Monday, May 09, 2005
Fantasy Law School
There's an interesting game of rotisserie league law school junior faculty picking going on in the comments to this post by Daniel Solove. Though I neither condemn nor endorse it, I suppose this is one way of helping junior or young tenured people get "noticed." In playing this game, I would think it doesn't make sense to focus more attention on those folks already in the heat of the love cascade: ie., Noah Feldman, who already got an offer at Yale from NYU; Doug Kysar from Cornell, who's already had a visit at Harvard.
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NO NO NO....
Please, everyone, do NOT start rumor-mongoring about who is "hot." It is disgusting enough that so much lateral hiring works that way. We're supposed to be the next generation, more progressive, committed to changing and reforming the legal academy, right? Let's not play that game. If we do, the game will be just that, a game in which people start puffing up their friends in a nice little "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" circle. Dan started a nice "article spotlight." If you think someone has written a terrific article, by all means post it, discuss it, circualte, explain why it is interesting... but please let's not get into this content-free "who's hot" game.
Posted by: don'tdoit | May 9, 2005 10:53:23 AM
I very much agree with the last comment of avoiding playing the "who's hot" game. It is not the right way to get noticed. The idea of the "article spotlight" is a great one.
Posted by: Daniel Solove | May 9, 2005 11:03:44 AM
Hmm, "don'tdoit" and Solove's common reaction is interesting. It would be one thing if people posted suggestions about who is "hot," but I think the initial suggestion was to post who is "good, but perhaps underplaced." If it wasn't phrased that way, perhaps that's an improvement, not sure. In any event, the problem of not discussing people at all is that it ignores the inevitability that such discussion occurs ALL the time among faculty privately. "Don'tdoit" recognizes this but prefers "clean hands" for hir generation of scholars.
I doubt anyone would suggest that people should strictly rely, for faculty hiring/lateral decisions, upon the mere fact that someone's name was mentioned (in the rarefied atmosphere of comments to this blog no less). But good name dropping (as opposed to bad name dropping "that person sucks and didn't deserve that job") will stimulate demand for that person's scholarship. The more names that get generated, the more likely it is that it's not just the same few people who are talked about through the back channels.
That said, the article spotlight device does seem a good middle ground; I just wonder whether the embrace of even that device will loosen if the meaning of an "article spotlight" becomes a substitute for name dropping in other places to achieve "getting noticed."
Posted by: Kayser | May 9, 2005 2:43:24 PM
A more fun game to play would be this: Let's recall all the professors who were considered "hot" 5 or 10 years ago, and see which if any of them panned out. My guess is that you don't hear from most of them any more.
Posted by: Joe | May 9, 2005 4:04:15 PM