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)

Friday, November 05, 2021

More on academic freedom at UF (Updated)

Updated: The university backed down, at least for the moment. The president convened a task force (including Clay Calvert, an excellent First Amendment scholar who teaches in the journalism school, and law dean Laura Rosenbury) to develop policies for "how UF should respond when employees request approval to serve as expert witnesses in litigation in which their employer, the state of Florida, is a party." That framing is problematic, still conflating the university with the state of Florida, but we have to see. The president also ordered the university conflict's office to reverse recent decisions and allow faculty to testify, for compensation, in cases to which Florida is an adverse party.

The University of Florida Chapter of United Faculty of Florida issued a list of demands. After the jump, I summarize and comment.

1) Allow the three faculty members to provide paid expert testimony in the voting-rights litigation, as well as allowing other faculty to do the same in other cases. They also want the university to issue a formal apology. Makes sense. This is what started this whole thing, which has brought to light other academic-freedom concerns at the university, such as state laws requiring schools to conduct "intellectual environment" surveys and limiting what faculty can speak to students about.

2) Affirm the right of faculty to "conscience, academic freedom, free speech rights, and expertise in an expert witness context, regardless of whether they receive payment for their expertise." Obviously.

3) Affirm its support for voting rights and commit to opposing ongoing efforts to suppress voting rights in the state of Florida. This is stupid, over-grasping, and unnecessary. There are good arguments (from scholars across the political spectrum) that academic institutions should not take institutional positions on public issues, no matter how obvious the issues. This demand says "it is not enough that we be able to express our preferred position, you also must tell us that we are right in our position." It also plays into the narrative of liberal academics controlling the university and silencing those who oppose their messages by insisting that their views be the institution's views.

4) Formally declare that the University's mission to serve the public good is independent of the transitory political interests of state officeholders. Instead, UF should uphold its mission statement as the prime directive for all University activities. Good.

5) Donors should withhold donations unless UF complies with the four main demands, including explaining why they are withholding. Interesting, but unlikely to do much. One of the faculty members at the press conference announcing these demands said he had donated to the school in the past and would stop doing so. But I doubt that the donors the university cares about--those who build buildings and endow centers and chairs--would follow suit.

6) Officials at other schools should tank UF in their US News and other assessments, because of this, as well as its response to COVID, its "poor commitment to environmental sustainability," and broader attacks on employees' speech, academic freedom, and labor rights. This is trying to hit UF where it hurts. The university made a big deal about becoming the #5 public university in the 2021 US News (trailing UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan, and Virginia and tied with UNC and UC-Santa Barbara)--there is a photo circulating of DeSantis with university officials, holding a # 5 Gators jersey. Again, though, why drag an unrelated political issue such as the environment into this?

7) Professional associations should call out UF.

8) Accrediting agencies should investigate, since failing to protect academic freedom undermines its ability to provide a world-class education.

9) Artists, scholars, and intellectuals who are invited to perform at the University of Florida should decline these invitations until the University complies with our academic freedom demands. When declining an invitation to appear at the University, invitees should clearly specify why they are declining the invitation and, if they are active on social media, should use the hashtag #NotAtUF.

I asked Steve Lubet (Northwestern) for his thoughts, as he criticizes calls for academic boycotts. He writes:

Academic boycotts are bad in principle because they undermine the free exchange of ideas. I understand the impulse here, which is to exert maximum pressure on the administration, but it would be performative and counter-productive. Desantis and his acolytes don’t care much about artists or visiting scholars appearing at UF, so only the students and faculty will be hurt. They should try demanding that other universities drop UF from their sports schedules, which might actually have an impact.

I would add that it would create a political imbalance in the exchange of idea, because conservative speakers will be happy to speak at UF, not only for the opportunity to speak but also to own the libs.

10) Call for a UF Faculty Senate resolution affirming these demands.

11) Employees should refuse to disclose outside activities and conflicts of interest via the UFOLIO system. Until the University can be trusted to use this information responsibly, it should not be trusted with this information at all. Nothing like some civil disobedience as a topper. But they might consider Tracy v. Florida Atlantic University, a different conflict between an SUS entity and faculty speech. Tracy, a professor of communications and media studies, ran a blog that questioned Sandy Hook; the university asked him to disclose the blog as an outside activity, Tracy refused, and the university fired him for insubordination. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the university, concluding that the disclosure policy was not constitutionally invalid and thus firing him was not inappropriate. That one does not trust the university to use information responsibility, divorced from any apparent constitutional violation in the disclosure rules, does not excuse the obligation to comply with the disclosure obligations. I suppose if enough people stop complying the university cannot fire everyone for non-compliance, so maybe it works in the short term.

I presume the university will back down on this; it does not want this to remain a national story. I remain focused on how this trickles down to my school.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 5, 2021 at 12:11 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Academic freedom in the Florida State University System

I have been watching the situation at University of Florida closely, especially now that it appears this has implicated three law professors who sought to put their names on amicus briefs. This could spread to other schools in the State University System. It is front page of the Washington Post because it is UF, a flagship public university in a large state that purports to be a top public research institution; I would worry about stuff like this sliding under the radar at a smaller institution in a smaller state. Keith Whittington has been covering this at Volokh in his role with the Academic Freedom Alliance.

Meanwhile, the FIU Faculty Senate entered the fray. Interesting to see how FIU and the state respond.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 3, 2021 at 02:46 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 15, 2021

Misapplying the thin-skulled plaintiff

I agree with most of Ruth Marcus' takedown of Yale Law School's attempt to extort an apology from a student over an obnoxious email.*

[*] The student surreptitiously recorded his conversations with two deans--is Connecticut a one-party state?--and it is really hard to listen to those recordings in which the deans remind him of applying to the Bar and not laugh when the school says "No student is investigated or sanctioned for protected speech." No sanction, but a not-subtle "nice Bar Exam you have to take, shame if you get dinged by not apologizing."

I take issue with this:

Every first-year law student learns in torts class about the plaintiff with the “eggshell skull” — someone who suffers a greater injury than normal and must be compensated accordingly. But in the modern world, it seems, everyone’s skulls are susceptible to cracking at the slightest provocation.

The eggshell plaintiff is a go-to move in discussions (critical or supportive) of attempts to restrict offensive speech. Feminist anti-porn arguments rested on this theory--the eggshelliest person might decide to emulate porn and commit crimes against women, so this rule justifies banning porn. Marcus tries to argue that everyone is acting like an eggshell plaintiff as to offensive speech and that law-school administrators are allowing.

Both arguments rest on a misapplication of the eggshell-plaintiff concept. Marcus defines it correctly--a wrongdoer takes the injured person as he finds her and must pay a uniquely great compensation for a uniquely great injury. But this is a compensation rule, not a liability rule. A person is not liable for conduct that would not injure an ordinary person, and thus is not wrongful, even if it injures the eggshell plaintiff. The rule kicks in when the defendant has engaged in wrongful conduct and we have to determine how much he pays--compensation is tailored to the injured plaintiff, even if her injuries, and thus the compensation, are unusually great. We do not establish our liability rules according to the weakest, most sensitive, most easily persuaded, or the most easily offended. The eggshell rule cannot be used to justify greater restrictions on speech or conduct and should not be used to explain them.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 15, 2021 at 02:35 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Newell's Law Review Meta-Rankings 2021

Since we are ranking things, here is Bryce Newell's 2021 Law Review Meta-Rankings.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 30, 2021 at 03:03 PM in Howard Wasserman, Law Review Review, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A Fair and Inclusive Alternative to the Sisk Academic Impact Rankings

The following guest post is by Matthew Sag (Loyola-Chicago). This post is a short version of this new essay.

The Sisk Rankings of the academic impact of law school faculties have been around for a while now. Gregory Sisk and his team release these rankings of the top 67 or so schools every three years. And so every three years I find myself wondering: “Really? Can it be true that all these schools have higher academic impact scores than Loyola Chicago, DePaul, and Houston Law?”

The short answer is: no, it’s not remotely true. There are quite a few schools that Sisk leaves out who would outrank those he includes on almost any conceivable method of aggregating citation counts.

How do I know this?

When Sisk and his coauthors released their new rankings last month I spent some time digging around in the citation data available on HeinOnline. As I explain more fully in this essay, I used the data provided by HeinOnline to construct a rankings table that includes every ABA accredited law school.

My rankings are based on the median of doctrinal faculty—this is the obvious place to start if we are trying to understand the central tendency of a group with a skewed distribution. Sisk uses a slightly odd formula of twice the value of the mean plus the median, but not much turns on this. Even if we adopt Sisk's formula and apply it to the HeinOnline data, schools like Penn State, Loyola Chicago, DePaul, Houston Law, and Michigan State still outrank several of the faculties Sisk counts in the top 67. In the essay I have just posted to SSRN, I provide a complete ranking of schools from 1-193 calculated six different ways: median, mean, median+mean, mean*2+median, total, and rank_total+rank_median. I think median makes the most sense, but readers should feel free to rationalize whichever measure ranks their school higher. The point is that my claim that the Sisk rankings are unfair does not depend on the minutia of calculation. No matter how you crunch the numbers, several schools that Sisk and his team ignore outperform the ones he chooses to rank.

How significant are these distortions?

I have constructed a couple of figures to illustrate the differences between the Sisk rankings and my more inclusive approach. The first figure illustrates the difference between Sisk rankings and a simple five-year median citation ranking for schools that are underrated by Sisk. I have assigned each school disregarded by Sisk and implied Sisk rank of 68 for this purpose. (This figure also includes schools that rank the same either way.) The second figure is the same, except that it shows which schools are overrated by Sisk.

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Who should be left out?

The Sisk rankings exclude the majority of ABA accredited law schools, including several that outperform many of those ranked by Sisk, and also every law school based at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). This exclusionary approach to ranking schools is unfair and unnecessary. It is unfair because it falsely implies that certain disfavored or overlooked schools are inferior to those deemed worth ranking. Moreover, even the exclusion of schools that don’t outrank Sisk’s preferred schools once the playing field has been leveled is also unfair. It suggests that the overlooked schools are not even in the same league as those that are ranked, rather than being separated by matters of degree.

This unfairness is unnecessary. I know the HeinOnline data is not perfect, but I suspect it is at least as good as the data Sisk and his team extract from Westlaw. The means and medians I calculated using the HeinOnline data correlate with Sisk’s results at about .95, at least for the 67 schools we both ranked.

When I run the Chicago Marathon in a couple of weeks, I will be running the same race as two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp and America’s second fastest female marathon runner ever, Sara Hall. I don’t expect to finish anywhere near these remarkable athletes, but I do expect that my time will be recorded. No doubt, there are runners who believe that they will finish faster than me, but we don’t start the race presuming that some people’s times are worth recording and others are not. We all run, we all count. There is no reason why law school rankings should be any less fair or inclusive.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 28, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (21)

Monday, September 27, 2021

Professor and Director of the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, UC Hastings

The University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco is conducting an open-rank search to hire one lateral tenured or tenure-track faculty member to begin July 1, 2022. The ideal candidate will be a productive scholar in the field of alternative dispute resolution, a successful teacher, and a visionary programmatic administrator capable of leading the nationally esteemed Center for Negotiation & Dispute Resolution (“CNDR”).

Applicants should have a serious interest in UC Hastings and living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Salary and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Applicants should email a CV and a statement of interest to Professor Scott Dodson, Chair of the CNDR Search Committee, at [email protected], by October 14, 2021.

CNDR was founded in 2003 to develop the ADR curriculum and to contribute to UC Hastings Law’s public-service mission through ADR-related programs. UC Hastings Law offers a concentration in Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution and nearly twenty different ADR course offerings, including the Mediation Clinic, the ADR Externship Program, and the #1 ranked Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Team. CNDR hosts international conferences and trainings, drawing practitioners and judges from across the globe. At home, CNDR collaborates on projects and events with non-profits such as The Mediation Society, commercial providers such as JAMS, and government agencies such as the California Public Utilities Commission.

CNDR won the Ninth Circuit’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Education Award in 2007 and 2018 and the International Competition for Mediation Advocacy’s prestigious Louise Otis Award for Excellence in Mediation Education in 2011 and 2013. Under CNDR’s leadership, US News & World Report has consistently ranked UC Hastings Law as having one of the Top ADR Programs in the country (currently #8 this year).

UC Hastings Law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, gender transition status, sex- or gender-stereotyping, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services, including protected veterans. This policy applies to all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, merit increase, salary, training and development, demotion, and separation.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 27, 2021 at 12:24 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Kentucky Law Journal: Exclusive Submissions

The Kentucky Law Journal is opening an exclusive submission track for Fall 2021, with an expedited review process. We are accepting manuscripts from all areas of law, though we are particularly interested in scholarship focused on tort lawAuthors who submit to our exclusive submission track agree to accept a binding publication offer, should one be extended. The accepted Article will be published in Volume 110 of the Kentucky Law Journal, with final publication around April 2022. The KLJ will provide a publication decision within 7 days of submission. The final manuscript will be due shortly after we accept the article for publication. 

 

Authors interested in submitting to the exclusive submission track for Fall 2021 should email their CV and manuscript to Editor-in-Chief Kelly Daniel at [email protected], and Managing Articles Editor Samuel Weaver at [email protected] with the subject line "Exclusive Article Submission."

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 14, 2021 at 04:33 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chronicle of Higher Ed reveals its biases

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article on the rankings obsession among colleges. They begin the story with three examples--University of Houston, Washington State, and us. The top of the piece contains a photo with an array of pull-quotes from strategic plans--we are the only school mentioned by name. Also garnering mention in the story are Clemson, Oklahoma State,  and Oregon State. Apparently the only schools obsessing about rankings are non-flagship public universities, two of which are urban and some of which serve significant numbers of non-white students. My colleague Louis Schulze has some thoughts about the biases reflected in the editorial framing choice.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 14, 2021 at 01:25 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 13, 2021

THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW Faculty Positions

The George Washington University Law School invites applications for up to five tenure-track or tenured faculty appointments. The appointments will be made at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor and will begin as early as Fall 2022. The school may hire faculty in any subject area or category based on a candidate’s overall strength. Areas of particular interest include all large 1L classes (torts, contracts, criminal law, civil procedure, property, legislation & regulation, and constitutional law), professional responsibility, family law, health law, intellectual property, government procurement, international law, environmental law, and civil rights law. The University and Law School have a strong commitment to achieving diversity among faculty and staff.  We are particularly interested in receiving applications from members of underrepresented groups and strongly encourage women, persons of color, and LGBTQ candidates to apply for these positions.

Minimum Job Qualifications:

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree or an advanced degree in a relevant field and have relevant experience such as teaching, legal practice, or judicial clerkship. Applicants must also show scholarly promise, evidenced by publications in scholarly journals or scholarly works in progress.

Application Procedure:

For Lateral Applicants: Complete an online faculty application at https://www.gwu.jobs/postings/83843 and upload a cover letter indicating the area of interest and a current c.v., including a list of references.

For Entry Level Applicants: Please apply through the AALS Faculty Appointments Register at https://www.aals.org/services/recruitment/ or complete an online faculty application at https://www.gwu.jobs/postings/83843.  

Please email questions to [email protected]—Review of applications will begin August 26, 2021 and will continue until the positions are filled. Only complete applications submitted either through AALS or GW’s online system will be considered.

Employment offers are contingent on the satisfactory outcome of a standard background screening.

The university is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.  See https://compliance.gwu.edu/equal-opportunity-nondiscrimination-anti-harassment-and-non-retaliation

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 13, 2021 at 10:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 10, 2021

CFP: The Future of Food

The Business, Entrepreneurship, and Tax Law Review Symposium at the University of Missouri School of Law: The Future of Food.

Details here.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 10, 2021 at 10:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Dean Search: Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Full ad here.

Loyola University Chicago, a private, coeducational, Catholic, Jesuit university, seeks a Dean of the School of Law with intellectual vision, energy, ambition, and the ability to lead the School of Law community to even greater distinction. Inspired by the Jesuit traditions of academic excellence, intellectual openness, social justice, and service to others, the School of Law is revered for its student-centered approach and dedication to educating lawyers, scholars, and leaders for an increasingly complex and diverse world. The School of Law recently adopted a new and powerful mission statement that gives meaning and currency to its Jesuit social justice tradition and reinforces a commitment to equity, justice, and anti-racism. Building upon the school’s strengths and potential, the incoming Dean will have a profound influence on the future of a school where faculty, staff, and students are mutually and deeply committed to creating an impact on Chicago, the legal community, and the world. 

Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of 27 Jesuit universities and one of the largest Catholic universities in the United States. The School of Law has been educating aspiring attorneys in the theory, practice, and ethics of lawyering for more than 100 years. The School of Law boasts a number of world-renowned scholars capable of guiding students to the frontier of legal knowledge in pursuit of a greater social justice. While the School of Law trains excellent lawyers in all practice areas, many students take advantage of the highly regarded program in healthcare law, which is ranked #3 in the country by U.S. News and World Report. With a variety of different degree and programmatic offerings, as well as opportunities for students to gain practical experience, the School of Law is a place for all students to learn together in the pursuit of a more inclusive and just world. 

In 2019, as part of its Mission Priority Examen, Loyola completed a self-study of how the University advances its Jesuit educational mission. The study served as part of the foundation for the new strategic plan. Building on that work, in the Summer of 2020, the Loyola University Chicago School of Law community, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni, came together to examine the mission statement and ensure that it was clearly aligned with the goals of the institution and the aspirations of the community. The new mission statement, adopted in July of 2020, declares:  

Loyola University Chicago School of Law is a student-focused law center inspired by the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, intellectual openness, and service to others. Our mission is: 

  • to educate students to be responsible and compassionate lawyers, judges, and law-related leaders in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world;
  • to prepare graduates who will be ethical advocates for justice and equity, who will lead efforts to dismantle the legal, economic, political, and social structures that generate and sustain racism and all forms of oppression, and who will advance a rule of law that promotes social justice; and
  • to contribute to a deeper understanding of law, legal institutions, and systems of oppression through a commitment to transformation, intersectionality, and anti-subordination in our teaching, research, scholarship, and public service.

In accordance with this revised mission statement, School of Law stakeholders identified 8 key strategic goals with relevant objectives to guide the future direction of the school. For more information about these strategic goals, visit https://www.luc.edu/law/about/mission/index.cfm.

This is an outstanding opportunity for a highly collaborative, forward-looking, enthusiastic leader to inspire a diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The Dean will join Loyola as the university embarks on a new strategic plan, We Are Called to the Next 150 Years, that focuses on finding transdisciplinary approaches to complex and urgent social problems. Thus, the Dean will guide the School of Law as it continues to seek excellence as a premier law school with a focus on educating lawyers prepared to enter an increasingly diverse, complex, and dynamic legal landscape and as it helps the university achieve the goals of the strategic plan.  The Dean will help define the next era of the School of Law and addressing a number of key strategic and operational priorities. To be successful in this role, the Dean will:

  • Actualize the ambitious and compelling mission of the School of Law
  • Increase visibility by building upon existing strengths and embracing innovation and scholarship
  • Continue to develop a dynamic and diverse faculty and staff
  • Nurture philanthropy in pursuit of academic excellence
  • Advocate for the School of Law and collaborate with partners across the University
  • Strengthen ties with the city of Chicago and beyond

Loyola University Chicago will prioritize candidates who demonstrate a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Loyola University Chicago has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in this search. Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. For more details, including the full position profile and to submit inquiries, nominations, referrals, and applications, please see the Isaacson, Miller website for the search: www.imsearch.com/7959. Electronic submission of materials is required.

Julie Filizetti, Tim McFeeley, Oren Griffin, and Jaime Morgen 

Isaacson, Miller

1000 Sansome Street, Suite 300

San Francisco, CA  94111

Phone: 415.655.4900

Loyola University Chicago is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action employer with a strong commitment to hiring for our mission and diversifying our faculty and staff. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion (except where religion is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job), national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, protected veteran status or any other factor protected by law.  

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 1, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 20, 2021

It's good, even if not ideal, to be back

FIU began classes on Monday, so I taught my first in-person classes since March 2020. As a Florida institution, we cannot require vaccinations, masking, or contact tracing, although we can encourage it. I am masked and there is a big plastic shield in front of the podium (although old habits dying hard, I am still walking the front of the room). All but one or two students are masked, at least in the classroom, so most people are doing what is necessary to keep this going. One colleague put it to students in self-interested terms: The best approach for personal and public health is to continue remote learning, but in-person provides a better education. The implication is that masks are a low cost for a high educational benefit.

I  am not saying anything earth-shattering, but I had forgotten how much fun in-person teaching is. There is an energy level that comes with real human interaction of a classroom. The exchanges with and among students are sharper because in realer time; the conversation moves because people need not pause to unmute; and student reactions, such as laughter, are more immediate. Online provides a rough simulacrum, but does not come close to duplicating the experience. I did not appreciate how wide the gap is until I was able to experience a live class again.

Hopefully it will last.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 20, 2021 at 10:59 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 16, 2021

Hiring; University of Tennessee College of Law

THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE COLLEGE OF LAW invites applications from both entry-level and lateral candidates for two full-time, tenure-track or tenured faculty positions to commence in the Fall Semester 2022.  The College is looking for candidates who will fill a range of curricular needs.  We are particularly interested in the subject area of business law, including business associations and contracts.  Other areas of interest include corporate and regulatory compliance, education law, environmental law, estate planning, health law, immigration law, legal writing, and property.  We also seek candidates who integrate cutting-edge legal issues into their courses or are interested in helping us expand our offerings in areas like technology, cybersecurity, e-discovery, and data privacy.  We welcome applications from candidates who incorporate practical lawyering skills into their courses.

A J.D. or equivalent law degree is required.  Successful applicants must have a strong academic background.  Significant professional experience is desirable.  Candidates also must have a strong commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.

In furtherance of the University’s and the College’s fundamental commitment to diversity among our faculty, student body, and staff, we strongly encourage applications from those who would bring increased diversity to our faculty, curriculum, and programs.

The committee will review applications submitted through the AALS Faculty Appointments Register (FAR) and will also consider applications submitted outside of the FAR process.  Candidates who are not applying through the FAR may submit their application materials directly to Michelle Kwon, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, by emailing them to [email protected].  Please include a letter of interest, including the subjects the candidate is interested in teaching, and a CV with the names and contact information of three references. Applications from candidates not participating in the FAR will have the best chance of full consideration if they are received by September 1, 2021.

The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 16, 2021 at 03:57 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hiring Announcement: Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America

The Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America (“Catholic Law”) seeks to fill three tenure-track faculty positions and one tenured (lateral) position to begin in Spring 2022 or Fall 2022.

One of the positions is for an entry-level candidate to serve as a member of the law school’s faculty while also contributing to the University’s Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies (the “Institute”), described at https://ilais.catholic.edu/en/ilais-mission

We seek candidates who can teach, in addition to any natural areas of fit with the Institute (such as International Law or Immigration Law), the following subjects: Property, Family Law, and Trusts and Estates; Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence; Corporate and Securities Law; and Contracts and Commercial Law.

Two of the tenure-track faculty positions and the tenured (lateral) position are for qualified candidates interested in participating in the school’s new Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, more fully described at https://communications.catholic.edu/news/2021/04/law-originalism-gift.html

We seek candidates who can teach, in addition to the natural areas of fit with the Project (such as Constitutional and Administrative Law), the following subjects:  Property, Family Law, and Trusts and Estates; Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence; Corporate and Securities Law; and Contracts and Commercial Law.

For more information and details on how to apply, please review the full opportunity description at https://provost.catholic.edu/_media/faculty-position-ads/law-tt-pco-and-cit,-2021,-rev.pdf.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 16, 2021 at 08:03 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 15, 2021

ABA Administrative Law Fellowship for Prospective Law Teachers

The American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice (the Section) is pleased to announce the establishment of the ABA Administrative Law Fellowship. The fellowship aims to diversify the cohort of legal academics in administrative law and regulatory practice by positioning lawyers currently in practice to be successful job candidates in the academic market. The fellowship is a two-year program that pairs fellows with mentors in the legal academy and provides other support for entry into legal teaching.

Fellowship Details. The core of the two-year fellowship program is matching each fellow with one primary mentor and two secondary mentors in the legal academy. The goal of the mentoring match is to assist fellows with developing a research agenda, job-talk paper, and other application materials for the legal academic job market (doctrinal and clinical). The program will also provide some general training on research methods and strategy. The program seeks to affiliate fellows with a law school to provide access to online research and publication resources. Fellows will have the opportunity to present their work in connection with the Section’s annual Fall Conference. The fellowship will provide up to $1,500 a year to defer the costs of travel and accommodations for participation in the Section’s Fall Conference and hiring conferences, as well as membership in the ABA and the Section.

Application Information. The Selection Committee is charged with identifying “lawyers with scholarly promise and a strong interest in teaching who would contribute to the diversity of the legal academy in the fields of administrative law and/or regulatory practice.” Fellows are expected to be employed full-time in legal practice. Application materials should include:

  1. a cover letter that explains the candidate’s interest in the fellowship and how the candidate fits the fellowship criteria, including a diversity statement, and addresses why the candidate believes this fellowship opportunity is better suited to their circumstances than a full-time law school-run fellowship or Visiting Assistant Professor position, and identifies at least two references;
  2. a resume; and
  3. a writing sample, which may be material produced for legal practice, a blog, an article, a report, or other written work.

Applications are due on or before September 15, 2021, and should be sent via e-mail with attachments in pdf format to [email protected] The Selection Committee aims to select four fellows for the inaugural class of the fellowship.

Questions. If you have questions about the fellowship or the application, please direct them to Professor Kevin Stack, Chair of the ABA’s Program for Prospective Administrative Law Scholars, at [email protected]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 15, 2021 at 08:58 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Frank H. Marks Intellectual Property Fellowship at GW Law

The Marks Fellowship is designed to assist attorneys who are interested in pursuing a full-time legal academic career in some area of intellectual property law. In the past, Marks Fellows have joined GW Law from judicial clerkships as well as from private practice and other legal positions.

The successful candidate will also serve as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at GW Law from September 2021 through September 2023. During that time, the Marks Fellow will teach one course per academic year, will assist with the administration of the GW Law's renowned Intellectual Property Program, and will have the opportunity to pursue scholarly projects, typically resulting in articles for publication in law reviews. Marks Fellows normally apply for full-time legal academic positions during the fall semester of the second year of the Fellowship. Most previous Marks Fellows have gone on to hold tenure-track or tenured positions at law schools--for more information, see https://www.law.gwu.edu/frank-h-marks-intellectual-property-fellowship.

Electronic applications can be sent to [email protected], and should include:

  • a resume;
  • a list of references, including academic references;
  • a law school transcript;
  • a copy of (or link to) a sample of a published work or other writing in law or a related field; and
  • a proposal describing the candidate's scholarly interests, including the specific project or projects he or she aims to complete while in residence at the law school.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 10, 2021 at 10:01 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

CFP: Inaugural West Coast Bankruptcy Roundtable

USC Gould School of Law and Lewis & Clark Law School present the inaugural West Coast Bankruptcy Roundtable to be held February 3-4, 2022 in Los Angeles.  Spearheaded by Robert Rasmussen, Michael Simkovic, and Samir Parikh, the Roundtable seeks to bring together experienced and junior scholars to discuss particularly noteworthy scholarship involving financial restructuring and business law.  We seek scholars exploring diverse topics and will be interested in interdisciplinary perspectives.

The Roundtable invites the submission of papers.  Selected participants will receive a $1,000 stipend and have the opportunity to workshop their papers in an intimate, collegial setting.  Current attendees include Barry Adler (NYU), Ken Ayotte (Berkeley), Douglas Baird (Chicago), Bruce Bennett (Jones Day), Mitu Gulati (UVA), Yair Listokin (Yale), Bruce Markell (Northwestern), Ed Morrison (Columbia), Alan Schwartz (Yale), Jamie Sprayregen (Kirkland & Ellis), David Skeel (Penn), and Fred Tung (BU).  

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 September 7, 2021.  Invitations will be issued via email by October 8th.  Working drafts of papers must be available for circulation to participants by January 11, 2022.   

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

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 10, 2021 at 12:01 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 09, 2021

Hiring: Texas A&M University School of Law

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks to advance its academic programs and commitment to scholarly inquiry by recruiting multiple faculty candidates for full time, tenured, tenure track, and non-tenure track positions for August 2022.   Since integrating with Texas A&M in 2013, the law school (located in Dallas/Fort Worth) has sustained a remarkable institutional trajectory, as evidenced by significant growth in the size, diversity, and scholarly impact of our faculty; dramatic gains in the academic profile of our incoming students; and resulting advances in the school’s rank and reputation.   We are particularly interested in recruiting outstanding scholars—of any research methodology and in any subject area—who are excited by the opportunity to engage in scholarship, teaching, and policy work at the highest level, at one of the nation’s largest public universities.

Qualifications: Candidates must have a J.D. or equivalent.

Application Instructions: Applicants may submit a résumé and cover letter at https://apply.interfolio.com/91052 (for tenure and tenure-track positions) or https://apply.interfolio.com/91057 (for other positions).

Questions: Questions should be sent to Professor Brendan Maher, Appointments Committee Chair, at [email protected].

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement: Texas A&M University is committed to enriching the learning and working environment for all visitors, students, faculty, and staff by promoting a culture that embraces inclusion, diversity, equity, and accountability. Diverse perspectives, talents, and identities are vital to accomplishing our mission and living our core values.  Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Veterans/Disability Employer committed to diversity.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 9, 2021 at 06:34 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hiring Announcement: FIU College of Law (multiple positions)

South Florida’s public law school in Miami, Florida International University College of Law, invites applicants for multiple tenure, tenure track, and contract positions to begin no later than the 2022-2023 academic year.  In particular, we seek candidates to teach environmental law and courses in other priority areas, such as cyberlaw, torts, wills & trusts, health law, family law, and administrative law. A typical package might include two environmental law courses and at least one (preferably two) in our identified priorities. International experience, academic entrepeneurship, and acumen in grants and external funding are welcome but not required.  Given our growing focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, some of these positions may involve joint appointments with other academic units at FIU.

In partnership with the administration, the FIU faculty have created a welcoming and intellectually vibrant community that celebrates lifelong scholarly engagement, nurturing students, public service, academic freedom, and transformational teaching.  Faculty relationships are based on mutual regard, respect and appreciation for differences, academic rigor, and a shared commitment to our rising national profile.  Our faculty are professional leaders in their fields locally, nationally, and internationally.  The faculty’s substantial scholarly output includes law review articles, academic monographs, collaborative work with colleagues from other disciplines, edited anthologies, peer-reviewed work, and op-eds.  The College supports the faculty with research assistance, summer stipends, travel funds, and performance awards.

The Florida Legislature established FIU Law in 2001 to deliver an affordable and excellent legal education that provides inspired teaching, training for a globalized marketplace, support for community service, and the highest standards of professionalism.  FIU Law ranks as the third most diverse law school nationally, and the first in the country among public law schools for Hispanic enrollment.  A majority of our students are the first in their family to attend college. To us, student success means demonstrable professional outcomes.  FIU Law graduates have ranked first among the 11 law schools in the state on the last 6 mid-year administrations of the Florida bar exam.  In 2020, 92% of our graduates secured full time, long term bar passage required, J.D. advantage, or professional positions.  Our state-of-the-art building was designed by Robert Stern.  For more information about FIU Law, visit https://law.fiu.edu.

FIU is Miami’s public urban research university, offering more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, and medicine.  It is a top 100 public university ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges. With nearly $200 million in annual research expenditures, the University has a Carnegie R1 rating (“highest research activity”).  A leader in securing performance-based funding for its operational achievements, the University was recently designated by the Florida Board of Governors as an emerging preeminent university.  For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.

Candidates must have a J.D. degree (or its equivalent), a strong academic record, a track record (or the promise) of scholarly achievement, and zest for effective teaching.  Rank will be determined based on qualifications and experience.  Competitive benefits include excellent insurance options, a defined-benefit plan, defined-contribution plans, and a deferred compensation plan.

Applicants should send a CV, a cover letter outlining curricular strengths and scholarly interests, and a list of references to the chair of the Appointments Committee, Professor José Gabilondo ([email protected]), to whom questions about these positions can be directed.  Applicants can also apply through facultycareers.fiu.edu referencing job opening ID 524569 or by using the following link FIU Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of Law. Review will begin August 23, 2021 and continue until these positions are filled.

FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 9, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Dean Search: University of Tennessee

Information here.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 7, 2021 at 05:12 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 30, 2021

Hiring Announcement: FIU College of Law (multiple positions)

South Florida’s public law school in Miami, Florida International University College of Law, invites applicants for multiple tenure, tenure track, and contract positions to begin no later than the 2022-2023 academic year.  In particular, we seek candidates to teach environmental law and courses in other priority areas, such as cyberlaw, torts, wills & trusts, health law, family law, and administrative law. A typical package might include two environmental law courses and at least one (preferably two) in our identified priorities. International experience, academic entrepeneurship, and acumen in grants and external funding are welcome but not required.  Given our growing focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, some of these positions may involve joint appointments with other academic units at FIU.

In partnership with the administration, the FIU faculty have created a welcoming and intellectually vibrant community that celebrates lifelong scholarly engagement, nurturing students, public service, academic freedom, and transformational teaching.  Faculty relationships are based on mutual regard, respect and appreciation for differences, academic rigor, and a shared commitment to our rising national profile.  Our faculty are professional leaders in their fields locally, nationally, and internationally.  The faculty’s substantial scholarly output includes law review articles, academic monographs, collaborative work with colleagues from other disciplines, edited anthologies, peer-reviewed work, and op-eds.  The College supports the faculty with research assistance, summer stipends, travel funds, and performance awards.

The Florida Legislature established FIU Law in 2001 to deliver an affordable and excellent legal education that provides inspired teaching, training for a globalized marketplace, support for community service, and the highest standards of professionalism.  FIU Law ranks as the third most diverse law school nationally, and the first in the country among public law schools for Hispanic enrollment.  A majority of our students are the first in their family to attend college. To us, student success means demonstrable professional outcomes.  FIU Law graduates have ranked first among the 11 law schools in the state on the last 6 mid-year administrations of the Florida bar exam.  In 2020, 92% of our graduates secured full time, long term bar passage required, J.D. advantage, or professional positions.  Our state-of-the-art building was designed by Robert Stern.  For more information about FIU Law, visit https://law.fiu.edu.

FIU is Miami’s public urban research university, offering more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, and medicine.  It is a top 100 public university ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges. With nearly $200 million in annual research expenditures, the University has a Carnegie R1 rating (“highest research activity”).  A leader in securing performance-based funding for its operational achievements, the University was recently designated by the Florida Board of Governors as an emerging preeminent university.  For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.

Candidates must have a J.D. degree (or its equivalent), a strong academic record, a track record (or the promise) of scholarly achievement, and zest for effective teaching.  Rank will be determined based on qualifications and experience.  Competitive benefits include excellent insurance options, a defined-benefit plan, defined-contribution plans, and a deferred compensation plan.

Applicants should send a CV, a cover letter outlining curricular strengths and scholarly interests, and a list of references to the chair of the Appointments Committee, Professor José Gabilondo ([email protected]), to whom questions about these positions can be directed.  Applicants can also apply through facultycareers.fiu.edu referencing job opening ID 524569 or by using the following link FIU Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of Law. Review will begin August 23, 2021 and continue until these positions are filled.

FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 30, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Marquette Law Review Expedited Submission Period

The Marquette University Law Review seeks additional articles for its Winter issue. We will consider submissions beginning immediately and will conclude the process on August 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM CT. For any article submitted by August 20, 2021 in accordance with the instructions outlined below, the Marquette University Law Review guarantees a final publication decision within 48 hours of submission. As a condition of submission, authors agree to accept a binding publication offer, should one be extended. The editing process for the Winter issue will commence on September 4. Interested authors may submit articles via email to [email protected] to be considered in this expedited submission process. Authors should also submit (1) their name, article title, word count, phone number, and email address in the body of the email and (2) a CV or résumé. Please use “Expedited Submission Process” in the email subject line. We will also be reviewing submissions for later issues through the usual process. Questions may be directed to Jennifer Knackert, editor-in-chief, at [email protected].

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 28, 2021 at 01:32 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Hiring Announcement: Loyola University-Chicago-Lateral Candidates

Loyola University Chicago School of Law invites applications for full-time, tenured or tenure-track, lateral faculty positions to commence Fall 2022.

We are especially interested in scholars engaged in teaching and scholarship in any area that addresses anti-racism, racial justice, health equity, and structural disparities impacting Black, LatinX, indigenous, and other persons of color. Both the University and the law school will prioritize candidates who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are dedicated as a faculty to contribute to a deeper understanding of law, legal institutions, and systems of oppression through a commitment to transformation, intersectionality, and anti-subordination in our teaching, research, scholarship, and public service. Ability and interest to teach in the hybrid format in our part-time/weekend JD division will also be considered.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES: Faculty candidates will be expected to teach in our 1L curriculum; our present curricular needs include civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, torts, and criminal law. Faculty responsibilities will include teaching one to two courses per semester; mentoring and advising students; successful completion of research and scholarship in particular areas of academic interest; service to the law school, University, and community; active involvement in faculty governance through committee work; and representation at local, regional, and national conferences and events.

JOB QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must have strong academic credentials, a J.D. degree from an accredited institution, evidence of impactful scholarship, and a dedication to teaching. We are especially interested in candidates who will enhance the diversity of our faculty and broader University community. We welcome candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups with perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds that will enrich the diversity of our institution.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Applicants should submit a cover letter, a statement of interest, a current Curriculum Vitae, a teaching statement/research agenda, two to three representative publications, and the names and email addresses of three individuals prepared to speak to your professional qualifications for this position to www.careers.luc.edu. All applicants should also specifically address in their statement of interest how they will contribute to the law school’s mission statement, available at https://www.luc.edu/law/about/mission/index.cfm

Application materials may also be emailed directly to Professor Jordan Paradise at [email protected] However, all applicants selected for interviews will need to submit materials to the Loyola website above for university processing.

Jordan Paradise, J.D.
Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee
Georgia Reithal Professor of Law
Co-Director, Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy Loyola University Chicago School of Law
25 East Pearson, Suite 722
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 915-7372

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

ABOUT LOYOLA:

Loyola University Chicago School of Law is a student-focused law center inspired by the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, intellectual openness, and service to others. For more information on the law school and our mission, please visit: https://www.luc.edu

Loyola University Chicago is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer with a strong commitment to hiring for our mission and diversifying our faculty. The University seeks to increase the diversity of its faculty, staff and student populations because broad diversity contributes to a robust academic environment and is critical to meeting the University’s commitment to excellence in education, research, educational access and services in an increasingly diverse society. As a Jesuit Catholic institution of higher education, we seek candidates who will contribute to our strategic plan to deliver a transformative education in the Jesuit tradition. Candidates should consult our website at https://www.luc.edu/mission/index.shtml to gain a clearer understanding of LUC’s mission. For information about the university’s focus on transformative education, please consult our website at http://www.luc.edu/transformativeed. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ability status, or veteran status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 24, 2021 at 10:16 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

What you call us, what we call you

Daniel Drezner explains why he has students call him "Professor" rather than by his first name and why he recommends that students default to calling professors by the title unless the prof tells them otherwise. He justifies this, in part, because hierarchy and power imbalances are inherent to academia, since the professor's job is to educate, mentor, and evaluate students. Pretending the hierarchy does not exist or obscuring it by "keeping it casual" does not eliminate it.

I have used my title with students since I began teaching, whereas Drezner explains how he has evolved on the issue. But Drezner's explanation for what I do anyway resonates.

Within law school, there is an additional question--what professors should call students in class. I use first names, partly because I believe it puts students more at ease when being called on, partly because I believe I am less likely to botch a first name than a last name. Others favor using last names in the name of parity and mutual respect--if students express respect by calling the professor by title and last name, the professor should do the same. And to the extent a typical law school classroom functions something like an argument colloquy, everyone in court is using titles and last names, even if an obvious hierarchy remains.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 21, 2021 at 07:55 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Hiring Announcement: Washington University School of Law

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications from entry-level or junior lateral candidates for tenure-track positions, to begin in the fall of 2022. We will consider candidates in all subject areas, but we are particularly interested in private law, including property, torts, and contracts, as well as evidence, civil procedure, and other areas of teaching need.

We are also searching for candidates at all levels whose scholarly agendas sit at the intersection of race, law, and social inequality, and who would be hired in connection with Washington University’s Race and Ethnicity Cluster Hire Initiative. More information about this initiative is available at https://provost.wustl.edu/programs-initiatives/faculty-diversity/race-and-ethnicity-cluster-hire-initiative/ and at https://source.wustl.edu/2021/06/first-race-and-ethnicity-cluster-hires-arrive-at-washington-university/.

Candidates must have at a minimum a JD, a PhD, or the equivalent in a related field. In addition, candidates should have strong scholarly potential and a commitment to excellence in teaching. Duties will include teaching assigned courses, researching and publishing scholarly work, advising students, and participating in law school and university service. The strong candidate will demonstrate the ability to create inclusive classrooms and environments in which all students can learn and thrive. The committee will be reviewing applications submitted through the AALS Faculty Appointments Register but we are also willing to consider materials submitted outside of the FAR process.

Candidates who are not applying through the FAR process may submit applications directly to Professor Daniel Epps, Chair of the Appointments Committee, Washington University School of Law, by emailing them to [email protected]. Although there is no deadline, applications from candidates not participating in the FAR process will have the best chance of full consideration if they are received by August 18, 2021. Application materials should include a cover letter, a resume which includes at least three references, and a job-talk paper if available.

Washington University in St. Louis is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity. It is the University’s policy to recruit, hire, train, and promote without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or genetic information.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 30, 2021 at 12:12 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

CFP: AALS Sections on Remedies (with Fed Courts): Nominal Damages

The AALS Section on Remedies invites paper submissions for a panel on nominal damages at the January 5-9, 2022 Annual Meeting to be held virtually. This panel will be cosponsored by the AALS Section on Federal Courts. This call for papers is open to all full-time faculty members at AALS member or affiliate schools. Pre-tenured professors and junior scholars are strongly encouraged to submit papers. To be considered, please submit a title and abstract, and if available an introduction, to Samuel Bray ([email protected]) by July 15, 2021.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 23, 2021 at 09:07 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Webinar: Teaching Tips for New Law Professors

Teaching Tips for New Law Professors Webinar

 

Join West Academic casebook authors for the upcoming Teaching Tips for New Law Professors panel on Thursday, June 24th from 2pm to 3:30pm CDT. The discussion will be centered around pedagogy across subject areas, course creation, promoting student engagement, traps to avoid, and more. The panel of award-winning law faculty will offer advice on building and teaching a law school course. There will be time at the end for participants to ask questions.

 

Date: Thursday, June 24, 2021

Time: 2:00pm CDT

 

Moderator: Steve I. Friedland, Elon University School of Law

 

Panel:

Miriam A. Cherry, Saint Louis University School of Law

Martha M. Ertman, University of Maryland School of Law

Noah R. Feldman, Harvard University Law School

Deborah S. Gordon, Drexel University School of Law

Deborah Jones Merritt, Ohio State University College of Law

A. Benjamin Spencer, William and Mary Law School

 

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CBIc8juETTGVYW-RZ_XMnA

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 22, 2021 at 03:10 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Anti-Vaxxers on Facebook and Nazis in Skokie

Yale law professor (and Tiger Dad) Jed Rubenfeld has signed on as counsel for Children's Health Defense, a non-profit anti-vaxx organization founded by Robert Kennedy, Jr., in a lawsuit alleging Facebook and Politifact violated the First Amendment in labeling certain content as false and in preventing people from donating to CHD through the site. CHD argues that Facebook acted under color because the CDC gave Facebook the standards and guidelines it used in its labeling, creating a close nexus through government coercion or encouragement of private constitutionally violative conduct. The more obnoxious coverage emphasizes that Rubenfeld undertook this representation during a two-year suspension at Yale, creating complementary memes of "disgraced law prof further disgraces himself" and "this is what happens when law professors try to practice law."

But I cannot see a meaningful difference between Rubenfeld pursuing free-speech claims for anti-vaxxers on Facebook and the ACLU pursuing free-speech claims for Nazis in Skokie. I (and most of the people using the case as a chance to zing Rubenfeld) agree with the legal arguments in the latter and disagree with the legal arguments in the former. But that cannot be the difference in evaluating the professional, ethical, or moral propriety of the decision to serve as counsel and to pursue this litigation.

Nor is the answer that the ACLU raised obviously and indisputably valid arguments about core free speech principles while "everything about [CHD's] case is dumb, and the fact that the disgraced and suspended Rubenfeld is using it to further his nutty legal theories is just the icing on the nonsense cake." Skokie was not the simple case in 1977 that it appears in 2021. Under the law at the time, fighting words had not been narrowed to face-to-face encounters, a state could punish group libel, and police could arrest outrageous speakers to prevent a hostile audience from engaging in violence. Newer case law (e.g., Brandenburg and Sullivan) called those cases into question, but the landscape was more open than it is today. Someone certainly labeled the ACLU's case on behalf of the Nazis "dumb." Similarly, arguments can be made that "Facebook is a private actor and so can control what gets said and how" is not the sole plausible conclusion. No precedent controls the situation in any direction. And while I believe best application of existing state-action doctrine leads to the conclusion that Facebook is not a state actor and I expect courts to agree, it is not so obvious.

This story implicates a broader controversy over how vigorous attorneys should be in pursuing civil litigation on behalf of plaintiffs. At what point can/should/must an attorney decline to take on a case or to make arguments in support of the client's position and how does the attorney identify that line? The general view is that a criminal defense lawyer is sui generis; the imperative to do whatever it takes is greater when defending an individual against the overweaning power of the carceral state, even when a "bad person" benefits. Even if not the same, however, Skokie has been celebrated as the principled lawyer using civil litigation to pursue general ideals for all, albeit for the immediate benefit of the ultimate bad or unappealing person. This was obviously and especially true of the First Amendment, but it was not so limited; RBG established principles of gender equality by vindicating the rights of men. Moreover, the analogy between civil and criminal works when both are about protecting rights against the power of the state. The state seeking to incarcerate is different in degree but not kind of the state prohibiting rights-holders from exercising their rights.

What has changed, such that Rubenfeld is the target of criticism and mockery? Or put differently, would we see the same criticism and mockery if Rubenfeld had joined the Skokie case. One possibility is that some might be be less accepting of the Skokie narrative, less accepting of lawyers using general principles used on behalf of bad people. Otherwise, are anti-vaxxers "worse" than Nazis? Some segment believes the ACLU was wrong to represent the Nazis in Skokie, so Rubenfeld is equally wrong to represent anti-vaxxers. A version of this positionarose during the post-election litigation, where firms and lawyers (including some large firms with reputations at stake) were criticized for pushing legally and factually absurd cases on behalf of plaintiffs wronged by state governments (and Dominion, of course), distinguishing those doing whatever is necessary on behalf of criminal defendants.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 12, 2021 at 09:31 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Hiring: Lewis & Clark Law School

LEWIS & CLARK LAW SCHOOL in Portland, Oregon invites applications from entry level candidates for three positions to begin in the 2022-23 academic year. These positions will remain open until filled.

We seek candidates to teach (1) criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and related courses, (2) property, wills & trusts, and related courses, and (3) lawyering, legal writing, and related courses.

We will employ an accelerated timeline this year. We hope to identify an initial group of prospective candidates no later than August and to begin screening interviews shortly thereafter. Campus callbacks will begin in September. Applicants who receive an offer likely will have two weeks to consider the offer. In some cases, an applicant may need to make a decision before other law schools have begun screening interviews or callbacks. Therefore, applicants should have serious interest in Lewis & Clark Law School and living in the Pacific Northwest. 

Interested persons should send a resume or c.v., references, a writing sample, and an indication of specific teaching interests to Kerry Rowand, Executive Assistant, at [email protected].

Lewis & Clark is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage applications from candidates who would enhance the diversity of our community. For questions about these positions, contact John Parry, Associate Dean of Faculty, at [email protected]. Information about Lewis & Clark Law School is available at https://law.lclark.edu/.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 11, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Oral arguments

With the exams about over, I come to my favorite days of the semester today and tomorrow: Oral Arguments in my Fed Courts and Civil Rights classes. Each student argues one case before SCOTUS and serves as Justice on one case as a final project; the cases are recent decisions from lower courts. Ordinarily, the class spends the day in the courtroom watching one another and we bring in lunch and coffee; this semester will be via Zoom, hopefully for the last time.

This is a fun exercise. It gives students another chance to do oral advocacy, which many do not do after 1L legal writing. It allows me to engage the students to see how well they can talk about material, outside the formalities of a paper. The list of this year's cases is after the jump (case numbers are made up, usually representing key dates in my family).

Federal Courts:

New Hampshire v. Massachusetts, No. 21-0526

      Motion for Leave to File Bill of Complaint on Original Jurisdiction

      Issue Presented: Whether this Court must and should exercise original jurisdiction over an action by one state challenging another state’s collection of income tax from non-residents.

 Shands Teaching Hosp. & Clinic v. Morgan, No. 21-0520

      Issues Presented: Whether a federal district court has subject matter jurisdiction over action for a declaratory judgment that plaintiff has no obligation to comply with state law to disclose medical records because state law is preempted by federal law.

Waterfront Comm’n of New York Harbor v. Murphy, No. 21-1028

      Issue Presented: Whether an interstate compact agency can sue a state official under the doctrine of Ex Parte Young to prevent that official from implementing a state law that would be preempted by the terms of a congressionally approved interstate compact.

Nike, Inc. v. Fleet Feet, Inc., No. 21-1227

      Issues Presented:

      (1) Whether appeal of preliminary injunction becomes moot where the injunction restrains defendant from designating “confusingly similar” marks, where the time period in which the defendant wanted to use the challenged mark has passed.

      (2) Whether, if the appeal is moot, vacatur of a preliminary injunction is proper under United States v. Munsingwear, Inc.

 

Civil Rights:

Campbell v. Reisch, No. 21-0526

      Issue Presented: Whether an elected state representative acts under color of law in blocking an individual from accessing the social-media account she uses to publicize performance and accomplishments as a state representative.

Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, No. 21-1028 (Diamond v. Pennsylvania State Education Ass’n, No. 21-1227 (Consolidated))

      Issues Presented:

        Whether public-employee labor unions acted under color of state law in collecting fair-share fees from non-union members pursuant to state law mandating such fees, so as to be subject to suit for damages under § 1983 for violating the First Amendment.

        Whether § 1983 recognizes a good-faith immunity allowing public-employee labor unions that act under color of state law in collecting fair-share fees from non-union members pursuant to state laws mandating such fees to avoid liability for damages for violating the First Amendment.

Fowler v. Irish, No. 21-0520 (Robinson v. Webster County, No. 21-0303 (Consolidated))

      Issue Presented: Whether state officials can be liable under substantive due process for injuries caused by non-governmental third persons, contrary to this Court’s decision in DeShaney, under a “state-created danger” theory.

Nance v. Commissioner, No. 21-0423

      Issue Presented: Whether death-row inmate’s claim that state’s lethal-injection protocol would cause undue suffering in violation of the Eighth Amendment and seeking to require the state to employ an alternative method of execution is cognizable under § 1983.

Polk County v. J.K.J. No. 21-0515

      Issue Presented: Whether a municipality can be liable under Monell for sexual assaults of detainees committed by a corrections officer, where county policy prohibited sexual contact between guards and inmates and the county knew of sexual assaults by other officers but not the officer involved.

Mack v. Yost, No. 21-1216

      Issue Presented: Whether federal inmate can seek damages for First Amendment retaliation under Bivens against prison officials who fired him from his paid prison job for complaining about anti-Muslim harassment by correctional officers.

Thomas v. Freed, No. 21-0428

      Issue Presented: Whether § 1983 action challenging state’s failure to return excess proceeds from foreclosure sale of real property is barred by the Tax Injunction Act, § 1341.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 6, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

SEALS Prospective Law Teachers Workshop

Each year, SEALS hosts a Prospective Law Teachers Workshop (PLTW), which provides intensive opportunities for VAPs, fellows, and practitioners to network and participate in mock interviews and mock job talks—prior to the actual teaching market. The Workshop also includes a luncheon (separate ticket purchase is required) and 1-on-1 sessions for candidates to receive faculty feedback on their CVs and FAR forms. This year’s Prospective Law Teachers Workshop will be held at The Omni in Amelia Island, Florida on Monday, July 26 through Wednesday, July 28, 2021. If you are interested in participating specifically in the Prospective Law Teachers Workshop, please send your CV, and a brief statement explaining your interest, to Professor Leah Chan Grinvald [email protected]. Please also confirm that you are planning on entering the teaching market in August 2021. Applications are due by May 31, 2021, with decisions made no later than June 11. Past PLTW participants have secured tenure-track appointments at an impressive array of law schools.

Independently from the PLTW, SEALS also offers a workshop that is broader programming for anyone considering academia—even if one is earlier in the process. Anyone may simply attend the Aspiring Law Teachers Workshop. The programming includes a demonstration of faculty-candidate interviews and sessions on designing your teaching package, navigating the market as a nontraditional candidate, mapping academic opportunities, what’s in a job talk, crafting scholarship goals, the art of self-promotion, as well as a luncheon (separate ticket purchase required when registering for SEALS). The Aspiring Workshop occurs between Monday, July 26–Thursday, July 29. Search “aspiring” at the following link: http://sealslawschools.org/submissions/program/programwp.asp.

The goal of these two workshops is, in tandem, to provide robust opportunities for those who hope to one day enter legal academia.

Frequently Asked Questions:

They both sound great. What exactly is the difference?

The Prospective Workshop is designed for those who are going on the market this fall (and will be submitting their FAR form), in 2021, and desiring a chance to moot job talks and interviews in advance of that time. The Aspiring Workshop is designed for anyone considering academia, including those who may not yet be ready to moot a job talk in the summer. Participation in the Prospective Workshop is by acceptance-only while the Aspiring Workshop is open to everyone.

Can I attend both workshops?

Possibly. Some of the times conflict, but the Aspiring Law Teachers Workshop will be generally open to anyone wishing to attend. Attendance in the Prospective Workshop is in contrast only by acceptance through our competitive selection process.

Is this the new faculty recruitment initiative that I heard SEALS has put together?

No, this is not the new hiring initiative that SEALS is conducting. That process is entirely separate. Information about SEALS’ new faculty recruitment initiative can be found at the following link: https://www.sealslawschools.org/recruitment/applicants/

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 27, 2021 at 12:05 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 26, 2021

CFP: Civ Pro Workshop Summer Works-in-Progress Series

The following is posted at request of Brooke Coleman (Seattle) and David Marcus (UCLA).

The organizers of the Civil Procedure Workshop (“CPW”), an annual gathering of civil procedure scholars, look forward to an in-person gathering at Northwestern University in May 2022.  In the meanwhile, we invite all interested in civil procedure scholarship to participate in an online works-in-progress series the CPW has scheduled for July 15, 2021, and August 12, 2021.  Both sessions will proceed from 1:00-3:00 pm east coast.  Anyone who wishes to present a paper on a topic related to civil procedure is welcome and encouraged to do so.  We will organize participants into small discussion groups, to enable all authors to present their work and receive feedback from colleagues.

Authors are encouraged to present their work in whatever form it takes.  Full drafts are welcome, but so too are shorter summaries or partially completed papers. 

Those who do not wish to present their work are also encouraged to attend.  We hope that these sessions will give colleagues a chance to a gather, if only online, and continue to support our national community of procedure scholars that many of us enjoy so much.  

Please register for the works-in-progress series here.

You are encouraged to attend both sessions and are welcome to present at one, both, or neither.  If you plan to present your work, we ask that you submit your paper to the organizers by July 1, 2021, for the July 15 session, and by July 29, 2021, for the August 12 session, to give organizers a chance to assemble groups and distribute papers to participants.  If you are presenting a full draft, we ask that you also submit a ten-page excerpt that readers can particularly focus on in advance of the discussions.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 26, 2021 at 04:02 PM in Civil Procedure, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 19, 2021

Academic Feeder Judges

Academic Feeder Judges, my study of where legal academics clerked, has been published at Judicature.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 19, 2021 at 03:57 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Civ Pro: No Coke, Pepsi

Two fun things in recent Civ Pro classes.

First, I taught Scott v. Harris today. For the first time, not one student took the position that the video might support the plaintiff and show that the use of force was unreasonable. Maybe everyone who took that position had her camera and did not feel like doing hand-raise. But I was surprised.

Second,we Discovery last week, with a group argument over Coca-Bottling v. Coca-Cola, a dispute over discoverability of the formula for Coca Cola (what is now Classic) and the discovery and sanctions order coming from that dispute. But then, because I could not resist and believe I should impose my pop-culture preferences on them as much as the other way around:



Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 18, 2021 at 01:48 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

R.I.P, Peter Gerhart

Peter Gerhart, professor and former dean at Case Western, died on February 7, at age 75. Information on condolences is in the link. A Zoom celebration is scheduled for later in the semester. Condolences to his family and to the Case Western community.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 9, 2021 at 09:18 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 22, 2021

Call for papers:  Antitrust Law Journal symposium

            The Antitrust Law Journal seeks article proposals for a symposium on U.S. antitrust institutions.

            The symposium will focus on government enforcement of federal and state antitrust laws in the United States.  It will analyze whether the current lineup of government enforcers, with overlapping responsibilities, is well suited to meet the demands of modern antitrust enforcement.  The symposium will focus not on antitrust doctrine, but on U.S. enforcement institutions themselves.

            The editors seek articles that address one or more of the following topics:

  1. If one takes the current lineup and responsibilities of government antitrust enforcers as a given, what can be done to improve the collective performance of those enforcers?
  2. How could one change the lineup and responsibilities of government antitrust enforcers to optimize the system for modern antitrust enforcement?
  3. In cases brought by government antitrust enforcers, how could one improve the adjudicative process, including enforcement decisions, how cases are litigated, and the performance of the courts and other tribunals?

            The editors actively seek diverse viewpoints and diverse scholarly approaches.  Submissions for this symposium will be peer-reviewed and selected with these goals in mind.  Although the symposium is not a historical or comparative project, the editors welcome articles with historical or comparative features.

            Editorial-board chair Matt Sawchak, executive editor Tina Miller, and Professor Bill Kovacic are leading this symposium.  They are heading a working group with a wide range of academic and professional experience and a wide range of views on antitrust policy.

            To be considered for this symposium, please email a 300-word or longer abstract of your proposed article to Tina Miller at [email protected] by 3 pm U.S. Eastern time on Friday, February 12, 2021. 

      We also welcome complete drafts of articles, as long as those drafts include an abstract.  Articles for this symposium can range from essays to articles of up to 15,000 words (including words in footnotes).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 22, 2021 at 02:42 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 15, 2021

Facts, epithets, exams, and anti-racism (Amended)

Above the Law reported about a brewing controversy at UIC-John Marshall involving Prof. Jason Kilborn and his Civ Pro exam.

Kilborn included the following short-answer question on his exam:

After she was fired from her job, Plaintiff sued Employer under federal civil rights law, claiming employment discrimination on the basis of her race and gender. [discussion of other evidence omitted]  Employer also revealed that one of Plaintiff’s former managers might have damaging information about the case, but no one at Employer knew where that former manager was, since she had abruptly quit her job at Employer several months ago and had not been heard from since.  With nothing to go on but the manager’s name, Employer’s lawyer pieced together several scraps of information and concluded that this former manager must be located in a remote area of northern Wisconsin.  Employer’s lawyer spent $25,000 to hire a private investigator, who successfully located the former manager in northern Wisconsin.  Employer’s lawyer traveled to meet the manager, who stated that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, calling her a “n____” and “b____” (profane expressions for African Americans and women) and vowed to get rid of her.

                Later, Plaintiff’s lawyer served [another discovery demand, omitted, and] an interrogatory demanding the identity and location of any person with any information related to the termination of Plaintiff’s employment at Employer or potential discrimination against Plaintiff by Employer or any agent of Employer.

The question asked whether the employer could refuse to disclose the witness's location (while disclosing her name) on grounds of work-product privilege.

The school's BLSA chapter responded with a petition. It calls for, among other things, multiple sections of all mandatory classes (so students can avoid professors such as Kilborn with a "history of bias"), Kilborn's resignation from the academic affairs committee, and an "open dialogue event" with Kilborn. The ATL piece is somewhat sympathetic to Kilborn, surprising, given that site's general rage against professors who use racist language and epithets in class.

Amendment: Kilborn was subject to university sanction--the school placed him on administrative leave, cancelled his new-semester classes and committee assignments, and barred him from campus. There is some uncertainty over the grounds for the university sanction or the process followed; I have deleted comments or speculation from the original post about that process. Regardless, the exam question sparked controversy and triggered a student petition within the school; that raises teaching issues worth thinking about. The post focuses on those.

Please note that I have never met Jason in-person. I know of him from posts to the Civ Pro profs listserv, where he has discussed infusing anti-racism and racial-justice issues into the Civ Pro curriculum. So this is not defending a friend. But I am genuinely curious as to what was wrong with the question. What are the rules, so professors can avoid creating "momentous distraction and cause[ing] unnecessary distress and anxiety" or demonstrating "lack of respect, decency, and civility?"

    • The question did not use explicit and complete epithets, which had been the flashpoint for past controversies over what professors said in class or wrote in materials. ATL has covered those controversies at length, sharply criticizing faculty for mentioning the word. Eugene Volokh and Randall Kennedy present the contrary view, relying on the "use-mention" distinction.

    • Is the rule that bowdlerized reference to epithets is not OK? What if the test had the witness say "n-word," as in "she stated that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, calling her a n-word and c-word"? Are all references to epithets off-limits?

    • Is it only racist epithets, given the focus on "centering race" in the academic discussion? What if the question used a misogynist epithet or anything other than a racist one? What if this question only had the employer calling the plaintiff a "c____" or a "b____"?

    • If bowdlerized use of the word is not OK, is all reference to racist epithets not ok? What if that last sentence of the facts had the witness state "she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, and referred to her with profane expressions for African Americans and women"? Does the reference to the epithet, even this obliquely, cause the same distress and anxiety? Students will be as aware of the "profane expression for African Americans" being referenced as by saying it with ____ or *** or "n-word."

    • If any reference or hint at epithets is not ok, then does it follow that exam questions touching on racist discrimination are off-limits? What if that last sentence of the exam had said the witness "stated that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, and talked about how much they hated having to employ African-Americans"? The question reveals discriminatory animus without using the word. Of course, the legal issues might come out differently in that case than in an epithet case. If this is problematic, then it seems to eliminate one major litigation area, or at least certain types of cases in that litigation area, as a testing subject; I discussed this issue several years ago.

    • How much does subject matter? The question tested work-product privilege, so the petition argued that the hint at the epithet served no educational purpose. Would the reaction have been different had the question been asked in, say, Employment Discrimination? For what it is worth, a friend who teaches that subject often tests with a fictional religion with fictional stereotypes and fictional epithets. But does that capture the same idea, given the effects of history? It has been decided that this word is the worst in the English language, so bad it cannot be written or spoken or even mentioned. It follows that its use may affect the outcome of a case in a unique way not captured by a fact patter in which someone calls a member of the Church of the Shiny Rock (my friend's actual example) a "Rockette" (I made that one up).

    • This may create unique problems for Civ Pro (and Fed Courts, Evidence, and Civil Rights--basically my entire teaching package). The course material itself is not "sensitive," compared with Con Law or Immigration or Employment Discrimination. But teaching and testing Civ Pro requires that we adopt and use the substantive issues that reach court and must be litigated under the rules we are teaching and testing on. One could argue that there is always another way to test on work-product privilege--use a slip-and-fall tort claim that will not affect anyone's feelings. But one could respond that discrimination claims comprise a substantial piece of the federal docket and it makes no sense to ignore such common claims. Kilborn told ATL that the class casebook uses a lot of employment cases, so that context pervaded the course and made sense as a testing vehicle. And, as I wrote several years ago, the full range of litigation subjects and issues should be fair game.

    • Kilborn also told ATL that the question was designed to illustrate how civil litigation can be used to help women of color overcome the burdens they face in the workplace. And the egregious nature of what the witness reports the employer saying may be relevant to why the employer was so determined not to reveal the witness and why the plaintiff would have a "substantial need" for the information. In other words, just as the precise nature of discriminatory conduct is important "context" in a substantive E/D class, it may provide essential "context" for procedural questions. Given Kilborn's intent, there is great irony that this question has led to these consequences.

Closer to home, I have been watching the litigation in Stallworth v. Nike, a lawsuit by an African American couple alleging that they were subjected to "shopping while Black" in a Santa Monica Nike store and that the SMPD had an agreement with the area stores to arrest or detain anyone on the word of the stores. The complaint runs 50 pages and 200 paragraphs, although without detailed allegations of how Nike and SMPD worked together to create action. The complaint contains pages and paragraphs about the plaintiffs' personal and professional histories, Nike's role in social justice, and last summer's protests; they want to frame the case--likely for consumption by the public rather than the Court--within the broader anti-racism movement. I considered assigning this as one of my in-class pleadings, as an opportunity to discuss the propriety and effectiveness of pleading-as-press release and to analyze the sufficiency of the state-action allegations. I decided against it--partly because it is a long pleading (the other complaints I use are <20 pages) and partly because I could not predict student reactions. There are no racial epithets, but the case touches a raw topic.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 15, 2021 at 05:25 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (23)

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Today in cancel culture

One cheer only for President Trump's recorded statement on Wednesday urging his supporters to refrain from violence.

He loses one cheer because he never mentioned Biden or that the election has  been resolved and produced a legitimate result. Trump's calls for non-violence--that violence is inconsistent with the "movement" (a word he repeated)--ring hollow when he simultaneously continues to convince people that the election was illegal, fraudulent, and stolen, the greatest political crime in history. Some of these people believe it is 1776 because Trump has told them it is; to continue to say "it's 1776 but do not be violent" is incoherent.

He loses a second cheer for his final-minute detour into the First Amendment and the problem of "canceling." His obvious targets were Twitter/Amazon, corporations and other donors withholding money from GOP officeholders, and other businesses and institutions working to distance themselves (in sensible and silly ways) from him, his family, those who aided and abetted Trump through his presidency, and those who created the conditions in which the assault on the Capitol occurred. But he (and others) continue to ignore the way in which these actions are themselves an exercise of First Amendment rights to express, through disassociation and non-support, opprobrium. If donating and spending money to support an official or candidate is protected expression, then so must withholding that money. When Twitter and Amazon should be treated as unique actors, under current law they are not, so banning speakers or speech communities from their spaces is an act of expression. If a private sports organization such as the NFL can and should fire the sons of bitches who do something as offensive as kneeling during the national anthem, then a private sports organization such as the PGA can fire the business owned by a person who incited an assault on the legislative branch.

Sorry, this still is not the speech in which "Trump became President." He has 114 hours and 14 minutes as I draft this for that to happen.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 14, 2021 at 05:46 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (10)

Friday, January 08, 2021

Lawyering and Responsibility

Somehow I have managed to retain my back door into Prawfs, and with Howard's permission, I am sharing what follows.  It is my note today to my Contracts students who just finished their first two credit hours segment and will return for the remaining three credit hours in the spring semester.  I thought it might be of some interest to other law professors.

 Lawyering and Responsibility

I know that you will be consumed over the next hours and days with exams and grades, but I decided I wanted to pass along some thoughts about current events and their relationship to what we do together.  Somebody who hasn’t endured the first two credits of my Contract Law course might not understand the connection between the substance of the class and the political and social events of the last several months. 

My students, past and present, know that contract law is a logical model used to translate real-world narratives of desired outcomes into legal binding commitments.  Before the fact of disputes, lawyers use contracts to model, in fewer bits and bytes of information, an underlying analog reality, and do so in a way that permits parties to act together in the face of risk and uncertainty.  After the fact of disputes, lawyering is weaponized reason, sublimating (to repeat a reprehensible bit of recent incitement) trial by combat into an intellectual and non-violent game of winners and losers.  The rule of law is a cultural norm that says the loser of that game accepts the loss without resort to trial by combat.

I have spent my academic career trying to articulate the difference between the nature and logic of legal systems, on one hand, and moral imperatives, on the other, in situations far more mundane than we have been witnessing.  It began with the observation, in the wake of the Enron-WorldCom corporate scandals of the early 2000s, that there were significant limitations to the legislation of “good governance.” Courage, independence, integrity, humility, all essential characteristics of good CEOs, board members, Presidents, and Senators, resist being captured in the language of a statute or a contract.  Statutes and contracts embody fundamental characteristic of positive law: if antecedent conditions exist, rules of law establish inferences that particular legal consequences must ensue.  Both the thrill and the dark side of lawyering arise from the complexity of the real world narrative – we don’t always agree that the antecedent conditions exist, and even if they do, we don’t always agree on the particular rules that get triggered. 

Many business decisions (like many family or personal decisions) are not easy – closing an unprofitable plant, for example, creates distress but is necessary if the business as a whole is to survive.  Personally, I don’t love every professional decision I’ve ever made. Nor can I be sure my belief that I was appropriately reflective was not a rationalization.  But if I can’t recognize the clear cases of the clash between logic and moral imperatives, then the nuanced cases are hopeless. 

In the days since we last were together as a class, I have thought about saying something about lawyering that has gone beyond the pale, specifically the specious litigation undertaken by Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis and other lawyers around the country.  Several weeks ago, I signed the Lawyers Defending Democracy letter calling for bar associations to pursue sanctions against those lawyers.  The license to employ the logical model to translate narratives into legal consequences is not a license to write fiction or spew fantasy.  The result of the litigation demonstrates that it was fiction and fantasy.  And the spewing of fantasy by lawyers who should know better – incompetents like Powell and accomplished lawyers like Cruz and Hawley – contributed to the violence.

You will get licensed as a lawyer for the same reason you get licensed to drive a car or carry a firearm.  You will have been entrusted with the weapon that I have now spent two credit hours teaching you to use.  How you use the weapon, if at all, is ultimately not a matter of legality (except in the most egregious cases), but one of conscience.  As we have seen in class, the challenge usually won’t be to differentiate between clear cases of good and evil – but rather to decide in close cases of the Venn diagram overlap how, if at all, to employ the intellectual gifts you brought to class and the professional tools that have been entrusted to you. 

I will never be able to give you a transcript grade on this particular lesson.  But it’s what I hope you remember long after you have forgotten the two old drunks who contracted on a napkin to sell the Ferguson farm for $50,000, title satisfactory to buyer.

I look forward to seeing you (via Zoom) on January 25.

Best,

JML

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on January 8, 2021 at 04:57 PM in Current Affairs, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Identify yourself as an academic

The New York Times questions Jenna Ellis' credentials as a lawyer (I am shocked, shocked to find they are not what she plays them to be), including how she came to call herself a "constitutional law attorney" and a "professor of constitutional law." Colorado Christian University, where she taught in an undergraduate legal-studies program as an adjunct and as full-time professor, says she never held the latter title.

But that got me wondering: How many of you use the subjects in which you write/teach in your title for purposes of self-identification, web sites, media, etc.? And how common is it for academics to do that? I identify myself as a professor of law, not a professor of civil procedure. Frankly, I become suspicious when I see "professor of [subject]" in a person's title on a web site or LinkedIn page, a sign that the person is trying too hard.

Am I being too harsh?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 3, 2020 at 05:37 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (11)