November 20, 2012
Secunda & Hirsch, Labor Law: A Problem Based Approach
Congratulations to Paul and Jeff on their new book, Labor Law: A Problem Based Approach (LexisNexis 2012), complete with video promotional materials.
From the more traditional promotional materials:
Labor Law: A Problem Based Approach covers the essential introductory labor law topics on organizing, collective bargaining, and concerted activities. It also includes materials for advanced labor law classes on topics such as: individual rights in a labor union, union security clauses, and federal preemption. The problem-based approach of this exciting new Book provides practical experience to students in the day-to-day practice of labor law.
Labor Law: A Problem Based Approach emphasizes recent labor law developments and controversies including: NLRB election and posting rules, the Boeing controversy, and recent attempts at labor law legislative reform. And, it is also highly interactive with hyperlinks to blogs, law review articles, government web sites, and other digitized sources.
The authors of Labor Law: A Problem Based Approach bring more than twenty-years of combined experience in practice, teaching, and scholarship in labor law to the book. Professor Hirsch is former appellate attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, while Professor Secunda is former management-side labor law attorney at several major law firms.
November 08, 2012
Labor and Employment Law Prof Job Posting at New Canadian Law School
It is at Canada's newest law school at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. David tells me that it is in a beautiful part of Canada, with wine vineyards and ski mountains, a couple of hours east of Vancouver.
Here is a link to the job posting on David's blog.
November 05, 2012
Call for News and Articles
Friends of the blog Angela Onwuachi-Willig (Iowa) and Rebecca Lee (Thomas Jefferson) write about the joint newsletter for the AALS sections on Employment Discrimination and Labor and Employment Law. Here is their call for submissions:
We are putting together a joint annual newsletter for the AALS Section on Employment Discrimination and the Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law, and we need your help as readers and section members. Please forward this message to any and all people you know who teach or write in the Employment Discrimination, Labor Law, and Employment Law fields.
First, if you have news of any faculty visits, lateral moves, entry-level hires, or promotions and tenure not included here (http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/laborprof_blog/2012/04/workplace-prof-moves-for-2012-2013.html), please e-mail that news to Angela Onwuachi-Willig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, please e-mail Angela Onwuachi-Willig at email@example.com with any information about conference announcements and calls for papers, employment or fellowship opportunities, honors and awards, and reports on recent conferences or other events of interest to the two Sections' members.
Third, we want to include a list of relevant employment or labor law-related publications published in 2012; please hold your forthcoming 2013 publications for next year's newsletter. These publications can be books, articles, and chapters. Please also send a list of your published 2012 articles to Angela Onwuachi-Willig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourth and finally, we want to solicit anyone who would be interested in writing a brief description of a recent "big" labor and employment case or significant new labor or employment legislation. Your subject could be a Supreme Court decision (but it does not have to be), a significant circuit court decision (or emerging circuit split), a state supreme court decision, or an innovative and potentially influential new federal, state, or local law. The description should be fairly short (under 2 pages). If you're looking for an easy way to get your name out there or want a quick outlet for your ruminations about a case or new law, this could be a good opportunity. Just let us know what you are interested in writing on. Please send submissions to Rebecca Lee at email@example.com.
Please send all submissions by November 18, 2012.
November 5, 2012 in Commentary, Conferences & Colloquia, Employment Common Law, Employment Discrimination, Faculty Moves, Faculty News, International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor and Employment News, Labor Law, Pension and Benefits, Public Employment Law, Religion, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
November 01, 2012
Fletcher Named ALI Reporter of American Indian Law
Congratulations to friend-of-the-blog Matthew Fletcher (MSU) who has just been named Reporter for the incipient Restatement of the Law of American Indians. Matthew has been great about sending along recent LEL cases involving American Indians -- especially cases involving issues of NLRB jurisidiction.
Topics to be considered for the new Restatement include federal/tribal relations, state/tribal relations, tribal jurisdiction and authority, and Indian Country business law.
October 18, 2012
Discovery of Immigration-Status Denied in FLSA Case
He just received a decision denying discovery for his plaintiff’s immigration status: Reyes v Snowcap Creamery, Inc., -- F. Supp. 2d ---, 2012 WL 4888476 (D. Colorado Oct. 15, 2012).
Scott provides some background on the case and his own particular interest in the subject matter of the case:
To try to prove undocumented immigrant status, and to fish for potentially relevant documents, the employer sought, and had been granted by the Magistrate Judge, discovery of not only plaintiff’s immigration status, but plaintiff’s immigration attorney’s files and ICE files; plaintiff actually was to sign releases allowing production of the latter two files. We appealed the Magistrate Judge’s ruling, and the District Judge reversed in full, denying any immigration status discovery with very broad language that “a plaintiff's immigration status is irrelevant in an FLSA action” and that even though there may have been some relevance to some of the discovery (e.g., immigration documents with job descriptions pertinent to whether plaintiff was FLSA-exempt), immigration discovery still should be denied “because of the in terrorem effect that discovery into such issues would have on litigants.”
This issue has been an old passion of mine ever since the Supreme Court in 2002 held in Hoffman Plastic Compounds that undocumented immigration status precludes certain post-termination pay continuation damages; at the time, my plaintiff-side employment law firm was terrified that the ruling would kill our FLSA practice, because so many wage claims are by immigrants. I had to litigate a motion on that issue almost immediately after Hoffman, and I got the first reported decision in the country holding that even if Hoffman makes immigration status relevant to post-termination pay continuation damages, immigration status remains irrelevant, and too prejudicial to be allowed in discovery, in FLSA unpaid wage cases: Liu v. Donna Karan Int'l, Inc., 207 F. Supp. 2d 191 (S.D.N.Y 2002). Liu is cited in our new decision, which is now the first decision District of Colorado holding the same – that in FLSA cases, immigration status is irrelevant and too prejudicial to be allowed in discovery.
This is a very interesting and important FLSA case and we appreciate Scott sharing his litigation experience in this case with us.
October 17, 2012
Help Wanted on LEL Policy Course
Holly Fechner (Covington & Burling D.C. office; photo left, bio below) will be teaching this spring for the first time a labor and employment policy course. She's looking for sample syllabi and recommendations on course materials. Although she's teaching her course to public policy graduate students at the Harvard Kennedy School, I'm sure she'd welcome course materials prepared for law courses.
Here's Holly's impressive bio:
Holly Fechner is co-chair of the firm’s Government Affairs Practice
Group.... She has two decades of legal,
legislative and public policy experience in the public and private
sectors. Ms. Fechner has a broad-based practice handling legislative
and regulatory matters for clients in areas including healthcare, tax,
intellectual property, education, and employee benefits. Drawing on her
extensive congressional and private sector experience, Ms. Fechner
offers clients comprehensive advocacy services, including strategic
advice, substantive legal and regulatory expertise, and policy and
message development. She has a proven track record in assisting clients
fulfill their government affairs goals.
Ms. Fechner was Policy Director for Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). In that position, she developed policy initiatives, legislation and campaigns on a broad range of issues, including the economy, health care, employment, education, retirement policy, and civil rights. She was also Chief Labor & Pensions Counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. Ms. Fechner served as chief negotiator on legislation to reform the private pension system; increase the federal minimum wage; extend and reform unemployment insurance benefits; prevent genetic discrimination in health care and employment, and numerous other bills. In her eight years on Capitol Hill, she drove passage of over a dozen laws worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
I am so envious -- it's been way too long since I've had the opportunity to teach a course like this.
September 27, 2012
Hart and Waterstone Elected to ALI
If any other readers of Workplace Prof Blog have been similarly elected, let me know so I can post the good news.
Melissa and Michael will now, among other things, help with the formulation of the ongoing Restatement on Employment Law Project.
Welcome aboard Melissa and Michael!
September 15, 2012
Congratulations to Charlie Sullivan, Recipient of Second Annual Paul Steven Miller Award for Scholarly Contributions to Labor and Employment Law
Last night, during the reception at the Seventh Annual Colloquium on Labor and Employment Law in Chicago, Charlie Sullivan, my co-blogger, friend, and mentor, received the Paul Steven Miller Award for significant contributions to the development of labor and employment law scholarship.
As I said in my remarks last night during the award ceremony (and Mike Zimmer made eloquent remarks as well to his good friend):
The Paul Steven Miller Award is of course about the influence one has had on the development of scholarship in labor and employment law. I would be hard pressed to think of someone (perhaps with the exception of last year's recipient, Mike Zimmer) who has a more profound and lasting effect on the development of employment discrimination law doctrine in the United States (of course, he has also written important pieces in employment law, antitrust law, and contracts law, to name a few other areas). Charlie started to write in this area as early as 1976, and has not let up in the sheer volume and quality of his scholarship in the last 35 and more years. The man is stunningly prolific . . . .
All you need to do is read any employment discrimination law article from any other law professor in the country to know that they have felt Charlie's influence and they, like me, are indebted to him for all that he has done for the development of employment discrimination law.
I know, tonight, that Paul Miller, an eminent Title VII scholar and government official, is looking down on us this evening and smiling that impish grin of his. He's saying: "You could not have picked a better and more deserving person for this honor!"
August 30, 2012
Who Needs Tenure?
The Chronicle has a story on yet another development at my university: Faculty Review Proposal at Saint Louis University Would Eviscerate Tenure. The proposed policy would institute a program of post-tenure review for all university faculty which would allow the university to terminate anyone (except administrators, adjuncts, faculty on leave, and faculty in the Medical Group or on our Madrid campus) who does not show "continuing and increasing effectiveness" in teaching, scholarship, and service -- a constant "positive trajectory."
This isn't the first time our president has suggested that faculty tenure or other job security is a bad idea, but it's the most comprehensive push to put that into effect across the university. And given recent and not so recent events, the standard seems all too easily abused to get rid of people with unpopular opinions. We'll have to see what happens.
August 15, 2012
My post last Friday promoted a lot of comments, and I appreciate very much all of the people who took the time to read the post and think about the points in it. So many readers commented that the blog won't display them all, and we haven't been able to get that glitch fixed yet. So, I'm reproducing the ones that don't show in the original post here. We lost any formatting you might have done, but I'm guessing at what it would have been. To comment on these or the prior post or comments, comment to this post.
Jeff Hirsch said:
Here' the most thorough study I'm aware of on the scholarship-teaching connection. Quick take, there's little to no connection between the two. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=913421
The problem with studies that use existing tenured faculty is that all such faculty (except perhaps the very oldest) were hired under the status quo criteria. Among such a pool, both scholarly output and teaching output are largely correlated with continued enthusiasm and engagement post tenure. You are essentially simply comparing the dynamic members of the faculty with those who have checked out. To properly study the question the comparison group would need to have comparably compensated and supported teachers who were hired, tenured and evaluated based on thier accomplishments in the classroom. If this latter group underperformed in the classroom as compared to those hired under the status quo then those advocating an inextricable link between scholarship and teaching would have powerful data. I don't expect any such experiment to take place, because it would be too high risk to the dominant ruling class.
Orin Kerr said:
Nancy Leong writes: Howard mentions that he has seen a correlation between good teaching and good scholarship. I tend to agree. Of course this sort of thing is very difficult to measure empirically, but I am familiar with data from two different institutions (not necessarily my better evaluations. Of course there are all kinds of limitations to these data, but I mention them as one item in a suite of measurements that own) that found a strong correlation between scholarly output and student evaluation scores -- that is, more productive scholars tend to get schools might consider examining internally as we think through the important issues that Marcia has raised.
FWIW, an empirical study by Prof. Ben Barton found no correlation between teaching and scholarship: This empirical study attempts to answer an age-old debate in legal academia: whether scholarly productivity helps or hurts teaching. The study is of an unprecedented size and scope. It covers every tenured or tenure-track faculty member at 19 American law schools, a total of 623 professors. The study gathers four years of teaching evaluation data (calendar years 2000-03) and correlates these data against five different measures of research productivity/scholarly influence. The results are counter-intuitive: there is either no correlation or a slight positive correlation between teaching effectiveness and any of the five measures of research productivity. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=913421
David Yamada said:
I really appreciate this exchange. I'm going to offer a few points as an omnibus response and then be quiet.
1. THE ATM ISSUE/ELITE SCHOOLS -- Let's get back to the important question of universities using their law schools as ATMs. I think it's an arguably defensible practice at the elite law schools, whose graduates are still likely to command high salaries upon graduation, even if their options aren't as seemingly endless as during the heyday.
2. THE ATM ISSUE/REGIONAL SCHOOLS -- But the ATM practice is downright wrong, even immoral, at regional law schools where even the successful job seekers are getting law firm job offers in the $30-60k ranges. I'm going to guess that many regional universities that drain their law schools dry are run by high-ranking administrators and boards who have been allergic to fundraising work for a long, long time.
3. IF YOU CUT THE SUBSIDY -- Let's say a regional law school is being taxed 20 percent of its tuition revenue by the parent institution, a middlin' figure. If you cut the figure to "mere" tithing (10 percent), you could cut law school tuition by 10 percent without skipping a beat. At a law school charging, say, $35,000 tuition, that 10 percent cut would result in roughly $10,000 less in student loans per student over a 3 year program. In other words: Why aren't we talking more about the ATM issue as part of the financial crisis in legal education?
4. FACULTY PAY -- Likewise, professors at regional schools shouldn't expect to earn what colleagues at elite institutions pull down. In the competition for candidates with elite credentials, some regional schools are breaking the bank and the morale of current faculty to attract candidates who "just missed the cut" at Top 15 Law, and I think it's a huge mistake. That said, the now-standard bashing of the "six-figure salaries" is a bit overdone, at least when it comes to folks 10-20-30 years out of law school. These days, a low six-figure salary is not unusual for lawyers with a decent chunk of seniority, especially in expensive metro areas. At my school, the median salary for a full professor is just above the starting salary for a BigLaw associate, although there are HUGE variations that I won't get into lest I start throwing things.
5. SCHOLARSHIP AT REGIONAL SCHOOLS -- We should recognize that regional schools cannot copy the compensation systems and work expectations of elite schools without some monstrous tradeoffs at the expense of their students. That said, all law schools are graduate-level professional schools, and there should be room for professors at those schools to contribute to the world's knowledge through scholarly work. Modest research stipends aren't the reasons for the financial crisis in legal education. I speak as someone who entered the academy attracted by the opportunity to teach, originally regarding scholarship as something of a chore in order to secure my job. Now, I have a strong appreciation for both, as well as for pro bono service. It's about balance, not all or nothing. Good teaching and good scholarship are not mutually exclusive, and in fact can be complementary. David Yamada Suffolk
Mitchell Rubinstein said:
This is cross posted from Ryan's website. Ryan: This is a great idea. I have two comments. First, I would not use data from Rate My Teachers. Rather, I would try to get data from the law schools themselves. A much better comparison would be to compare adjunct prof rankings to FT prof rankings. I think you know my thoughts. I cup of coffee says that the adjuncts will win every time at every law school. I am going to cross post this on Workplace Prof Blog. Mitch
"troubles me too because it seems to already presume that some things may not have value unless they are easily commodified." I suggest that the Professor's students place this common self-serving sentiment on the tuition checks that they write to the Professor's law school - at 10% of the demanded tuition price. Posturing profs like these (probably a majority of the profession) only talk about "priceless" things when they are ones cashing (not writing) the checks.
Alex Reinert said:
I think it is pretty difficult to make the kind of connection between teaching effectiveness and faculty experience that people are looking for (on either side of this debate). Mostly that is because I do not think student evaluations are a very good indicator of teacher quality -- they might be a good indicator of some elements of teacher quality, but if so I think they are very limited. More troubling to me is comments like the most recent from AnonProf, which seems to equate anti-intellectualism with a concern with training in the practice of law. Maybe AnonProf did not mean to imply that training students how to practice is somehow less intellectual than training students how to engage with complex theoretical concepts. But to the extent that AnonProf did, I think it is an unfortunate byproduct of the general lack of practice experience that most professors have. Basically, everyone wants to justify their own bona fides, so practical experience must somehow be marginalized as anti-intellectual by those who are steeped in high theory, and theory must somehow be marginalized as irrelevant by those who have principally practiced. It all seems like a false choice to me. I happen to think it is embarrassing that my six or so years of practicing law (with some continued forays after joining the academy) is considered to be a lot by some law professors. And I think that for some classes (Civil Procedure comes to mind), it is valuable to have at least some professors who actually have stood up in court, drafted pleadings, etc. That said, practice experience is not essential to being an effective professor, even in a course like Civ Pro -- it can help, but it is far from sufficient or necessary. Similarly, it is important to have professors who are well-grounded in theory, especially when they care about connecting that theory to decisions that lawyers make every day. But theory is not so mystifying that one is disabled from engaging in it by virtue of having stepped into a courtroom one too many times. So it would be nice if we could stop the sniping -- I get that many law schools have tended to favor the theoretical frame over the practical one, but I don't believe that reversing that trend will solve our problems. I think what we are generally lacking in law schools, regardless of who is teaching our students, is good measures of how well we are communicating to our students, and how much what we do in class is of assistance to them as they prepare for their careers (clinical teaching may be an exception, at least when it is done within the difficult pedagogical framework that most good clinicians aspire to). I don't think that makes me an anti-intellectual; I want to be an effective teacher, and if we think that we can be effective without caring about what our students are going to do after they graduate, we are in a sad place. As for medical scholarship, AnonProf, it has always been my perception that the gap between theory and practice in medical schools is much narrower than it has been in law schools. My understanding, limited as it may be, is that the professors at medical schools are both experienced practitioners and researchers -- and medical research is often informed by practical experience at least as much as abstract theory.
Respectfully, I think the biggest problem with the quality of legal education stems not from the differing background of the professors but from the mere quantity of professors. Simply put - there are too many law schools and too many professors. Inevitably bad professors are hired simply to have a body to put in front of students to charge them admission. There's much talk about concern for the students getting a proper education and beginning a prosperous legal career, but the actions point instead to concern truly lying on the school being prosperous. And why not? The old wisdom is that, when it rains, you line up buckets, and right now it's raining law school application, so schools are lining up professors to teach them. Which, of course, is a disservice to the student. A shrinking market, reduced wages, lengthier partner tracks, "alternative tracks" that don't lead to partner at all, and more and more schools opening with more and more sections of students. The questions you should ask yourselves aren't "what value does my work add to society" or "what value do law professors as a whole add," but "what value will my students add, what value does my school add, and what value will my students receive?" Odds are the profession would be stronger if most of the schools represented in this thread went belly-up.
"With research emphasized, law profs are people who were at the top of their class from a good law school and presumably could have become $800/hour attorneys but chose not to." Lol this is the biggest myth around. Yeah you probably could have gone into biglaw and worked your way up to $800 per hour IF you were willing to work the hours, deal with the stress of a supervising attorney, and the demands of the clients. Most attorneys leave biglaw within the first five years for these reasons. The argument that your law professor salary is meager in comparison to that biglaw partnership you could have had is ridiculous. Becoming a biglaw partner takes a ton of work and a lot of luck. And even if you "win" the big money you still lose by having a miserable life. When TTT's like SLU shut down because they can't fill their 1L classes, we'll see how wonderful the legal job options are for experienced law professors. SLU increased tuition from $27,250 (04-05) to $36,440 (12-13). That's a 33 percent increase in eight years. You should be ashamed of yourself.
"Law school isn't vocational training. Nazi Germany's monstrous legal system also had its share of excellent practitioners. In law school, we teach social values, norms, and a host of other things unassociated with pragmatic exclusivity." Do you also teach them the law? Specifically, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law "I'm always curious by these anti-intellectual arguments about law professors. I wonder whether the folks who hold them would also do away with philosophy, classics, English, and other liberal arts programs that are not pragmatic and are areas few people get jobs in. After all, most undergrads will in the end get non-theoretical jobs. Doing away with theory in law school would have the same harmful effect on students and society as a whole as doing away with it in undergrad would have. I'm just glad the vocational training mentality hasn't taken root; otherwise, the result would be shallow lawyers. This is particularly true of students who haven't had the benefit of a liberal arts education, like engineers, who can be excellent lawyers but need to learn analysis and rigor that scholars can provide."
I'm a recent law school graduate of a top school and can tell you where my newfound anti-intellectualism comes from. Before law school, I never gave much thought to the anti-intellectual opinions that pervaded my family and community. I thought cries of "limousine liberalism" were overblown and baseless. Then I went to law school. And I saw professors speak in one breath about "social justice" and progressive ideology and in the next breath raise my tuition by 1-2K per year in a deep recession and tell me "you signed the contract" and "can just drop out if you don't like it." I saw law schools engage in conduct that is arguably fraud and defend their behavior with "caveat emptor." Standards of conduct professors would decry when done by banks or corporations, such as counting on people to make irrational decisions on incomplete information, were ignored or accepted when done by their own institutions for their own pecuniary benefit. This is why people don't like you, not because they don't share your values. It is because when push comes to shove, you are no better than anyone else. This would have been amusing, but for the fact that I took out about 110K in debt and am about to spend the next 30 years of my life in a profession that had taken a MASSIVE reputation and prestige hit because of your actions. Just today I talked to a recent BA holder working at a coffee shop who told me she would never go to law school because it costs too much and she personally knows graduates with high debt and no job. The quoted argument is an especially frustrating one. Rather than engage in the necessary value analysis from the perspective of the student, you would suggest that because theory adds SOME discernible value, that justifies whatever you charge. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Most people go to law school to get jobs as lawyers. That gives you some freedom to teach theory, for as long as people are getting jobs as lawyers, you can pretty much teach whatever you want. But the flip side to this is that when the jobs disappear, or when the cost becomes to high to justify the expected starting salary, students will abandon the effort. This discussion itself is part of the problem. The simple fact is that there are too many law students and they have too much debt. If law schools graduated fewer law students, and the decision to go to law school was not financially ruinous, you could stand on your head and read 50 Shades of Grey all day for all I care. You should be focusing your efforts on how you would structure a law school with 50% of current enrollment that charges around 15K per year.
August 10, 2012
Job Security, Law School, and the Bigger Picture
UPDATE: There are so many comments that the blog hasn't been displaying all of them. To comment on this post or its comments, click here to the Comment Glitch post.
It is extremely rare that we engage in navel gazing on this blog, although we do talk about university and law school employment issues on occasion. Each one of us also rarely promotes our own institution or own work, instead leaving it to our co-editors or to others entirely, but I'd like to make an exception to those cultural norms given some of the extraordinary things going on connected with people at my own institution, Saint Louis University School of Law, or SLU. And before I begin, please note that the contents of this post reflect only my own views, not those of my co-editors, my school, my colleagues (all of whom are fabulous teachers, scholars, mentors, administrators, and people), or our wonderful students and alums (who are smart, hard working, and will make or already are great lawyers).
I'm sure many of you have read about how our Dean, Annette Clark, resigned and you may also have read the letters she wrote to President of the University and to us, and his response to us and appointment of our new Interim Dean -- or at least read about them. You may also have read, like I have, some of the reactions to these letters and actions. This controversy is not the only one that touches people connected to SLU. Jeff just posted about the recent Sixth Circuit case concerning my colleague Lynn Branham, holding that tenure provided no job protection unless it was defined in the annual contract between the faculty member and the school. Both of these developments show us that even those with tenure in powerful positions don't necessarily have any job security or protection.
I'm not going to talk about the details of these events or the letters related to Dean Clark's resignation (I have strong feelings, but this is not the place to discuss those), but I do want to have a conversation (or contribute to an ongoing one) about how it all fits into bigger changes and what they might mean.
One of the most compelling pieces of this for every law professor, student, or person thinking about going to law school is the way these events are seen as having some relationship to the problems law schools and universities face right now: the high cost of higher ed. and especially law school, declining enrollments, declining financial support from sources outside of tuition, and the "worth" of earning a law degree. Above the Law (I'm sorry, I can't link to it because the comments give me Auto-Admit flashbacks) saw the resignation as resistance to university efforts to use the law school as a cash cow, and much of the debate in the comments there (shudder) and at least some to Paul Caron's initial post have focused on whether, to the extent the fight is over money, the money is for the benefit of students or faculty.
Implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, the message on one side is that if the money was to be spent on research stipends for faculty, that expenditure is not legitimate and should not be made by the law school (or the university) in the first place. Sometimes that's expressed as skepticism that any research actually is done, hostility that it should be separate from and in addition to the "regular" salary a professor earns, or hostility to the value of research period. In the events at SLU it has at least partially been suggested that those who engage in scholarship or encourage students to do so are not teaching students what the students need to learn. On the other side, there seems an unspoken assumption that research is not only a legitimate part of what a law school should do, but that it's imperative to engage in a lot of it. These themes resonate with the larger scamlaw narrative so popular at the moment -- and no links here either because I don't want to promote that narrative -- which has us "stealing" from students for our own selfish desires, or the more measured critiques by people who call our attention to the problems with the current "business model" of the law school.
Absent from all of this debate, at least what I have seen of it, is much real progress with the pressing issues that we individually and institutionally are all struggling with. In particular, what it is a law school should be doing for students, what they need to know or have mastered by the time they leave, who else is served who wouldn't be if we didn't exist, and how to structure it all to serve those constituencies. And of course I'm thinking of many of these things in employment terms (like job security and status) as well, considering that it's the kind of workplace I am in and because that's just how I see lots of things (hence the whole Workplace blogging). Increasingly, I'm frustrated by what looks like the same old dualistic tropes --teaching v. research, skills v. doctrine, doctrine v. theory, academic v. professional school, liberal arts v. technical education, tenured v. contract, at-will v. job security -- without digging into these labels or categories in the first place. And the rhetoric that puts what we do in business terms -- business model, deliverables, outcomes, opportunity costs, returns on investment -- troubles me too because it seems to already presume that some things may not have value unless they are easily commodified.
Anyone who has talked to me recently is already tired of hearing me say it, but I think each of us and each of our institutions needs to be able say what students and the public gain from what we provide and how. Fundamentally, if we can't articulate that, then why are we doing it? The next challenge will be to make our explanation explicit enough -- devoid of jargon and assumptions as insiders -- so that someone outside of our environment will understand, but we can't hope to get there if we don't start internally.
Here's my take. I think there is great value in legal scholarship. The public benefits by getting legal and government structures that make real people's lives better. Students benefit from the scholar's ability to turn chaos into order and communicate both the chaos and the order to someone who hasn't done the same work. The students have to start with order and see how it is constructed from chaos and how to explain that before they can learn to do the same thing, which really, is what lawyers do for their clients.
Teaching, of course, is vital, but teaching requires learning, and learning is not something that occurs within the teacher. Learning occurs inside the head of the student, and students have to learn, not just information, but more importantly to perform a process that is fluid and adaptable, and to master a number of difficult skills, internal and external. We can't just open the top of a student's head and pour in the learning. Most of the law professors I know and have worked with take this very seriously and constantly work at ways to accomplish this for their students who have different needs and abilities, but we don't talk much publicly on how we do that.
Finally, there are many ways in which different members of the law school community contribute to teaching and mentoring students, serving the public, and contributing to the growth of their professions. Those need to be identified, explained, and valued too.
I'll end here because I've rambled quite enough, but I see this debate also fitting into other debates right now, some of which only seem to have one side:
- the view that elementary and high school teachers are the enemies of students, obstacles to their education and lacking any expertise on how to help kids learn or what they should master;
- the debate over public employee pay and benefits;
- the debate over unions in both the private and public sectors;
- the debate over the worth of higher education;
- the push to marketize everything.
I'm sure I'm missing some, but in all of these debates, there are assumptions about value (to whom), cost, and support that are unspoken and unexamined.
July 19, 2012
Labor and Employment LawProf Hiring: University of Mississippi School of Law
Our friend, Dean Richard Gershon, sends along this hiring announcement:
The University of Mississippi School of Law invites applications from entry-level and lateral candidates for at least two tenure-track faculty positions beginning August 2013. Our primary curricular needs are in Intellectual Property, International Law, Employment Law, Labor Law, Real Estate, and Commercial/Transactional Law, but we welcome applications from outstanding candidates in all curricular areas. We may also have a need for visiting professors. All applicants should have a distinguished academic background, and either great promise or a record of excellence in both scholarship and teaching.
Located among the rolling hills of Northern Mississippi, the University of Mississippi’s main campus is centered in Oxford, Miss., about 70 miles south of Memphis, Tenn. Oxford has been listed among the 20 Best Small Towns in America by Smithsonian Magazine, and the University of Mississippi was chosen as the most beautiful college campus for 2011 by Newsweek magazine.
The University of Mississippi is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA employer.
Entry-Level Candidates Contact: Professor David W. Case, Co-Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Mississippi School of Law, 481 Coliseum Dr., University, MS 38677.
Laterals and Visitors Contact: Professor Donna Davis, Co-Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Mississippi School of Law, 481 Coliseum Dr., University, MS 38677.
I can attest, having spent the first six years of my academic life at Ole Miss Law, that the school is a wonderful place filled with great colleagues and students. This is a hidden gem of an opportunity for the right person.
June 14, 2012
May 29, 2012
Spring 2012 Newlsetter for University of Denver Workplace Law Program
One of the top workplace programs in the United States these days is run by the good folks at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Not only do they have top-notch faculty in many of the specific areas of labor and employment law, but they continue to take the lead in teaching, scholarship, and experiental learning opportunities.
Rachael Arnow-Richman, the director of the Workplace Law Program at DU Law and pictured left, sends along their Spring 2012 Newletter to fill us in on all of the labor and employment law going-ons. Of note, two nationally-recognized labor and employment law scholars, Nicole Porter (Toledo) and Michael Duff (Wyoming), will be visiting law professors during parts of the 2012-2013 academic year at DU Law.
April 10, 2012
Workplace Prof Moves for 2012-2013
I know everyone has been waiting with bated breath to see workplace prof faculty moves for the coming academic year, so without further ado, here is the annual report of workplace law professors comings, goings, etc. (as always, if you have additional information, please provide in the comments). This post will be updated as additional information comes in.
Entry Level Hires
- Anastasia Boles (Law Research Fellow at Thomas Jefferson) to Arkansas-Little Rock
- Bradley Areheart (VAP at Stetson) to Tennessee
- Stacy Hawkins (VAP at Rutgers-Camden) to Rutgers-Camden
- Katie Eyer (Penn Research Scholar) to Rutgers-Camden
- Christopher Griffin (VAP at Duke) to William & Mary
- Naomi Schoenbaum (Bigelow Fellow, Chicago) to George Washington
Promotions and Tenures
- Wendy Greene (Cumberland/Sanford) has been awarded tenure
- Amy Monahan (Minnesota) has been promoted to full professor
- Richard Moberly (Nebraska) has been promoted to full professor
- Wendy Hensel (Georgia State) has been promoted to full professor
- Michael Duff (Wyoming) has been awarded tenure and promoted to full professor
- Jeannette Cox (Dayton) has been awarded tenure and promoted to full professor
- Alex Long (Tennessee) has been promoted to full professor
- Jeff Jones (Lewis & Clark) has been granted tenure
- Nancy Modesitt (Baltimore) has been granted tenure and promoted to associate professor
Administrative Appointments and Honors
- Cesar Rosado (Chicago-Kent) to Research Fellow at NYU Center for Labor and Employment Law
- Orly Lobel (San Diego) named University Professor for 2012-2013
- Wendy Hensel (Georgia State) appointed Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
- Jarod Gonzalez (Texas Tech) named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
- Matt Bodie (St. Louis) appointed to American Law Institute (ALI)
- Ken Dau-Schmidt (Indiana-Bloomington) appointed to American Law Institute (ALI)
- Orly Lobel (San Diego) appointed to American Law Institute (ALI)
- Lawrence Rosenthal (N. Kentucky) appointed to American Law Institute (ALI)
- Aditi Bagchi (Penn) to Fordham
- Courtney Cahill (Roger Williams) to Florida State
- Carrie Basas (Case Western Visitor) to Akron
- Nicole Porter (Toledo) to Denver (2012-2013)
- Michael Duff (Wyoming) to Denver (Spring 2013)
- Wilma Liebman (former NLRB Chair) to Illinois (2012-2013)
- Cesar Rosado (Chicago-Kent) to Stockholm University Law School (Summer and Fall 2012)
- Michael Green (Texas Wesleyan) to Georgia (Spring 2013)
- Matt Bodie (St. Louis) to Notre Dame (Fall 2012)
- Juliet Stumpf (Lewis & Clark) to University of Leiden (part of Spring 2013)
- Michael Hayes (Baltimore) to Thomas Jefferson (Spring 2013)
- Bob Belton (Vanderbilt)
March 09, 2012
Lynk on CBC's Lang O'Leary Report Discussing Canadian Labor Landscape
My good friend, Michael Lynx (Western Ontario Law) was recently featured on the The Lang O'Leary Report, which is the CBC's main business TV show. He appears with Amanda Lang, a journalist, and Kevin O'Leary, the conservative TV host.
Michael was interviewed last night on the Report about the decision yesterday by the federal Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt to refer the pending strikes and lockout by the pilots and the machinists at Air Canada to the Canada Industrial Relations Board. You can catch the show here.
For those who don't have time to watch the whole thing, Michael's interview is at the 19:30 mark.
In any event, this is helpful viewing for anyone trying to understand the current labor situation in Canada.
February 27, 2012
Areheart to Tennessee
Congratulations to University of Tennessee College of Law (and Alex Long) on the addition of Brad Areheart to the faculty. I've had the pleasure of knowing Brad for several years -- he's been a regular at the annual Colloquium on Current LEL and at several other conferences -- and I've found that he is as terrific a person as his scholarship is strong. Brad will finish out the semester as a VAP at Stetson before moving to Knoxville.
Here's Brad's bio from bepress:
Professor Bradley A. Areheart is a Bruce R. Jacob Visiting Assistant Professor at Stetson University College of Law, where he teaches Contracts, Disability Law, Health Law, and Intellectual Property. His research focuses on civil rights, and thus far has included scholarship on antidiscrimination theory, cyberbullying, disability theory and discrimination, genetic discrimination, privacy, and Title VII. Professor Areheart’s recent articles have appeared or will appear in the Indiana Law Journal, Georgia Law Review, Alabama Law Review, and Yale Law & Policy Review.
Before joining Stetson as an inaugural Bruce R. Jacob Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Professor Areheart worked as a litigation associate at DLA Piper in Austin, Texas, where his practice included complex commercial and intellectual property litigation. Before that, he was an associate at Jenner & Block in Dallas, Texas. Professor Areheart graduated cum laude from Baylor University with a degree in philosophy. He earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, where he graduated with honors and was a member of the Texas Law Review.
February 11, 2012
Bob Belton, 1933-2012
Thanks to Marion Crain (Wash. U.) for alerting us of Bob Belton's Thursday passing. The Vanderbilt website has a nice tribute to him. Below are some of the excerpts. Please feel free to add your own comments to this post to describe how Bob touched your life.
Robert Belton, who retired from a 34-year career as a professor at Vanderbilt Law School in 2009, died Feb. 9 after suffering a stroke. He was 76 years old.
A nationally recognized scholar of labor and employment and civil rights law, Belton joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 1975 and became the first African American to be granted tenure at Vanderbilt Law School. He was a popular and beloved teacher and mentor who particularly enjoyed working with students interested in social justice. He played an important role in mentoring minority law students, serving as faculty adviser to the Black Law Students Association and working with other African American faculty on equality issues at Vanderbilt.
A trailblazer in civil rights as an activist, attorney and scholar throughout his career, Belton served from 1965 to 1970 as an assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. At the Legal Defense Fund, he headed a national civil rights litigation campaign to enforce what was then a new federal law prohibiting discrimination in employment because of factors such as race and sex.
Belton had a major role in Griggs v. Duke Power Co, the landmark Supreme Court civil rights case the Legal Defense Fund litigated. Other landmark Supreme Court civil rights cases in which he was involved included Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, which addressed damages in civil rights cases, and Harris v. Forklift Systems, which addressed sexual harassment.
From 1970 to 1975 Belton practiced law as a partner at Chambers Stein Ferguson & Lanning in Charlotte, N.C., one of the first racially integrated firms in the South. The building owned by the firm was fire-bombed at the height of its involvement in a series of landmark civil rights cases, including Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court approved busing as a remedy to enforce the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
December 16, 2011
AALS Section on Employment Discrimination and Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law 2011 Newsletter
Attached is the newsletter for the 2012 AALS Employment Discrimination Section and the Labor Relations and Employment Section from Peggie Smith (Wash U) and Deborah Widiss (Indiana-Bloomington). They did a really really great job this year. Check it out!
November 10, 2011
New ALI Members
Among the 52 newly selected members of the American Law Institute are several labor/employment folks. Many congratulations to Matt Bodie (St. Louis), Ken Dau-Schmidt (Indiana), Orly Lobel (San Diego), Paul Mollica (Outten & Golden), and Lawrence Rosenthal (NKU Chase).