Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Yale withdraws from US News

Dean Gerken's announcement. I do not think about legal education and metrics enough to predict what this will mean. I am curious to hear other people's thoughts, in particular for schools in the middle of the US News pack. Update: Harvard, too.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 16, 2022 at 01:34 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Affirmative action alternative? (Guest Suzanna Sherry)

The following post is by Suzanna Sherry (emerita at Vanderbilt and friend of the blog).

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the legality of affirmative action. Some time before the end of June, the Court may well hold that it is illegal – either under the Constitution, a federal statute, or both – for colleges and universities to use race as a factor in deciding which students to admit. Conservatives hope, and liberals fear, that this will mean the end of affirmative action in educational institutions.

It won’t. Elite colleges and universities will quickly adapt, changing their admissions policies to achieve their goal of a racially diverse student body while purporting to be race-neutral. It will take only three easy steps.

Step one: Make the submission of SAT or ACT scores optional (some universities have already done so). This will break the applicants for admission into two pools. One, the test-submission pool, will consist of students who earned high scores on the tests. It will be almost entirely white and Asian-American. The other, the no-submission pool, will consist of students who either did poorly on the tests, or did not take a test because they feared they would do poorly. This second pool will contain applicants of all races and ethnicities.

Step two: Establish criteria for admission from each pool. For the test-submission pool, the criteria will presumably be the traditional ones: test scores, high school grades, recommendation letters, and interviews. For the no-submission pool, the criteria will sound good, but they will be vague and infinitely malleable: drive to succeed, the ability to overcome obstacles, a commitment to making the world a better place, and the like. And, surprise, surprise, it will turn out that Black and Hispanic applicants meet these criteria more frequently that white applicants do, at least according to the admissions officers’ evaluations.

So the students admitted from the submission-pool will be almost all white or Asian-American. The largest percentage of students admitted from the no-submission pool will be Blacks and Hispanics, who are currently being admitted through affirmative action program. Admittees from this pool might also include applicants with other desirable attributes, such as offspring of alumni or big donors or celebrities, royalty from around the world, and the occasional prize-winning oboist desperately needed by the school’s orchestra.

Step three: Determine the distribution of students who will be admitted from each pool. This can be a fixed percentage (60% from one pool and 40% from the other), or a minimum or maximum (at least 40% from one pool, which is the same as no more than 60% from the other pool). The distribution can be stated as a goal – which allows some deviation – or as a mandatory result of the admissions process.

It might take a year or two to get the criteria and the distribution just right. But in short order, these elite colleges and universities will have the same racial distribution that they do now. And because there will be two separate pools and no objective criteria by which to compare applicants in the no-submission pool, there will be no way to prove that race played any role deciding who gets admitted.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 1, 2022 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 31, 2022

Civ Pro Halloween

Civ Pro is a spring class around here, so no in-class costumes. Still, I got a visit from a student in my office. She is 4'11" tall; she wore a white t-shirt with the word "statement" on it.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 31, 2022 at 05:20 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Yale responds to Judge Ho

NLJ story here. The school revised its free-expression policies to include three conditions on protesting/disagreeing with a speaker: no blocking access to the event or facility; no disrupting the event and university operations; no compromising the safety of those attending or other members of the community. Dean Gerken sent a letter to the community highlighting the hiring of a new dean of students, the revision to the code of conduct prohibiting surreptitious recording of classes and other school events and activities, and a commitment to students resolving disagreements in-person.

I do not know whether it satisfies Judge Ho's complaints about free speech on campus, which I found disingenuous; they equate protest and criticism of an invited speaker with cancellation or drowning out. Free speech means sit-and-listen and hope the speaker deigns to engage with you or go away; anything else violates free-speech norms. The new policies seem to leave room for that sort of counter-speech so long as they do not "disrupt" or "block access," vague and capacious terms that could create problems if applied too broadly. (For example, a sufficiently large peaceful protest outside a building forces people to navigate a crowd to get inside--I would hope the school does not treat that as prohibited blocking).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 13, 2022 at 11:22 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Law Review Meta Rankings, 2022

Annual update of law review meta rankings from Bryce Newell. A separate chart compares five years of studies.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 17, 2022 at 10:50 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Law School Exceptionalism

One more thought on the Yeshiva case. Cardozo Law School has LGBTQ+ student organizations and responded to the university's recent appeals with a public statement reaffirming support for the community and student organizations and stating that the university's efforts "do not pertain to the Cardozo School of Law and will have no impact on law school policy." This is consistent with the position of Albert Einstein Medical School and some graduate programs, whose student populations are less Orthodox and whose curricula are less steeped in Orthodox teachings.

This offers an important example of "law-school exceptionalism"--central universities recognizing that law schools are unique entities and treating them different than other campus units in terms of faculty governance, student life, student control, etc. It was a central feature of the late-2oth/early-21st-century heyday of legal education. It allows a law school to have an LGBTQ+ student organization where the university has decided that such a group--and the rights for which it fights--runs contrary to the institution's core educational values. Whatever its views on the merits of anyone's position, the university will not micro-manage the law school on such matters and will leave it to its choices and preferences. Some is accreditation-driven--law schools can argue that requiring it to eliminate such groups would run afoul of the ABA and AALS. Some is competition of the market--law schools can argue that they cannot attract sufficient top students in New York if they run a school perceived as unwelcoming to LGBTQ+ students.

Law-school exceptionalism also is, in some places, a vanishing virtue. As the nature and perceived value of legal education have changed, so has (some) university willingness to allow law schools to operate with such procedural or substantive independence. This could provide an interesting test of Yeshiva's commitment to this ideal. Cardozo's statement on the litigation suggests the dean feels confident the university will not turn this into a larger issue of central control. But it is a piece worth watching as this case proceeds.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 15, 2022 at 10:05 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Other "Other Legal Academy" - Scholarship

Jeremy-Telman-scaled-e1598277351203My friend Jeremy Telman (Oklahoma City University, left) has a series of three posts at ContractsProf Blog on his experience as a teacher and scholar in what he refers to as the "Other Legal Academy" or OLA.  His thesis is that there are at least two legal academies, one elite ("The Legal Academy") and one consisting of unranked law schools (the OLA) and they "meet fleetingly." (Full disclosure: Jeremy's post on scholarship has a picture without link to his edited volume Hans Kelsen in America - Selective Affinities and the Mysteries of Academic Influence (Springer, 2016).  I contributed a chapter.)

The posts deal, respectively, with hiring, scholarship, and teaching.  They are provocative, overly modest about Jeremy's own accomplishments, and fodder for my own promised reflections toward the end of a career in what Jeremy might think of as part of the OLA.

This sentence triggered my initial and visceral response to his distinction between The Legal Academy and the OLA:

But unless you are one of the few who can make the leap from the Other Legal Academy to The Legal Academy, do not expect that your scholarship will have an impact or even be read beyond a small circle.

I asked Jeremy how many OCU faculty had moved laterally since 2007 (when I started teaching), because my experience at Suffolk was that a substantial number of my colleagues who got tenure at Suffolk moved on to schools up the food chain - for example, Jessica Silbey to Northeastern and then to Boston University, Hilary Allen to American, Frank Rudy Cooper and Leah Chan Grinvald to UNLV (the latter as dean).  His answer was very few.  I have had colleagues whose scholarly work I know is widely read and influential, including David Yamada on workplace issues (such as bullying), Michael Rustad on tort law, John Infranca on housing communities, Marc Rodwin on health care, and most recently, Sarah Burstein on design patent law.  (There are others as well.)  

Yet for reasons best explained by the US News ranking algorithm, Suffolk currently sits in the #122 bracket along with Albany, Mercer, Baltimore, and Dayton, just behind the #118 group (Chapman, Hofstra, Tulsa, West Virginia) and just ahead of the #127 group (Cleveland State and St. Thomas (MN)).  Indeed, the impact of that algorithm (LSAT scores and bar passage rates) combined with past decisions on class size have caused Suffolk to flirt with over the last ten years, but never succumb to, the unranked list at the bottom where you find OCU and others.

There's no question that it's different being at Suffolk is different than being at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, or even BU. Nevertheless, and despite my unusual path to a faculty and perhaps even to tenure, I never felt like I was on the outside of The Legal Academy looking in as a scholar.  Below the break, I'll reflect on that. (And perhaps touch on Jeremy's reactions to hiring and teaching in later posts.)

1.  In 2004, I was the general counsel of a chemical company in Indianapolis.  For reasons too lengthy and, perhaps, sensitive, I had time on my hands and contacted the then-dean at the IU-Indianapolis law school (now McKinney) about teaching a course on entrepreneurship and venture capital as an adjunct.  I was shocked to find him recruiting me as a potential director of the school's nascent center on entrepreneurship and technology.  Even then, I could see that being a center director but merely as an adjunct faculty member was a losing proposition.  I said, "I'd have to be on the faculty."  He said, "That would be almost impossible; you've never published any scholarly work."  I had no idea what that meant, having been a lawyer in the real world for 25 years at that point.  I went home, and looked into what legal scholarship was.  I consulted a couple of law school classmates who were on "elite" faculties.  I had an idea for an article arising out of one of our board members' concern about being named as the Audit Committee Financial Expert under Sarbanes-Oxley.  I called the dean.  "Okay, fine, if I need a publication, I will write and publish one." I started writing it on Memorial Day, 2004 and finished it by July 4, 2004.  

I cannot now recall if I used ExpressO.  I have a vague recollection either of making hard copies and mailing them, or emailing them separately, in a fit of self-delusion, to law reviews at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Michigan, and for some reason I don't now recall, Wayne State.  Within a week or two, an editor at Wayne State emailed me to say that it had accepted the piece, and I went bouncing up and down around the house like I had just won the U.S. Open.  

One of those law school classmates (Douglas Baird) said to me, "You need to post it on SSRN."  I replied, "What is SSRN?"  I posted it.  Later, Avery Katz (who had summer clerked at my law firm in Detroit and knew my wife from when they were kids) sent me a note to the effect that Larry Solum had posted the article on his "influential blog." To which I believe I responded, "who is Larry Solum and what is a blog?" (NB: while there are portions of that piece I still like, I cringe every time I look at it or think about its puerile naïveté, notwithstanding the fact that it has been downloaded more than 1,000 times on SSRN, no doubt as a result of its truly bizarre and suggestively interdisciplinary title.)

At some point, one of the faculty members at IU-Indianapolis sent me a video file of a talk Ron Krotoszynski (now at Alabama) gave on how to play the law review placement game. The upshot of all this was my reaction to the process: "Damn, this is fun."  So, over the next six months or so, I wrote and placed two more pieces, one in the DePaul Law Review and one in the Temple Law Review.  (Those two pieces involved an email exchange I initiated with Richard Posner, who, to my complete shock, graciously responded, but that story will have to wait for another post.)

My point is that, while my initial forays weren't the elites, they weren't chopped liver either, and I felt like I had entered the mainstream of legal scholarship, whatever it was, even before I had a full time academic position.  

2.   A theme of Jeremy's post is his despair over the quality and the fate of his own scholarship: "very few people care about what I write as a scholar...." "I sent my babies off into the world and watched as they were neither nurtured nor savaged but left to waste away until totgeschwiegen.  Now I am resigned...." "I do regret that I don't think I will ever know if my scholarship is any good...."  First, I think his despair about being unread is unwarranted.  I speak from experience when I say that, if you decide to spend a lot of time writing about the work of Hans Kelsen, you are already speaking to a relatively limited audience.  Nevertheless, I went to his SSRN page expecting to see a mere dribble of downloads.  Instead I found thirty-four papers, twenty of which had in excess of 100 downloads, twelve in excess of 200, four in excess of 300, and one just about to reach 500.  [I have a question in at SSRN about the percentage of posted papers that achieve those benchmarks, so I won't guess, but I know I would be happy with that kind of reception for my own work!]

But, second, is it any good?  That is such an interesting and complex question, particularly in academia, because the criteria are not solely objective.  Another well-known blogger is currently posting the h-index of law professors.  The h-index measures a professor's productivity (at least on Google Scholar) as well as the citation impact - your h-index is the highest number h of your papers that have been cited h times.  As of right now, Cass Sunstein (there's a shocker) leads the pack with 172.  Understand what that means.  He has written 172 pieces that have been cited at least 172 times.   My h-index is 12.  I believe the highest h-index at Suffolk is Michael Rustad's 34.  Marc Rodwin's is 29. David Yamada's is 18.  John Infranca's is also 12 (and he's been at it not nearly as long as I) and Sarah Burstein's is 8, but they are both youngsters.  Google also uses something called the i10 index, which is simply the number of your pieces that have been cited ten times.  Cass Sunstein's is 692.  For that, there are simply no words.  My i10 index is 19, which I've justified with the notion that I've been writing academic articles since 2004, making it eighteen years, that I consider one significant piece a year to be on par for a productive law professor, and thus I have at least one ten-citation piece for every year I've been doing this.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

But, of course, we all know that you can write good stuff without having astronomical h-index numbers.  The subject matter makes a big difference.  And you can be widely cited as an example of getting something totally wrong!  

The far more fascinating subject (to me, at least) is the subjective assessment of scholarly legal work as "good," particularly in light of disciplinary boundaries.  Before I was a law professor, I was the chief legal officer for a couple big organizations, which meant that, in making my own decisions in hard cases, I often had to rely on the judgments of experts in fields I knew little about, and whose views either conflicted or were inconsistent with each other.  I have written about that.  Louis Menand and Michele Lamont have each written about the benefits and costs of disciplinary boundaries in academia.  Menand described interdisciplinary anxiety as being "about the formalism and methodological fetishism of the disciplines and about the danger of sliding into an aimless subjectivism or eclecticism." Lamont studied how judgments got made for interdisciplinary grant approvals, concluding that there is no canon for judging interdisciplinary work, and it "struggles with the concurrent polarities of “expert and generalist criteria (what one respondent [in Lamont’s study] defines as ‘virtuosity and significance’).” Indeed, Lamont wrote: "given the emergent quality of the standards of evaluation for interdisciplinary genres, panelists readily fall back on existing disciplinary standards to determine what should and should not be funded."

Which brings me back to my experience.  In his post on hiring in The Other Legal Academy, Jeremy quotes Orin Kerr: "To have a realistic chance, a candidate usually needs either a VAP/fellowship or a PhD. — and everyone knows it."  (Jeremy's point is that may be true for Orin's Legal Academy, but not for Jeremy's.) Credentials are simply easier heuristics for expertise and what is good.  Historically, law professors, even those doing "law and ..." have been autodidacts with JDs, the prime example being Cass Sunstein himself, whose degrees (and their dates) look a lot like mine!  (Obviously, that is where the comparison rightly ends; see above h- and i10 indices.)  What I found from 2004 to 2007, while I was considering that odd late-career jump to academia, was that the world of legal academic split into two categories, one in which my lack of credential was the basis for ignoring me (or at least not returning emails), and a larger one that invited me into the conversations about which I was interested.  That has been no different at Suffolk.

3.  In 2007, we moved to Cambridge and were fortunate enough to buy a house next door to, and connected by a gate with, a wonderful family one of whom was and is a pretty renowned Harvard evolutionary biologist.  We have spent many a Saturday or Sunday late afternoon, going through the gate and sharing a bottle of good or not-so-good wine, comparing notes about research, peer-review and getting published, teaching, faculty dynamics, and our shared interest in ultimate questions (telos being a particular interest of mine, and telos or "purpose" being a fascinating aspect of adaptation).  Honestly, despite the gap in the relevant prestige of our institutions (and our respective careers), the worlds seem remarkably similar.

4.  In short (and this has been anything but), I think Jeremy has overstated the case by focusing on law schools at the extremes of the rankings.  I don't know whether Orin is right about the required credentials to be hired in today's market - it looks to me that the market favors applicants for the first time in years - but I suspect there is still a substantial job market where  you still have a good chance of being hired as a JD-autodidact.  A wise mentor back in 2005 or so told me that I was going to have a hard time getting hired because I wrote to please (or teach) myself rather than inserting myself into existing and ongoing debates.  That was simply a realistic assessment of credentialism back then and it's probably still true.

I agree with Jeremy completely about this: if you can get it, it's a great job, paying significantly more than entry level positions in most other disciplines. More importantly, as the explosion of journals has demonstrated over the last twenty-five or thirty years, unlike philosophy or history professors, the overwhelming majority of our students have no interest whatsoever in following in our academic footsteps, and unwittingly subsidize our ability to write about whatever we damn please and usually publish it somewhere.  Carpe diem.

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on September 10, 2022 at 08:19 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (7)

Sunday, September 04, 2022

An Old Law Prof Learns to Code - Part 1 - Introduction

image from youtu.beI'm stretching for the segue, but references to Markie seem to be popular.  (I  took the video at the left to prove to my skeptical wife that he did in fact come when I called.) 

The horse segue is this: I had never gotten on a horse, except for maybe a pony ride when I five, until 2009, when I was 55.  A friend here in Michigan had a horse, there was a gorgeous riding facility nearby, and it looked cool.  I knew vaguely that there was a difference between English and Western riding but that was it.  I knew nothing about dressage versus hunter-jumper versus eventing versus equitation versus Western Pleasure versus barrel racing.  So I asked somebody "what discipline I should learn?"  The response was to learn English because it was easier to go to Western if one didn't like it than the other way round.

If you know anything about computer coding, I apologize for the ensuing naïveté. You are entitled to react "duh, of course that is how it works."  But, as with riding, I knew there was C++ and Python and Java (which I didn't know had no relation to JavaScript) but I had no idea what that meant.  As I mentioned before, my ventures in the guts of coding (since a couple days of BASIC in high school) were pretty much limited to inserting a hyperlink into a blog comment for the purpose of shameless self-promotion of articles I had posted on SSRN.  I certainly had no experience with anything that looked like this (see below the break for some more on this):

//Fahrenheit Celsius Conversion//
#include <stdio.h>
int main(void)
{
int Fahrenheit, Celsius;
printf("Enter a Fahrenheit temperature as an integer:");
scanf("%d", &Fahrenheit); Celsius = (Fahrenheit - 32)/1.8;
printf("\n %d Fahrenheit equals %d Celsius. \n\n", Fahrenheit, Celsius);
return 0;
}

When I started the exercise in June, I just wanted to see what coding involved, but I also wanted a goal. I came up with the idea of encoding the exercise I use in Business Entity Fundamentals to teach income statements and balance sheets to law students and then somehow to deliver it to them.  It's not pretty, but I created something you can see here.

More importantly, I had a number of "aha" moments about similarities both in (1) the logic of coding and lawyering, something I've written about extensively, and (2) the practice of each skill.  But I don't want to bury that lede, so wait for "Part 2 - Aha Moments."

If you are curious and are on a MacBook, try the following.  Good luck.

1. Copy this from the first // to the last } :

//Fahrenheit Celsius Conversion//
#include <stdio.h>

int main(void)
{
int Fahrenheit, Celsius;
printf("Enter a Fahrenheit temperature as an integer:");
scanf("%d", &Fahrenheit); Celsius = (Fahrenheit - 32)/1.8; //note the silent conversion
printf("\n %d Fahrenheit equals %d Celsius. \n\n", Fahrenheit, Celsius);
return 0;
}

2.  Open Word or Pages on your computer and paste it.  Save the document on your Desktop but as a .txt (Plain Text) file.  Call it something like "demo" (don't use the quotation marks).

3. It will show up on your Desktop as an icon.  Click on the name "demo" and change it to "demo.c" (without the quotation marks).  The computer will ask if you really want to do that.  Say yes, "use .c".

4.  Go up to the top right of the menu bar and open the search function (the magnifying glass).

5.  Where it says "Spotlight Search", type in: terminal  ... then hit "return".  A window will open up with a line that looks like this: ~>

6.  Type in:  cd desktop  ... then hit "return."  It should return a line like this: ~/desktop>

7.  You now are in your Desktop directory.   At the prompt, type in:  gcc -o demo demo.c   then hit "return." You have now asked the computer to translate that language you saved as demo.c into a new file called "demo" that consists of binary code of zeroes and ones.  If all went well, it will return a line like this: ~/desktop>   If you did anything wrong, it will spit out error messages.*

8.  If you type in ./ and then the program name at the prompt, the computer will execute the program.  So, at the ~/desktop> prompt, type in: ./demo

9.  You have written and executed a program that converts Fahrenheit temperatures to Celsius.  The computer will ask you to enter a Fahrenheit temperature as an integer.  If you do and hit return, it will give you the answer.

* My colleague and law and coding guru David Colarusso observes that computers are like the most anal and obnoxious cite-checking law review editor you've ever encountered.  Even posting this exercise, I made several mistakes along the way, like forgetting to include > after "stdio.h" (which, by the way, tells the program to include the standard input-output code from the C language).

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on September 4, 2022 at 08:57 AM in Lipshaw, Teaching Law, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, September 02, 2022

CFP: Memphis Law Review: (How Much) Should We Pay Them?

The University of Memphis Law Review writes to share our call for papers for our upcoming Spring 2023 Symposium with you, your faculty, and your colleagues.  This year’s Symposium is titled “(How Much) Should We Pay Them? The Shifting Legal Landscape of Collegiate Competition” and will take place on February 24, 2023.  We hope that you will share this call for papers, which can be found here, with your law school’s faculty.

While the Supreme Court’s recent decision in NCAA v. Alston marked a major shift in the way collegiate sports operate in the United States, the full ramifications of that decision are not yet apparent.  Although the broad question of whether college athletes may be paid has been answered, there are still significant issues that should be raised and addressed now, before a new system of athlete compensation at the collegiate level begins to fully take shape.  Possible topics to be addressed may include:  frameworks for collegiate sports gambling; resolution of employment and labor disputes; and regulation of name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation.

The University of Memphis Law Review invites manuscripts from all points of view for publication in Volume 53 and presentation at our Spring 2023 Symposium.  We hope that you will send this Call for Papers to your colleagues, as we seek to meaningfully contribute to the national discourse on collegiate sports and competition.  If you or a colleague wishes to participate, please submit a manuscript or abstract to our Symposium Editor, Alex Daichman, at [email protected] with “Collegiate Competition” in the subject line.  The deadline for submitting a manuscript or abstract is October 15, 2022, but we are happy to work with any interested authors or speakers who anticipate any difficulty in meeting this deadline.  Should you have any questions, please direct them to Alex Daichman, who will be happy to answer them in a timely manner.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 2, 2022 at 05:17 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Passages

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 | Comments (7)

Sunday, August 14, 2022

CFP: Financial Restructuring Roundtable

The Financial Restructuring Roundtable (formerly the West Coast Bankruptcy Roundtable) will be held in person on April 6, 2023 in New York City. Spearheaded by Tony Casey, Samir Parikh, Robert Rasmussen, and Michael Simkovic, this invitation-only event brings together practitioners, jurists, scholars, and finance industry professionals to discuss important financial restructuring and business law issues.

The Roundtable invites the submission of papers. Selected participants will receive a $2,000stipend and have the opportunity to workshop their papers in an intimate, collegial setting. Last year’s attendees included Ken Ayotte, Douglas Baird, Bruce Bennett, Jared Ellias, Anna Gelpern, Marshall Huebner, Ed Morrison, Mark Roe, David Skeel, and Jamie Sprayregen. 

We seek papers exploring diverse topics and will be interested in interdisciplinary perspectives. Papers will be selected through a blind review process. Scholars are invited to submit a 3 – 5 page overview of a proposed paper. Submissions may be an introduction, excerpt from a longer paper, or extended abstract. The submission should be anonymized, and – aside from general citations to the author’s previous articles – all references to the author should be removed.

Please submit proposals by October 1, 2022. Invitations will be issued via email by November 1.  Working drafts of papers must be available for circulation to participants by February 10, 2023.  

Proposals – as well as questions and concerns – should be directed to Samir Parikh at [email protected]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 14, 2022 at 10:00 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Return of the Junior Faculty Federal Courts Workshop

The University of Florida Levin College of Law will host the Twelfth Annual Junior Faculty Federal Courts Workshop on December 1-2, 2022. The workshop pairs a senior scholar with a panel of junior scholars presenting works-in-progress. After a long COVID-related hiatus, we’re excited to bring together the Federal Courts scholarly community in person in Gainesville, Florida.

The workshop is open to untenured and recently tenured academics who teach and write in the areas of federal courts, civil rights litigation, civil procedure, and other related topics. The program is also open to scholars who wish to attend, read, and comment on papers but not present. There is no registration fee.

The conference will begin on the morning of Thursday, December 1, and conclude by early afternoon on Friday, December 2. Each panel will consist of three to four junior scholars, with a senior scholar commenting on the papers and leading a group discussion.

The workshop will take place at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, which is within 15 minutes of the Gainesville Regional Airport and less than two hours from the Jacksonville International Airport and the Orlando International Airport. The College of Law will provide lunches and dinners for those attending the workshop, but attendees must cover their own travel and lodging costs. A discounted block of rooms will be made available at the Hotel Eleo at the University of Florida. Those wishing to present a paper must submit an abstract of no more than two pages to [email protected] by Monday, September 12, 2022. Papers will be selected by a committee of past participants, and presenters will be notified by no later than October 3, 2022.

Questions about the conference may be directed to Professor Merritt McAlister at [email protected] or the Strategic Academic Programs Manager Ruth McIlhenny at [email protected].

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 10, 2022 at 06:57 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

What is so bad about Saul Goodman and other questions

Two questions about the penultimate Better Call Saul, with spoilers, after the jump.

What is bad about Saul?

As I wrote several episodes ago, the theme of BCS that decent Jimmy McGill becomes irredeemable Saul Goodman and we have moved deep into that. Last night included a flashback to a Rosencrantz-and-Guildenstern-type meeting, early in the BB timeline, between Kim and Saul and between Kim and Jesse, both of which are designed to show how far Saul has gone.

Here is Rolling Stone' Alan Sepinwall, a critic I love reading and listening to and seems a generally liberal person, as far as he shows in his writing, on the Kim-Jesse interaction:

Jesse is only there because his buddy Emilio — a.k.a. Walter White’s first murder victim — has come to Saul seeking legal representation. (In the “Better Call Saul” episode of Breaking Bad, Jesse tells Walt that Saul got Emilio out of trouble on two different occasions, despite the cops having him dead to rights.) Like Kim’s various interactions with Saul and/or Gene in this episode, she says very little, just waiting for the nicotine to kick in and hoping that the rain will stop before she has to listen to too much of this overgrown kid(*) bragging about ways for criminals to evade the justice system. She believed passionately in her work as a public defender, but guys like Jesse, Emilio, and Combo are the dark side of that work — the ones who present an ongoing danger to others each time a lawyer like Kim or Saul gets them off. And she really can’t stand listening to the future Mr. Driscoll praise the legal chicanery of the man she hopes to never see again.

This is disturbing. On Sepinwall's framing, Saul is bad because he does what a defense lawyer is supposed to do--he defends clients and forces the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt before putting them in prison.  Sepinwall talks of "evad[ing] the criminal justice system" and "legal chicanery." Maybe Saul did something illegal or unethical in helping Emilio, Combo, and these other clients. But (again in the spirit of "show, don't tell") we have not seen it, nor have we seen it as different in kind from what "Jimmy" did. Jimmy/Saul did a lot of illegal stuff--lied to the court about Lalo's identity, helped deal meth, provided information on a murder, and laundered money. And maybe that illegal stuff is part of the representation he is does here. But, again, we have not seen it. Successfully representing even obviously "dead to rights" people in court should not be mentioned in the same breath.

Worse, Sepinwall distinguishes the criminal defense Jimmy does from the criminal defense Kim wanted to do (before she threw it away on the scheme that resulted in Howard Hamlin's murder), framing the latter as noble and the former as the corrupt work of the evil Saul Goodman, the "dark side" of criminal defense. In fact, it is the core of the work of a defense lawyer. A lawyer who only wants to defend innocent people needs to find another line of work. Kim wanted to limit her defense to indigent people who committed small-bore crimes and were caught in the system. Which, fine. But her work is not nobler or more moral than what Saul does (again, assuming he stays within legal lines as to in-court representation).

Could Saul and Kim be charged with a crime?

I pose this to crim law people out there. In last night's episode, Kim goes to the DA and signs an affidavit detailing their scheme (which she also show to Howard's widow): They falsely made it seem that Howard was abusing cocaine, caused his work on a case to implode, and destroyed his personal and professional reputation; when he confronted them about the scheme at their apartment, Lalo (who was there on a separate matter and not connected to the scheme) murdered him. There is some talk about whether she will be charged with anything; she says she does not know* and that hers is the only evidence of what happened.

[*] Howard's widow is angry about this, pointing out that she is supposed to be a great lawyer. Yes, because great lawyers know everything about all law. That is why Law Twitter is the way it is.

The question appears to be whether they could be charged in Howard's death. Could she (or they) and for what? Can felony murder extend that far--to murder by an unconnected person after the underlying felony was complete?  Is there some other theory of criminal liability for Howard's death? What about for the underlying scheme to destroy his reputation, separate from his death.

There is a separate prospect of a civil suit (which the widow mentions, although Kim does not have much money). Maybe defamation or IIED? Something else? There is a statute of limitations problem--six years elapsed in the BCS/BB universe--although I imagine a good argument for tolling based on fraud.

Leaving comments open because I would like to hear from some crim folks.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 10, 2022 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Assiging pre-1L summer reading

Have law schools begun assigning law-related books to incoming 1Ls--for example, books on how law shapes society,  lawyer mindfulness, and other topics that frame law, legal practice, and law school in some broader framework. Is your school assigning something? If so, what book(s) and what are you doing with them (discussion during orientation, integrating into 1L courses, etc.)?

Leave answers in comments or email me. (Irrelevant comments will be deleted--please don't fuck up a genuine question about legal education).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 9, 2022 at 03:20 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Call for Nominations: AALS Section on Federal Courts

The AALS Section on Federal Courts is pleased to announce the annual award for the best article on the law of federal jurisdiction by a full-time, untenured faculty member at an AALS member or affiliate school—and to solicit nominations (including self-nominations) for the prize to be awarded at the 2023 AALS Annual Meeting.

The purpose of the award program is to recognize outstanding scholarship in the field of federal courts by untenured faculty members. To that end, eligible articles are those specifically in the field of Federal Courts that were published by a recognized journal during the twelve-month period ending on September 1, 2022 (date of actual publication determines eligibility). Eligible authors are those who, at the close of nominations (i.e., as of September 15, 2022), are untenured, full-time faculty members at AALS member or affiliate schools, and have not previously won the award. Nominations (and questions about the award) should be directed to Prof. Diego Zambrano at Stanford Law School ([email protected]).

Without exception, all nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on September 15, 2022. Nominations will be reviewed by a prize committee comprised of Professors Merritt McAlister (University of Florida Levin College of Law), Richard Re (University of Virginia), Mila Sohoni (University of San Diego School of Law), Steve Vladeck (University of Texas), and Diego Zambrano (Stanford) with the result announced at the Federal Courts section program at the 2023 AALS Annual Meeting.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 28, 2022 at 11:28 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

ICYMI: Teaching Tips for New Professors

I wrote these tips a few years ago and reviewed them before reposting for anyone who is interested.

1.  Begin a little more strictly than you mean to go on.  If you start out strict and stern, you have room to lighten up. If you start out lax, you will pay a real price if you need to impose order later on.

2.  If you put a policy in the syllabus, stick to it even if you think you might have been wrong.  I learned this the hard way.  The first time I taught Professional Responsibility, I stated in the syllabus and in class that the exam would be a two-hour exam.  After I wrote it, I decided it was a bit too hard and I would be "nice" and give them an extra hour to complete it.  I had a young woman in my office 30 minute before the exam so angry I thought she would spit on me. I told her she was welcome to finish in two hours instead of three, but that didn't placate her. I finally told her she'd have to take it up with the associate dean, and I'll be damned if she didn't march down there and do just that.  Thankfully, he backed me up, but I never again made a major policy shift midstream.  She wasn't the only disgruntled student that day, either.

3. Put everything you can think of in the syllabus, even things that should go without saying.  For example, if you are teaching a seminar, you should consider a policy stating that plagiarism is a ground for failing the course, and you should have an extended explanation in the syllabus explaining what plagiarism is.  You might think that everyone accepted to law school already knows what plagiarism is, but you would be wrong.  More importantly, by explaining what plagiarism is in the syllabus, you deprive the student of the ARGUMENT that s/he didn't know s/he was committing plagiarism.  Another example of something you might want to put in the syllabus is a statement that it is rude and disruptive to come late to class, to come and go during class, or to leave class early without notifying the professor beforehand.  Frankly, I'm not sure I realized how distracting these habits are before I started teaching, and many of your students won't, either.

4. "Don't be moody." 

This is a piece of advice I received early on from a relatively new law teacher, and it has always stuck in my head. The person who gave me the advice was male, and he evidently had gotten burned by violating it.  What the advice boils down to, I think, is that students desperately need you to be predictable. It is comforting to them when they know roughly what to expect each day. I thought of this advice a lot as dean, too. The Dean's "mood" affects the whole institution, and it is important to remain predictably but not Pollyanna-ishly optimistic no matter what comes along. As an aside, I think this is important as a parent, too. My motto: We'll deal!

5. Students decide very, very quickly whether you're on their side or not. If they decide you are, they will forgive a multitude of mistakes. If they decide you're not, nothing you do will be right.  I've been teaching for 28 years, and I only had one class that hated me.  They decided early on that I was mean, and everything I did provided confirmation.  They even hated how I started the class and what I wore. (I'd given birth the month before the class started, and my wardrobe was limited). Frankly, I grew to dislike most of them, too.  However, in telling this story, I'm violating the next tip in my list.

6. Be careful about generalizing how "the class" feels.  A communications researcher would probably insist that, in fact, there is no such thing as a "class." (See Ien Ang).  Instead, a "class" is a collection of individuals with disparate needs and interests and judgments about the classroom experience.  That said, it is easy to assume that outspoken students represent the feelings of the entire group.  It so happens that what I think of as "the class that hated me" (discussed above) included two especially delightful students, who took one of the most fun Media Law classes I ever taught. I still keep in touch with them even though they graduated more than two decades ago.

7. Watch out for group dynamics.  Let's say you have a student who is engaging in disruptive behavior. You may be tempted to call the student out for his or her behavior in front of the whole class, but this is usually a bad idea.  Even if other students started out being annoyed at the disruptive student, they may turn on you if you come down too harshly on the student or make him lose face. What should you do instead? I use what I call "class regulation by raised eyebrow."  For example, if a student is late, I may visibly lose my train of thought and stare at him with a completely blank expression on my face for a few seconds--just long enough to be socially awkward.  That does the trick 99 percent of the time.  If you try informal means of "discipline" and they don't work, however, the next step is to call the student into your office. The student won't lose face, and you won't run the risk of having the entire class turn against you for being "mean." Also, you don't know what's really going on with the student. Often, it's not about you or your class at all, and seemingly rude behaviors can be a sign of a student who is in serious distress, especially if the behaviors begin suddenly.

8. Try not to project insecurity. In other words, fake it until you make it.  Although you may be tempted to reveal to the class that you are brand new or are learning the material for the first time, you certainly don't have to and some would argue you shouldn't.  Remember that the students are lucky to have a teacher who is energetic and curious and enthusiastic and can reach them at their level.  Also remember that as little as you think you know, you still can read a case far better than even your brightest student.  So project confidence, but . . . [see next rule.]

9. When you make mistakes, fix them.  When I first taught Torts, I slept with the Prosser & Keeton hornbook by my bedside.  I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking "what if they ask me X?" I would then flip through Prosser & Keeton, read it, perhaps even take notes, and then go back to sleep.  I realize now that every first-time teacher makes mistakes; it is just a question of how you handle them.  Sometimes you will just have to say, "I don't know. Let me research that and get back to you tomorrow." [But make sure you have the answer when you promised it.]   One classic dodge is to say:  "Hold that question. We'll get to that later in the class (or tomorrow or next week)." [Make sure you research the answer and come back to it when you said you would.]  If you realize you didn't explain something well or your explanation was misleading, one way to handle it is to say at the start of next class:  "I'd like to begin by clarifying X that we were discussing yesterday." [Then give your 5-10 minute summary/totally correct explanation.]  Occasionally, you will realize that you said something completely wrong, and you will just have to apologize and fix it. As consolation, remember that you are modelling for them how to handle mistakes, and it may be one of the most valuable lessons you can teach future lawyers.  Law is a complicated business, and we all make mistakes from time to time no matter how hard we try or how smart we are.

10.  Trade-offs are inevitable.  More depth or more coverage? Encourage participation and intellectual curiosity, or hew to an organizational scheme?  Stick to your syllabus, or spend more time on the things the class seems interested in or doesn't understand readily? There are lots of other trade-offs of this sort that you'll have to make and then re-make when you realize you've tilted the balance too far toward one value at the expense of another. 

11. Make ideas "sticky." Try to come up with ways to make the material you teach memorable.  Silly is sticky.  Graphics (pictures, drawings on the board) are sticky. Funny is sticky. Music is sticky. Videos can be sticky. My Trusts and Estates professor even danced on the table to reinforce a principle, and I remember it (the dancing) 30 years later.  The principle had something to do with whether separate property acquired after the marriage becomes community property or not.  Okay, so the idea wasn't that sticky, but my point still holds.

12. Use the board more than you think you need to. It helps keep the class structured, and it helps the visual learners in the class.   Conversely, use Power Point less than you think you need to.   Power Point is good for pictures and videos, and it can be used to examine closely the text of a rule or to convey highly detailed and technical material through lecture. It can also be used as a background with the main points (no more than 3-4) you're going to cover.  Do NOT put giant blocks of text on Power Point and then simply read to the class from the slides. EVER.  

13. It's not about you; it's about the students. Try to keep their needs foremost, instead of your own desire for ego gratification or anything else. This is probably the most important piece of advice on this list. You're not trying to convince the students you're smart; you're trying to convince the students they're smart. This happens to be good advice for leaders, too!

14. Keep a degree of formal distance between you and your students.  You can treat them like future colleagues, but you cannot be friends with students until they have left your class.  Your role requires you to sit in judgment of your students when you grade them, and that role can be compromised if you don't maintain formal distance.

15. Never use the same exam twice!!  Violate this rule at your extreme peril.

16. Ask colleagues for advice but remember you don't have to take all the advice you receive.

17. You will teach a class best the third time you teach it.

18. If you are teaching a large class and don't feel that voice projection is one of your gifts, consider wearing a microphone. I've never had this problem, but I've heard plenty of complaints from students about being unable to hear some of my colleagues. It is impossible to be an effective teacher if the students cannot hear you.

19. Consider wearing a suit when you're new. Even if you don't plan to wear it forever, it may help as a crutch for faking it until you make it and can help you maintain some formal distance from the students.  I don't wear a suit every single day, but I believe in signaling I take the endeavor seriously by dressing professionally.

20. If you are teaching 1Ls, talk to students about how to learn. You might think they know, but not all of them do. Talk about what hard work looks like. One of my favorite books about learning is "Make It Stick," which is recommended reading for all teachers and learners.

21.    Talk to students about mental health at the beginning of class and throughout and especially right before exams. Make it okay for them to seek help if they need it.

22.   One of my greatest joys as an experienced teacher is seeing my former students reach the pinnacles of their careers. Think about the fact that the students in front of you will someday be extraordinary lawyers, judges, and leaders. You may think you will change the world as a scholar, and maybe you will. But you can definitely change the world by helping one student at a time find what they were meant to do with their one short and precious life and giving them the knowledge, skills, and courage to pursue it. 

23.  Try to learn names. I've been bad at doing this while teaching as a dean. Now that I'm a full-time prof again, I'm looking forward to redoubling my efforts on this front. 

24. Tell students why they should come to office hours. Tell them that they can seek general advice from you if they need it. About two years ago, a student taught me how important this is for first-generation students. I wish I'd known it sooner. 

Finally, if you're new and you'd like to talk about any of the subjects I teach (mostly Torts, Media Law, Advanced Torts, First Amendment Law, Constitutional Law), I'd be happy to share any materials I have.

Posted by Lyrissa Lidsky on July 20, 2022 at 11:21 AM in Jr. Law Prawfs FAQ, Life of Law Schools, Lyrissa Lidsky, Teaching Law, Things You Oughta Know if You Teach X | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, July 18, 2022

First Annual Michael Olivas Writing Institute, July 21-22

The First Annual Michael A. Olivas Writing Institute will take place via Zoom this Thursday and Friday, July 21-22, sponsored by the Olivas Faculty Recruitment Initiative, FIU College of Law, and University of Houston Law Center. Registration here.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 18, 2022 at 07:25 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 08, 2022

Faculty Hiring: University of Alabama

The University of Alabama School of Law seeks to fill up to two tenured/tenure-track positions for the 2023-24 academic year. Candidates must have outstanding academic credentials, including a J.D. from an accredited law school or an equivalent degree (such as a Ph.D. in a related field). Entry-level candidates should demonstrate potential for strong teaching and scholarship. The primary focus of these positions is in Environmental Law (including Regulatory Compliance) and Civil Procedure (with the possibility of also teaching Evidence); however, qualified applicants in other areas may be considered. We welcome applications from candidates who approach scholarship from a variety of perspectives and methods. The University embraces diversity in its faculty, students, and staff, and we welcome applications from those who would add to the diversity of our academic community.

Candidates interested in the Assistant/Associate Professor level positions should apply online at https://facultyjobs.ua.edu/postings/50441

Candidates interested in the Associate/Full Professor level positions should apply online at https://facultyjobs.ua.edu/postings/50535

Salary, benefits, and research support will be nationally competitive. All applications are confidential to the extent permitted by state and federal law; the positions remain open until filled. Questions should be directed to Heather Elliott, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee ([email protected]).


UA EEO Statement: The University of Alabama is an Equal Employment/Equal Educational Opportunity Institution. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, age, genetic or family medical history information, disability, or protected veteran status, or any other legally protected basis, and will not be discriminated against because of their protected status. Applicants to and employees of this institution are protected under Federal law from discrimination on several bases. Follow the link below to find out more.
“EEO is the Law” https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/migrated_files/employers/poster_screen_reader_optimized.pdf
“EEO is the Law” Poster Supplement http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/OFCCP_EEO_Supplement_Final_JRF_QA_508c.pdf

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 8, 2022 at 06:27 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 27, 2022

CFP: Penn Law Review: Debt Market Complexity

The University of Pennsylvania Law Review will host its annual symposium on Friday, October 7, 2022, in-person. This year’s topic, “Debt Market Complexity: Shadowed Practices and Financial Injustice”, will explore the rise of increasingly complicated debt structures associated with private equity. We are issuing a call for papers for publication in the Law Review’s corresponding symposium issue.

To submit a paper for consideration, please provide an abstract no longer than 750 words to [email protected] by July 31st, 2022. If selected for publication, completed drafts will be due January 1st, 2023. 

The complete call for papers, which includes more detail, is available here

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 27, 2022 at 09:05 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 25, 2022

First Amendment Roe-ism? (Updated)

Gerard asks a good question. I discussed a similar question after the draft leaked. Let me try another pass.

Lochner is more than an unenumerated right. The case also functions as shorthand for using the Constitution to protect economic activities against state regulation. That effort continues with recent efforts (some successful) to use, for example, free speech to hamper economic regulation--hence so-called "First Amendment Lochnerism." Can students understand that concept and what it entails if they have not learned Lochner?

Two more thoughts. 1) Lochner is important because the conservative desire to revive it affects doctrines such as the Commerce Clause and federalism; the "Broccoli hypothetical" in the ACA case was about importing Lochnerian limitatons into the Commerce Clause. 2) Although both involve unenumerated rights/substantive due process,they reflect different forms--one about economics and business and one about private personhood; there may be value in covering both.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 25, 2022 at 02:58 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2022

CFP: Washburn Law Journal

 

Call for Papers: December 2022 Issue of the Washburn Law Journal

 

Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas

The Washburn Law Journal is soliciting articles for Issue I, Volume 62 of the Journal. The lead Essay for the issue is written by Professor Daniel Bodansky and discusses the UN climate change regime, the Paris Agreement, and COP 26. Each year, Washburn University School of Law invites a distinguished scholar to present the Foulston Siefkin Lecture. This year, Professor Bodansky—a Regents’ Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University—presented “The UN Climate Change Regime Thirty Years On—A Retrospective and Assessment.” (His presentation can be found at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DSCV5w2q9E).

Articles chosen for publication will be published in December 2022. Articles must discuss climate change, environmental law, or natural resource law to be accepted for publication. Authors may email articles to [email protected] with the subject line “WLJ Call for Papers.” Authors must include a full draft of their article, cover letter, and a curriculum vitae with their submissions. Articles must be a minimum of 10,000 words and no more than 30,000 words. Submissions will be accepted until August 1, 2022. The Journal will extend offers for publication to selected authors no later than August 22, 2022. A limited number of articles will be chosen for publication.

 

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Editor-in-Chief, Marisa No at [email protected] or the Senior Articles Editor, Elisabeth Wilder at [email protected].

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 16, 2022 at 12:07 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (10)

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Call for Abstracts: Complex Litigation Ethics Conference at UC Hastings

The Center for Litigation and Courts and Huntington National Bank are excited to announce a call for abstracts for the upcoming Complex Litigation Ethics Conference to be held on the UC Hastings Law campus on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

A substantial percentage of all cases filed in federal court are MDL cases, many of them involving proposed class actions. Meanwhile, district courts struggle with case management, settlement, and post-settlement administration of these complex cases. Yet scant scholarly attention has been paid to how courts adapt ethical rules and norms to complex litigation. This full-day conference will explore such issues as: 

  1. Adapting Ethics to Complex Litigation in General;
  2. Ethics in Funding Complex Litigation;
  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity in Complex Litigation; and
  4. Ethics in Communicating with Absent Class Members. 

Symposium papers will be published in a 2023 issue of the Hastings Law Journal. Confirmed speakers include federal judges, professors, and practicing attorneys, including Eric L. Cramer (Chair, Berger Montague PC), Maya Steinitz (Professor, University of Iowa) and W. Bradley Wendel (Professor, Cornell Law School). Additional speakers will be selected in part through this call for abstracts. For presenters not at for-profit legal practices, reasonable travel expenses and up to two nights’ lodging will be provided, in addition to meals. Presenters will be expected to circulate a polished draft paper by October 12. Final papers of around 8,000 words must be submitted to the Hastings Law Journal by December 31.

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted by email to Professor Joshua P. Davis at [email protected], with the subject heading “Abstract Submission – Complex Litigation Ethics Conference,” by June 30 (or contact Joshua P. Davis to discuss timing). Selections will be made in the first week of July and then on an ongoing basis. 

Any questions should be submitted to Professor Davis at the email above.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 1, 2022 at 04:58 PM in Civil Procedure, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Academic Muppets

FSWTRWUXIAI-MCs

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 10, 2022 at 08:55 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 23, 2022

FIRE on Florida's anti-woke law

Gov. DeSantis signed HB7 (the anti-woke law) that attempts to regulate what and how we can teach certain topics, including in higher ed. FIRE sent letters to every public college and university in the state (here is the letter to FIU) explaining how the law offends academic freedom and the First Amendment freedom to teach and write what we believe appropriate and urging schools to interpret the law narrowly or not to enforce. The letters argue much of what I discussed at a faculty meeting of another FIU unit last week.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 23, 2022 at 11:27 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

In memoriam, Michael Olivas

Ediberto Roman offers a tribute at Faculty Lounge (comments are open for those wanting to remember him).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 23, 2022 at 10:42 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Restricting tenure, but not understanding why

Florida has passed a law designed to limit tenure by requiring tenured faculty to be reviewed by the Board of Trustees every five years. Gov. DeSantis announced the law at a press conference Tuesday (between promises to investigate Twitter's efforts to resist Elon Musk's takeover bid). The law does not specify a review procedure, so the devil will be in the details of what each university's Board comes up with.

The whiplash over the law's justifications is fun to watch. If I thought DeSantis or his minions had shame or self-awareness or that anyone in this state cared, I would say they have undermined their own cause. Instead, it is just Tuesday.

On one hand, DeSantis properly identifies the purposes of tenure--"to protect people so that they could do ideas that may cause them to lose their job or whatever, academic freedom"--and the supposed reason for limiting it--that "once you’re tenured, your productivity really declines." (Bracket for the moment whether the latter is true). On the other, he and others give the game away by ranting about indoctrination, smuggling ideology and politics, creating intellectual orthodoxy, and pushing ideas like socialism and communism. If  the purpose of tenure is to allow people to express unpopular ideas inside and outside the classroom, that must include those ideas that DeSantis and his henchpeople do not like and over which they want to fire tenure professors. So while purporting to limit tenure so it does not become a sinecure, they acknowledge they would limit tenure to stop professors from saying things they do not like or that students do not like. The goal is to ensure professors whose speech is "in line with what the state’s priorities are and, frankly, the priorities of the parents throughout the state of Florida."

DeSantis says he wants to protect "dissenting" ideas. But dissenting from what? It appears to be from the views that he and the state and the state's parents want. The point of tenure is that the governor should not dictate what professors teach and write. Unless he is not concerned that orthodoxy exists, only that professors may not share and express his orthodoxy.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 19, 2022 at 04:28 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 17, 2022

An experiment

I was able to reach Erie for the first time since spring 2019 (i.e., pre-pandemic). My approach to that has been to teach Erie and Hanna, then present the Erie flowchart we all use, then work through a series of problems demonstrating each analytical path.

But I am pressed for time. In 2019, I spent four 70-minutes classes on Erie last time. This semester, I reached Erie with about 250 minutes of class time (two 105-minute sessions plus another 50-or-so minutes).

My attempted solution was to have them reach Erie and Hanna, but to lecture on them in class, which took about 60 minutes of class time. I now have 210 minutes to work through the problems.

We'll see how it goes.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 17, 2022 at 10:40 AM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 11, 2022

University of Florida seeks visitors

The University of Florida Levin College of Law is looking for visiting professors for the 2022-23 academic year. We are accepting letters of interest from professors to teach criminal law, patents, trademarks, antitrust, international law, environmental law, and property. We are open to visitors for one semester or for the entire 2022-23 academic year, depending on the applicant’s interests. Please send a letter, CV with at least three references, and relevant course evaluations, directly to Associate Dean Amy Stein, [email protected].

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 11, 2022 at 09:07 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 07, 2022

UCLA School of Law seek Legal Research & Writing faculty

UCLA School of Law is seeking a full-time lecturer to teach two sections of the first-year J.D. course in Legal Research and Writing. The opening is for the 2022-23 academic year. The appointment will be effective July 1, 2022.

Each section of the Legal Research and Writing is a year-long five-credit course, designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of legal reasoning, the structure of objective and persuasive arguments, legal research methods, statutory interpretation, and additional skills, such as oral advocacy, fact investigation, and client counseling. Students complete a variety of written assignments, both graded and ungraded, designed to reinforce the overarching lessons of the course.

This is a full-time academic, non-tenure track appointment as a Lecturer in Law.

For a complete job announcement, see here.  The deadline for applying is May 1, 2022.  Please contact Dave Marcus, Vice Dean for Curricular and Academic Affairs, with any questions ([email protected]).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 7, 2022 at 01:19 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

A wild hypothetical

So something that proved more complicated than expected.

In transitioning from Subject Matter Jurisdiction to Personal Jurisdiction, we discuss the underlying process of World Wide--Audi and VWA paid for WW and Seaway to successfully challenge PJ through state court and to SCOTUS, then removed when SCOTUS held there was no PJ and the state trial court dismissed the claims against them.

But then I posed the following to the CivPro ListServ and no one could figure out the answer: Suppose the trial court found lack of personal jurisdiction and dismissed the claims against WW and Seaway. The case is now removable. If Audi and VWA remove, how does Robinson appeal the dismissal of the other defendants? Can Robinson's intent to appeal render the case not removable, perhaps by filing a notice of appeal before the Audi and VWA can file the notice of removal? If the defendants get into federal court before Robinson can appeal, his options seem limited.

This hypo is limited because unlikely. The strategy Audi and VWA followed is unavailable in most cases because § 1446(c)(1) prohibits removal of a diversity action that becomes removable more than a year after filing; it takes more than a year to brief and argue a motion to dismiss and more than one layer of appellate review. That limitation did not exist in 1980, which is why Audi and VWA could remove more than 3 years after the suit was filed. So this scenario likely does not arise in either direction.

Still, it exposes an interesting gap in the statutory framework. And it forced some creative solutions. Robinson might ask the federal court to stay the proceedings so the state appeal can proceed (and to not attempt to enjoin the state court from proceeding with the case). Or Robinson might amend in federal court to re-add the dismissed defendants, then ask the federal court to certify the propriety of the PJ dismissal to the state supreme court.

I stumbled on a third possibility this morning--Audi and VWA remove, then Robinson seeks a writ of mandamus to the 1oth Circuit, asking for review of the PJ dismissal. That prior order is part of the removed case. Robinson can satisfy the requirements for mandamus. This is extraordinary case. He does not have other adequate means to obtain relief, because the PJ issue affects whether the case should be in federal court in the first place--if the state court erred, the case should not have been removed and Robinson should not have to litigate in federal court, something that cannot be adequately protected if he must await final judgment in federal court. Robinson also faces the risk that the court of appeals would affirm subject matter jurisdiction, even if it believes the state court erred on PJ, because there was jurisdiction at the time of trial.

However unlikely, a fun problem that might expose a weird hole in the statutory scheme.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 6, 2022 at 11:54 AM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Visiting positions at University of Nebraska College of Law

The University of Nebraska College of Law is looking for visiting professors for 2022-23. We are accepting letters of interest from professors to teach criminal law and/or contracts in fall 2022. We are also accepting letters of interest from professors to teach civil procedure in spring 2023. We are open to visitors for one semester or for the entire 2022-23 academic year, depending on the applicant’s interests. Please send letters directly to Associate Dean Anthony Schutz, [email protected].

Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 20, 2022 at 01:42 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (9)

Friday, March 18, 2022

Maybe we have always been crazy as a nation

Long teaching story coming up.

I end the Discovery portion of Civ Pro by having the class argue the discovery issues in Coca Cola Bottling Co. v. Coca Cola. The case involved a contract dispute between a bottling company and Coca Cola following introduction of Diet Coke and New Coke; the bottler sought production of the formula for original Coca Cola, the court agreed and ordered production, and Coca Cola refused to comply with the order, resulting in sanctions. (Marcus, Redish, Sherman, Pfander included this as a note case--I repurposed it as an in-class hypo). I split the room in half, each representing one party. Many students highlight it as an especially fun class session.

Slate's Hang Up and Listen podcast ends each episode with the line "Remember Zelmo Beatty" (Beatty is a Hall of Fame professional basketball player from the '60s and '70s, the "remember" thing is a riff on an old interview in which David Letterman asked Shaq about old-time players and Shaq admitted to not knowing who Beaty was). I stole the idea end each Civ Pro class session by telling the students to "Remember" someone who is in some obvious or non-obvious way relevant to something we did in class that day. Sometimes it is clear--David Souter on the day of Twiqbal or Milton Shadur on the day of his quixotic effort to get defendants to follow the damn rules in their responsive pleadings. Sometimes it is more obscure--Raymond James Donovan on the day of relation back, Tennessee Williams on the day of International Shoe, or Preston and Charlotte Grace on the day of tag jurisdiction Sometimes it is about the day rather than the course materials--Robert Briscoe (the Jewish former Lord Mayor of Dublin) yesterday. (I leave it to readers to figure all of these out). Once students overcome the initial confusion of why they are supposed to remember some random person, they have fun with it; at least one person does an end-of-semester creative project with pictures or biographical information on everyone they are supposed to remember.

Today we did the Coca Cola problem and I told them to remember Roberto Goizueta Cantera, the CEO of Coca Cola during the New Coke fiasco. Goizueta was born in Cuba, educated in the U.S., and worked for Coca Cola in Cuba before defecting after Castro came to power. Nevertheless, in the public blowback to New Coke, some people pointed out that he was Cuban and suggested that New Coke was a communist plot.

Thus the title of this post.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 18, 2022 at 01:29 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Tenure

The latest Academic Freedom Podcast interviews Matthew Finkin (Illinois) about Dan Patrick's stupidity and the history of tenure. Finkin argues that academic tenure was modeled on Article III tenure (albeit with a lengthy initial probationary period) as a way of protecting the pursuit of "truth" in the face of hostile popular opinion. Finkin says that, from his litigation experience, state judges (who lack such protections in most states) struggle with the concept of tenure when it arises in litigation more than do federal judges (who enjoy similar protections).

So how should we think about academic tenure in a time when many people across the political spectrum have soured on life tenure for judges. If it does not work in the courts, does it work in the academy? Alternatively, why are they different? The obvious difference is power. Many object to one person exercising political power to affect millions (even if only as one of nine) for 35 years. Nothing academics say inside or outside the classroom affects so many people in so direct a way. Another difference is political valence. Those seeking to change Article III in some way come from across the spectrum; systemic attacks on academic tenure come exclusively from the right (although the left does not like and would like to strip tenure in individual cases). But the pushback to Article III reflects concerns about insulation, isolation, being out of touch with the evolution of law, politics, and society. Is that less of a concern for professors and why?

I have come around to the 18-year Carrington Plan (if Eric Segall's even Court cannot happen). At the same time, I am in my nineteenth year of teaching, my fourteenth with tenure. I started to really figure out what I am doing--as a writer and in the classroom--five or six years ago. I cannot imagine my career being over in four years.

One different point, intended more for humor: Someone floated a proposal to split offense and defense in baseball--nine players bat, a different nine players play the field. It is a dumb proposal, in part because we value both skills. We also sometimes trade one for the other--accepting the great-hitter/poor-fielding first baseman or the little-hit/great-glove middle infielder. Much as we might accept the great-scholar who is not a good teacher or the great teacher who does not write. So match the skills--does teaching align with fielding or hitting.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 26, 2022 at 08:59 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 24, 2022

South Texas College of Houston: Visiting Faculty and Tenure-Track Faculty Teaching LRW

South Texas College of Law Houston (“STCL”) invites applications for several open positions beginning in the Fall 2022 semester. Applicants for these positions should include at least a letter of interest, CV, and three references. Members of minority groups and others whose backgrounds will contribute to the diversity of the faculty are especially encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled.

(1)  A full-time, tenure-track position teaching legal research and writing beginning in the 2022-23 academic year. Faculty teaching legal writing at STCL are fully integrated tenure-track faculty members with the same benefits and scholarship and service requirements as doctrinal tenure-track professors. We seek candidates with outstanding academic records who are passionate about legal writing and committed to both excellence in teaching and sustained scholarly achievement. Legal writing teaching experience is preferred but not required. Applications for and questions regarding this position may be directed to Professor Charles W. “Rocky” Rhodes, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, [email protected].

(2) One or more Visiting Assistant Professor (“VAP”) positions for academic years 2022-24. Our VAP program exists to help practitioners and others develop their teaching skills and scholarship to transition to full-time academic positions. A VAP is initially given a one-year contract, with the expectation of reappointment based on satisfactory performance, with a possibility for reappointment for a third year. The specific courses taught by a VAP will be determined by considering the interests and abilities of the VAP and our curricular needs, which include criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, civil procedure, torts, first amendment law, secured transactions, and wills, trusts & estates. A VAP is eligible to be appointed to a permanent position on the STCL faculty under the same process used for all candidates for permanent faculty positions. VAP applications and questions regarding the program may be directed to Professor Kenneth Williams, Chair of the VAP Search Committee, [email protected].

(3) One or more podium visitor positions for Fall 2022 and/or Spring 2023. Our specific curricular needs include criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, civil procedure, torts, first amendment law, secured transactions, and wills, trusts & estates. Applications and questions regarding the podium visitor position for experienced faculty may be directed to Ted L. Field, Associate Dean for Faculty, [email protected].

STCL is committed to fulfilling our mission of providing a diverse body of students with the opportunity to obtain an exceptional legal education, preparing graduates to serve their community and the profession with distinction. The school, located in downtown Houston, was founded in 1923 and is the oldest law school in the city. South Texas is a private, nonprofit, independent law school, fully accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, with 60 full-time and 60 adjunct professors serving a student body of 900 full and part-time students. South Texas is known for its supportive and collegial culture and its commitment to student success. The school is home to the most decorated advocacy program in the U.S. and the nationally recognized Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution. Additional information regarding South Texas is available at http://www.stcl.edu.

STCL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 24, 2022 at 10:06 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (9)

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy, Northwestern-Pritzker

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Bluhm Legal Clinic

Open-Rank Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law invites applications for a clinical faculty position to serve as the Director of its Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy with an expected start date of August 1, 2022. The Center prepares law students to become confident, skilled, and effective litigators. The Center is a nationally-ranked, simulation-based teaching program - among the finest in the country.  The Center teaches students ethics and professional responsibility, evidence, pre-trial litigation, trial technology, and trial advocacy.

Candidates will be considered for appointment to the faculty of the Bluhm Legal Clinic of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law at a level commensurate with experience and qualifications. We seek applicants for this position with distinguished academic records and a demonstrated track record of directing, developing, and teaching trial advocacy courses.

Required qualifications include: a JD; at least five years of experience in the practice of law; excellent written and oral communication skills; experience supervising student mock trial teams; experience generating revenue for clinical programs, and enthusiasm for collaborating in departmental and law school committee work.

Duties of the position include: directing the Center, supervising and overseeing the hiring of adjunct faculty, teaching trial advocacy courses, developing curriculum and enhancing course offerings, fostering academic excellence and innovation throughout the Center, and maintaining our national reputation for excellence in advocacy training and teaching.

Requisite attributes include: demonstrated abilities to inspire others and to work collaboratively, creatively, and constructively with others.  The candidate must have strong organizational skills and be recognized as a respected member of the clinical community and professional community.  This person should have a passion for teaching and learning as well as for the development of students and academic programs. The candidate must have the ability to integrate technology into the teaching and learning process. The candidate must also have the ability to successfully interact with students, other educators and educational institution representatives, and the general public in a professional manner.

The Bluhm Legal Clinic is currently made up of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Children and Family Justice Center, Center on International Human Rights, Entrepreneurship Law Center, Environmental Law Center, Appellate Advocacy Center, Roderick MacArthur Justice Center, Civil Litigation Center and other clinical programs that involve civil litigation and criminal defense.

To apply, applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and a list of three professional references through Northwestern’s online application system: https://facultyrecruiting.northwestern.edu/apply/MTQzMA==. Interested applicants are encouraged to submit materials as soon as possible and highly encouraged to apply no later than March 11.

Northwestern requires all staff and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to limited exceptions. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 and Campus Updates website.

 

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Click for information on EEO is the Law.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 17, 2022 at 06:24 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 13, 2022

SSRN fallout? (Udpated Twice)

Are schools discussing or planning responses to SSRN on the Ann Lipton debacle-stopping their legal studies series (permanently or temporarily), stopping posting new papers (permanently or temporarily), something else?

Leaving comments open for real responses. I will delete unrelated comments.

Update: Several people say that HLR did not withdraw Lipton's publication offer and did receive a C&D letter (resolving a question raised in the comments). I regret the suggestion that faculty could, might, or should impose negative consequences on the review and have deleted that reference from the first paragraph.

Update, Update: Ann updated her post to report that SSRN restored the paper and posted an explanation to Twitter announcing that it had changed its policy of pulling papers while investigating defamation complaints.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 13, 2022 at 11:20 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

VAP Search: Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law seeks a qualified individual to serve as Visiting Assistant Professors of Law during academic year 2022-23. This position is a 10-month, visiting position beginning in the summer of 2022, with the possibility of one additional 10-month term.

The successful candidate will be responsible for teaching two courses, one per semester. We are especially interested in candidates who would like to teach Criminal Procedure and/or Legal Profession.  Courses are subject to negotiation, based on the curricular needs of the Law School and the interests of the candidate. Our VAPs have ample time to focus on scholarship and be afforded access to the Law School's library and related resources. Past Visiting Assistant Professors of Law at Villanova have found great success in legal academia.

Interested persons may reach out to Teri Ravenell, Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development, at [email protected] with questions but should apply via our HR process at https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://jobs.villanova.edu/postings/22296__;!!FjuHKAHQs5udqho!ZKlwXNzY8kccxK388s2-3kAWfI7qJd-j2QDRpIjq6eJwsfAb-uRpLHyxZVz9g3lTGbP8gg$.

Villanova is a Catholic university sponsored by the Augustinian order. Diversity and inclusion have been and will continue to be an integral component of Villanova University's mission. The University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and seeks candidates who understand, respect and can contribute to the University's mission and values.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 9, 2022 at 11:35 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Teaching anti-canon

Gerard and Eric Segall reflect on teaching Roe/Casey, perhaps for the final time, in the shadow of Dobbs and the prospective end of constitutional protection for abortion. Gerard also notes that the end of affirmative action may be looming, raising similar issues for teaching Baake and Grutter.

It raises interesting questions about when and how to teach anti-canon, previously canonical cases that no longer are good law. Should we still teach abortion or affirmative action as "this is what the law was for 50 years and this is how and why it ceased to be the law?" Does it matter that the old law remains relevant to the sub-constitutional law being enacted in states and in Congress affecting the rights at issue (that is, as students watch states ban abortion, should they understand what the law was that stopped and now allows that)? Is it time-limited--teach it to the next generation of students (e.g., those who are teens now) who have living memory of these rights, then phase it out over time? Is there a difference between anti-canon that has been overruled in an area that remains alive as part of constitutional law, so teaching it shows doctrinal evolution (e.g.Korematsu, Lochner, Plessy, Dred Scott)? Specifically for Con Law, does it depend on whether we conceptualize the course as teaching current (judicially enforced) constitutional doctrine to people who need to take and pass the bar exam (and who may encounter a remote constitutional issue over their careers but likely will not practice "constitutional law") or as something like a constitutional history course?

I do not teach Con Law, but we have had similar discussions in Civ Pro. I continue to teach Conley (which, in fairness, continues to be sort-of good-ish law), but I have reduced Pennoyer to a five-minute lecture on the power theory of jurisdiction (although time constraints drove this choice more than no longer valuing the case). The difference is that no one saw Twiqbal coming, the way we are watching Dobbs and Harvard like slow-moving freight trains. Even Egbert, while calling on the Court never to extend Bivens to the First Amendment or any other case not named Bivens, is not calling on the Court to overrule Bivens and eliminate damages actions against federal officers.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 2, 2022 at 09:57 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

VAP Search: University of Buffalo School of Law

The University at Buffalo School of Law, SUNY seeks a Visiting Assistant Professor in the field of racial justice, beginning in the summer or fall of 2022.  This is a full-time, two year, non-tenure track faculty position for a legally trained individual who plans to pursue an academic career in law, and to address the issue of racial justice through scholarship and teaching. The Visiting Assistant Professor can expect to gain experience teaching at least one core legal subject and at least one other course focused centrally on some aspect of racial justice.  The Visiting Assistant Professor will receive mentorship in both teaching and scholarship, and step-by-step preparation for the academic job market.  The Law School encourages applications from candidates prepared to contribute, through research, teaching, and service, to a diverse and inclusive community of inquiry. The University at Buffalo is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes all to apply, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Applications must be submitted at https://www.ubjobs.buffalo.edu/postings/32975.  Inquiries may be directed to Guyora Binder, chair of appointments, at [email protected].

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 1, 2022 at 03:26 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, January 31, 2022

Faculty Hiring: Southern University Law Center

Position Announcement

Tenure-Track Faculty Positions

Southern University Law Center

Sitting at the edge of the Mississippi River, in a town known for its culinary creativity and easy-living lifestyle, Southern University Law Center (SULC) seeks applicants for at least four tenure-track appointments for its full-time faculty starting in August 2022. In addition to competitive salary and comprehensive benefits, SULC provides substantial publication support and incentives for dedicated scholars, travel stipends to present your work domestically and internationally, teaching and development resources, and supportive faculty at the ready to advance your career.

SULC’s mission and tradition has been to provide access and opportunity to a diverse group of students from underrepresented racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups to obtain a high quality legal education. Areas of concentration include: Common Law Contracts, Family Law, Civil Law Obligations, Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Civil Procedure, Commercial Law, Business Entities, Conflicts of Laws, Federal Courts, Trial Advocacy, Civil Law Property, Wills and Trust, Successions and Donations, Remedies, amongst others.

A candidate must have a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school and a commitment to teaching in an environment dedicated to excellence in teaching and mentoring of students. We will consider both lateral and entry-level applicants. We look for innovative faculty with significant background in practice or experience teaching; dynamic scholars with an established record or promise of legal scholarship; and applicants that demonstrate a commitment to service to legal education, the institution, and to the wider community. With one of the most diverse student bodies in the country, SULC is dedicated to the aims of diversity and strongly encourages applications from women and minorities.

SULC is a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Established in 1947 in response to a lawsuit by an African-American resident seeking to attend law school at a state institution, SULC has grown to serve a widely diverse population of over 900 students. We are uniquely attuned to the importance of an education for students of all backgrounds and circumstances.

SULC offers a comprehensive benefits package to full-time faculty members that includes retirement benefits as well as health, dental, and life insurance. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications. SULC also offers full-time faculty summer research grants, travel support, and research assistants.

SULC is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the state capital. Baton Rouge is a thriving cultural center with more than a dozen museums and cultural centers, great food and music, and a temperate climate.

Please direct any questions about the positions to Vice Chancellor Donald North at [email protected]

Application Procedure

Email a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three professional references to [email protected] by February 15, 2022.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 31, 2022 at 12:54 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 13, 2022

I am officially old (corrected, still old)

A 1L in my Civ Pro class this semester is the child of a woman who took Civ Pro from me in fall 2002 at Florida State, the first time I taught the course as a VAP.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 13, 2022 at 10:05 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 10, 2021

7th Annual Civil Procedure Workshop

Seventh Annual Civil Procedure Workshop
Cardozo Law School
May 19-20, 2022

We are excited to announce the Seventh Annual Civil Procedure Workshop will be hosted by Cardozo Law School in New York City on May 19-20, 2022.

The CPW gives both emerging and established civil procedure scholars an opportunity to gather with colleagues and present their work to an expert audience. Scholars will present their papers in small panel sessions. A senior scholar will moderate each panel and lead the commentary. In addition to paper presentations, we intend to engage members of the judiciary and federal civil rulemaking bodies in discussions about current developments in procedure. Our ongoing goal is for the CPW to strengthen the study of procedure as an academic discipline, and to deepen ties among the academy, rulemakers, and the judiciary.

Confirmed participants for 2020 include Pamela Bookman, Maureen Carroll, Zachary Clopton, Brooke Coleman, Myriam Gilles, David Marcus, Elizabeth Porter, Alexander Reinert, and Diego Zambrano.

We welcome all civil procedure scholars to attend. Please register for the conference here (if the link does not work please use the following address: https://cardozo.yu.edu/registration-seventh-annual-civil-procedure-workshop). Those wishing to present a paper for discussion should submit a two-page abstract by February 11, 2022, using the same registration site: https://cardozo.yu.edu/registration-seventh-annual-civil-procedure-workshop. While we welcome papers from both emerging and senior scholars, preference may be given to those who have been teaching for less than ten years. We will select papers to be presented by March 18, 2022.

The CPW will provide meals for registrants. Participants must cover travel and lodging costs. We will provide information about reasonably priced hotels as the date approaches. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Alex Reinert ([email protected]) or Myriam Gilles ([email protected]).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 10, 2021 at 10:08 AM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Tushnet on pet peeves in legal scholarship

Co-sign. Some colleagues were having a discussion about the practice in non-law disciplines of reading one's paper.

 

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 4, 2021 at 11:17 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Graded assignments

In Fed Courts and Civil Rights, most grading is based on a written assignment and oral arguments as SCOTUS reviewing lower courts. Each student argues one case, serves as justice for one case, and writes an opinion on one case. From a list of cases, I assign each student the case to argue and the case to judge; they choose their third case from the remainder of the list.

First problem: More than 1/3 of the class--13/30--wrote on the same case (standing to challenge North Carolina's 20-week abortion ban).  Part of the reason for doing it this way (rather than giving an exam) is not having to read multiple versions of the same answer; this undermines that. Is this a problem and is there anything I can or should do about it?

Second problem: Two students reversed the lower court; everyone else affirmed. Even when the political valence of the lower court went against what I imagine would be students' preferences (e.g., finding moot a challenge to a limit on absentee voting). And even when the lower court included a strong dissent. Part of me thinks it is easier to affirm (the starting point for the analysis is there). The alternative is to require the authors to reverse, but that makes the assignment too difficult (and gives an edge to those working with cases that have dissents). Again, is this a problem and is there anything I can or should do about it?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 2, 2021 at 02:10 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

UF Task Force Report on Outside Activities

University of Florida President Ken Fuchs on Tuesday accepted the Final Report of the Task Force on Outside Activities, appointed after the university refused to let three faculty members testify as expert witnesses in a challenge to new Florida voting regulations.

The Task Force recommended a policy that reaffirms academic freedom and the right of faculty to speak on matters of public concern and reaffirms that speaking out on such matters is not "outside activity" that must be reported to the university. University review remains necessary when a faculty seeks to testify as an expert in litigation. The review will operate under a "strong presumption" that requests to testify will be approved. The presumption must be rebutted by by clear-and-convincing evidence that the testimony conflicts with an important and particularized interest of the university, beyond generalized assertion of a conflict of interest or an undifferentiated fear of harm. The Report also recommends changes to the process for reviewing conflicts of interest.

The CHE article quotes Clay Calvert, a journalism professor and First Amendment scholar, reminding the university that a "conflict of viewpoint is not necessarily a conflict of interest" and that decisions should not be grounded in fears of financial reprisals from the state or attempts to curry favor with the state.

The new policy is not good enough for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the university, which appears designed to challenge any system of discretionary approval for any faculty speech.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 24, 2021 at 10:38 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 18, 2021

More on UIC (no longer John Marshall)

I wrote last January about Jason Kilborn at UIC (not John Marshall--why they changed it . . .), who was in the middle of a firestorm that began over a reference to a racial slur on an exam and went badly sideways. Andy Koppelman (Northwestern) has a long essay in the CHE updating the story, which includes a seemingly inaccurate committee finding of harassing conduct, continued student protests (with appearances by Jesse Jackson), and settlement of a brewing lawsuit.

It is a mess of administrative overreach and the collision of speech, academic freedom, and DEI. A la Yale. And it again illustrates my repeated point about recent academic-freedom controversies--When it happens at Yale or at UF, it makes The Times and the Post; when it happens at UIC, it makes the Sun-Times and the Chronicle. Not the same level of attention and thus not the same level of public pressure.

One final point of speculation: Would this have played differently if it had happened at the Former JMLS--stand-alone private urban law school--than when happening at UIC--large, majority-minority public university. Does the large administrative apparatus that accompanies a large public university exacerbate these types of incidents? Does it suggest that the public takeover--which I predicted 20+ years ago and regarded as an unalloyed good for the law school--has a substantial downside?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 18, 2021 at 03:39 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 15, 2021

Resources for new and aspiring ad law profs

Christopher Walker (Ohio State) at Yale J. Reg's Notice and Comment, for the ad law scholar in your life.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 15, 2021 at 12:12 PM in Howard Wasserman, Jr. Law Prawfs FAQ, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Buchanan on events at UF

Neil Buchanan, who teaches at UF and blogs at Dorf, has two great posts on events at UF, from a unique insider perspective--a new faculty member (he joined UF from GW in 2019), recruited to a chair and directorship, and lured by the university's stated goals of becoming another "public Ivy." He can focus on how this hurts the school's reputation and how it hurts faculty recruiting. Worth a read.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 9, 2021 at 03:09 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sartorial choices, on the sideline and in the classroom

Since the COVID bubble in spring/summer 2020, NBA coaches have moved from wearing suits during games to warm-up pants and 1/4-zip pullovers with team logos. Last week, Candace Buckner decries "pandemic chic. The haute couture of polyester and wrinkle-free pants" that makes her "long for the days when the NBA sidelines showed a touch of class." Buckner discussed the article on the Hang Up and Listen podcast (around the 48:00 mark).

I have been teaching this semester, masked, in shorts and a pullover (my favorite clothes matching my favorite weather), as a sop to what I perceived as the oddness of wearing a tie and a mask, combined with the habits of wearing comfortable clothes at all times. In explaining the change to my students on the first days of class, I used NBA coaches as my analogue--if they went all-casual, so would I. I assured them it did not mean I took their education or the class any less seriously. But others would say they long for the days when the front of the classroom showed a touch of class.

Incidentally, I recognize that dressing like this reflects male privilege. I can do this without, it appears, losing status or respect from students; an untenured colleague and (likely) a non-cis-male colleague may not have that luxury.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 9, 2021 at 08:54 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Academic freedom in Florida and the quiet parts out loud

Perhaps trying to prove my point that attacks on academic freedom are likely to spread throughout the Florida SUS, Florida Atlantic University (public university in Boca Raton) is considering a proposal to give the full Board of Trustees, not the Board president alone, final authority on tenure decisions.

One trustee, recently appointed by DeSantis, wants a complete file beyond the short bio. She also wants to be able to plumb that file for a lot of additional information to use in a nakedly content- or viewpoint-based decision. Money quote from the article:

One paragraph doesn’t tell us a lot about a professor, his viewpoints, his research, his political affiliations or potential donations,” among other factors, she said. “I’m concerned about tenure moving forward. I speak not just for myself but for the governor. I can’t think of any other position out there where people have a job for life."

This will be used as evidence by the first person denied tenure under this new system. It also demands to see and rely on information that goes beyond the tenure file reviewed in any department, college, or provost's office. My tenure file contained nothing about my affiliations or donations (I suppose people could guess, although they would be wrong based on some of my recent work). I would wonder how DeSantis feels about this person speaking for him, but he probably shares her views.

Also evincing my point about what this happening outside the national media eye when it happens at a place other than the flagship university, the story is from the South Florida Sun-Sentinal, not the Washington Post or even the Miami Herald.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 7, 2021 at 08:47 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)