Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 27, 2005

Keep Close Hold on Your Teaching Position!!

Sara K. Stadler, an assistant professor at Emory, has prepared an article entitled The Bulls and Bears of Law Teaching which is describe on SSRN as follows:

This Essay provides readers with a unique perspective on the world of law teaching: Employing a quirky methodology, Professor Stadler predicts which subjects are likely to be most (and least) in demand among faculties looking to hire new professors in future - rating those subjects, like so many stocks, from "strong buy" to "weak buy" to "weak sell" to "strong sell". To generate the data on which her methodology is based, Professor Stadler catalogued, by subject, almost every Article, Book Review, Booknote, Comment, Essay, Note, Recent Case, Recent Publication, and Recent Statute published in the Harvard Law Review between and including the years 1946 and 2003. In the end, she found an interesting (and, she thinks, predictive) relationship between the subjects on which faculty choose to write and the subjects on which students choose to write.

Prof. Stadler's results do not bode well for wills, trusts, and estates professor-want-to-bes -- she ranked our field as a "strong sell."  Here is an excerpt from her discussion:

Why would I include these two curves [admiralty and trusts/estates] on the same chart? They have at least one thing in common: Since 1989, both curves look like the heart monitor of a terminal patient; although the heart may be beating, however feebly, for trusts and estates, the doctor called a “code” in admiralty law more than a decade ago.  This is not to say that these courses are uninteresting; at Emory, at least, both are taught by popular professors, and both are well subscribed. But they are not oversubscribed, and class sizes are modest. If nothing else, this chart shows that law schools are making efficient use of their resources in admiralty law and trusts and estates. There is, to use an economics term, equilibrium between supply (on the faculty side) and demand (on the student side). Even when it comes to hiring, my handful of law schools may have gotten this one right: 0 in admiralty; 4 (.92% of the total) in trusts and estates.

My advice to hopefuls in these subjects is this: You know who you are. Find the people like you; wait for them to retire; and replace yourselves in the population.


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