Category: Law School

5

AALS Law Professor Meat Market

meatmarket1a.jpgFor aspiring law professors, the infamous hiring conference, known as the “meat market,” is this week. Best of luck!

Here are some helpful posts from Concurring Opinions:

1. Solove’s advice on job interviews

2. Kaimi’s advice on getting to your job interviews

I’d like to say that my post is more instructive and Kaimi’s is more humorous, but if you can’t get to your interview . . . well, you probably won’t get a callback. As Woody Allen famously said: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

More advice on law teaching can be found at:

1. Solove’s roundup of PrawfsBlawg teaching interview advice

2. Brad Wendel’s advice and roundup of useful links to more advice

3. Brian Leiter’s advice

4. Jack Chin and Denise Morgan’s advice and roundup of useful links to more advice

5. Michael Madison’s advice and useful links

2

When the review just isn’t expedited enough

Via a reader comes this query (with details murkified for obvious reasons):

Let us say that Levinson receives an offer from the Basic Law Review (BLR), set to publish in spring 05. BLR tells Levinson that they expect their issue to go out in March 2005. Levinson turns down competing offers to accept the offer from Basic L. Rev.

Levinson waits for the follow-up. And waits. And waits. By late February, Levinson still hasn’t heard any follow-up. An e-mail draws no response. Levinson pokes around on the BLR website. It seems to indicate that they still have not published the first issue for their 2004-05 volume.

Levinson sends another e-mail to BLR, asking when they expect to publish the spring 05 issue. BLR article editor at last responds, indicates that in fact they are at least several issues behind, and that they can’t give any estimate for when the spring 2005 issue will be published. It might be a full year late; perhaps more.

Read More

9

Fantasy Law School League

Folks have joked about the idea of running a “Fantasy Law School” league (a la a fantasy football league) for some time now. But the recently-posted Leiter rankings, combined with USNews and a wealth of statistics (pseudo and otherwise), indicate that we are entering a brave new era in the evaluation of law school quality and talent. No more fuzzy and impressionistic scouting of talent; bring on the new and more scientific “Moneyball” approach. Herewith, some proposed rules (comments and suggestions welcome):

1. Season: 1 year, starting Sep. 1

2. Maximum 10 law schools per league, 15 law professors per school.

3. Required positions: Dean, Contracts, Property, Torts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Corporations, Evidence, Tax, Junior Faculty Member (less than 5 years), Student Body (pick school). Remaining positions are optional, but must be in different subject matters. Subject matter positions are for teaching, and may be completely disconnected from research.

4. Statistics:

(a) donations: $200k = 1 point.

(b) citations: 1 cite in Westlaw’s JLR or SCT = 1 point.

(c) ssrn downloads: 10 downloads = 1 point. (gaming of downloads will result in forfeit).

(d) law review articles: top-10 journal = 10 points. 10-30 journal = 5 points. remaining = 1 point.

(e) books: top-5 academic press = 20 points. casebook, new = 10 points, new edition = 5 points. all others = 1 point.

(f) entering class median LSAT: 170-180 = 10 points, 165-170 = 5 points, 160-165 = 1 point.

(g) entering class median GPA: 3.8-4.0 = 10 points, 3.6-3.8 = 5 points, 3.4-3.6 – 1 point.

(h) blogging: 20 posts = 0 points. 40 posts or more = -1 point.

5. Multiplier: points will be doubled for junior faculty (under 5 years)

6. Draft: date: August 1. random initial order, S-draft (e.g. first round: 1,2,3 … second round: 10,9,8 …).

7. Trades: no limits on number of trades. trades may be vetoed w/in 2 days by vote of 50% of other players.

8. Waivers: players may pick up unclaimed professors at any time, subject to maximum professor limit.

Now if only we could get someone to write a program to track this …

10

What Next, Google Filmstrips?

I use audio-visual materials pretty extensively in my intellectual property classes, but I never thought to use them for my first-year property class. That is, until this year.

Google Maps and Google Images have made it possible to illustrate property disputes in a way I never could have before. Take, for example, the classic case, Fontainebleau Hotel Corp. v. Forty-Five Twenty-Five, Inc., involving two hotels on Miami Beach. The Fontainebleau starts building a 14-storey addition which will cast a shadow over the neighboring Eden Roc’s pool and beach area.

Here’s a picture from Google Maps, showing the shadow (imagine the shadow slowly moving clockwise as the sun crosses the sky, eventually covering the Eden Roc’s pool area):

fontaine3.jpg

On the continuation page, you can also see a picture from a different perspective.

Every year, it seems I rely more and more on some kind of tool created by Google (whether Search, GMail, Images, Maps, whatever). Yet another sign that Google is taking over the world.

UPDATE: I should note that credit for finding the above picture goes to the very tech-savvy Michelle Kanter, BCLS class of ’08.

Read More

0

Leiter, Caron and Hodnicki and a Typology of Successful Academics

It has been well-reported that Brian Leiter, Paul Caron and Joe Hodnicki have teamed up to produce the latest non-USNews law school ranking data. One part of their project measures faculty quality using the proxy of the citations of the more productive members of each faculty. The list is here.

I know our legal readers are way (way) beyond rankings, so they might not actually visit the site. That would be a shame, because the trio wrote a fascinating introductory section discussing six ways in which citation studies may be distorted. The basic theme seems to be that although we would normally assume that work that is cited more often is “better” than work that isn’t, some folks’ work will get cited more often than quality alone would dictate. Those distorted writers are (to paraphrase):

1. Drudges.

2. Treatise writers.

3. Flash-in-the pans faddists.

4. The very wrong.

5. “[O]nce-productive dinosaurs.”

6. Public law scholars, constitutionalists and crits.

Read More

2

Teaching Information Privacy Law

privacy1a.jpgThis post was originally posted on PrawfsBlawg on May 10, 2005. I have made a few small edits to this post.

For the law professor readers of this blog, especially newer professors (or professors-to-be) who are still figuring out the courses they want to teach, I thought I’d recommend information privacy law as a course you might consider teaching. (I have a casebook in the field, so this is really a thinly-disguised self-plug.)

Information privacy law remains a fairly young field, and it has yet to take hold as a course taught consistently in most law schools. I’m hoping to change all that. So if you’re interested in exploring issues involving information technology, criminal procedure, or free speech, here are a few reasons why you should consider adding information privacy law to your course mix:

1. It’s new and fresh. Lots of media attention on privacy law issues these days. Students are very interested in the topic.

2. Lively cases and fascinating issues abound. There’s barely a dull moment in the course. Every topic is interesting; there is no rule against perpetuities to cover!

Read More

2

Law Professors and Consulting

A question for lawprofs out there: what role, if any, does consulting play in your life as a professor? My sense is that lawprofs have widely diverging experiences on this score, and I’d be interested in hearing about some of them.

Because of the whole tenure-thing, I’ve made very little time for consulting. Yet on a couple of occasions, I’ve helped out on litigation raising interesting issues in my area of expertise. And those experiences have, on the whole, been extremely positive, informing my understanding of these areas in important ways (and sometimes helping to pay the bills, to boot).

Yet this has largely been the result of happenstance, without any concrete plan. Do other folks approach this more systematically? What considerations go into deciding whether to consult? Do you view consulting as an integral part of your research agenda? Or more like a side-activity?

0

Unusual Law School Classes: Quiz Answer Key

lawgavel.jpgIf you attempted to take the quiz I set out in my post earlier this week about unusual law school classes, I just posted the answer key in the comments to the post. Please continue to submit comments about your unusual law school courses and course descriptions. I may collect some of my favorite entries from the comments and emails I received and post them sometime soon.

12

Death of the Casebook?

casebooks.jpg

Predictions about the death of the book have so far been premature and it’s not hard to see why. Books are a very nice technology. Portable, durable, easy-to-read, stable – people like books, and they aren’t going away any time soon.

But what about casebooks? They’re heavy, inconvenient, not terribly portable – and no one really has warm fuzzy feelings about curling up with the latest edition of Gunther. (Co-Blogger Nate may be an exception). Can we safely make a prediction about the death (or at least transformation) of the casebook?

I can see a number of advantages to a purely electronic casebook: (1) weight, or lack thereof (bits are light); (2) ease of updating (no more supplements); (3) customizability (no need to buy all those extra chapters); (4) ability for students to cut and paste into outlines; (5) multimedia, etc.

I can also see several disadvantages: (1) lack of access to computers; (2) dislike of reading material on a computer screen; (3) lack of portability. But it seems to me that two of these disadvantages are becoming less significant as (1) computers become ubiquitous in law school; and (2) people seem increasingly comfortable reading material off of computer screens.

So, is anyone ready to predict the death of the casebook? Are we stuck with casebooks? Or is there some interesting hybrid we should be looking forward to? (Note this is not a purely disinterested question, as I’m currently working on a casebook).

5

Law books just want to be free

One of the things that has suprised me most about becoming a law professor is the quantity of free material everybody suddenly wants to send me. Representatives from every imaginable legal publisher send me copies of a dozen different books or supplements each month.

Not that I’m complaining. I enjoy being catered to, the free books are nice, and I even manage to read a few of them. But a large (and growing) stack of them are ones that I’ll probably seldom, or never, even open. And like Christine, I’m starting to wonder just how much my own stack of never-gonna-open-em books contributes to the $100 price tag of law books. Is it more than Ian Ayres’ $10?