Lateral Moves, Law Professors, Law Schools, Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs: Chicago Poaches Prominent Professor from Columbia

In the latest U.S. News law school rankings, which just came out, Columbia Law School and the University of Chicago Law School maintained their respective spots of #4 and #5. This is the third year in a row that both schools have held steady, as you can see from the historical rankings data at Top Law Schools. (Back in 2009, Columbia was #4 and Chicago was #6, with NYU at #5.)

The schools in the so-called “CCN” band — Columbia, Chicago, and NYU — do battle with one another on several fronts. They compete for admitted students, especially ones with high LSATs and GPAs. They compete in job placement, in terms of getting their grads jobs with top law firms or coveted judicial clerkships.

And they compete with each other for attracting star faculty. The University of Chicago just hired away one of Columbia’s top young law professors — a legal academic who has appeared before in these pages….

Professor Edward Morrison

The professor in question is Edward R. Morrison. His hiring was announced internally by Chicago’s dean, Michael Schill, in an email that went out yesterday. Professor Morrison will start up at Chicago this summer.

Despite his relative youth (he received his J.D. in 2000), Morrison already holds an endowed chair at Columbia, where he currently serves as the Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law & Economics. Harvey Miller, of course, is the Columbia Law grad and Weil Gotshal partner who is a god of the bankruptcy bar.

As you might expect from the Harvey Miller Professor, Ed Morrison teaches in the areas of bankruptcy, corporate reorganization, and law and economics. He has a glittering résumé — J.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago, clerkships with Judge Richard Posner and Justice Antonin Scalia — and a long list of impressive publications. (Disclosure: He beat me out for a Scalia clerkship for October Term 2001, and in light of his manifest brilliance, I don’t feel bad about that in the least.)

What landed Professor Morrison in Above the Law’s pages in the past? First, real estate. Three years ago, in March 2009, we covered his lavish Lawyerly Lair — a $2.6 million townhouse that the Morrisons purchased with some help from Columbia (which provided a million-dollar second mortgage).

Who knows what kind of Hyde Park mansion the Morrisons will be moving into later this year? As noted in our prior coverage, back in 2009 they had three children and a dog (perhaps their family is even bigger today?). Trading New York City for the Windy City will at least give them more space.

Second, we mentioned Edward Morrison more recently, just last year. He was part of Columbia Law School’s effort to make 1Ls feel better about their grades. From the email sent by Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin, CLS’s dean of students:

Professor Edward Morrison went to University of Chicago law school which graded on a numerical scale at the time. His Civ Pro score was about a B- during his first semester, and that his grades gradually improved, rising to the B+ range during the second semester.

From earning B-minuses at Chicago Law to teaching there. Don’t you just love a happy ending?

Congratulations to Professor Morrison on his move, and congratulations to Chicago on its hiring coup.

Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: It’s Good To Be King A Law Professor
Columbia Reassures 1Ls By Sharing Professors’ Dirty Transcript Secrets

(hidden for your protection)

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