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Friday, September 02, 2022


IMG_0367Earlier this year, I signed a phase-out agreement with Suffolk University, probably two years earlier than I had originally planned.  You give up your tenure and agree to teach half-time for up to three years (at your option) and there's a small (nay, insignificant) financial incentive.  You have to take the deal before the end of the year in which you turn 70, which for me is still two years away.  But I think COVID and Markie (see left) pushed me to pull the cord sooner.  On July 1, 2022, I ended fifteen years of tenure-track and tenure (begun when I was 53), the longest I ever kept one job.

My relationship with PrawfsBlawg spans more than my academic career. I started as a frequent commenter back in 2005 or so, while I was still the GC of a chemical company. Dan Markel invited me to guest blog in the summer of 2006, just before I started a visiting gig at post-Katrina Tulane. The "raw" in Prawfs still lingers in the annual hiring and law review submission posts, but the raw profs I met in 2006 (particularly at the Law & Society meeting in Baltimore) are mostly now well-established mid-career or senior scholars and teachers.  Some are even deans.  Since I was already medium well done when I started this, I'm now well overcooked.  But I've succumbed to the self-indulgence of semi-biographical work along the way, like how to get hired on tenure track when you've been out of law school for twenty-six years or reflecting on law scholarship and teaching having gotten tenure at age 59.  Why stop now?

This is the first summer since 2008 (I think) that I've not committed myself to publishing a piece by getting a summer research stipend.  Over the last several years, I have written a lot about computation and lawyering. That included positing a robot lawyer that I named after Judge Amalya Kearse, predicting the persistence of "dumb" contracts, and comparing human and computer decision-making.  It involved digging deep into the differences between, on one hand, the discrete and binary and, on the other, the continuous and analog.  But my actual coding experience was limited to the Basic we spent learning in my high school pre-calculus class in 1971, some Boolean stuff on an Excel spreadsheet,

and knowing how to click "HTML" in the upper right corner of TypePad to code a block quote that looks like this.

Hence, my summer project was to learn enough computer coding to make something of practical use.  I started with "Hello, World" exercises in C, then Python, then Javascript and HTML (all in my Visual Studio Code text editor).  By the end of August, I'd created two online interactive exercises to teach accounting to my business law students and a self-executing practice exam review for first-year contracts.

So stay tuned if you like.  I am going to post a little bit this September about being in the September of one's career and about computer coding and lawyering.

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on September 2, 2022 at 08:01 AM in Blogging, Lipshaw, Odd World, Teaching Law | Permalink


Congratulations and best wishes, Jeff. Let me know if you ever get out to SoCal. I'd love to replicate our Cambridge dinner and drinks many moons ago.

Posted by: Paul Caron | Sep 3, 2022 11:10:59 PM

“Markie is glorious”, and just watching you ride Markie is definitely therapeutic, and brings a sense of both calm and joy.

One can “ be still”, even in motion. 💕

Posted by: Nancy | Sep 3, 2022 8:31:00 AM

Congratulations! 🎉 And, Markie is glorious.

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | Sep 3, 2022 1:09:03 AM

Congrats on the phase-out, Jeff. Many happy days ahead.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Sep 3, 2022 12:22:54 AM

Thanks for all you've shared and will share.

I want to know more about Markie!

Posted by: in August of my career | Sep 2, 2022 10:49:08 AM

Hell of issues you deal with. We shall look forward for more specific insights.... Thanks

Posted by: El Roam | Sep 2, 2022 10:35:46 AM

Inspiring! Good to know you, Jeff, and thanks for sharing so much interesting info about your journey, past, present, and future.

Posted by: Daniel Rodriguez | Sep 2, 2022 10:22:32 AM

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