

Stefan Vogenauer (Max Planck Institute for European Legal History)

Continue reading

August 30, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

Chicago Alumni and Bigelows on the teaching market, 2016-17

This post is for schools who expect to be hiring this year.

In order to protect the privacy of our candidates, please e-mail me at bleiter@uchicago.edu to get a copy of the narrative profiles of our candidates, including hyperlinks to their homepages.  All these candidates will be in the first FAR distribution.

We have an excellent albeit small group of candidates this year, who cover many areas:  criminal law/procedure/justice, property, land use, local government, administrative law, environmental law, constitutional law, evidence, military law, national security law, law & economics, empirical legal studies, federal courts, civil procedure, appellate advocacy, torts, and professional responsibility.

Our candidates include former Supreme Court clerks; Law Review editors; JD/PhDs and LLM/SJDs; and accomplished practitioners as well as scholars.  All have publications and writing samples.

If when you e-mail, you tell me a bit about your hiring needs, I can supply some more information about all these candidates, since we have vetted them all at some point in the recent past.

August 30, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Theoretical Disagreements in Law: Another Look"

new paper forthcoming from OUP in Ethical Norms, Legal Norms:  New Essays in Meteaethics and Jurisprudence (edited by Plunkett, Shapiro & Toh); the abstract:

In "Explaining Theoretical Disagreement" (2009), I defended an answer to Dworkin's argument that legal positivists can not adequately explain disagreements among judges about what the criteria of legal validity are. I here respond to a variety of critics of my answer, in particular, Kevin Toh. I argue that Toh misrepresents Hart's own views, and misunderstands the role of "presupposition" in both Hart and Kelsen. I argue that a correct reading of Hart is compatible with the error-theoretic interpretation of theoretical disagreement I defended in 2009.

August 28, 2016 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Friday, August 26, 2016

Citations to faculty scholarship by federal and state courts

Courtesy of the good folks at St. Thomas.  The number of cites are remarkably few, even for those in "the top ten."  

UPDATE:  A colleage elsewhere writes with an explanation for why the numbers are artificially low:  "They only counted citations in the Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and state supreme courts. Also, they only counted citations to traditional law review articles: Citations to books, treatises, etc were not counted." 

August 26, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Law schools with the highest percentage of "most-cited" tenured faculty, 2010-2014 (CORRECTED 8/24)

Over the last several months, we've compiled "top ten" or "top twenty" lists of "most-cited" faculty (based on the Sisk data) in the following areas of scholarship:   Constitutional & Public Law; Administrative and/or Environmental Law; Criminal Law & Procedure; Commercial Law; Corporate Law/Securities Regulation; Torts; Property; Civil Procedure; Evidence; Tax; Antitrust; Legal Ethics/Legal Profession; International Law; Intellectual Property/Cyberlaw; Family Law; Law & Economics; Legal History; Law & Philosophy; Law & Social Science (excluding economics); and Critical Theories of Law.

Below, any school with at least three faculty on these lists are ranked by the percentage of tenured faculty (based on the Sisk count) who appeared in some "most cited" list (each faculty member is counted but once, even if they appeared on more than one list). 

 

Rank

School

Tenured Faculty in Sisk study

# of Highly-Cited

Faculty

% faculty highly-cited

1

University of Chicago

29

14

48%

 

Yale University

46

22

48%

3

Harvard University

82

30

37%

4

University of California, Berkeley

53

18

34%

5

New York University

82

26

32%

6

Columbia University

73

22

30%

7

Stanford University

49

14

29%

8

University of Pennsylvania

43

11

26%

9

Duke University

40

10

25%

 

University of California, Irvine

24

  6

25%

 

Vanderbilt University

32

  8

25%

12

University of California, Los Angeles

54

13

24%

13

Cornell University

35

  8

23%

14

Northwestern University

34

  6

18%

15

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

47

  8

17%

 

University of Minnesota

46

  8

17%

17

George Washington University

66

  9

14%

 

Georgetown University

81

11

14%

19

Case Western Reserve University

23

  3

13%

 

George Mason University

31

  4

13%

21

University of California, Hastings

38

  4

11%

 

University of Southern California

28

  3

11%

 

University of Texas, Austin

65

  7

11%

 

University of Virginia

66

  7

11%

 

Wake Forest University

28

  3

11%

26

Brooklyn Law School

33

  3

  9%

27

Boston University

36

  3

  8%

 

Fordham University

53

  4

  8%

 

Ohio State University

36

  3

  8%

 

University of San Diego

37

  3

  8%

Other schools with at least two tenured faculty on the most-cited lists were:   American University; University of Hawaii; University of California, Davis; Arizona State University; University of Arizona; Emory University; University of Illinois; Washington University, St. Louis; Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University; Indiana University/Bloomington; Temple University; University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill.

August 24, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

10 Most-Cited Family Law Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive) [CORRECTED; first posted 7/27]

MOVING TO FRONT:  Turns out family law has evolved quite a bit since the last time we looked at the field more than a decade ago, hence several wrongful omissions, now hopefully all fixed!

Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:    

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Martha Fineman

Emory University

  580

66

2

Naomi Cahn

George Washington University

  540

58

3

Elizabeth Scott

Columbia University

  520

71

4

Lynn Wardle

Brigham Young University

  380

69

5

Mark Strasser

Capital University

  360

61

6

June Carbone

University of Minnesota

  340

62

 

Nancy Polikoff

American University

  340

64

 

Robin Wilson

University of Illinois

  340

48

9

Joanna Grossman

Southern Methodist University

  310

48

 

Melissa Murray

University of California, Berkeley

  310

41

   

Runners-up:

   
 

Kerry Abrams

University of Virginia

  260

45

 

Susan Appleton

Washington University, St. Louis

  260

68

 

Jill Hasday

University of Minnesota

  250

44

 

Carol Sanger

Columbia University

  250

68

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Martha Minow

Harvard University

1160

62

 

Janet Halley

Harvard University

  420

64

 

Katharine Bartlett

Duke University

  380

69

 

Mary Anne Case

University of Chicago

  330

59

 

I Glenn Cohen

Harvard University

  320

38

 

 

 

August 24, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sandy Baum challenges media sensationalism and political hype about student loans

NPR:

"There's a new book out about the student loan crisis [Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education], or what author Sandy Baum suggests is a "bogus crisis." Baum, a financial aid expert and senior fellow at the Urban Institute, claims it has been [sensationalized and exaggerated] by the media in search of a spicy story and fueled by politicians pushing "debt free college" proposals. . . . "

Sandy Baum:

"People who earn bachelor's degrees, by and large, do fine.

The problem is that we have a lot of people actually borrowing small amounts of money, going to college, not completing [a degree] or completing credentials that don't have labor market value. They tend to be older. They tend to come from disadvantaged or middle-income families and they're struggling. [But] not because they owe a lot of money. . . .

Its not realistic to say we're going to pay people to go to college [for free]. Someone has to pay. We can have everyone pay much higher taxes. But short of that, it's not clear how we would pay. . . . 

There are some people who borrowed under fraudulent, deceptive situations and their debt should be forgiven. There are people for whom education did not work out through no fault of their own and their debt should be forgiven.  . . . We don't give people very much advice and guidance about where [and] when to go to college, how to pay for it, what to study. . . .

[[There are facts that]  get little or no attention because they don't fit the "crisis" narrative:

  • A third of college students who earn a four-year degree graduate with no debt at all. Zero.
  • A fourth graduate with debt of no more than $20,000.
  • Low-income households hold only 11 percent of all outstanding [student] debt.
  • Almost half of the $1.3 trillion in student loan debt is held by 25 percent of graduates who are actually making a pretty high income.]

This is an investment that pays off really well. The median earnings for young bachelor's degree recipients is about $20,000 a year higher than the median earnings for high school graduates.

Student debt is really creating a lot of opportunities for people. People wouldn't be able to go to college otherwise."

Baum notes that many graduates with high debt levels (>$100,000) have advanced degrees, high expected incomes, and low default rates.

"The highest debt levels are for those earning professional degrees . . .  Despite high debt levels, default rates among graduate borrowers are very low."  However, Baum expresses some concern about those pursuing expensive master's degrees in fields "that rarely lead to the kind of earnings that doctors, lawyers, and MBAs can expect."

Baum's findings are broadly consistent with recent research by Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos, reviewed by David Leonhardt for the New York Times.  Akers and Chingos have a new book coming out this fall.

August 19, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest, Science, Weblogs | Permalink

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Only 382 resumes in the first (and most important) FAR distribution...

...which is down at least fifty or more 28 from last year (I can't find the number, if someone has it, please shoot me an e-mail).  That's good news for the job seekers, as I think early indications are that, like last year, we will see at least 80 new tenure-track academic hires as we did last year (up from roughly 65 each of 2014-15 and 2013-14).

UPDATE:  Thanks to Roger Ford (New Hampshire) for flagging this useful chart courtesy of Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), which shows the drop off from 2015-16 is not as great as I remembered (I was probably confusing it with 2014-15).

ANOTHER:  58% of the candidates took their law degree from one of the sixteen law schools that produce the most law teachers (i.e., Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, Columbia, Michigan, NYU, Berkeley, Virginia, Penn, Northwestern, Cornell, Georgetown, Duke, Texas, UCLA); almost 20% earned a degree from the first four (Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford).

August 18, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Must be a slow news day

New York Times journalist Elizabeth Olson recently reported that the law school graduating class of 2015--which was very close to the size of the class of 1996--had about the same number of private sector jobs 9 months after graduation as the class of 1996.  That's a pretty good outcome considering that the economy-wide employment population ratio in February 2016 was 3.6 points lower than in February 1997.  Olson puts a negative spin on the non-story.

UPDATE:  Casey Sullivan at Bloomberg provides more balanced coverage, noting the smaller class size at the outset of his story and focusing on overall earnings rather than job counts in one segment of the market.

For previous coverage, see 

Smaller or Larger Law Class Sizes Don’t Predict Changes in Financial Benefits of Law School, Feb. 2, 2016

and

Timing Law School (forthcoming in JELS)

 

August 17, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Weblogs | Permalink

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Berkeley Chancellor Dirks to resign after just three years

I have no inside knowledge or informed opinion about whether this is a good development, but I do wonder whether it is not symptomatic of the political meddling of Napolitano.

(Thanks to Rick Hasen for the pointer.)

August 16, 2016 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Philosophy of law in the Encyclopaedia Britannica

This is the first new essay commissioned on the subject in more than fifty years (the last one was by Julius Stone, also a legal realist!).  I had the privilege of co-authoring the new essay with a former student, the legal philosopher Michael Sevel (not a legal realist, but like Stone, at the University of Sydney!).  Alas, you need to access it from an institution that subscribes to read this essay in full.

UPDATE:  After I posted a similar announcement at my philosophy blog, an editor at EB wrote:  "in fact anyone can read the entire article for free if he/she comes to it through a Google search. I believe we are fourth or fifth in the hit list returned by searching on 'philosophy of law'. Clicking on the link should provide access to the full article. (Obviously, searching on "philosophy of law Britannica" would make it even easier.) Likewise any other article in Britannica."  Useful information, I didn't realize that!

August 16, 2016 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Monday, August 15, 2016

“Glass Half Full” author concedes problems with estimates of solo practitioner incomes and headcounts (updated 8/18)

Professor Benjamin H. Barton recently responded to critiques of his estimates of solo practitioner incomes. Barton does not answer the specific questions that I posed about his use of IRS data, but he generally concedes that the IRS data is problematic. 

  1. Barton wrote:

“Is it possible that the IRS data undersells the earnings of solo practitioners?  Yes, for the reasons I state above and for some of the reasons that you and Professor Diamond point out.”  

I applaud Professor Barton’s honesty.  I encourage him to acknowledge the problems with the IRS data in future editions of “Glass Half Full” and to correct his CNN and Business Insider posts.

  1. Barton wrote:

“Do I think that the IRS data are off by a factor of 3.5 or even 2?  No.”  

I encourage Professor Barton to present a revised estimate that he thinks is more accurate. Several studies that he cites for support suggest that his solo income estimates are off by a factor of approximately 2 to 3 (see below for details).

  1. Barton defends his use of IRS data on three grounds, each of which is problematic:

a. “The IRS data on lawyer earnings is the longest running data I could find and thus the best dataset for a discussion of long term trends.”

Professor Barton overlooked the U.S. Census Bureau’s Decennial Census, which has data on Lawyer’s incomes since 1950 (which reports 1949 incomes).[i]  The IRS data presented by Barton starts 18 years later, in 1967.

When considering long term trends in occupational incomes, it’s important to consider changes in the race and sex of members of the occupation.  Across occupations, women and minorities generally earn less than white men.  Race and sex variables are available in Census Household data, but not public-use IRS data.

b. The IRS data “separates lawyer earnings into solo practitioners and law firm partners”

Professor Barton acknowledges that his data misses incorporated self-employed lawyers, and that this group likely has higher incomes than those that he captures.[ii]

This means that Professor Barton’s IRS data is much less useful for identifying small and solo practitioners in 2013 than it was in 1970.  This is because the proportion of solo and small attorneys who incorporated has likely increased dramatically.  In 1970, 5 percent of full-time self-employed lawyers were incorporated.  By 2014, the share increased to more than 50 percent.[iii].  Barton is missing many solo and small time practitioners.  If trends toward incorporation continue, his data will become less useful every passing year.  The IRS data has different biases at different points in time, making trends potentially unreliable. 

Continue reading

August 15, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Science, Weblogs | Permalink

Friday, August 12, 2016

Coming next week...

...a ranking of schools by the percentage of their tenured faculty that made it on to the most-cited faculty lists we've been publishing (based on the Sisk data).

August 12, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The first AALS placement bulletin of the 2016-2017 hiring season

I am struck by how many schools are interested in some aspect of criminal law/procedure and also in evidence.  Health law is also in demand this year.   I'm encouraged to see a number of schools back in the market for tenure-track faculty who had been out for awhile.  More next week.

August 11, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink

Benjamin H. Barton Responds to Critics of Solo Practitioner Income Estimates: "IRS and Census Data Not that Far Apart Upon Closer Inspection"

The following is a response from Professor Benjamin H. Barton to critiques and questions about his use of IRS data to estimate solo practitioner incomes. It has not been edited or altered from the form in which Professor Barton submitted it.

IRS and Census Data Not that Far Apart Upon Closer Inspection

On July 25th Professor Stephen Diamond criticized my use of IRS income statistics to discuss the earnings of solo practitioners on his blog.  I responded to Professor Diamond in the comments.  On July 26, 2016 Professor Michael Simkovic published a number of critiques here.  Two days later Professor Simkovic followed up with a second post asking me a series of questions and challenging me to respond to both of his posts.  Here I accept Professor Simkovic’s invitation.

Below I explain more about the IRS data and how I use it, but I will not bury the lede.  The data that Professors Simkovic and Diamond use to criticize my work, ACS data for lawyers who are in the category of “self-employed, not incorporated,” is not appropriate data for defining the earnings of solo practitioners.  That Census category likely includes two very different types of self-employed lawyers – solo practitioners (the lowest paid lawyers in private practice) and law firm partners (the highest paid lawyers in private practice).  The Census Department does not make it easy to figure out exactly which lawyers are counted in the category of “self-employed, not incorporated,” but combining this definition with this one and looking at the ACS form itself it seems pretty clear that partners in law firms are included in this category.[i]

Because the ACS data includes an indeterminate number of partners and solos, the average earnings in that category ($165-200,000) are a misleading proxy for the earnings of American solo practitioners.  If there was a data category of “professional baseball players” that included minor league (low paid) and major league (highly paid) baseball players, and there was no way to tell how many of each were in the sample, you could not use the average earnings of “all professional baseball players” as a proxy for minor league salaries, since some members of the sample earn much, much more than other members of the sample.

The ACS data is inappropriate, but is the IRS data better?  I use the IRS data in my book, Glass Half Full – The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession (Oxford 2015) and in later work to talk about several trends in the market for legal services.  Here is an updated version of a chart I first created for the book:

Barton Graph

Continue reading

August 11, 2016 in Legal Profession, Weblogs | Permalink

A few problems with coverage of the solo practitioner income debates

Some news sources claim that I think solo practitioners are "tax cheats."  The estimate that small business owners underreport their revenue and over-claim on expenses comes from the Internal Revenue Service and the Government Accountability Office, not my imagination.  It’s inappropriate to say that I’m claiming that solo attorneys are tax cheats.  I'm simply explaining the IRS's position on biases in IRS data--something that anyone who uses this data should be sure to note.

At least one source has claimed that ACS income data include business revenue rather than business net income or profits, citing Professor Barton as its source.  This claim is incorrect.  

The Census defines Self-employment income as follows:

"self-employment income includes net money income (gross receipts minus expenses) from one’s own business, professional enterprise, or partnership. Gross receipts include the value of all goods sold and services rendered. Expenses include costs of goods purchased, rent, heat, light, power, depreciation charges, wages and salaries paid, business taxes (not personal income taxes), etc.”  See pg. 80

Perhaps the journalist misunderstood Professor Barton.  I've requested corrections.

UPDATE:

Aug. 15, 2016.  Thanks to the folks at Thomson Reuters for posting corrections.  Professor Barton responded, and I replied.

August 11, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession | Permalink

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

U of North Texas law school in Dallas denied provisional accreditation by ABA

An ominous development for the new law school at UNT.  Initially, a public law school in Dallas seemed like a good idea--a "first," until Texas A&M acquired Texas Wesleyan, also in Dallas/Ft. Worth.  A&M has made a big investment in the school and the faculty, and A&M is a much stronger school "brand" in Texas than UNT. 

August 10, 2016 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, August 8, 2016

10 Most-Cited Legal Ethics/Legal Profession Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive)

Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:  

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Deborah Rhode

Stanford University

1080

64

2

David Luban

Georgetown University

  930

67

3

William Simon

Columbia University

  630

69

4

Bruce Green

Fordham University

  530

61

5

David Wilkins

Harvard University

  440

60

6

William Henderson, Jr.

Indiana University, Bloomington

  400

54

7

Stephen Gillers

New York University

  330

73

8

W. Bradley Wendel

Cornell University

  280

47

9

Peter Margulies

Roger Williams University

  260

60

 

Russell Pearce

Fordham University

  260

60

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Ronald Rotunda

Chapman University

  590

71

 

Robert W. Gordon

Stanford University

  520

75

 

Richard Painter

University of Minnesota

  310

54

August 8, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Friday, August 5, 2016

June LSAT takers down less than 1% from last year (which was up over 6% from the prior year)

The latest data from LSAC here.   For 2015-16, LSATs taken were up a bit more than 4% from the prior year, while applications were up about 1%.   So what does this latest data on June test-takers mean?  Probably that this year will be like last in terms of volume of applications.  Stability in the applicant pool is, of course, enough for schools to plan their budgets into the future and do faculty hiring.

August 5, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Professor Choudhry continues to pursue a grievance with Berkeley's Committee on Privilege and Tenure

His letter, supplied by his lawyers, is here:   Download 2016-08-01 -- Ltr to Paxson

I do wonder when some other Berkeley faculty are going to start speaking up about this case.   Nothing in the public record suggests that anything that has transpired comes close to grounds for revoking tenure, and the fact that this issue was only raised after political pressure from the President of the UC System casts a pall over the fairness of these proceedings.  The Privilege and Tenure Committee of a great university ought to stand up to this political bullying.

UPDATE:  A reader points out that Berkley Law Prof. Eric Rakowski did speak out about this several months ago.  Kudos to Prof. Rakowski, I hope his colleagues will follow suit; members of the law faculty, in particular, ought to be at the forefront of defending the values of fair process in a matter like this.

August 3, 2016 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

More on the uselessness of ranking law reviews by Google Scholar h-indices

The other day I remarked on what should have been obvious, namely, that Google Scholar rankings of law reviews by impact are nonsense, providing prospective authors with no meaningful information about the relative impact of publishing an article in comparable law reviews.  (Did you know that it's better to publish in the Fordham Law Review for impact than in the Duke Law Journal?)  The reason is simple:  the Google Scholar rankings do not adjust for the volume of output--law reviews that turn out more issues and articles each year will rank higher than otherwise comparable law reviews (with actual comparable impact) simply because of the volume of output.

When Google Scholar rankings of philosophy journals first came out, a journal called Synthese came out #1.  Synthese is a good journal, but it was obviously nonsense that the average impact of an article there was greater than any of the actual top journals in philosophy.   The key fact about Synthese is that it publishes five to ten times as many articles per year than the top philosophy journals.   When another philosopher adjusted the Google Scholar results for volume of publication, Synthese dropped from #1 to #24.

Alas, various law professors have dug in their heels trying to explain that this nonsense Google Scholar ranking of law reviews is not, in fact, affected by volume of output.  I was initially astonished, but now see that many naïve enthusiasts apparently do not not understand the metrics and do not realize how sloppy Google Scholar is in terms of what it picks up. 

Let's start with the formula Google Scholar uses in its journal rankings:

The h-index of a publication is the largest number h such that at least h articles in that publication were cited at least h times each. For example, a publication with five articles cited by, respectively, 17, 9, 6, 3, and 2, has the h-index of 3.

The h-core of a publication is a set of top cited h articles from the publication. These are the articles that the h-index is based on. For example, the publication above has the h-core with three articles, those cited by 17, 9, and 6.

The h-median of a publication is the median of the citation counts in its h-core. For example, the h-median of the publication above is 9. The h-median is a measure of the distribution of citations to the articles in the h-core.

Finally, the h5-index, h5-core, and h5-median of a publication are, respectively, the h-index, h-core, and h-median of only those of its articles that were published in the last five complete calendar years.

Obviously, any journal that publishes more articles per year has more chances of publishing highly-cited articles, which then affects both the h-core result and the h-median result.  But that's only part of the problem, though that problem is real and obvious enough.   The much more serious problem is that Google Scholar picks up a lot of "noise," i.e., citations that aren't really citations.  So, for example, Google Scholar records as a citation any reference to the contents of the law review in an index of legal periodicals.  Any journal that publishes more issues will appear more often in such indices obviously.   Google Scholar picks up self-references in a journal to the articles it has published in a given year.   Google Scholar even picks up SSRN "working paper series" postings in which all other articles by someone on a faculty are also listed at the end as from that school.   (Google Scholar gradually purges some of these fake cites, but it takes a long time.)   Volume of publication inflates a journal's "impact" ranking because Google Scholar is not as discerning as some law professors think.

August 2, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

Monday, August 1, 2016

Lateral hires with tenure or on tenure-track, 2016-17

These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2017 (except where noted); I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in.   (Recent additions are in bold.)  Last year's list is here.

 

*Nicolas Cornell (contracts, law & philosophy) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to the University of Michigan (law) (untenured lateral).

 

*Kurt Lash (constitutional law) from the University of Illinois to the University of Richmond.

August 1, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink