Site Meter

Author: Sarah Waldeck

0

Chicago-Kent Seeks VAPS

Some of our readers may be interested in the following job posting:

Chicago-Kent College of Law is seeking immediate applicants for Visiting Assistant Professors. The VAP program is a centerpiece of the Chicago-Kent legal writing program. The program is designed to provide students with a faculty that has diverse academic interests and legal practice experience and to provide promising teachers an opportunity to bridge from their practice and legal writing teaching experience to doctrinal law teaching and academic scholarship.

Visiting Assistant Professors are generally appointed for two-year terms, with the possibility for a single one- or two-year renewal, or in extraordinary cases, for a long-term contract. In addition to teaching Legal Writing, each Visiting Assistant Professor teaches a single doctrinal course each year. The school provides Visiting Assistant Professors with considerable assistance and guidance in developing their academic scholarship, including a Research and Travel fund. Traditionally, Visiting Assistant Professors use their time at the school to write and publish one or more scholarly articles as a basis (together with their teaching experience) for eventually attaining a tenure-track law teaching position. In addition to providing faculty mentors, the school offers a series of informal “roundtables” at which faculty members, including Visiting Assistant professors, can discuss works in progress with their colleagues.

Over the years, the Chicago-Kent Visiting Assistant Professor program has produced exceptional doctrinal and skills professors. Current VAPS have accepted tenure-track jobs in the fall at the Washington & Lee University School of Law, the University of Richmond School of Law, and the Lewis & Clark Law School. If you are interested in applying to the VAP program, please submit a cover letter, current curriculum vitae, one writing sample and a research agenda (if you have one) to Professor Mary Rose Strubbe, Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program, mstrubbe@kentlaw.edu.

Diversity candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

 

2

Did Rahm Learn Anything From Cass?

This week Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois signed legislation that will allow the City of Chicago to put speed cameras in the one-eighth mile buffer zones around schools and parks.   As the Chicago Tribune has reported, the City has more than 600 public schools and only slightly fewer parks, so this legislation gives Chicago the authority to cover roughly half of its territory with speed cameras.  The City says it will concentrate on the approximately 80 areas where the need for speed enforcement is particularly acute.

Although Quinn signed the legislation, the cameras are the handiwork of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.   The Mayor says he developed the plan after school officials and the police expressed concerns about public safety.  Emanuel’s critics—and he has a lot of them—paint the legislation as being more about revenue generation than public safety.   Drivers who go more than 5 miles over the speed limit will be fined $50 and drivers who go more than 11 miles over the limit will be fined $100.  The Mayor has said repeatedly that he doesn’t care if the cameras generate any revenue; the legislation is all about keeping kids safe.

Let’s take the Mayor at his word and assume that his only goal is to make Chicago safer.  What would traffic engineers and behavioral economists advise?  They would tell him to install dynamic speed displays, which announce the posted speed limit and display in large digital numbers the speed of each driver going past.   One of the first experiments with these displays took place in school zones in suburban Los Angeles in 2003.  Drivers slowed down by an average of 14 percent and in some zones the average speed dropped below the limit.   The use of dynamic speed displays has since become commonplace and research has consistently shown that they cause drivers to slow down by about 10 percent for several miles.

These displays upend the usual approach to traffic enforcement because there is no penalty for displaying a speed that is higher than the posted limit.   Instead, the display works by creating a feedback loop: (1) sensors instantly capture and relay information about the driver’s speed; (2) the large public display of numbers carries real punch because few people want to be perceived as reckless or careless; and (3) the driver has immediate opportunity to slow down by simply easing up on the gas.   This feedback loop is so effective that traffic safety experts have concluded it does a better job of changing driving habits than techniques that depend on police issuing tickets.  (You can read about dynamic speed displays and feedback loops more generally here.)

Chicago’s speed cameras will be accompanied by highly visible signage, so time will tell whether the combination of signage and speed cameras make drivers slow down in the short term and change their driving habits in the long term.   If I were advising a mayor whose priority was public safety, however, I’d recommend the use of dynamic speed displays that provide effective feedback to drivers in the moments before they enter a school zone, and not cameras whose feedback comes in the mail several days after the driver already has sped by a school.

0

Introducing Elizabeth A. Wilson

I’m pleased to announce that Professor Elizabeth A. Wilson is joining us for a guest visit.
 
Elizabeth is an assistant professor in the Whitehead School of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University.  She came to Seton Hall after working in private practice for nearly five years.   As an Associate at WilmerHale and then at Baach Robinson & Lewis (now Lewis Baach), she worked on a number of high-profile cases, including Boumediene v. Bush and Rasul v. Myers.  Her special expertise is damages litigation.   Elizabeth is a former professor of English at Yale, a Fulbright Scholar, and a Joint Bunting Institute and Children’s Hospital Fellow on Family Violence.
 
Elizabeth’s publications include:  Is Torture All In a Day’s Work?  Scope of Employment, the Absolute Immunity Doctrine, and Civil Torture Litigation Against U.S. Officials,  6 Rutgers J. L. & Pub. Pol’y 175 (2008); The War on Terrorism and “the Water’s Edge”:  Sovereignty, “Territorial Jurisdiction,” and the Reach of the U.S. Constitution in the Guantánamo Detainee Litigation, 8 UPenn J. Const L. 165 (March 2006); “’Suing for Lost Childhood’:  Child Sexual Abuse, the Delayed Discovery Rule, and the Problem of Finding Justice for Adult-Survivors of Child Abuse, 12 UCLA Women’s L.J. 145 (2003).  Her overview of post-9/11 damages litigation –   “Damages or Nothing”:  The Post-Boumediene Constitution and Compensation for Human Rights Violations After 9/11 –will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Seton Hall Law Review.
 
Elizabeth will begin blogging from Amman, Jordan, where she is working with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative on updating the human rights curriculum in Jordan’s law schools.
0

Introducing Mark Edwards

     I’m pleased to announce that Mark Edwards is back for a repeat visit during the month of January.  Mark is an Associate Professor at William Mitchell College of Law, where he teaches Property I, Property II, Comparative Property Rights, and Constitutional Criminal Procedure.  Mark is regularly voted Teacher of the Year at William Mitchell and most recently received the award for academic year 2010-2011.
     Mark is a contributing editor at PropertyProf Blog.  His publications include Acceptable Deviance and Property Rights, 43 Conn. L. Rev. 457 (2010); Nationalization, De-Nationalization, Re-Nationalization: Some Historical and Comparative Perspective,  30 Pace Law Review 1214 (2009); Law and the Parameters of Acceptable Deviance, 97 J. of Crim. Law & Criminology 49 (2006) ; and The Path of the Law Ands, 1997 Wisc. Law R. 375 (1997) (with Marc Galanter).  He is currently finishing an article on property restitution, particularly in the Czech Republic, where he has been doing research for the past two summers.  You can find Mark’s SSRN page here.
     Welcome back, Mark!
0

Ira Glass v. Amanda Williams: Knockout Punch

In the event you read this prior post and missed the coverage in the news today, Judge Amanda Williams has agreed to resign from the bench in January and has also promised not to seek another judgeship.  In exchange the Georgia Judicial Qualification Commission dropped the complaints of misconduct against the Judge, who presided over the state’s largest drug court.  On one level, this result is unsurprising because resignation is the usual result when complaints are brought by the Commission.  The resignation, however, is a dramatic fall from grace for a judge who recently won re-election to a sixth term.

 

1

Ira Glass v. Amanda Williams

If you missed the story Very Tough Love when it aired last March on This American Life, it put a new spin on that old adage about local politics mattering most.  When you are a drug court defendant, the judicial philosophy and temperament of the judge who manages your case matters a lot, particularly since entering the drug court means waiving many procedural rights.  The story, which focused on a drug court judge who had recently won reelection to a sixth term, was remarkable for its laser focus on judicial discretion and how much can go awry when that discretion is abused.  It was also impossible to listen to the story without speculating about how furious the judge must have been when she heard it.

Furious enough, it turns out, to threaten to sue This American Life and reporter Ira Glass for libel.  She sent her letter,  Glass responded, and for a while all seemed to be quiet.

This past week, however, Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Committee filed a formal complaint against the judge—Amanda Williams, who presides over the drug court in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit.   Among other allegations, the complaint states that Judge Williams jailed defendants indefinitely, ordered a suicidal defendant into solitary confinement for more than two months, and ordered a defendant jailed when he disputed the results of a drug test.

Judge Williams has the opportunity to respond to the charges in writing.  Unless she and the Committee settle (which usually results in a judge stepping aside), the Commiittee will hold a trial-like proceeding on the charges.

We’ll see what happens next.  But if you haven’t been following this, it’s worth clicking on the links to get up to speed.  Reality radio is way more interesting than reality television.

 

Photo Credit:  Krista Johansen

 

 

 

0

Women in Big Law

This week the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) released its Survey on the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, which compiles data on the professional progress of women in the nation’s 200 largest firms. Most of the reporting on NAWL’s survey results has focused on the decrease in the number of female first and second year associates.  While the decline is only slight—47 percent of first and second year associates are women, compared to 48 percent a year ago—it is the first decrease since NAWL began reporting survey results in 2006.   NAWL speculates that the decline is attributable to changes in law school enrollments, where there have also been slight decreases in the percentage of female students.

The most interesting part of the report, however, discusses where women find themselves in the hierarchal complexities of today’s law firms.  As the NAWL survey points out, large law firms are no longer comprised of simply partners, associates, and a few of counsel.  Instead, firms are a mix of equity and non-equity partners, associates, staff attorneys, and of counsel.  Read on after the jump for sobering highlights about how women tend to fit into organizationally-complex large law firms. Read More

0

Introducing Michael Zimmer

I’m pleased to welcome Michael Zimmer back to Concurring Opinions. A professor of law at Loyola University Chicago, Mike is a widely recognized scholar in the areas of employment discrimination law, labor and employment law and constitutional law. He is also co-author of one of the first (and still the leading) employment discrimination casebooks as well as co-author of the first casebook on international and comparative employment law.

Mike received his A.B. and J.D. from Marquette University, where he was Editor in Chief of the Marquette Law Review.  He also holds an LL.M from Columbia University, where he was named a James Kent Fellow. Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Thomas E. Fairchild of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and then served as an associate at Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee.

He began his law school teaching career at the University of South Carolina and he has taught at a number of law schools, most recently as a visiting professor of law at Northwestern University. He joined the Seton Hall University School of Law in 1978, served as Associate Dean from 1990 to 1994 and was on the faculty until 2008.

Welcome back, Mike!

3

Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at Law and Society

The Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network (CRN) is a newly-constituted group that seeks to bring together scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory.  This year CRN is hoping to organize a number of panels at Law and Society (LSA), which will take place in Honolulu, Hawaii from June 5-8, 2012. 

All are invited to submit paper proposals for these panels. There is no single topic or theme to which paper submissions must conform: they should simply relate to feminist legal theory in some shape or form. CRN particularly welcomes proposals which would permit it to collaborate with other research networks, which have organized around topics such as Critical Research on Race and the Law, or Gender, Sexuality and the Law. Also, because the LSA meeting attracts scholars from other disciplines, multidisciplinary proposals are welcome. CRN’s goal in organizing these panels is to stimulate focused discussion on papers on which scholars are currently working. Thus, while proposals may reference work which is well on the way to publication, CRN is particularly eager to solicit proposals for works-in-progress which are at an earlier stage, and which will benefit from the discussion that the panels will provide.

Paper proposals are due by November 14, 2011.  Instructions for submitting proposals are after the jump.

Read More

0

Brooke Shields to Play Suzette Kelo in Lifetime Movie

Really, the headline says it all.  But I am disappointed I didn’t see this one coming.  Anyone who has read Jeff Benedict’s Little Pink House should have seen its made-for-TV-movie potential.

What actually got me thinking about Kelo, however, is the reporting this week in various media outlets that Justice Richard Palmer, one of the four Connecticut justices who found New London’s exercise of eminent domain to be constitutional, apologized to Suzette Kelo after hearing a keynote speech by Benedict.  According to Benedict, Palmer approached Kelo and said, “Had I known all of what [Benedict] just told us I would have voted differently.  I’m sorry.”   

This certainly seems like grist for the Kelo mill, especially since it’s not every day that a judge apologizes to a litigant for having voted against her.  Except that the back story matters a lot here, because that’s not what Justice Palmer says he did.  Rather, as the Justice eventually clarified to Benedict, “Those comments were predicated on certain facts that we did not know (and could not have known) at the time of our decision and of which I was not fully aware until your talk — namely, that the city’s development plan had never materialized and, as a result, years later, the land at issue remains barren and wholly undeveloped.”   The Justice further added the Court could not have known those facts “because they were not yet in existence.”  Moreover, the Justice later responded to a series of written questions from Benedict, one of which was, “Looking back at the Kelo decision (by the Connecticut Supreme Court), how do you see it now? In other words, has it led to good law?”  The Justice responded, “I think that our court ultimately made the right decision insofar as it followed governing U.S. Supreme Court precedent.”  (The fullest account I’ve found of Justice Palmer’s encounter with Kelo and Benedict is here.)

So, not exactly an apology, but perhaps instead a very human expression of regret over what Suzette Kelo went through. 

By the way, readers will note that I chose not to refresh anyone’s recollection about the substance of Suzette Kelo’s case or the eventual ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.  Instead, you can all just catch the movie. 

 

Hat Tip to my former student Eric Abes.