Tuesday, July 25, 2017
I am speaking at a plenary session tomorrow during the the Energy Impacts Symposium at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio. The program is exciting, and I look forward to being a part of it. The program is described as follows:
Energy Impacts 2017 is a energy research conference and workshop, organized by a 9-member interdisciplinary steering committee, focused on synthesis, comparison, and innovation among established and emerging energy impacts scholars from North America and abroad. We invite participation from sociologists, geographers, political scientists, economists, anthropologists, practitioners, and other interested parties whose work addresses impacts of new energy development for host communities and landscapes.
The pace, scale, and intensity of new energy development around the world demands credible and informed research about potential impacts to human communities that host energy developments. From new electrical transmission lines needed for a growing renewable energy sector to hydraulically fracturing shale for oil and gas, energy development can have broad and diverse impacts on the communities where it occurs. While a fast-growing cadre of researchers has emerged to produce important new research on the social, economic, and behavioral impacts from large-scale energy development for host communities and landscapes, their discoveries are often isolated within disciplinary boundaries.
Through facilitated interactive workshop activities, invited experts and symposium participants will produce a roadmap for future cross-disciplinary research priorities.
I will be talking about Community Development and the North Dakota Sovereign Wealth Fund, and we'll discuss the implications of the resource curse. I am of the view that the resource curse is correlative, not causative, and that natural resource extraction can prove harmful to local communities, but that it doesn't have to be. From North Dakota's $4.33 billion fund to Norway's Government Pension Fund Global, there are examples of funding that can provide for the future. But there are numerous examples of struggling communities and bankrupt local governments where funds benefited few. And even North Dakota and Norway provide stark contrasts in how the funds are used. The point, for me, is that generalizations overstate the role of the resource and understate the role of local decision making. What we prioritize matters, and often, I think, we can do better. It's not preordained. We can do better, as long as we decide to do so.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Clinical Faculty Position
The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law
* * *
Description: The Moritz College of Law invites applications for the position of Assistant Clinical Professor of Law in its Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic (EBLC), to start in late 2017. The EBLC professor has primary responsibility for directing and teaching the Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic, which provides third-year law students with the opportunity to learn lawyering skills by representing entrepreneurs and their start-up businesses. EBLC students typically work with clients on all phases of starting a business, including client intake, entity formation, legal business planning, and contract drafting (including employment and independent contractor contracts). When relevant for the client, students also learn how to protect the intellectual property of a business. The EBLC’s clinical professor will have several areas of responsibility, including 1) supervising law students who represent clients under the Ohio Supreme Court's student practice rule 2) classroom teaching of lawyering skills, 3) engaging with the local and regional entrepreneurial community, and 4) participating in the life and governance of the College of Law.
We will consider all applicants; however, we prefer candidates with significant experience in representing entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. Candidates also should have an excellent academic record that demonstrates potential for clinical teaching and preparation of clinical educational materials. Candidates should be admitted to the Ohio Bar or eligible for admission in Ohio. The starting salary range will be $78,000 - $81,000 for a 12-month contract; full University fringe benefits are provided as well. The ideal starting date will be November 15, or as soon thereafter as possible. The successful candidate will begin teaching in January 2018.
Application Instructions: A resume, references, and cover letter should be submitted to Professor Paul Rose, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, 55 West 12th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Send e-mail applications to email@example.com. Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled; preference will be given to applications received before September 1st.
The Ohio State University is committed to establishing a culturally and intellectually diverse environment, encouraging all members of our learning community to reach their full potential. The Ohio State University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, or protected veteran status.
About Columbus: The Ohio State University campus is located in Columbus, the capital city of Ohio. Columbus is the center of a rapidly growing and diverse metropolitan area with a population of over 1.5 million. The area offers a wide range of very affordable housing, many cultural and recreational opportunities, excellent schools, and a strong economy based on government as well as service, transportation, and technology industries (see http://columbusregion.com/). Columbus and its many suburbs have consistently been rated as one of the Top U.S. places for quality of life. Additional information about the Columbus area is available at http://www.columbus.org.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Back in 2013, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic wrote Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? on the Harvard Business Law Review site. He argues,
the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.
He further notes that the qualities that the same traits that often lead to a male manager to get hired (i.e., be perceived as a leader) are the characteristics that get in the way of being an effective and successful leader. ( "[L]eaderless groups have a natural tendency to elect self-centered, overconfident and narcissistic individuals as leaders, and that these personality characteristics are not equally common in men and women.") Thus, because we mistake confidence for competence, we pass up a lot of good people (and hire the wrong people). These mistakes apply to both men and women, but Chamorro-Premuzic notes that (by nature and/or nurture) women are less likely to have those traits.
there is no denying that women’s path to leadership positions is paved with many barriers including a very thick glass ceiling. But a much bigger problem is the lack of career obstacles for incompetent men, and the fact that we tend to equate leadership with the very psychological features that make the average man a more inept leader than the average woman. The result is a pathological system that rewards men for their incompetence while punishing women for their competence, to everybody’s detriment.
This is true, but I would also note that it's also likely that the women who get hired because of the traditional traits he describes are also less likely to be successful. Most leaders, he notes fail, whether in politics or business: "Good leadership has always been the exception, not the norm."
This suggests that people doing the hiring (or voting) would be well served to change their criteria for assessing talent and quality, at least in some ways. We simply can't keep using the same inputs and be surprised we keep getting the same outputs. If we change our inputs, there is a good chance that we will have a greater diversity of leaders (particularly increasing the numbers of women) and may, in fact, choose more successful leaders. It seems to me worth a try.
Friday, May 5, 2017
Carson-Newman University is a leading Christian Liberal Arts institution, recently ranked Best Undergraduate Teaching in the South by U.S. News & World Report and received the President’s Award for Community Service. Carson-Newman emphasizes academic excellence through innovative teaching, advising, mentoring of students, and service learning. The campus is located at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and is surrounded by beautiful lakes. More information is available from the University website, www.cn.edu.
Carson-Newman University invites applicants for an Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of Business Law, Management, and/or Finance in the Department of Business. The position is a full-time, 9-month, tenure-track position, to begin August 2017, or January 2018.
Candidates for the position must have a minimum of a Juris Doctorate or a terminal degree in a related business field with at least 18 graduate semester hours in law. Candidates with business and/or teaching experience are preferred.
Carson-Newman employs faculty and staff who are actively supportive, through a local church, of its aim as a university with a Christian commitment.
Candidates for the position of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor will teach, advise, and mentor students, participate in the campus community through committee work, conduct appropriate research, and other work as assigned by the Department Chair or Provost.
The rank and salary will be commensurate with educational preparation and experience. Group health insurance as well as a 401K retirement plan are available on a participating basis.
How to apply
Only complete application packets will be considered. A complete application packet will include a letter of interest, a statement of Christian faith, a statement of teaching philosophy, references, and current vitae. Please send the packet electronically to:
Attn: Faculty Recruiting
Jefferson City, TN 37760
CARSON-NEWMAN UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
Friday, March 10, 2017
Sunday, February 26, 2017
I have updated my business law professor jobs list here.
While many of the schools on this list, which was originally posted this past summer, have likely now filled those positions, there are a few new postions posted in the last month or so.
Those new position postings include two in law schools: NYU (a law & social enterprise fellowship) and Victoria University (New Zealand). And five new postings are legal studies positions in business schools: Appalachian State University, Minnesota State University, Morgan State University, St. Peter's University, and Warner University.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Position Opening: Akron School of Law Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology
The University of Akron's School of Law invites applications and nominations for the position of Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology, a tenure-track or tenured faculty position, with an anticipated start date of August 2017.
The Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Technology is responsible for developing, articulating, and implementing a long-term vision for the Center that will achieve greater distinction for the University of Akron's School of Law. The Director, in coordination with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, is responsible for implementing the IP curriculum within the School of Law. The Director also manages and supervises the law schools' special IP degree and certificate programs, and may help propose and create additional new programs in intellectual property for attorneys and other professionals as appropriate. The Director is responsible for the management and coordination of all law school programming in the area of intellectual property law, including programs for both attorneys and academics.
The Director fosters and advances external relationships, including the law schools' ongoing international relationships with other universities, where those relate to intellectual property and technology. The Director also works with the law schools' Intellectual Property Advisory Council in advancing the intellectual property program. The Director serves as a faculty advisor to the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Association, a law student organization, oversees the advising related to the annual issue of the Akron Law Review devoted to intellectual property law, and also oversees the law schools' participation in intellectual property-related moot court competitions.
As a member of the law school faculty, the Director will engage in relevant scholarship, teach in the area of intellectual property law, and serve on administrative committees.
For complete details and to apply visit: http://www.uakron.edu/jobs Job ID # 10009
Assistant Professor of Business Law Position at Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan
New job posting here; information below.
How to Apply
A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.
Applicants are required to submit their applications electronically by visiting the website: http://www.bus.umich.edu/FacultyRecruiting and uploading the following:1. Evidence of teaching experience and competence (if any)2. A curriculum vitae that includes three references
Please contact Jen Mason, Area Administrator, via email with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is a diverse learning community grounded in the principle that business can be an extraordinary vehicle for positive change in today's dynamic global economy. The Ross School of Business mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. Through thought and action, members of the Ross community drive change and innovation that improves business and society.Ross is consistently ranked among the world's leading business schools. Academic degree programs include the BBA, MBA, Part-time MBA (Evening and Weekend formats), Executive MBA, Global MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Supply Chain Management, Master of Management, and PhD. In addition, the school delivers open-enrollment and custom executive education programs targeting general management, leadership development, and strategic human resource management.
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan has a tenure-track position at the assistant professor level available in Business Law starting in the Fall, 2018 term. The successful candidate will have a research and teaching focus in the area of the regulation of financial and banking organizations. Strong preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated experience and expertise in this area; ideally, this would include expertise on the definition of systemically important financial institutions, international financial standards such as Basel III, and legal standards as applied to mergers and acquisitions of banks and other financial institutions.
Qualified candidates must have an earned J.D. in from an ABA accredited law school with an excellent academic record and must demonstrate interest and ability in conducting high-quality, scholarly research. A qualified candidate must demonstrate excellence in university teaching or the potential to be an outstanding teacher in business law. Preference will be given to candidates with significant professional experience as a lawyer and/or evidence of prior excellence in teaching.
For more detailed descriptions of the Business Law Area, Ross School of Business, and the University of Michigan, Please consult our websites:
- Business Law Area: http://michiganross.umich.edu/faculty-research/areas-of-study/business-law
- Ross School of Business: http://michiganross.umich.edu/
- University of Michigan: www.umich.edu
- Benefits Information: www.umich.edu/~benefits
The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The review of applications will begin immediately. Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. This job may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.
U-M EEO/AA Statement
The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
On Monday President Trump signed an Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs. The Order uses budgeting powers to constrict agencies and the regulatory process requiring that for each new regulation, two must be eliminated and that all future regulations must have a net zero budgeting effect (or less). The Order states:
"Unless prohibited by law, whenever an executive department or agency (agency) publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed."
Two points to note here. First, the Executive Order does not cover independent agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, agencies that crafted many of the rules required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law--an act that President Trump describes as a "disaster" and promised to do "a big number on". The SEC, the CFTC and Dodd-Frank are not safe, they will just have to be dealt with through even more sweeping means. Stay tuned. The 2-for-1 regulatory special proposed on Monday is a part of President Trump's promise to cut regulation by 75%.
Second, the Order is intended to remove regulatory obstacles to Americans starting new businesses. President Trump asserted that it is "almost impossible now to start a small business and it's virtually impossible to expand your existing business because of regulations." Facts add nuance to this claim, if not paint an all-together different story. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics documents a steady increase in the number of new American businesses formed since 2010. The U.S. small business economy grew while regulations were in place. President Trump asks us to believe that they will grow more without regulation. Some already do. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce "applauded" the approach decrying the "regulatory juggernaut that is limiting economic growth, choking small business, and putting people out of work."
Yet, as shocking as this feels (to me), the U.K. and Canada both have experience with a similar framework. The U.K.'s two for one regulation rule has been touted as saving businesses £885 million from May 5, 2015 to May 26, 2016 and there is now a variance requiring three regulations to be removed for each one. Canada takes a more modest one in- one out approach. No information is available yet on any externalities that may be caused by decreased regulations. For some, and I count myself in this camp, the concern is that the total cost of failed environmental protection, wage fairness, safety standards, etc. may outweigh individual gains by small business owners.
The 2-for-1 special evokes some odd memories for me (Midwestern, of modest means) of a K-Mart blue-light special. The Trump Administration is flashing a big, blue light with the promise to cut regulation by 75% without reference to the content of those regulations. The first tool, a "two for one approach" strikes me as a gimmick where the emphasis is on marketing the message of deregulation through quantity, not quality. Not to mention the arbitrariness of the numerical cut off (why not 1 or 13?). It is the type of solution, that if offered in answer to a law school hypo, would quickly be refuted by all of the unanswered questions. Can it be any two regulations? Can the new regulation just be longer and achieve the work of several? Should there be a nexus between the proposed regulation and the eliminated ones? What is the administrative process and burden of proof for identifying the ones to be removed? The Executive Order, targeted at business regulation, but in doing so has created the most "significant administrative action in the world of regulatory reform since President Reagan created the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in 1981." Hold on folks, this is going to be a bumpy ride.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Tulane Law School invites applications for a one-semester visiting position in the Fall of 2017. Our specific needs for the Fall 2017 semester include basic income tax and corporate tax, criminal law, and professional responsibility. Applicants must possess a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, strong academic credentials, and at least three years of relevant law-related experience; prior teaching experience is strongly preferred. Applicants should submit a letter of interest, CV, and the names and contact information of three references through Interfolio at https://apply.interfolio.com/40060. For additional information, please contact Onnig Dombalagian at email@example.com.
Tulane University is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity. All eligible candidates are invited to apply for position vacancies as appropriate.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
The University of Georgia, Terry College of Business has posted information about two legal studies professor positions - one tenure-track and one lecturer. I know each of the University of Georgia legal studies professors; they are an impressive and thoughtful and friendly group.
Assistant or Associate Professor of Legal Studies:
Lecturer of Legal Studies:
Applications received by February 15, 2017, are assured of consideration; however applications will continue to be accepted until the positions are filled.
Friday, January 6, 2017
Tulane Law School invites applications for its Forrester Fellowship and visiting assistant professor positions, both of which are designed for promising scholars who plan to apply for tenure-track law school positions. Both positions are full-time faculty in the law school and are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the intellectual life of the school. The law school provides significant support, both formal and informal, including faculty mentors, a professional travel budget, and opportunities to present works-in-progress to other faculty at workshops and in various settings.
Tulane’s Forrester Fellows teach legal writing in the first-year curriculum to two sections of 25 to 30 first-year law students in a program coordinated by the Director of Legal Writing. Fellows are appointed to a one-year term with the possibility of a single one-year renewal. Applicants must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, outstanding academic credentials, and at least three years of law-related practice and/or clerkship experience. To apply, please submit your materials via Interfolio at https://apply.interfolio.com/40042. If you have any questions, please contact Erin Donelon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tulane’s visiting assistant professor (VAP), a two-year position, is supported by the Murphy Institute at Tulane University (http://murphy.tulane.edu/home/), an interdisciplinary unit specializing in political economy and ethics that draws faculty from the university’s departments of economics, philosophy, history, and political science. The position entails teaching a law school course or seminar in three of the four semesters of the professorship (presumably the last three semesters). It is designed for scholars focusing on regulation of economic activity very broadly construed (including, for example, research with a methodological or analytical focus relevant to scholars of regulation). In addition to participating in the intellectual life of the law school, the visiting assistant professor will be expected to participate in scholarly activities at the Murphy Institute. Candidates should apply through Interfolio, at https://apply.interfolio.com/40013, providing a CV identifying at least three references, post-graduate transcripts, electronic copies of any scholarship completed or in-progress, and a letter explaining your teaching interests and your research agenda. If you have any questions, please contact Adam Feibelman at email@example.com.
The law school aims to fill these positions by March 2017. Tulane University is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity. All eligible candidates are invited to apply for position vacancies as appropriate.
Friday, December 23, 2016
I recently updated my list of business law teaching positions. At this point, a number of the positions have probably been filled, but I put posted dates by the more recently posted positions. I still get asked, on a fairly regularly basis, about how one breaks into law teaching, and while I do have thoughts on that topic (basically, write, write, write), I think folks wanting to enter the legal academy should ask themselves a few questions first.
- Are you truly drawn to both teaching and research (or are you just tired of practicing)?
- Are you geographically flexible? (You have to be both really good and really lucky to pick your geographic location in legal academia)
- Do you have a few years to devote to pursuing a career in legal academia? (these days, it often takes a VAP or two, and/or a few years on the market to secure an academic job).
- If you are in BigLaw, are you truly comfortable with a sizable pay cut?
- Can you be patient with students, administrators, staff, etc.? (things typically move much more slowly in academia than in practice)
Once you have received one of more offers, I would ask the following questions.
- What is my BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement? (If you only have one academic offer, and don't like your alternatives in practice, you should be very careful in negotiating and should try to avoid offending the offering school).
- Can I see myself living in this part of the country? (Accessibility to a major airport can be an important consideration as well, if you plan to travel for work or personal reasons)
- What is the teaching package? Does it include night, weekend, or online courses?
- What are the research expectations? When are reviews done? Roughly what percentage of faculty members achieve tenure?
- How is the financial stability of the school? What is the reputation of the school? Does the school have strong distinctive? How is the local competition? What is the discount rate trend? What is the LSAT/UGPA trend?
- How do you get along with the faculty members you met?
- Is the surrounding town/city an area where it is easy or difficult to find an appropriate job for your significant other?
- If you have young children or plan to have children, how are the schools in the area? Does the university have a tuition exchange and/or tuition payment program?
There are many more questions to ask, but again, it is important to start with your alternatives. If you have strong alternatives, you can be more picky, but you also don't want to start your academic career with an overly aggressive negotiation.
I still think teaching is the most rewarding job available, but there are definitely important questions to ask before pursing an academic career path and before committing to school.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
The University of Akron invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the School of Law
The University of Akron invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the School of Law, with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2017. Review of applicants will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
The University of Akron School of Law is a public law school of approximately 450 students, with both full-time and part-time programs, and opportunities to begin study in either the Fall or the Spring. The school offers the J.D., five joint-degree programs, an LL.M. in Intellectual Property, and various certificate programs for both J.D. and non-J.D. students. Since its founding in 1921, the school has graduated over 6,300 men and women. The school has historically embraced a strong commitment to teaching and public service in the community.
Akron Law has recently experienced tremendous upward trajectories in admissions in terms of applications, selectivity, yield, and the size and quality of the incoming class. The employment rate for graduates is above the national average. The school boasts several Centers with opportunities for students to distinguish themselves in their education and practice-ready preparation: a Center for Intellectual Property Law and Technology; a Constitutional Law Center, one of only four such centers established by Congress; and the Joseph G. Miller and William C. Becker Institute for Professional Responsibility. The Akron trial advocacy program also consistently ranks among the top in the nation. Clinical programs in a wide variety of areas have won awards recently for their excellence and innovation, and new clinical programs continue to be added under growing faculty numbers and associations with outside practitioners.
Akron Law and its programs have been showered over the past year with national recognition, including a #7 ranking for training prosecutors and public defenders, an “A” grade for our Intellectual Property program, a Top 50 ranking in 2015-16 from Above The Law, a Top 25 recognition for bar exam preparation, and a Top 8 rating for affordable living and quality of education. Akron Law also continues to be recognized as a Best Value school.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
The political discourse of this election cycle, and the respective postures of the two main political parties, suggest that social justice and economic prosperity are in opposition to one another. At times, it seems that some believe pursuing racial and gender equality are (at best) distractions from “real problems” like jobs and the economy. Others seem to think any form of business or industrial development is essentially sanctioning the destruction of the Earth and its people. Both are wrong.
Equity and fairness are not anathema to economic progress. In fact, in the big picture, they are essential. There is nothing inconsistent about being pro-business and supporting social justice. One can believe in social justice and still think there are too many regulations that hamper businesses. There are, for example, regulations that disproportionately keep women and minorities from opening their own businesses. And there are laws and regulations that create barriers to entry and help maintain market power businesses where competition is both warranted and necessary..
My colleague, Haskell Murray recently posted Faith and Work in Universities, which lists some resources related to religion and scholarly activity, particularly as it related to business. This is a worthwhile discussion, and far too often we see discussions of business and morality as separate areas – silos related to separate and competing goals.
This is not unlike the separation in environmental law and energy law I discussed in a recent short piece about the changing role of natural gas in the clean energy movement where I noted:
Electricity generation for industrial and residential consumers was one of the major drivers behind environmental regulation, but despite this long-standing connection, environmental law and energy law have often operated in separate silos. This fact has led to disjointed and ineffective policy and a poor understanding of the full scope of legal, regulatory, and business issues in the energy sector. (footnote omitted)
This is true in the broader business and social justice realm, as well. As Haskell’s compilation shows, though, that business and social justice (including, but not limited to, religion) are interrelated is hardly novel. When Pope Francis visited the U.S. Congress, he explained:
The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. "Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good" (Laudato Si', 129).
Social justice and economic development are not either-or propositions, despite what recent election choices may have implied. There is, I think, a vast underrepresented center in America that cares both about pragmatic economic decisions and basic fairness and equity. This past election, I hope and believe, demonstrated more about the priorities of various voters rather than clear divides about the issues themselves. To be sure, there are large numbers of people for whom this is not true -- there is some fundamental disagreement out there -- but I think the vast majority of people are decent caring people who have different ideas about the hierarchy of what is most important to move the country forward.
This is not to ignore the repugnant behavior, language and acts, from some people before and since the election. There have been outrageous acts of violence and intimidation. Shortly after the election, some of our law students were victims of such acts. As examples, one student was spit upon and racial epithets were shouted at another. There is no place hateful behavior, and it is unacceptable. A recent speaker invited to our campus said hateful and hurtful things about a valued faculty member. Free speech is a virtue, but this is simply not how we should treat each other, and it is shameful. And although racism, misogyny, anti-LGBT and anti-religious sentiment, and xenophobia have been part of virtually every government at some point, no government has found lasting peace or prosperity based on any of those things.
My point is not intended to suggest a Pollyanna-esque view of the world. I am not blindly asking, “Can’t we all just get along?” I am asking whether we can agree to try.
It's going to take a lot of work, and there are no simple answers. But we must start somewhere. Here are three modest principles to get started moving forward together:
- Stop succumbing to base and visceral reactions. We need to stop assuming everyone is lying and cheating and taking something from us so that we notice those who really are lying and cheating and taking something from us.
- Be skeptical of uncompromising absolutists. There are some absolutes in this world, to sure, but not nearly as many as we have been led to believe. And this is not a conservative or liberal issue. It’s an issue. Anyone who thinks they are right all the time is wrong.
- Reaffirm our nation’s founding principles and self-evident truths, that all people are “created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I think it is right to say we have evolved from knowing such rights belong to men to know such rights belong to us all.
These principles require seeing compromise as valuable. Virtually all of us agree about that, because most of us have jobs and friends and loved ones. Compromise is a big reason why or we wouldn’t have those people in our lives. Compromise does not mean sacrificing one’s beliefs or values. It means recognizing the value and autonomy of others. It means seeing the mutual value of others in the world around us. But also, to be clear, compromise is not one side listening and being nice while the other side sits obstinately waiting to get what they want. Compromise requires that both sides work and give up something. Compromise is not, and cannot be, unilateral disarmament.
Let’s debate vigorously the best way to achieve economic prosperity. Let’s argue respectfully about how best to care for the nation’s poor and elderly. But let’s value and respect each other. In short, let’s get out of our own way. We have work to do.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
When it comes to regulations and economic policy, I am quite conservative. Not a Republican-type conservative (probably more Libertarian in a political sense), but in the sense that I often advocate for less regulation, and even more often, for less changes to laws and regulations. People need to be able to count on a system and work within it. As such, whether it is related to securities law, energy and environmental law, or other areas of the law, I find myself advocating for staying the course rather than adding new laws and regulations.
For example, a while back, co-blogger Joan Heminway quoted one of my comments about securities law, where I noted "my ever-growing sense that maybe we should just take a break from tweaking securities laws and focus on enforcing rules and sniffing out fraud. A constantly changing securities regime is increasingly costly, complex, and potentially counterproductive."
After the BP oil blowout of the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico, I similarly argued that we should approach new laws with caution, and that we might be better served with existing law, rather than seeking new laws and regulation in a hasty manner. I explained,
[T]here are times when new laws and regulations are necessary to handle new ways of perpetrating a fraud or to address new information about what was previously viewed as acceptable conduct. But often, new laws and regulations are not a reaction to new information or technology; they are a reaction to a unique and unfortunate set of facts that is more likely related to timing or circumstances than an emerging trend. Other times, it is a lack of enforcement of existing protections meaning the problem is not the law itself; it is the enforcement of the law that is the problem.
Choosing a Better Path: The Misguided Appeal of Increased Criminal Liability After Deepwater Horizon, 36 Wm. & Mary Envt'l L & Pol. Rev. 1, 19 (2011) (footnotes omitted). More recently, I have taken the same view with regard to hydraulic fracturing regulations:
There may well be a need for new regulations to improve oversight of hydraulic fracturing and other industries that pose environmental risks, but new regulations do not necessary lead to better oversight. . . . There is a strong argument that the problems related to hydraulic fracturing (and, for that matter, coal extraction, chemical storage, and hazardous waste operations) are more linked to a lack of enforcement and not a lack of regulation.
Facts, Fiction, and Perception in Hydraulic Fracturing: Illuminating Act 13 and Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 116 W. Va. L. Rev. 819, 847 (2014).
I swear I have a point, beyond just quoting myself. Here it is: I'd like to urge the President-Elect and the 115th Congress to sit back and stay the course for a little bit to see where things are headed. I have a strong suspicion things are headed in the right direction from an economic perspective. This is not to suggest that there are not holes in the economy or people in desperate need of jobs, training, and education (there are -- I live in West Virginia. I know.). But with a White House and a Congress controlled by the same party, the GOP play should be simply: we're in charge now, and the economy is ready to move ahead.
We have already seen it -- the stock market is up and economic indicators look better. And there has been no new legislation or regulation (or repeals of either). It's just consumers believing the economy will get better. And consumer confidence is key to expansion. Who cares that it started before the election? What matters is whether we're going in the right direction. And it seems we are. The Financial Times reported today:
A gauge of US consumer sentiment has hit a post-recession high, painting a positive outlook ahead of the key holiday shopping season as recent data point to a strengthening US economy.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index climbed to 107.1 in November from 100.8 in October, the highest since July 2007 and above analysts’ forecast of 101.5.
Most of the survey was conducted before the presidential election on November 8. But “it appears from the small sample of post-election responses that consumers’ optimism was not impacted by the outcome,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “With the holiday season upon us, a more confident consumer should be welcome news for retailers.”
And, just to reinforce that is not a post-election position, I have been making this argument on this blog since at least 2010, when I wrote, How to Fix the "Broken" Financial System: Stop Trying to Fix It.
So, let's stay the course for a bit and see how people respond to a little stability. Let's see what a surge in consumer confidence can do for the U.S. and world economies. Let's make sure it's broken (and if so, how), before anyone tries to fix it. And maybe, in the meantime, we can spend a little time treating each other better.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Back in May, I discussed Donald Trump’s campaign dubious promises to bring back coal jobs to places like West Virginia and Kentucky. He promised (and continues to promise) that reduced regulation and elimination of the Clean Power Plan will bring back job. Voters in West Virginia bought the claim, and they believed it from incoming governor, Democrat Jim Justice, a billionaire coal magnate.
Trump and Justice spoke the other day, with the Governor-Elect saying in a statement:
“It’s an exciting day for West Virginia because we now have a pathway to the White House and a president-elect who is totally committed to putting our coal miners back to work. President-elect Trump made it clear that he won’t forget about West Virginia when it comes to our nation’s energy policies. I will work closely with the President-elect and his administration on clean coal technology, rolling back the job-killing EPA regulations on coal, and growing West Virginia’s other job opportunities.”
How this will work to improve coal jobs remains an open question. Trump has yet to announce his energy-related appointments, which will include the EPA, Department of Energy, and Department of Interior. His energy secretary short list (and possibly Interior) still includes Harold Hamm, CEO of the oil and gas company, Continental Resources. Forrest Lucas (of Lucas Oil) remains on the list, as well. So, how are oil and gas executives going to help coal? Well, by “rolling back the job-killing EPA regulations on coal,” of course. (Note: that is really an EPA issue, not a Department of Energy issue.)
The problem with this for coal country, as I have noted before, is that rolling back these regulations also has the effect of rolling back regulations that impact the natural gas industry, meaning that even as coal gets cheaper, so does natural gas.
Further, there is talk in the administration about opening up more federal lands to coal mining and oil and gas exploration. (This would be a Department of Interior action, not Energy.) This move, too, is curious, as it is hard to see how increased access to more supply is going to move up prices to support the struggling industries. A greater supply of oil or gas or coal will lead to even lower prices. Lower taxes and reduced regulations equals means a lower cost of exploration and production, which leads to more resources and lower prices.
Absent a commitment to increasing the cost of natural gas, coal is simply not going to compete. Natural gas burns cleaner than coal, is substantially more flexible, and despite criticisms of the process of hydraulic fracturing, it is environmentally preferable to coal mining. With oil and gas executives playing a large role in the new administration, there is no reason to expect coal will get a preference over natural gas. Perhaps renewable energy sources will be less attractive, though the prices of those sources continues to drop, and natural gas can actually work to facilitate those such energy sources. Recent reports suggest renewables and natural gas are the future. This does not bode well for coal.
Increased research on clean coal would have value. There are still millions of people around the world without access to electricity, and millions more getting power from old coal-fired plants that create health and environmental problems. But that research is not likely to change markets in the near term, and it is not likely to benefit U.S. coal miners as long as cheap natural as remains. And it is expected to remain.
Finally, reduced regulations may help move the energy sector forward more quickly, and it may help facilitate related businesses who use natural resources as a feedstock or energy-intensive processes. That remains to be seen. Any plan that does that, though, still likely leaves coal, and the people who work in the industry, behind. Just saying you will save coal jobs, doesn’t make it true. But apparently it does make some people feel better. I doubt that will last very long.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The Washington and Lee University School of Law seeks to hire a faculty member with research and teaching interests in the fields of corporate law, securities regulation, and regulation of financial industries. Our school has a long history of distinction in these areas, and we are excited to advance our trajectory with this new hire. In addition to this subject area focus, we look for an individual who will embrace and meaningfully contribute to our close-knit, collegial, and intellectually vibrant community.
We warmly invite applications for a tenure-track or tenured position beginning July 1, 2017, and we are particularly focused on lateral candidates. In all cases, candidates for the position must clearly demonstrate a record of excellence in teaching and scholarship. Appointment rank would be commensurate with the candidate’s qualifications and experience.
Washington and Lee University School of Law is an Equal Opportunity employer that adheres to a robust nondiscrimination policy. Our school has a firm commitment to enhancing the diversity of our faculty and, in that regard, we welcome candidates who are members of communities traditionally under-represented in the legal profession and academia.
Kindly direct applications and questions to the Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee. Applicants should submit (by e-mail) a current cv, a statement of teaching interests / experience, a research agenda, and a letter of interest by email to:
Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee
Washington and Lee University, School of Law
Lexington VA 24450 USA
All inquiries will be treated with the strictest confidence and discretion.
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
Monday, October 24, 2016
The summer before I entered law school, I worked in the legal department of a major international business firm. I learned a lot. But I realized by the end of the summer that most of the interesting legal questions and matters that the business firm generated (requiring transactional and litigation work) were farmed out to a veritable stable of law firms that represented the business firm on a regular basis. I then determined (based on my very unscientific single-firm study) that in-house work was not for me. That was 1982.
Fast-forward 15-or-so years. By then, I had been working at a major international law firm for twelve years doing transactional work I enjoyed. A client asked me to interview for an open in-house position. I did. I was ready to focus my attention on one business and had a good relationship with the in-house lawyers at the client firm. Many friends had successfully moved to in-house jobs and were happy and well-adjusted in them (some after trying several to get the right fit). I was in line to get the job. But the client then determined to downsize and eliminated the open position.
Several years later, I resolved to pursue a different path. I decided to spend my second career teaching and writing about business law--a road well suited to me in many ways but less traveled by business law colleagues. This was a harder decision to reach in many ways. But I knew it was right, and in the end, I jumped in with two feet. In 2000, The University of Tennessee College of Law gave me that opportunity. The rest is a history that readers likely already know well.
What of the in-house road not taken?
Friday, October 21, 2016
Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, TN has posted a professor opening and the school's areas of interest include business law. My appointment is in Belmont's business school, but I also occasionally teach in the law school, and I could not recommend the school (or the city of Nashville) more highly. I have updated my business law professor openings post here and am happy to add other postings.
Belmont University College of Law, located in vibrant Nashville, Tennessee, invites applications from entry- to mid-level candidates for a tenure-track faculty position to begin in 2017-18. Our primary areas of recruiting focus include criminal law, business law, and health law.
Applicants should have an exemplary academic record and should demonstrate outstanding achievement or potential in scholarship and teaching. Our goal is to recruit dynamic, bright, and highly motivated individuals who are interested in making significant contributions to our law school and its students. Practice experience is preferred, and teaching experience is desirable. For more information about the College of Law, visit our website at www.belmont.edu/law.
Belmont University College of Law is an ABA accredited law school with approximately 300 students in the heart of Nashville, one of the fastest growing and most culturally rich cities in the country. In 2015, graduates of the College of Law had the highest bar passage rate in Tennessee, and the school continues to produce strong employment outcomes for its students. For more information about the College of Law, visit our website at www.belmont.edu/law.
Belmont University is a private, coeducational university in a quiet area convenient to downtown Nashville and adjacent to Music Row. It is the largest Christian-centered university in Tennessee and among the fastest growing in the nation. Among its student body of over 7,500 are students from nearly every state and more than 25 countries. In addition to seven baccalaureate degrees in over 50 areas of study, Belmont offers master’s degrees in Business Administration, Accountancy, English, Education (including Sports Administration), Music, Nursing and Occupational Therapy, and doctorates in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Pharmacy, and Law.
The successful candidate will also share the University’s values and support our mission and vision of promoting Christian values by example. To apply, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A comprehensive, coeducational university, Belmont is a student-centered, teaching university focusing on academic excellence. The university is dedicated to providing students from diverse backgrounds an academically challenging education. Belmont is an EOE/AA employer under all applicable civil rights laws. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.