Courtesy of Professor Dan Solove, “a sneak peak at this year’s rankings, as well as some amazing secrets about how US News ranks law schools.”
The Official Leaked US News Law School Rankings, Plus Ranking Secrets Revealed! [Concurring Opinions]
Courtesy of Professor Dan Solove, “a sneak peak at this year’s rankings, as well as some amazing secrets about how US News ranks law schools.”
NYU School of Law announced today that it has hired Professor Kenji Yoshino as a tenured faculty member. He was a visiting professor at the school last year and again this spring.
Professor Yoshino graduated from Yale Law in 1996 and is influential in the fields of constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, and law and literature. It’s quite a score for NYU. Read the original email announcement, from Dean Ricky Revesz, after the jump.
- Cass Sunstein, Celebrities, Harvard, Harvard Law School, Hotties, Law Professors, Law School Deans, Law Schools, Martha Nussbaum, Musical Chairs, Romance and Dating, Samantha Power, Sex, University of Chicago Law School
We greatly enjoyed our recent visit to the University of Chicago Law School. The U. Chicago students were very welcoming and made us feel right at home, even inviting us to their law school musical — which, by the way, was delightful.
(We added many of them as friends on Facebook before we were mysteriously banned from the site, without notice or explanation. So if you no longer see us on FB, it’s not because we “de-friended” you, but because our account was disabled.)
A few Chicago students, however, had a bone to pick with us. They objected to this ATL post, which cast the recently announced departure of Professor Cass Sunstein — prominent scholar, beloved teacher, and possible Supreme Court nominee under President Obama — as a hiring coup by Harvard Law School, a triumph by HLS over Chicago. They emphasized that Professor Sunstein’s leaving the Windy City for Cambridge was prompted by personal rather than professional reasons.
Professor Sunstein said as much his farewell email (emphasis added; in fact, all emphases added throughout this post, unless otherwise indicated):
I’m writing to say that I’ve just accepted an appointment at Harvard Law School. It is an understatement to say that I don’t take this step easily or lightly. As most of you know, I’ve been reflecting on this question for several years. I finally decided, for personal reasons, that I need a change.
Since he’s a prominent Obama supporter — as well an adviser to the campaign, but more on that later, since it ties into our tale — it’s not surprising that Professor Sunstein is All About Change.
The law school’s popular leader, Dean Saul Levmore, also stressed the personal component to Professor Sunstein’s move. As he told the University of Chicago’s student newspaper, the Maroon:
“I’m sort of embarrassed that [the story] said that the University of Chicago couldn’t be reached for comment,” Levmore said. “It looks like we didn’t want to talk, but the truth is that this decision [to leave Chicago for Harvard] was based on personal reasons and I respect that privacy. The media will find out about them soon enough.“
With a comment like this, Dean Levmore was basically begging us to go digging. So dig we did.
Let’s see, Cass Sunstein’s “personal reasons” for leaving U. Chicago… hold on a sec. Isn’t Professor Sunstein part of legal academia’s most fabulous power couple, together with that renowned philosopher queen, Professor Martha Nussbaum? And didn’t Professor Nussbaum just turn down a Harvard offer?
That was then; this is now. What we learned in our investigation is consistent with this ATL comment, as well as this (subsequently removed) Wikipedia edit.
It appears that Professor Sunstein may be part of a new “power couple” — in the most literal sense. Rumor has it that he’s romantically involved with Professor Samantha Power — a beautiful, brainy professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who is roughly 15 years his junior. She is a Pulitzer Prize winner who has also been profiled in Men’s Vogue (see glamorous photo, at the top of this post). What’s not to like?
Update: More about Samantha Power here (from a college classmate who tried to hit on her, without success, and just ended arguing politics with her).
Now, please don’t give us full credit (or blame) for bringing to light the Sunstein-Power relationship. When we attended the Chicago Law School musical last weekend, Samantha Power got a shout-out near the end of the show, when the Cass Sunstein character announced his departure for Harvard. So the rumor of her romance with Professor Sunstein is already widely known throughout the U. Chicago community (and beyond); it’s no state secret. It is already known to hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
We reached out to all three members of this Mensalicious love triangle, which seems to come straight out of a Saul Bellow novel. Find out what we learned — two of them had no comment, but one of them did — after the jump.
We’ve been on the law school speaking circuit lately. At the start of this month, we served as keynote speaker of the Mid-Atlantic APALSA Conference, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School (conference description here, photos here). Next month, we’ll be speaking at Stanford Law School, about how the web is changing the legal profession.
Last week we were at the University of Chicago, for this event:
Richard Posner and David Lat: “Judges as Public Figures”
Last week, the University of Chicago’s chapter of the Federalist Society hosted a panel discussion on “Judges as Public Figures” with Judge Richard Posner and David Lat, author of two popular legal blogs, Above the Law and Underneath Their Robes.
David Lat’s relationship with Judge Posner began when he was the anonymous author of Underneath Their Robes, a blog supposedly written by a young and prestige-obsessed female lawyer. Judge Posner was the first to unmask “Article Three Groupie” (the anonymous author’s pseudonym) as being male. The discussion was moderated by Professor Lior Strahilevitz, and a recording is available here (mp3).
It was an honor and a pleasure to serve on a panel with Judge Posner and Professor Strahilevitz. The standing-room-only crowd was engaged and enthusiastic — and apparently entertained, based on the frequent outbursts of laughter.
You can access the podcast by clicking here (mp3). Thanks again to the University of Chicago Federalist Society for inviting us to participate in such a delightful event.
Podcast: Richard Posner and David Lat on “Judges as Public Figures” [University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog]
Emerging Asia: Shedding New Light on the Legal Landscape [University of Pennsylvania Law School]
How the Web Is Changing the Legal Profession [Stanford Law School]
We bring you some news from the University of Virginia School of Law, which last year was voted America’s Coolest Law School by the readers of Above the Law. UVA has a new dean: Professor Paul Mahoney. Congratulations, Dean-To-Be Mahoney!
Professor Mahoney, who will replace John C. Jeffries Jr. as dean when Jeffries steps down in July, has a glittering resume: MIT, Yale Law, clerkships for Judge Winter (2d Cir.) and Justice Marshall, and four years at S&C. He joined the UVA law faculty in 1990. Word on the street is that Paul Mahoney was “the internal favorite” and that “students [are] pleased” by his selection, which didn’t come as a surprise:
[H]e was widely expected to be the guy. I’m sitting in his wife’s class right now (she’s a prof here too), and not even she [Professor Julia D. Mahoney] has said anything about it. Just prattling on about bailments…
Meanwhile, while we’re training the spotlight on Charlottesville:
Journal tryouts are ongoing at UVA and presumably other law schools. This is the official Feb Club blog’s take on journal tryouts…
It’s an entertaining post, characterizing journal tryouts as “a Pyramid Scheme of misery”; check it out here. Elsewhere on the Feb Club blog, a group blog devoted to the monthlong cycle of parties at UVA Law, you can find delicious photos of shirtless studs and busty babes. Check out the main page by clicking here.
Update: In other UVA-related news, Professor Michael Klarman, who is beloved by students and faculty alike, is moving to Harvard Law School.
Paul G. Mahoney—Scholar, Teacher, and Corporate Law Expert—Named University of Virginia Law School Dean [University of Virginia School of Law]
Paul G. Mahoney bio [University of Virginia School of Law]
Journal Tryouts are the Biggest Scam in the Law School [Feb Club Is Why Daddy Left]
Michael Klarman to join HLS faculty [Harvard Law School]
Earliest: Congratulations to America’s Coolest Law School: UVA!
Time for lunch. We leave you with this appetizing email, which went out yesterday to the students and faculty of UC Hastings College of the Law.
Subject: Installation of green bike enclosure
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 13:21:33 -0800
To: [U.C. Hastings students and faculty]
Please be advised.
The new green bike enclosure for 200 McAllister is scheduled for installation on Wednesday, February 20, 2008. Due to nature of work involved (metal cutting, welding and lifting of heavy panels), the site will be off limits to all students, staff and faculty till Friday, February 22, 2008.
We apologize for the incontinence and the short notice. Thank you for your cooperation and support.
* A clever parody of the Clemens hearing. [PrawfsBlawg]
* T-T-T-Trouble for TTT schools? [ABA Journal]
UPDATE: We don’t like having to explain ourselves like this; it’s rather inelegant. But after reading some of the comments, we thought a brief clarification might be in order.
This commenter is right — our use of the term “TTT” is tongue-in-cheek. We intend no disrespect to any particular law schools (or their students or faculty members). Thanks.
- Email Scandals, Law Professors, Law School Deans, Law Schools, Politics, Vicious Infighting, William and Mary School of Law
We love internecine warfare at law schools and in other academic settings. As the old saying goes — our cursory Googling doesn’t immediately generate the exact wording or source, so we’ll paraphrase — fights in academia are so vicious because the stakes are so small.
As Hillary and Barack do battle in Virginia today, so too do administrators at William and Mary. From a tipster at William & Mary School of Law (interesting factoid: it’s one of the oldest law schools in the country):
Today the William and Mary Board of Visitors decided not to renew William and Mary President Gene Nichol’s contract. Nichols sent out a pretty amazing email to all students about his resignation, and Michael Powell, former FCC Chairman and Rector of W&M, sent a response. Needless to say, people are talking of nothing else today.
To make the story even better, the law school dean, Taylor Reveley, is now serving as President of W&M. Nichols is joining the law school staff, where his wife is also a professor.
Check out the messages — Gene Nichol’s defiant departure email, claiming he was ousted due to ideological reasons, and Michael Powell’s steadfast denial that the non-renewal was based on ideology — after the jump.
Most law students are well into the spring semester of law school. First- and second-year students will soon have to pick their courses for fall 2008.
Here’s a subject that may be on some of their minds: pass / fail grading. Check out this interesting article in the Stanford Daily (from last month; we came across it belatedly, while going through our 4,000-email backlog over the weekend):
In a departure from tradition, record numbers of first-year law students chose to take at least one of their first semester courses pass-fail this year.
Law students have traditionally found themselves in a bind when choosing to “3k,” the common term for pass-fail grading. Students interviewed independently described the situation repeatedly as a “prisoner’s dilemma,” referencing the archetypal problem of decisions made with imperfect information.
Choosing to be graded pass-fail, whatever one’s personal reasons, could cause problems if the student is one of only a handful of students to do so in the law school class. However, last semester somewhere between one-third and one-half of first-year students elected to take a class pass-fail, a fact which affects the way the action is perceived by others.
There was this whole issue before where employers might say it’s an oddity,” said first-year law student Chris Wells. “[From orientation onwards] a lot of us wanted to make it a real option at the law school.”
The SLS students were spurred to action by one of their peers:
First-year law student John Kimble drafted an open letter about the 3k decision and sent it to the first-year student email list on the last day students could choose their grading basis. Seeing the letter and the excitement it generated emboldened students to take the pass-fail option and also gave the student body an indication of the movement’s support.
So, ATL readers, what do you think? Is taking more courses on a pass-fail basis a smart move, or is it ill-advised? What types of courses lend themselves best to being taken pass-fail? For those of you involved in hiring — of law firm associates, law clerks, AUSAs, etc. — do you askance at transcripts with lots of pass-fail classes?
And will this trend spread to other law schools? Or is it a luxury available only to students at places like small and selective Stanford, where even academic underperformers can still land good jobs?
P.S. Stanford Law School students seem to be in the vanguard these days when it comes to taking a stand against some of the more stressful or unpleasant aspects of the legal profession. The school is also the home of Building A Better Legal Profession, a group of law students pushing to reform Biglaw. For their mission statement, click here.
First-years go pass-fail [Stanford Daily]
building a better legal profession [official website]
- Department of Justice, Federal Government, Gay, Law Schools, Michael Mukasey, Torture, Vicious Infighting
Not everyone likes Attorney General Michael Mukasey. At Boston College Law School, students are protesting Dean John Garvey’s decision to invite Attorney General Mukasey to deliver the school’s 2008 Commencement address. See here (Facebook group: “Waterboarding IS Torture”), here, and here.
Why are liberals so unhappy about Mukasey? We’d expect the AG to receive a warmer reception, in light of this happy news, which made the pages of the Washington Post:
Five years after a gay advocacy group was told that it could no longer use the e-mail, bulletin boards and meeting rooms at the Justice Department, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey has reversed that decision and issued a revised equal-employment-opportunity policy barring discrimination against any group.
Mukasey informed leaders of DOJ Pride last week that the department would give it the same rights as all other DOJ employee organizations, said the group’s president, Chris Hook. In a statement, Mukasey said the department will “foster an environment in which diversity is valued, understood and sought” and maintain “an environment that’s free of discrimination.”
Writes a Department of Justice source:
Finally — now I can celebrate “Pride on Ice” anytime I want! Michael Mukasey gets two snaps in a circle for this decision!
In another sign of libertinism running rampant in the halls of justice, Lady Justice’s magnificent metal breastses are no longer covered up, as they were during the repressive Ashcroft regime (during which female DOJ lawyers had to wear burqas to court). But the credit for the breast-baring belongs to Alberto Gonzales.
Attorney General Mukasey Reverses Anti-Gay Policy at Justice Dept [Towleroad: A Site With Homosexual Tendencies]
Attorney General Reverses Curbs On Gay Group at Justice Department [Washington Post]
Boston College Law School Community Members Protests Mukasey [ACS Blog]
Mukasey Invitation Prompts the Question: “What has BC Law become?” [Eagleionline]