Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, April 18, 2014

Not the kind of law school trustee who builds good will

At NYU, but the Law School is defending the students.


April 18, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Miami's Franks and Maryland's Citron on criminalizing "revenge porn"

Here.


April 17, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Signs of the times, Oregon edition

A dispute at Oregon about whether to eliminate faculty raises, in order to use the money in other ways (appraently, to bolster the school's falling US New.com rank by funding more jobs for grads) has burst into public.  I'm sure similarly unpleasant fights over scarce resources are going on at other schools.  Although some sites linking to this are using it as an opportunity to attack Prof. Illig, there is no doubt he articulates concerns that many others probably share.  (University of Oregon is chronically underfunded, and its salaries also lag that of other AAU schools, so that's part of the background here.)


April 17, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Outgoing NYU President (and former Law Dean) Sexton continues to take a public relations beating

Chemerinsky & Menkel-Meadow opine in yesterday's NY Times...

...that things aren't as awful as the various charlatans and other law-school haters claim, and, predictably (given the social psychology), the charlatans and haters go crazy.  I won't link to the hysterical reactions (they are easy enough to find with Google), but they boil down to one complaint:  Chemerinsky & Menkel-Meadow cited NALP data without treating it as bogus (e.g., that JD Advantage jobs are really jobs [actually many of them are, but never mind]).  That's true, they linked to the NALP data, but they didn't spend the rest of their piece debunking that data based on speculation, skepticism, and occasionally other actual evidence.  This has certainly been a standing problem in the debate about American legal education, as when serious data analysis showed that legal education was a sound economic investment for the vast majority of students, and critics refused to believe that was true, though without any contrary evidence or analysis.  So we can all agree that we should be more careful about how we present data and its import. 

That being said, my main disagreement with Chemerinsky & Menkel-Meadow is about the necessity of three years of legal education, as I've said before:  two years could work, and work very well for many students.  In reality, the biggest obstacle to reducing costs in legal education, however, is unnoted in their op-ed:  it remains the lax tenure standards and the unwillingness of universities to terminate tenured faculty for cause, i.e., when they manifestly do not do their job. 

Imagine, for example, a law school that pays a six figure salary (closing in on 200K) to someone with almost no legal experience and an M.A. in literature who teaches the same couple of substantive courses year in and year out, courses in which he has no experience, whose teaching evaluations are consistently below average, who hasn't written any serious legal scholarship in years, who is regarded as a joke by his colleagues at his own school and in the academy at large, and who mostly spends his time insulting, defaming, and blackmailing colleagues who do their jobs.  It endangers the institution of tenure when universities do not initiate proceedings to terminate malevolent charlatans like this.  Many law schools, as we've noted before, are offering financial inducements to "buy out" senior faculty, most of whom are not charlatans.  Real cost reduction, however, will require universities to move against the charlatans and the de facto retired in their midst, even those who have tried to insulate themselves from termination for cause by setting up frivolous retaliation claims.

UPDATE:  More thoughts on reforming legal education from Michael Madison (Pitt).


April 16, 2014 in Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In Memoriam: Peter Tiersma (1952-2014)

A pioneer in research at the intersection of linguistics and the law, Professor Tiersma taught for a quarter-century at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.  The LLS memorial is here.


April 15, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Tobin Named Dean At Maryland

Donald Tobin, a faculty member at The Ohio State University law school, has been named the new law school dean at the University of Maryland.  He holds a JD from Georgetown and has been in academia since 2001.


April 15, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lateral hires with tenure 2013-14

MOVING TO FRONT (originally posted Oct. 16, 2013)--recent additions are bolded

These faculty haved accepted appointments with tenure that will begin in 2014:

*Howard Abrams (tax) from Emory University to the University of San Diego.

 

*Anthony Appiah (moral & political philosophy) from Princeton University (Philosophy) to New York University (joint with the Philosophy Department, Law School, and NYU-Abu Dhabi).

 

*Oren Bar-Gill (contracts, law & economics) from New York University to Harvard University.

 

*Mitchell N. Berman (criminal law, constitutional law, jurisprudence) from the University of Texas, Austin to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*John Borrows (indigenous law, comparative law, human rights) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities back to the University of Victoria.

 

*William Buzbee (environmental law, administrative law) from Emory University to Georgetown University.

 

*Jenny Carroll (criminal procedure) from Seton Hall University to the University of Alabama.

 

*Steve Clowney (property, land use) from the University of Kentucky to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

 

*Andrew Coan (constitutional law, civil procedure) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison to the University of Arizona.

 

*Michael Doran (tax) from Georgetown University back to the University of Virginia.

 

*Justin Driver (constitutional law) from the University of Texas, Austin to the University of Chicago.

 

*Lee Epstein (empirical legal studies, judicial behavior, law & politics) from the University of Southern California to Washington University, St. Louis.

 

*Kimberly Ferzan (criminal law, jurisprudence) from Rutgers University, Camden to the University of Virginia.

 

*Kaaryn Gustafson (law & inequality, poverty law, criminal procedure) from the University of Connecticut to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*Michele B. Goodwin (law & technology, bioethics, constitutional law) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*G. Mitu Gulati (contracts, corporate, law & economics, empirial legal studies) from Duke University to the University of Southern California. (Gulati will stay at Duke)

 

*Emily Hammond (energy law, environmental law, administrative law) from Wake Forest University to George Washington University.

 

*Charles Jalloh (international human rights, international criminal law) from the University of Pittsburgh to Florida International University.

*David Hasen (tax) from Santa Clara University to the University of Colorado, Boulder.

 

*Michael Hatfield (tax, legal ethics, wills & estates) from Texas Tech University to the University of Washington, Seattle.

 

*Darian Ibrahim (corporate) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison to the College of William & Mary.

 

*Cathleen Kaveny (law & religion, ethics) from the University of Notre Dame to Boston College.

 

*Kimberly Krawiec (corporate) from Duke University to the University of Southern California. (Krawiece will stay at Duke)

 

Amy Landers (intellectual property) from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law to Drexel University.

 

*Jacqueline Lipton (intellectual property, Cyberlaw) from the University of Houston to the University of Akron.

 

*Patricia McCoy (insurance law, consumer law, regulation of financial services) from the University of Connecticut to Boston College.

 

*Edward R. Morrison (bankruptcy, law & economics, empirical legal studies) from the University of Chicago back to Columbia University.

 

*Samuel Moyn (legal history) from Columbia University (History Dept) to Harvard University (Law School).

 

*Saule Omarove (banking law, financial regulation, corporate finance) from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to Cornell University.

 

*Eduardo Penalver (property, law & religion) from University of Chicago back to Cornell University (to become Dean).

 

*Wendell Pritchett (land use, legal history, urban policy) from Rutgers University, Camden (where he was Chancellor) back to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*Intisar A. Rabb (Islamic law) from New York University to Harvard University.

 

*Robert Rhee (corporate law & finance) from the University of Maryland to the University of Florida, Gainesville.

 

*L. Song Richardson (criminal law & procedure) from the University of Iowa to the University of California, Irvine.


*Kalyani Robbins (environmental law) from the University of Akron to Florida International University.

 

*Troy Rule (property, natural resources & energy law, land use, real estate) from the University of Missouri to Arizona State University. 

 

*Gregory Shaffer (international law, international trade) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*Nancy Staudt (tax) from the University of Southern California to Washington University, St. Louis (to become Dean).

 

*Adam Steinman (civil procedure, federal courts) from Seton Hall University to the University of Alabama.

 

*Kristen Stilt (Islamic law and society, legal history) from Northwestern University to Harvard University.

 

*David Studdert (health law, empirical legal studies) from the University of Melbourne to Stanford University (joint with the Law School and the Medical School). 

 

*Gerald Torres (environmental law, Federal Indian law, critical race theory) from the University of Texas, Austin to Cornell University.

 

I will move this to the front of the blog at various intervals during the year.


April 14, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Gulati, Krawiec will stay at Duke after all, rather than moving to USC

That's a significant retention for Duke!  (Earlier announcement was here.)


April 12, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lots of students are applying to law school late in the season

Anyone following Al Brophy's reports on the LSAC data will notice that, while applications are still down from last year, they are down a bit less with each subsequent report.  That's consistent with anecdotal reports from colleagues who teach undergraduates who report being asked to write letters of recommendation later and later in the season than just a few years ago.  One surmises that at least part of what is happening is that (1) students waivering about going to law school are realizing that they don't have other tangible professional plans, (2) students are realizing their chances of getting good admissions offers--either in terms of the caliber of the school and/or the cost--are much better this year than just a few years ago.  Along with this indicator, I suspect the decline in applications is about to bottom out.  It will still take a couple more years, though, for most law schools to begin hiring new faculty again given the dramatic decline in applications and enrollments of the last few years.


April 10, 2014 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Professional Advice, Student Advice | Permalink

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Congratulations to the Chicago Alumni (and Bigelows) who accepted tenure-track positions this year

This was the most difficult year in the law teaching market in decades (my guess is maybe sixty or seventy new faculty were hired nationwide this year--down from over a hundred last year, and over 150  just a few years ago).  Fortunately, most of the Chicago graduates and Fellows were extremely successful in securing tenure-track positions in this challenging market.  They are: 

Vincent Buccola '08, who will join the faculty at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.  He graduated with High Honors and Order of the Coif from the Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review.  He clerked for Judge Easterbrook on the 7th Circuit, and was a litigator at Bartlit Beck in Chicago for three years before becoming a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  His scholarship has appeared in Kansas Law Review and George Mason Law Review.  His areas of research and teaching interest include bankruptcy, contracts, business associations, corporate finance, and civil procedure.  

 

Adam Chilton, who will join the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he is presently a Bigelow Fellow.  He earned both his J.D. and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University.  His scholarship has appeared or will appear in University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, and elsewhere.  Hhis teaching and research interests are primarily in international law and empirical legal studies.

 

Roger Ford '05, who will join the faculty at the University of New Hampshire.  He graduated with Honors and Order of the Coif from the Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review.  He practiced patent and trademark litigation and privacy law at Covington & Burlington for five years, and also clerked for Judge Easterbrook on the 7th Circuit.  He has also been a Microsoft Research Fellow at NYU, and an adjunct professor at George Mason, where he taught Federal Courts. Most recently, he was a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  His articles appear in Cornell Law Review, George Mason Law Review, and elsewhere. His research and teaching interests include intellectual property (esp. patents and trademarks), property, information privacy, criminal and civil procedure, and antitrust. 

 

Randall K. Johnson '12, who will join the faculty at Mississippi College School of Law.  At the Law School, he held the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Earl Warren Legal Training Scholarship for two years.  He then served as a Law Fellow with the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  His articles appear in Northern Illinois Law Review and Wake Forest Law Review Online.  His research and teaching interests include property, evidence, real estate transactions, land use, and civil rights.

 

Greg Reilly, who will join the faculty at California Western School of Law in San Diego.  He is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2006 and clerked for Judge Dyk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  He was a patent and products liability litigator with Morrison & Foerster in San Diego for five years before coming to Chicago.  His articles appear in Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue, and elsewhere.  He has research and teaching interests in intellectual property (esp. patents), civil procedure and complex litigation, federal courts, and contracts. 

 

Nathan Richardson '09, who will join the faculty at the University of South Carolina.    He graduated with Honors from the Law School, where he was Articles Editor of the Chicago Journal of International Law.  He is presently a Research Scholar at Resources for the Future in Washington, DC, where he has extensive experinece doing legal and interdisciplinary research, often in collaboration with economists.  His dozen publications appear in Environmental Law, Stanford Journal of Environmental Law, Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, and elsewhere. He has research and teaching interests in environmental law, property, administrative and energy law, and law and economics.

 

Veronica Root '08, who will join the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where shes is presently a VAP. At the Law School, she was Managing Editor of the Chicago Journal of International Law, and also received the Mulroy Prize for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy.  She clerked for Judge Stewart on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and then litigated with Gibson Dunn in Washington, D.C. for three years, before taking up a Visiting Assistant Professorship at Notre Dame Law School, where she has taught professional responsibility.  Her articles appear in University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law and University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform.  Herresearch and teaching interests include professional responsibility, employment law, business associations, contracts, and commercial law. 

 

If you're curious, you can read about some of our recent placements in law teaching herehere and here, and see a more comprehensive listing here.  You can also see a list of past Bigelows and where they now teach here


April 9, 2014 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Law profs face off over discrimination against gay people, and the Supreme Court declines cert

The Supreme Court has denied the petition for certiorari in the much watched case of Elane Photography v. Willock, which began when a commercial wedding photography company in New Mexico refused to sell its services to a same-sex couple.  Last August, the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously found that the company's conduct violated the state public accommodations statute and that the company was not entitled to a special First Amendment exemption from that law.  The Supreme Court has now declined to review the First Amendment portion of that ruling.

The plaintiff, Vanessa Willock, was represented throughout the appellate stages of the case by Tobias Barrington Wolff (Penn).   Eugene Volokh (UCLA) and Dale Carpenter (Minnesota) joined with the Cato Institute in filing an amicus brief on the First Amendment issues before the New Mexico Supreme Court and again in support of the company's certiorari petition.  (It's just like the 1960s, when you could count on libertarians to be friends of discrimination!)  Thankfully, for the plaintiff and for fairness, Professor Wolff  prevailed.


April 8, 2014 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lawyers, law professors and depression

A bracing series of posts by Charlotte Law's Brian Clarke:  this is the third in the series, with links back to the earlier ones.


April 7, 2014 in Faculty News, Legal Profession | Permalink

Thursday, April 3, 2014

More signs of the times: 15% cut in tuition sticker price at Brooklyn

Story here.  Whether that will represent an actual cut depends on how much discounting took place in the past, which we don't know.


April 3, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

In Memoriam: Alan Bromberg (1928-2014)

A leading corporate and securities law scholar, Professor Bromberg was a member of the SMU law faculty for more than a half-century.  The SMU memorial notice is here.


April 3, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The law clerk hiring process: an interview with Judge Ambro of the 3rd Circuit

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Too busy to be funny today...

...but others, fortunately, aren't:  see Dan Filler, Jeffrey Harrison, Larry Solum.

UPDATE:  And Michael Dorf (thanks to Kent McKeever for the pointer).


April 1, 2014 in Legal Humor | Permalink

Monday, March 31, 2014

Top U.S. research universities, 2014

Here, based on aggregation of U.S. News reputational data, for those who are interested.


March 31, 2014 in Rankings | Permalink

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What is REALLY going on at Denver (contrary to ATL's fabrications)

In typically irresponsible fashion, ATL yesterday posted factually inaccurate rumors about Denver (which they are slowly correcting).  Here is what a tenured colleague at Denver wrote to me:

The truth is that we are reducing our tenure and tenure-track faculty by 10 over multiple years.  This is consistent with a long-term plan to shrink the size of the school that began in 2007, prior to the economic downturn.  At that point we had 380 students.  Our ultimate goal was and is approximately 250 students.  The school needs *at most* one person to retire or take a buyout this year to meet our budget for 2014-2015.  In subsequent years the faculty who will be offered the option of buyouts will be exclusively tenured faculty who have held their positions for a minimum number of years. The buyouts will NOT include tenure-track faculty who are not yet tenured.  That is, the ATL story is simply wrong when it says that untenured tenure-track faculty are being asked to leave.  None has been asked to do so.  In fact, Denver Law has recommended 4 tenure-track faculty for tenure this year.  While tenure is not official until the summer, it is common knowledge that the Dean has recently assured those four faculty members that the planned buyouts will not affect their tenure process.  Finally, ATL's unattributed claim that the Denver Law faculty is "quite displeased" with direction of the school is simply false.  Of course there are outliers in every institution, but the overall faculty climate is collegial and the vast majority of faculty are pleased with Dean Katz's leadership during a difficult time for all law schools.  Of course, it is never ideal for ATL to report facts that are patently false, particularly with respect to untenured faculty, and one would hope that they care enough about their credibility to print a correction.

I've heard the same about Dean Katz from other faculty at Denver as well.  (I hope Blog Emperor Caron will learn a lesson from this incident, namely, not to reprint nonsense from ATL without independent verification.)


March 26, 2014 in Faculty News, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dean Rodriguez (Northwestern) on hysteria about law schools

He is obviously right.  What is worse, in this instance, is that the "story" about Denver is complete fiction, but since "Above the Law" has no regard for facts, it's hardly surprising they would report such fiction as though it were factual.


March 25, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Friday, March 21, 2014

More signs of the times

Appalachian cutting faculty.  In addition, I recently spoke to a colleague at another law school--a strong, regional school but with a faculty with a national scholarly reputation--who reported the teaching load has been raised from 10 hours per year per faculty member to 12 hours.  Twenty years ago, 12 hours was the norm at most law schools, except for the very top ones.  Over the last twenty years, 10 hours/3 courses became increasingly common.  For a school of this caliber to make the move back to 12 suggests that other schools are following or will soon follow suit.


March 21, 2014 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Falsehood of the day: "U.S. News, for all of its faults, is how employers think of you"

Elie Mystal, one of the bloggers at "Above the Law," wrote this last week (a reader forwarded it to me).  No evidence was offered, and that's not surprising:  the statement is false in almost all cases.  Employers, to be sure, have views about different law schools, but they are based on experience, in some cases, experience that stretches over decades.  Actual lawyers and judges do not, in my experience, pay any attention to U.S. News at all.  A couple of years ago, for example, I was speaking to a distinguished group of Northwestern University Law School alumni about the U.S. News rankings.  There were about 125 to 150 lawyers (and a few judges) there.  Many of the lawyers in attendance had been or were the current hiring partners at their firms.  I asked a simple question:  how many had looked at the recent U.S. news rankings of law schools?  Maybe five hands went up in the entire room.  To a person, all these lawyers and judges said they based their evaluations of law schools--where they recruit, how deep into the class they will go for new hires--on their past experience with the schools and their graduates.  Full stop.  No one was waiting for the U.S. News law school rankings to decide where to interview or whom to hire.

So if lawyers and judges don't care about them, who does care about the U.S. News rankings?  Prospective students and journalists.  Prospective students are very clearly influenced by them, in part because journalists hype them and report on them irresponsibily.  And because of those two constituencies, law schools have to care as well:  if, in fact, the students a school wants will go elsewhere because of a precipitous drop in the US News ranking, this will over a period of time affect how the employers that hire frm that school perceive it, not because they follow U.S. News, but because they will notice the change in the caliber of the student body.


March 20, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink