ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Best People Leave

Alex GeisingerWhen I got my first teaching job at Valparaiso University Law School, there was a core of people who were on the hiring committee and also became my close friends almost immediately upon my arrival.  Because they were at Valparaiso, I knew that it would be a good fit for me, They were dedicated teachers, innovative scholars, and colleagues devoted to helping our students learn and thrive as professionals and people.  They were committed to the place in the same ways as I was.  There were also great people at the university, so I had an interdisciplinary community of colleagues.

One of my law school colleagues was Alex Geisinger, who became a mentor and a friend.  He was on the committee that hired me.  He took the lead in helping me to understand the dynamics of the small community I had joined.  One of Alex's valuable assets was his honesty, and so he warned me about Valparaiso University (Valpo): "The best people leave."  

Of my close friends at Valpo, Alex was the first to leave.  He left to help Drexel gets its law school off the ground.  I had to be happy for Alex.  It was a great move for him and his family, but it was a bitter blow.  Not only had Alex been a great mentor for me in my teaching and scholarship, he was someone I could have a coffee with regularly, and his son, Michael, exactly one year older that my daughter, Sophie, was among Sophie's most regular playmates.  Alex always called Michael, "The Boy," and I still call Sophie, "The Child."  The Boy and The Child would play, while Alex and I would talk about teaching, and behavioral economics, and law school politics, and university politics, and politics politics, and life/work balance, and living in the Midwest when you don't really feel like you belong in the Midwest.  

I wrote previously about my commitment to community and how I felt that I belonged to a community when I started teaching at Valpo.  Alex was at the heart of that community, and he continued the connection after leaving.  When I got a one-semester sabbatical, Alex got me a visiting position at Drexel so that I could have full year away from Valpo, which was not always a happy place for me.  I had a wonderful experience teaching at Drexel and spending three days a week in the heart of Philadelphia.  Alex came back to Valpo to visit, we met up at conferences at every opportunity, and he kept in touch with our colleagues even after we all dispersed, making sure that we were all up to date on each other's lives.

I learned last night that Alex died this week while traveling with his family in Malaysia.  We lost colleagues at Valpo before, but among my small circle of close friends, Alex was once again the first to leave.  It is the bitterest of blows.

February 28, 2024 in Law Schools, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, February 19, 2024

Hiring at the University of Arkansas Little Rock Bowen School of Law

William H. Bowen School of Law

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT FOR VISITING PROFESSORS OF LAW

            The William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock announces a search for two (2) Visiting Professors of Law. One of the positions will be asked to teach first-year Civil Procedure; the other will be asked to teach first-year Contracts. Other classes sought to be taught by these visitors may include Administrative Law, Employment Law, Legislation, Professional Responsibility, and Sales.

            A search to fill both positions as tenure-track hires will commence in August 2024; the visitors will be eligible to apply.

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Visitors will be encouraged to participate in the intellectual life of Bowen, as well as to integrate themselves into the life of the bench, bar and close-knit local legal community. Mentorship and support for scholarship will also be available to the extent visitors wish.

            Bowen is a student-focused and welcoming school of law located downtown in Arkansas’ capitol city, providing ready access to the state courts, legislative and administrative agencies, and in one of the most affordable and pleasant small cities in the country. Bowen’s three core values are to advance access to justice, public service, and professionalism. To that end, the School of Law’s rigorous curriculum balances theory, skill development and extensive experiential learning opportunities. Students have numerous options to assist faculty – including visitors – with academic research and public service, including in one of Bowen’s seven legal clinics, or with its new Bowen Center for Racial Justice and Criminal Justice Reform.

The positions begin in August, 2024. The search to fill them will continue until satisfactory candidates are hired. Candidates are encouraged to apply early. Before May 1, 2024, interested individuals should send a statement of interest and current C.V. to Professor Aaron Schwabach, Chair, Faculty Hiring Committee, by email: [email protected]. After May 1, 2024, applications should be sent to Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Lindsey Gustafson, [email protected].

February 19, 2024 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

OCU Law Seeks Executive Director of the Tribal Sovereignty Institute and Professor of Law

OCU Law SchoolI am very excited to announce that my law school is creating a new Tribal Sovereignty Institute.  As Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, I get to lead the search.  Applicants with an interest in contracts law are welcome, but then again, so are applicants with other interests in addition to expertise American Indian Law.

OKLAHOMA CITY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW (OCU Law) invites applications to fill a tenured or tenure-track 12-month position in American Indian Law.  The successful applicant, in addition to being a faculty member, will also be the inaugural Executive Director of the Oklahoma City University Tribal Sovereignty Institute (the Institute), which will be housed at OCU Law.  We welcome candidates whose approaches in research will add to the scope and depth of our faculty scholarship.

Screenshot 2024-02-05 at 6.46.22 PMApplicants should have a lengthy history of scholarship in the area of American Indian Law and/or Tribal Law.  The successful applicant will teach classes at OCU Law and produce scholarship commensurate with the expectations for a tenured professor.  The Executive Director will help build a vital new institution serving tribal communities in Oklahoma and throughout the United States.   The Institute will provide support for academic research, teaching and advocacy, education, training, and cultural preservation.  The Executive Director will be expected to share the Institute’s scholarship on a state and national level, support fundraising efforts to expand the Institute’s mission, guide the planning and implementation of the Institute as it grows, supervise future staff additions to the Institute, and oversee existing activities at the University related to Native and Indigenous communities, including the American Indian Wills Clinic, the Sovereignty Symposium, and efforts in language preservation, cultural preservation and economic development.    

The Executive Director will work closely with the Dean of OCU Law, the University President, and other senior leaders in the institution.  The salary for the position will be that of a law professor of appropriate rank, supplemented with the salary associated with the Executive Director.

Candidates should have an excellent academic background, demonstrated ability as a productive and innovative scholar, a strong commitment to the practice of inclusion, and a strong commitment to engaged classroom teaching.  In addition, candidates should have administrative experience, as well as experience in leadership roles and in public outreach, including outreach through communications directed at both the legal community and lay people.  Candidates must have either (1) a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school or (2) the combination of a foreign law degree and either a U.S. LL.M. or S.J.D. degree.

OCU Law is located in downtown Oklahoma City and is deeply engaged with the legal, business, and governmental communities.  Oklahoma City has been named “American’s Most Livable Community” and is consistently ranked among the most affordable and prosperous cities, among the top cities for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and among the best-run large cities.  

Oklahoma City University is an equal opportunity employer and affirms the values and goals of diversity.  We encourage applications from candidates of all backgrounds, particularly members of groups underrepresented in the teaching or practice of law.  For the university’s complete nondiscrimination policy, please see:  https://www.okcu.edu/admin/hr/eeoc.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and job-talk paper to the Chair of the OCU Law Faculty Appointments Committee, Professor Jeremy Telman, [email protected].  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

February 6, 2024 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Howard University School of Law Needs Visiting Professors!

Screenshot 2024-02-01 at 5.55.53 PMHOWARD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications for two visiting faculty positions during the 2024-2025 academic year. Howard University, a culturally diverse, comprehensive, research intensive and historically Black private university, provides an educational experience of exceptional quality at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels to students of high academic standing and potential.

Position 1 – We are hiring a visiting law professor for a full-year podium visit. This professor will teach one section of our first-year contracts course, which is a full year course. In addition to the contracts course, we are open to a wide range of other offerings in both semesters with a particular interest in business courses and upper level writing seminars.

Position 2 – We are hiring a visiting law professor for a Fall 2024 podium visit. This professor will teach one section of our fall first-year civil procedure course. In addition to the civil procedure course, we are open to a wide range of other offerings in the fall semester with a particular interest in business courses and upper level writing seminars.

For both positions, we invite applications from persons with all levels of experience (practitioners, junior faculty, experienced faculty, etc.). Candidates must have a J.D. from an accredited law school, distinguished academic or professional credentials, and either great pedagogical promise or a record of excellence in teaching.

Applicants should be prepared to spend significant contact hours with students outside of the classroom. Interested persons should send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, teaching evaluations (if available), references, and subject area preferences to Professor Darin Johnson, Chair of the Initial Appointments Subcommittee, at [email protected], and to Ms. Kimberly Pennamon, Director of Faculty Services, at [email protected]. Howard University School of Law is committed to a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. Howard University is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on any grounds prohibited by federal or DC law. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Priority consideration will be given to those applications received by Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

February 6, 2024 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 5, 2024

Project on Foundations of Private Law at Harvard Seeks Postdoctoral Fellow

Screenshot 2024-02-05 at 6.03.09 AMThe Project on the Foundations of Private Law at Harvard Law School is seeking applicants for full-time, one- to two-year residential appointments, starting in the fall of 2024. The Project on the Foundations of Private Law is an interdisciplinary research program at Harvard Law School dedicated to scholarly research in private law. Applicants should be aspiring academics with a primary interest in one or more of property, contracts, torts, intellectual property, commercial law, unjust enrichment, restitution, equity, and remedies. The Project seeks applicants with a serious interest in legal structures and institutions, and welcomes a variety of perspectives, including economics, history, philosophy, and comparative law.

Application materials are due to Bradford Conner (conner at law.harvard.edu) by 9:00 a.m. on March 5, 2024. Details on both the fellowship and the application can be found at https://plproject.law.harvard.edu/people/

under "Apply to be a Postdoctoral Fellow."

February 5, 2024 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

University of Montana Law Is Hiring

The Alexander Blewett III School of Law invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track Assistant/Associate/Full Professor beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year. Duties include teaching, scholarship, and service as set forth in the University of Montana Blewett School of Law Faculty Handbook.

Our primary curricular need is in the area of contracts, business transactions and related courses. Additional curricular needs include: include Business Associations, Employment Law, Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts), Family Law, Insurance Law, and Trial Practice. We are committed to integrating theory with practice, making significant practice experience in the areas to be taught particularly valuable.

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Situated in Missoula, the recreational center of Western Montana, the law school has a vibrant faculty and a close connection with our students, the bench and the bar. Missoula is a wonderful place to live and work and is home to a wide range of renowned writers, artists, musicians and outdoor enthusiasts. We encourage applications from candidates who would add to the diversity of our academic community. The University of Montana is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.

Applications must be made electronically at https://umjobs.silkroad.com/. Confidential inquiries may be made to Professor Jonathon Byington, Faculty Appointments Committee Chair, by email: [email protected].

Qualifications:

  • Juris Doctorate degree from an ABA accredited law school
  • Superior academic background
  • Significant relevant practice experience
  • Demonstrated record of or potential for effective teaching
  • Demonstrated record of or potential for scholarship
  • Ability to work collegially with students, staff, faculty, and external constituencies of the law school

Position Details:

  • Title: Assistant/Associate/Full Professor
  • Position Type: Academic (10-month)
  • Schedule: Full-time, academic year position beginning Fall semester 2024
  • Entry Rate: $100,000 annually and is commensurate with academic experience
  • Benefits: Medical insurance, mandatory retirement contribution, professional development, partial tuition waiver and wellness program

About the University of Montana:

The University of Montana is a flagship, R1 research institution with a student enrollment of over 10,000. It is the state’s primary liberal arts and social sciences institution. Native Americans comprise the largest minority group on campus. Montana is home to seven reservations, 12 Tribal Nations, and multiple urban indigenous communities. Missoula is located on the traditional homelands of the Salish and Kalispel people and traditional territory to multiple Native American peoples. It is a thriving community representing the region’s cultural hub for visual and performing arts. It balances the warmth of small-town life with the sophistication and amenities of the urban northwest. Missoula and Montana offer stunning mountain scenery, blue ribbon trout streams, abundant wilderness, and thrilling recreational opportunities. Outside Magazine ranked Missoula among the top 10 best places to live in the U.S. in 2014 and one of the “Best Towns Ever” in 2017.

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The University of Montana is an ADA/EOE/AA/Veteran's Preference Employer and has a strong institutional commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas. In that spirit, we are particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of qualified individuals who would assist the University in demonstrating its five priorities for action: Place student success at the center of all we do; drive excellence and innovation in teaching, learning, and research; embody the principle of “mission first, people always"; partner with place; and proudly tell the UM story.

How To Apply

Extended Priority Application Date: Thursday, February 15, 2024 by 11:59 PM (Mountain Time)

Complete applications received by this date will be guaranteed consideration. To receive full consideration, candidates are required to submit all of the following materials.

Please submit the following application materials** via the UM Jobs portal and by clicking "New Resume/CV" button.  Please do not apply through Indeed.com*.

*Please note, only five (5) attachments allowed per application. Please combine documents accordingly.

A complete application Includes:

  1. Letter of Interest – addressing your qualifications and experience related to the stated required skills for the position. A general letter salutation such as “Dear Search Committee” or “Dear Hiring Manager” is acceptable.
  2. Detailed Resume – listing education and describing work experience.
  3. Professional References – names and contact information for three (3) professional references.
  4. Unofficial Law School Transcript – official transcript due upon hire.

January 16, 2024 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Contracts Hiring at Widener Law

Widener Law Commonwealth seeks an entry-level or pre-tenure lateral faculty member to fill one tenure track position starting in the 2024-2025 academic year. We have a specific need in our year-long Contracts course. The remainder of the teaching package is flexible. This position reports to the dean of the law school.

WLC is a dynamic community of teachers and scholars. We pride ourselves on our dedication to our students, our engagement with teaching, and our scholarly impact. Many of our scholars are actively engaged in law reform efforts at both the state and federal level.

Widener commonwealth
The law school is committed to fostering an environment in which faculty, staff, and students from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and personal experiences are welcomed and can thrive. Faculty and staff are active participants in our work to enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We welcome applications from members of historically underrepresented groups.

Established in 1989, Widener Law Commonwealth is an independently accredited law school within Widener University. Located in Harrisburg, PA, the law school’s location in the capital of Pennsylvania provides impactful experiences for both our faculty and students. 

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES (including, but not limited to):

Essential duties:

  • Teach first-year, upper division required, and elective classes both in the day and evening
  • In particular we are seeking some to teach in our year-long Contracts course
  • Engage in scholarship
  • Provide service to the Law School and the community

Secondary responsibilities:

  • Advise students and student organizations

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS (education/training and experience required):

Required:

  • J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school or an equivalent degree
  • A minimum of three years or related work or teaching experience
  • Strong academic or practice background in one or more of the courses to be taught
  • A capacity for and a commitment to be an effective teacher in the classroom
  • Demonstrated potential to be a productive scholar
  • A capacity for and commitment to work with and to mentor students
  • Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with Zoom

Preferred:

  • Full-time or adjunct law school teaching experience
  • Experience teaching via distance education
  • Demonstrated proficiency with a learning management system, such as Canvas

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND/OR UNUSUAL HOURS: 

  • Must be available to teach day and evening division courses

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Widener University is committed to fostering an inclusive community in which faculty, staff, and students from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and personal experiences are welcomed and can thrive. We are an equal opportunity employer and are committed to providing equal educational and employment opportunities for all persons without regard to age, color, national origin, race, religion, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or status as a protected veteran.

Widener University, an independent, metropolitan, doctoral-intensive university, connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention and experiential learning are key components of the Widener Experience. Located in Chester, PA, Widener's main campus is nestled between Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE, with Law Schools located in both Harrisburg and Wilmington. For more information about the university, please visit our website at www.widener.edu.

December 14, 2023 in Contract Profs, Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Take the Money and Run, Pass, or Kick

Recently, Sid DeLong wowed us with an interesting perspective on the case of Danish performance artist Jens Haaning.  As readers of the blog well know, Haaning was commissioned to produce artwork incorporating $70,000 in Danish currency that the commissioning museum advanced to him for incorporation into the work.  Hanning never provided the work; instead, he delivered two blank canvases entitled Take the Money and Run.  

No biggy, Sid pointed out.  People get paid for doing nothing all the time.  Farmers get paid not to plant crops when the government is trying to control against overproduction.  Young William Story was entitled to collect from his Uncle William for successfully abstaining from certain corrupt behaviors before turning twenty-one.

Jimbo_A&M_Press_Conference
Image by Ethridgem, via Wikimedia Commons

But if you really want to get paid the big bucks for doing nothing, I recommend coaching.  As I learned from Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck on their excellent, most recent, edition of the National Security Law Podcast, Texas A & M University is paying Jimbo Fisher (right) $75 million for not coaching its football team between now and 2031.  

Doug Lederman provides some details in Inside Higher EducationAccording to the story, Mr. Fisher's contract was renewed in 2021 for ten years, and the contract was guaranteed, which meant that he would be paid whether or not he continued as coach.  You might be wondering how the taxpayers of Texas feel about having their money being used in a Bobby Bonilla style boondoggle.  The answer is probably that they are fine with it.  What's government for if not for building college football programs?  But just in case Texas taxpayers have other priorities, the university stresses that the $75 million will not come out of the university's regular budget but from "donor funds."

This strikes me as a relatively transparent shell game.  That $75 million in donor funds that will be going into Mr. Fisher's pocket are $75 million that the university might use for other, presumably sports-related, purposes.  And if the university cannot raise more private donor funds to attract its next football coach, or football stadium, or training facility, or whatever else it needs, the money to cover these new costs will indeed come from university funds that might have been used for, I don't know, educational purposes?

Burge_mark1 Snyder_franklin_gLast I checked, the Texas A &M football team is not ranked in either the AP nor the Coaches poll, nor did they have any votes in either poll, meaning that nobody polled thought that they were a top 25 team.  CBS Sports ranks them at 37.  Meanwhile, Texas A & M's law school is ranked 29th.  By my math, that ranking should entitle the law school's Dean to a guaranteed ten-year contract worth at least $85 million, and some portion of that money ought to go to the Blog, given that the Blog was founded by Texas A & M law faculty member Frank Snyder (left), and Texas A & M faculty member Mark Edwin Burge (right) continues to serve as a contributing editor.  Even a million or two would go a long way towards meeting the Blog's pressing fiscal needs.  I'm not asking for much.

One might think that Mr. Fisher will not in the end actually collect his $75 million from Texas A & M or its donors, because of the duty to mitigate.    But we've been down this path before on the blog, and I think we discovered that coaches who depart with guaranteed contracts do not have a duty to mitigate.  Mr. Fisher is perfectly free to move on to his next gig, command another Brobdingnagian salary, and continue to collect his spoils from Texas A & M.  In our world of the parable of his talents, this is righteousness.  Not compounding his windfall with greater lucre would be regarded as a wasteful, and Mr. Fisher would be consigned to that outer darkness, complete with ambient weeping and gnashing of teeth.

November 29, 2023 in Celebrity Contracts, Commentary, Current Affairs, Government Contracting, Law Schools, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Hiring at Marquette Law School

Please see the position announcement below.  Marquette is especially eager to find someone in the commercial law area.

Marquette_University_Law_School _Milwaukee_Courthouse
Image by ReppinSconnie, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Marquette University Law School invites applications for potential openings for tenure-track or tenured faculty members who would join us beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year. We welcome candidates from all teaching and research areas. Candidates should have distinguished records of academic and professional achievement as well as the commitment to, and potential for, excellence in teaching and research. We especially welcome applications from candidates who will enhance the diversity of our faculty because of their cultures, racial/ethnic backgrounds, religions, economic strata, age, sex, sexual orientations, and abilities. Interested individuals may submit a letter of application and curriculum vitae to Professor Chad Oldfather, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee at [email protected]. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

September 5, 2023 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 21, 2023

Job Openings for ContractsProfs

Rutgers Law School invites applications from entry-level and lateral candidates for multiple tenure-track or tenured positions at the law school’s campuses in Camden and Newark.

We encourage applications and inquiries from candidates who would contribute to the diversity of our faculty, including, but not limited to people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.

Rutgers_University_seal.svgRutgers Law School—with locations in Camden and Newark—offers a world-class faculty; a curriculum of exceptional breadth and depth in theory, practice, and interdisciplinary studies; a geographic presence that spans one of the nation’s 10 largest legal markets (New Jersey) while also offering immediate access to two of the five largest markets (New York City and Philadelphia); an alumni network with over 20,000 members; and a strong tradition of diversity and social impact. As the law school for a top public university, Rutgers Law School is committed to the highest standards of teaching, scholarship, and service to its host communities, the state of New Jersey, and the nation. These positions will be based on the both the Camden and Newark campuses.

The Camden location seeks qualified candidates across a broad curricular spectrum, with particular emphasis on candidates who can teach Constitutional Law or in the Law School’s Clinical Program. Other areas of interest include first-year classes, including Property, Torts, Civil Procedure, and Contracts. In addition, the Camden location is interested in candidates who can teach Financial Regulation, Tax, Human Rights Law and Labor Law.
The Newark location seeks qualified candidates across a broad curricular spectrum, with particular emphasis on candidates who can teach Contracts or teach in the Constitutional Rights Clinic. Other areas of interest include Tax Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution and Negotiation.
All applicants should have a distinguished academic background and either demonstrate great promise or a record of excellence in scholarship and teaching.
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other classification protected by law. Interested applicants should submit at this link:

· a curriculum vitae
· a cover letter, including an indication your desired campus location, if any;
· your research agenda;
· a sample of your academic writing; and
· if you so choose, a statement of your professional contributions to diversity and equity.
Questions and references can be addressed to:
1. Camden: Professor Thea Johnson, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee; [email protected]
2. Newark: Professor Adil Haque, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee; Rutgers Law School; [email protected]
 

The Mercer University School of Law invites applications from entry-level and pre-tenured lateral candidates (Assistant and Associate rank) for three tenure-track faculty positions to begin in the Fall of 2024. We welcome applications from candidates in all subject matter areas, especially in commercial law and legal writing. We also welcome candidates who are truly entry-level, with no prior law teaching experience, but who show significant promise for excellence in teaching and scholarship. 

Mercer
By Alexdi at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0


Founded in 1873, Mercer University School of Law has a long tradition of producing lawyers who are ready to practice and committed to service. The School has earned a reputation as an excellent provider of legal education with an intense focus on student and faculty interaction. With an enrollment of about 375 students, Mercer Law School is one of 12 schools and colleges of Mercer University, which has been listed among the top institutions of higher education in the nation. The School of Law is nationally recognized for its exceptional programs in legal writing, advocacy (moot court and mock trial), public service, and professionalism and ethics.

The School of Law is located in Macon, Georgia, a city of approximately 156,000. Macon is known for its strong musical heritage (e.g., Otis Redding, Little Richard, the Allman Brothers), its vibrant arts community, its recreational offerings (e.g., the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park), and its affordable cost of living. Located 85 miles from Atlanta, Macon offers the livability of a smaller city with ready access to large city amenities.

Mercer University recognizes the power of a diverse community and encourages applications from individuals with varied experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds. Mercer University is an AA/EEO/Veteran/ADA employer.

Applicants should have a J.D. degree from an accredited university/college, a commitment to excellence in teaching, and demonstrated potential for excellence in research and scholarship. Interested applicants will need to complete the brief online application at https://merceruniversity.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/external/details/Faculty--Law_F25-002 and attach a current CV with the names and contact information for three references. For information contact Professor Pam Wilkins, Chair, Appointments Committee, Mercer University School of Law, [email protected].

August 21, 2023 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Law Schools Seek Contracts Profs!

Some ads that have gone up during our hiatus:

Hiring Announcement: Samford University, Cumberland School of Law

Cumberland School of LawSamford University's Cumberland School of Law invites applications for faculty positions at the rank of Assistant and Associate Professor of Law.  Applicants with expertise in one or more of the following areas are especially encouraged to apply: business organizations, contracts, commercial law (and other areas of transactional law), property law, environmental law, family law, criminal law, civil rights/race and the law, and negotiation and mediation.  More information can be found at this link.  For questions about the position, please contact: Brannon Denning, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, [email protected], 205-726-2411.

Villanova Law Hiring Several Professors

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law is hiring several new faculty members this year, across a range of areas including doctrinal and legal writing.  Inquiries regarding any of the positions should be directed to the chair of the Appointments Committee, Todd Aagaard, at Aagaard[at]law.villanova.edu.

Assistant/Associate/Professor of Law

Tenure-track faculty positions will be filled at the Assistant, Associate, or Professor level depending on the candidate's experience and qualifications.  We welcome applications from candidates across all areas of law, especially in the areas of Race and the Law, Constitutional Law, and Contracts.

Villanova
Assistant/Associate/Professor of Law (Legal Writing)

We are looking to hire one legal writing faculty member.  We welcome applicants interested in teaching in any part of the legal writing curriculum, especially in our first-year course.

Legal writing faculty are a vital part of the Villanova Law community; they have near-complete voting rights and serve on law school committees and in leadership positions.  Legal writing faculty are not required to engage in scholarship, but those who do receive support.

Villanova is a Catholic university sponsored by the Augustinian order. Diversity and inclusion have been and will continue to be an integral component of Villanova University’s mission. The University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and seeks candidates who understand, respect and can contribute to the University’s mission and values.

The Belmont University College of Law invites applications for entry-level and junior-lateral candidates in the area of business law for a tenure-track, faculty position to begin Fall 2024. 

The Belmont College of Law encourages applications from people whose background, life experiences, and scholarly approaches would contribute to the diversity of our faculty, curriculum, and programs.

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By LawTN - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Applicants must possess a J.D. from an accredited U.S. law school and must demonstrate strong scholarly potential and a commitment to excellence in teaching.  Belmont is an EOE/AA employer.  Belmont College of Law reserves the right to exercise a preference for those candidates who support the goals and missions of the University.

If interested, please submit a letter of interest and curriculum vitae to the Chair of the Faculty Recruitment Committee, Professor Kristi W. Arth, using the recruitment committee’s email address - [email protected].  If you have questions about the position or Belmont University, please contact Professor Arth at [email protected].

Belmont University is a private, Christian university focusing on academic excellence and is located in the heart of Nashville, one of the fastest growing and most culturally rich cities in the country.  Belmont is the second largest private university in Tennessee approximating 9,000 students. Belmont students come from every state, more than 35 countries, and all faiths. The Belmont faculty is dedicated to teaching, service, and active engagement in scholarship.  The median LSAT/GPA for the 124 students who entered the law school in August 2022 were 160 and 3.70 (75th percentile: 162 and 3.88; 25th percentile: 156 and 3.47).  Belmont’s ultimate bar passage rate for 2018 and 2019 was 100%, one of only a few law schools in the country to have achieved a perfect pass rate in those years.

Hiring Announcement: Mississippi College School of Law

Mississippi CollegeMississippi College School of Law invites applications from entry-level candidates for multiple tenure-track faculty positions expected to begin in July 2024. Our search will focus primarily on candidates with an interest in teaching one or more of the following subject areas: Civil Procedure, Business/Commercial Law, Contracts, Cyber Law/Law & Technology, International Law, and Sports/Entertainment Law. We seek candidates with a distinguished academic background (having earned a J.D. and/or Ph.D.), a commitment to excellence in teaching, and a demonstrated commitment to scholarly research and publication. We particularly encourage applications from candidates who will enrich the diversity of our faculty. We will consider candidates listed in the AALS-distributed FAR, as well as those who apply directly. Applications should include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a scholarly research agenda, the names and contact information of three references, and teaching evaluations (if available). Applications should be sent in a single PDF to Professor Donald Campbell, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, via email at [email protected].

California Western School of Law Hiring Announcement - Contracts

California WesternCalifornia Western School of Law (CWSL) is seeking applications from entry level or lateral candidates for a tenured or tenure-track position.  We are looking for candidates with strong academic backgrounds, a commitment to excellence in teaching, and demonstrated potential to be productive scholars.  We specifically are interested in an instructor to teach Contracts beginning in Academic Year 2024-25 and would welcome candidates with a secondary interest in law and technology. 

Established in 1924, CWSL is an ABA accredited and AALS member, non-profit law school, and has the distinction of being San Diego’s oldest law school. At CWSL we pride ourselves on the diversity of our student body.  This year, around 45% of our incoming students are from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  We are committed to having a faculty that shares our commitment to diversity and our diverse student body.  CWSL continues to rethink the status quo in legal education – balancing a rigorous practical education with cutting edge scholarship and community service.  As a result, our graduates have a reputation for being uniquely practice-ready.  

CWSL is located in downtown San Diego, literally overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  A city of breathtaking beauty, we boast perfect weather, miles of beaches, and nearby mountains.  We are a family-friendly, diverse city with small city traffic and walkable neighborhoods.  

Application materials should include a cover letter, C.V., research agenda, and a statement that addresses how you will contribute to CWSL’s diversity goals. Please direct application materials and questions to the chair of the Appointments Committee, Professor Catherine Hardee, at the following email address:  [email protected].  We will begin reviewing applications August 14, 2023.  The salary range for the position is between $130,000 and $180,000, depending on experience.

LINCOLN MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY DUNCAN SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications from entry-level and lateral candidates for two full-time, tenure track faculty positions starting in the 2024-2025 academic year. 

LMU
We welcome all subject areas, with particular interest in contracts and sales, business associations, criminal law and procedure, and evidence. Nonetheless, as we grow our innovative part-time/hybrid J.D. program, which is approximately two-thirds online, our needs extend across all doctrinal areas. 

Requirements include a J.D. or equivalent law degree and an unwavering commitment to educating successful lawyers and leaders. The perfect candidate will embody collaborative effort, with an outstanding academic background and firm dedication to teaching, scholarship, and service. Practical legal experience and prior teaching are highly valued, although not mandatory. We are seeking candidates with the potential to grow into excellent legal educators and scholars.

This role will operate under a twelve-month contract, with teaching duties every alternate summer. Rest assured, we consider this schedule while formulating our scholarship requirements.

In line with our commitment to diversity, we strongly encourage applications from people of color, women, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ individuals, veterans, and others who can enhance our faculty, curricular, and program diversity through unique life experiences, viewpoints, or philosophies.

As faculty, your primary duty is teaching and mentoring students. We recognize this role's importance in accomplishing our mission: providing a top-notch legal education to address the needs of the underserved. Join us in shaping the future of the legal profession.

Our law school is located in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee, a city that offers a fusion of vibrant city life, stunning natural beauty, and a rich historical and cultural scene, complemented by the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Interested applicants should contact Professor Syd Beckman, Chair of the Faculty Recruitment Committee, at [email protected].

August 1, 2023 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 8, 2023

Supreme Court Justices and the Other Legal Academy

Divided ArgumentI was listing to  Will Baude and Dan Epps' excellent Divided Argument podcast, where they discussed the recent controversies involving Supreme Court Justices receiving gifts or other emoluments.  The opening hymnal setting of Justice Scalia's Morrison v. Olson dissent alone justifies the cover price.  I wish they had titled their episode "Supreme Court Ethics Controversy: Fooferaw or Argle-Bargle?  That would have been a fitting homage to Justice Scalia's colorful diction.  Instead, they named it Creator of the Stars at Night

But most of the episode was devoted to discussions about the various Justices and the ethical controversies arising out of their acceptances of gifts from various quarters.  As is well known, ProPublica provided extensive reporting on Justice Thomas's relationship with a wealthy conservative donor Harlan Crow.  There followed reporting from Politico about an undisclosed land deal involving Justice Gorsuch.  And then, there have been stories from FoxNews about Justice Sotomayor's failure to recuse herself from cases involving her publisher.  Finally, The New York Times did a story on efforts by George Mason University's Scalia School of Law and the Notre Dame Law School to cozy up to the conservative Justices.  

Will Baude had pointed out in an earlier episode that if we are going to question the ethics of Justices receiving gifts from private parties and institutions, looking at the gifts they receive from universities, which are sometimes parties in cases before them, is a good place to start.  That seems a stretch to me.  The Justices, except for Justice Barrett, all attended either Harvard or Yale law schools.  They recruit their clerks from those and other top law schools, and their clerks then disperse to prestigious law schools around the country.  It would be bizarre if they did not maintain ties with their schools and with the people they know at those schools.  And there are myriad ways to distinguish guest lectures and even guest teaching gigs at summer program in Europe from lavish gifts from private donors.  But that is a topic for a different blog.

Still, keeping on brand as a faculty member at what Justice Scalia called a "lesser law school" when he last visited my former lesser law school, the Valparaiso University School of Law, let me propose a way forward.  Despite recent criticisms of the Court, especially from the left, the Court continues to be a very important, if not the most important institution in our legal system.  It makes sense that the Justices should go out to meet with, converse with, and inspire young lawyers-in-training.  But -- and I know you saw this coming -- Harvard, Yale, and the other elite schools need them far less that we do out in the Other Legal Academy.  Our students need to see them as models of professional success.  They need to hear how judges and Justices think about law, the legal profession, and the legal academy.   Getting to meet in person with the people who write the opinions they study in their courses will generate new enthusiasm for the study of law and heighten commitment and grit in students who could use some inspiration at a time when bar passage rates are plummeting in most states.  

Since the Early Republic, the Justices have resisted and resented riding circuit.  But in these times when the reputation of the Court is at its lowest since surveys of such matters first appeared, the Justices, as well as other members of the Federal Judiciary, need to get out and show their faces to students whom they will otherwise never meet.  And they need to deliver a message to those students that will bolster those students' faith and confidence in the profession that they so avidly hope to join.  

May 8, 2023 in Commentary, Law Schools, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Cardozo Cup Winner!

Eric Davis was happy to have the Cardozo Cup Competition as a reason to return to painting.  He produced two version of Judge Cardozo . 

The first is Judge Cardozo as he likely saw himself and as his friends saw him -- open, intellectually curious, kind.  His forehead is lined with age and with squiggles of tangled reasoning.

Screenshot 2023-04-26 at 3.07.56 PM

The second is what Cardozo represents for us, a sort of Velvet Elvis portrait of the man.

Screenshot 2023-04-26 at 3.07.39 PM Screenshot 2023-04-26 at 3.07.39 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here we have the winner, imitating Cardozo's fashion sense (inspired by Lady Duff perhaps?).

Screenshot 2023-04-26 at 3.09.03 PM

Screenshot 2023-04-26 at 3.09.03 PM

Honorable mention goes to Jeff Miller for his digital art:

Screenshot 2023-04-03 at 3.11.25 PM

And to Ivon Hernandez, Samantha Lara, Reagan Martinez, and Grace Pence for their Cardozo goes to a Taylor Swift concert travelogue.

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April 27, 2023 in Law Schools, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Second Annual Cardozo Cup Competition at OCU Law

Carodozo CupValparaiso University Law School had an annual softball tournament called the Cardozo Cup.  That was a great event, but I have found no evidence in the historical record that Judge Cardozo was a softball enthusiast. 

Last year, we started a new Cardozo Cup tradition at OCU Law in which first-year contracts students create original works of art commemorating Judge Cardozo.  Students shared everything from a photograph of Cardozo's grave to original works of art, a Cardozo-themed t-shirt, a photographic catalogue of a road trip with Judge Cardozo, a tableau featuring furniture and books that one might have found in Judge Cardozo's parlor, and a CardoZine.  

All together, there were nine entries this year, starting with this poem by Emily Hurt commemorating a famous Cardozo opinion:

Kent the Millionaire
Built a House for his Heirs
But he Screamed with Fright
"Jacob, These Pipes are Not Right"
And Judge Cardozo told him
No One Cares

More entries quickly followed.   Thanks to Essence Carter, you can check out Cardozo on Instagram @cardozo_said_so.  On Monday, the students voted on the entries, and accomplished what I could not: they chose a winner among these worthy creations.  Tomorrow, I will post the top three.  It was a tough competition, with all of the entries have some support.  Here's a taste:

Screenshot 2023-03-22 at 4.10.24 PMDrawing at left by Nic Gresham Screenshot 2023-04-26 at 7.25.41 AM

Tableau at right by Corinna Bethke

Cardozine below by Melody Parra

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With the students' help, my office now boasts a Cardozo shrine, including digital art by Jeff Miller, and a the Nic Gresham's Cardozo-pilled t-shirt.  If you need an explanation of the t-shirt, ask someone under thirty.

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April 26, 2023 in Law Schools, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 21, 2023

Weekend Frivolity: Reflections on Community and My Mother

Screenshot 2023-04-20 at 8.38.38 AMMy mother (at right, with my wife and me), who will be 92 in June, was hospitalized this week.  She lives in Jerusalem, and I live in Oklahoma.  Not much I can do but watch for reports from my brother who has gotten into a routine of driving up from his Kibbutz in the Arava (the southern section of Israel that borders on Jordan) when my mother gets sick.  She is not particularly ambulatory, but she is sharp and as active as she can be.  She was frustrated that she could not get released in time for a meeting of her women's organization (Na'amat).  An offshoot of Israel's national labor organization (Histadrut), Na'amat focuses on childcare and women's issues related to employment.  Much of my mother's adult life when she lived in the U.S. was devoted to volunteer work for that organization, and she went to work for them full-time when she moved to Israel in 1983.  She had baked cookies for the meeting, and as she was not able to attend, she dispatched her home health aid to deliver the cookies to the group. 

My mother's commitment to her Na'amat club is of a piece with our upbringing.  The central experience of my youth -- far more important than school or schul or neighborhood friends -- was the labor-zionist youth movement (Habonim -- now Habonim-Dror) of which I was a member from the time I was nine years old.  I devoted every summer to the movement's camp in Michigan until I graduated high school.  During the school year, I attended regular meetings of the organization on weekends, meetings that I led when I entered high school.  I have an ambivalent relationship with Zionism, but the communitarian ethos of the organization has stuck with me, and it is something that links me to my siblings to this day.  My sisters homes are gathering places.  My brother lives on a  collective (Kibbutz) that is being progressively privatized, over his objections.  My daughter (below left, with me and her grandmother) attended the same summer camp I did , not because I planned it that way, but because we visited for a reunion when she was eight , and she asked, "Dad, can I go to this camp, because I think it's a really good camp?"  

Screenshot 2023-04-20 at 9.21.56 AMAt that reunion, I was reminded of an incident of which I have no clear recollection.  When I was twelve or thirteen, Habonim had planned a winter seminar to be held in the one winterized building in our camp in Michigan.  Participants drove down from Wisconsin and then gathered in Skokie so that we could make the trek together, but a winter storm closed the roads, and we were all stranded in Chicago's north suburbs.  There were fifty kids with no place to go, so my mother offered our house, and we hosted the winter seminar in our 1200-square foot home.  Everyone had brought sleeping bags, and so at night there likely was very little floor space in the house that was not occupied by a sleeping child.  The person who reminded me of the incident had been one of our guests that weekend.  He thought my mother was extraordinary to host 50 kids for a weekend.  I could say that the event made no impression on me because it was extraordinary only in its magnitude.  Otherwise, it was totally in keeping with my mother's commitment to community.  That is true, but it is also true that  I just have very few memories of my childhood (and college is pretty spotty too).   I had to confirm the details with my sister.

I think I became an academic for two reasons.  First, I wanted to live a life of the mind.  Second, I wanted to be part of a community, and universities are ready-made communities.  Valparaiso's law school was a great first home for me because, when I arrived, there were still faculty who had been there since the 1970s and for whom the law school was the center of their existence.  Some of them lived within walking distance.  Many of them were in the building at all hours and on weekends.  They hosted events for students in their homes.  We had a reading group.  We knew each other's families.  Now that attitude towards a workspace is rare.  Staff and administrators sometimes praise me because, unlike many of my colleagues, I come to work every day.  I can't take credit for being more devoted to my work than my colleagues.  I just crave community.  

JFKThese are hard times for communitarians.  JFK said "Ask not what your country can do for you. . . . "  Ronald Reagan encouraged voters to ask not whether the country was better off but whether  they personally were better off under the Carter administration.  I wasn't old enough to vote, but I bristled.  The country voted for Reagan, and many still revere him.  He didn't single-handedly deflate the communitarian ethos of the New Deal and the New Frontier, but he paved the way for a libertarian ethos that seems to many of my students to be the only perspective that makes any sense.  And then came COVID, which took us from the world of bowling alone to a world in which professional success is measured in terms of one's ability to demand that one be permitted to work from home.

It is not for me to pass judgment.  There used to be communities for people like me outside of religious institutions, and now they seem to be dwindling.  That makes me sad, but I can see retirement on the horizon, and I may take some comfort then that the academy I leave is not the academy I joined.  Still, if I am blessed with  my mother's longevity, I hope that there will still be groups for whom I can bake some cookies.

April 21, 2023 in Law Schools, Miscellaneous, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, April 7, 2023

Reminder: COVID and the Casebook Registration Closes April 14th!

Temple Law School and the University of Wisconsin Law School are hosting a Workshop 4/21/23 at Temple Law School:  Contract Law in Action:  COVID and the Casebook.  This free workshop (hybrid and in-person) will focus on (i) the effect of the last few years on the delivery of Contracts teaching materials (e.g., what is the role of the Contracts casebook?); and (ii) how, in early hindsight, have our predictions about COVID and Contract doctrine, documented in a 2021 issue of Law and Contemporary Problems, played out?

Templed
We have great panelists, including Ed Cheng (Vanderbilt), Sarah Dadush (Rutgers), Pamela Foohey (Cardozo), Bob Hillman (Cornell), Dave Hoffman (Penn), Marissa Jackson (Richmond), Thomas Joo (UC-Davis), Kish Parella (W&L), Dylan Penningroth (Berkeley), Mitra Sharafi (Wisconsin), Andrew Schwartz (Colorado), Gordon Smith (BYU) and Rip Verkerke (UVA), 

We hope you can join us.  The registration link is here.  Please note that registration closes April 14, 2023.

Jonathan Lipson, Rachel Rebouche, Wendy Epstein, Gilat Bachar (organizers).

April 7, 2023 in Conferences, Contract Profs, Law Schools, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 30, 2023

Residential Appointments at the Harvard Project on the Foundations of Private Law

The Project on the Foundations of Private Law at Harvard Law School is seeking applicants for full-time, one- to two-year residential appointments, starting in the fall of 2023. The Project on the Foundations of Private Law is an interdisciplinary research program at Harvard Law School dedicated to scholarly research in private law. Applicants should be aspiring academics with a primary interest in one or more of property, contracts, torts, intellectual property, commercial law, unjust enrichment, restitution, equity, and remedies. The Project seeks applicants with a serious interest in legal structures and institutions, and welcomes a variety of perspectives, including economics, history, philosophy, and comparative law.

Foundations
Application materials are due to Bradford Conner (
conner at law.harvard.edu) by 9:00 a.m. on February 28, 2023. Details on both the fellowship and the application can be found at http://blogs.harvard.edu/privatelaw/people/ under "Apply to be a Postdoctoral Fellow."

January 30, 2023 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Visiting Position at Wyoming College of Law

WyomingThe University of Wyoming College of Law welcomes applications for a Visiting Professor at any faculty rank to teach in the areas of business law and/or commercial law.  Specific curricular needs include, possibly Contracts, Business Organizations, Secured Transactions, Consumer Protection, and Securities Regulation.  This position can be either for a full-time, 1-year appointment or a 1-semester appointment. 

We especially welcome applications from candidates who would enhance the diversity of our faculty. Applicants for these positions should hold a J.D. degree from an accredited law school, have distinguished academic credentials, relevant legal experience, and a demonstrated commitment to outstanding teaching, research, and scholarship. The University of Wyoming is dedicated to ensuring a fair and safe environment for our faculty, staff, students, and visitors.  For more information, please contact Associate Dean Sam Kalen.

Sam Kalen
Associate Dean
University of Wyoming College of Law
Dept. 3035
1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY. 82071
[email protected]

January 30, 2023 in Help Wanted, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Update on the Robot Lawyer in Court

My student Jewel Porter provided me with the following update on the DoNotPay story that we ran last week.

Screenshot 2023-01-26 at 5.20.48 AMNice to see that DoNotPay has not forgotten his ABCs -- the rest of the thread is about the other marvelous services his company provides.

Alas, there is just no way to find out whether DoNotPay's robotic attorney could actually help a customer beat a parking ticket.  Or is there? If Mr. Browder is really interested in trying out his robotic attorney in a real setting (but apparently not one in which his liberty is at stake), my offer stands.  In exchange for a $1 million donation to my law school, I am ready to organize a Supreme Court style moot court at which Mr. Browder can show us the capabilities of his AI attorney.  This offer is contingent on us coming to formal agreement and all rules being followed.

Curious minds might inquire what State Bar prosecutors are and whether they have the authority to throw someone in jail for six months.  Do robots not get due process?

January 26, 2023 in Current Affairs, Law Schools, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Yale and Harvard Leave USNews Rankings: A View from the Other Legal Academy

Gerken_heatherAs reported by Anemona Hartocollis in The New York Times here, Yale Law School and Harvard Law School have announced that they are no longer going to cooperate in the US News and World Report law school rankings process.  Dean Heather Gerken (right) of Yale explains Yale's reasons hereDean John Manning (Left) of Harvard explains Harvard's reasons here.  Their reasons are good, solid, and in my view commendable.  If you have not already done so, you should read their brief explanations of their reasons.  I have a few quick thoughts.

John ManningFirst, it is not clear that this decision will have any impact on the rankings.  Yale is #1 and has been #1 since the 1990s.  Harvard is currently #4, and that must suck, but Harvard is likely to retain its status as a top-ten law school even if US News should continue to resist the reforms to its algorithms that the Deans are demanding.  The bulk of the information that US News uses to compile its rankings is publicly available.  That's why low-ranked law schools that are unhappy with their rankings cannot simply pull out.  US News will still rank them, just a little more sloppily and without giving the low-ranked law schools a chance to plead their case. 

Moreover, according to US News, 40% of the its ranking score is based on reputational surveys.  According to Sarah Lawsky, somewhere between 1/3 of 2/5 of entry-level hires at law schools got their J.D.'s from either Yale or Harvard.  Surveys of law professors account for 25% of the US News ranking.  Advantage: Yale and Harvard.  No doubt, Yale and Harvard grads are overrepresented among the other legal professionals surveyed.  If US News stands its ground and continues to include Harvard and Yale in its surveys, its graduates are still likely to rank their alma maters very highly.  And they are not alone.  I've never been to either Yale or Harvard law school. Still, knowing many academics who earned their law degrees at Yale and Harvard, and knowing the writings of current and past faculty at those institutions, I would also rank them at the top.  I can't say the same for the University of Mississippi Law School (a school chosen more or less at random).  I'm sure it's a fine law school, with fine faculty members and fine graduates, but off the top of my head, I can't name any.  And I'm confident the good people at that law school would say the same about my law school.  

Over on the Twitter, someone from The Legal Academy opined that, without USNews, law schools are unregulated, and "predatory" law schools would just take every applicant without any consequence, even if the admitted students are incapable of becoming lawyers.  Once again, when really smart people say things about my work environment that are so obviously wrong, I conclude that they must be working in a completely different environment.  Down here in the Other Legal Academy, we give little or no thought to USNews rankings.  We are unranked and will remain so.  Every once in a while an unranked school might jump up to number 130 or so, but the reasons for the change are mysterious, and often the boost is fleeting.  Absent a deus ex machina, such as an eight-figure donor or a state university that wants to adopt a private, non-profit law school, not much changes near the bottom.

Screen Shot 2022-11-17 at 7.44.10 AMIt may well be that folks in The Legal Academy can scoff at ABA regulators, but here in The Other Legal Academy, deans sweat, administrative assistants work overtime, and even faculty members toil over planning documents, inspections, and follow-ups, because ABA sanctions are an existential threat.  My former law school was shut down in the aftermath of ABA discipline.  The USNews rankings remained unchanged, and that institution had long since given up on trying to move that needle.  I have been at my new institution for over two years, and I don't recall any conversations with colleagues, staff, administrators, or students about US News.  Compliance with ABA regulations comes up all the time.  If I even mention the ABA to my Associate Dean, she flies into a rage.  In fact, last month, her face turned green and she took to carrying a broomstick (as illustrated at right, where she is pictured with our dapper Dean), and I can only assume it had something to do with the ABA.

So, no, the very institutions that people in the Legal Academy think ought to be regulated by USNews are largely indifferent to it.  It ignores us, and we reciprocate.  We are instead regulated by . . . our regulators, the ABA.  US News matters to The Legal Academy.  And it may well be that the law schools at the top of the heap have the market power to regulate their regulator.  US News does not have a lot going for it other than its rankings.  If Yale and Harvard can get their chief competitors to stop cooperating with US News, they may be able to force some changes in US News's approach.  And that would be all to the good.  Either way, Yale will remain #1, and Harvard will stay in the top five, if not the top three.

November 17, 2022 in Commentary, Current Affairs, In the News, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)