Law School Faculty

The results are in. It turns out that a snazzy, mass-transit ad campaign mocking elites is not enough to turn around an entire law school. Law school applications are down because law school isn’t a good value, not because law school hasn’t been correctly marketed to prospective students.

It looks like Suffolk Law is going to have to face the music. The university has already replaced its president. Now the law school is offering buyouts to tenured faculty and professors with renewable contracts…

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We brought the matter to the Provost and although he is supportive of our goals he cannot bend the University rules to make this creative idea happen. However, we remain committed to finding ways to fund post-graduate opportunities and address other employment issues facing our graduates.

– Part of a statement issued by University of Oregon Law professors on the OregonLawBlawg, describing the status of their proposal to cancel law faculty raises to fund a jobs program for the school’s graduates.

(Keep reading to see the rest of their statement, plus the law school’s response to our media inquiry.)

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We all know that the employment landscape for recent law school graduates is still looking pretty bleak. Fifty-seven percent of 2013’s law school graduates are employed in full-time, long-term jobs that require bar passage. If we exclude the percentage of full-time, long-term jobs funded by law schools, the legal employment rate drops to 55.3 percent. Meanwhile, 11.2 percent of 2013’s graduates are still unemployed nine months after receiving their degrees. The job market sucks, for lack of a better word, and law schools are sinking in the U.S. News rankings because of their terrible employment statistics.

That’s why law schools are doing anything and everything they can to try to put their graduates to work. It seems that some schools are even willing to go to extremely unconventional lengths to do so. For example, one law school is thinking about suspending faculty raises and using that money to create a new jobs program for its graduates.

A law professor there just found out that he may not be getting a raise this year, and he is PISSED….

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This takes balls. Not courage, but balls.

I’m using the term “balls” as a synonym for gall. I’m invoking the connotation of “stubbornness.” A law professor who can look at the current legal job market and the financial ruin suffered by so many law graduates, and fix his mouth to suggest that law school should take longer (and thereby cost more), really has balls. It’d be like Orson Scott Card thanking the producers of Ender’s Game for not casting “a little gay kid” in the title role.

I’m reluctant to even write this post and give this professor a wider circulation for his crackpot views, but I want the internet record to be complete, lest some person who hasn’t been paying attention happens upon the professor’s article and stupidly thinks, “This makes sense to me….”

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I recently participated in an excellent symposium about the future of legal education that was sponsored by the Seton Hall Law Review. Congratulations to the law review editors on putting on a great event, and thanks to them for inviting me to be a part of it.

Most of the presentations took the form of detailed papers that will be published in the law school’s symposium issue. But there were a few moments of levity, represented by the following seven notable quotations (comments that I found either amusing or interesting):

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Are you kidding me with this Halloween stuff? I can’t wait till this stupid “holiday” season is over. No, I’m not changing my Twitter name to “Evil MYSTal” for a week. Stop dressing up like a slut. Stop putting costumes on your dogs. GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!

Wait… I’m being told that this isn’t a Halloween joke, this is a real complaint. Law professors are actually accusing their school of giving them a raise designed to associate them with the Antichrist. Okay, well this is funny again…

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As we commit to bold action to reform legal education, we also should lay out the parameters within which we operate.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of my job as a law school dean is determining how to balance contradictory demands. Communities have multiple members who wish for different outcomes. Economist Kenneth Arrow won the Nobel Prize for showing it is logically impossible for a democracy to aggregate preferences in situations displaying any complexity. Even individuals desire particular outcomes without realizing all of the costs or the consequences. It turns out that it is not uncommon to believe we want something we couldn’t actually live with.

Take faculty compensation as an example. There are few professions of which I am aware that face vehement attacks on pay as law professors are encountering. While we’re at it, let’s add faculty productivity to the mix. Law professors also are criticized from all sides for the social utility of the undertaking that is the primary means by which they size up their own worth: writing books and articles.

Another framing stipulation. One of the important responsibilities of a law professor as a teacher is ensuring students understand the distinction between descriptive statements and normative arguments. The former are assertions about what is, the latter assertions about what should be. In some instances, classroom discussion — much like legal advice — concerns the black letter doctrine as it currently exists. In other instances, classroom discussion — also like legal advocacy — addresses potential reforms that could be implemented.

I would like to explain why people, especially students, likely don’t desire schools to reduce faculty compensation or cease being academic in orientation. Or at least they would not want any single school, the one with which they happen to be associated, to do so and suffer as a result. I would not mind being proven wrong in the descriptive, not normative, line of reasoning set forth below. For purposes of this analysis, I am looking at matters from the perspective of student self-interest…

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This law school has a healthy approach to slimming down.

Layoffs continue to march through law firms. We reported yet another layoff story earlier today.

But now we have some happy news to share, regarding potential layoffs that were averted. A law school that was contemplating junior-faculty layoffs fortunately won’t have to go through with the cuts it had been contemplating.

Which law school achieved this feat? And what lessons might it have to offer to other law schools that are attempting to rightsize themselves in this challenging environment for legal education?

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You’ve got to love it when a law professor turns up the snark on his own students. It happens often enough in class, but you don’t often see a professor doing it on a school-wide listserv.

Then again, you don’t often see students willfully piss off law professors this much. A professional responsibility professor has noted some very unprofessional behavior from the kids at his school, and he used the listserv to make his point with comic effect…

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Man who just can’t stop masturbating.

I hesitate to call Liberty University School of Law a “real” law school, as opposed to a finishing school for Christian soldiers, but whatever. They’re accredited. Wackadoodles need lawyers too.

So what are the good people at Liberty doing to make sure the legal world is safe for Christians? Combating sex addiction, of course! Because I guess it’s easier to fight a fake disease than wrestle with the fundamental hypocrisy of puritanical mores.

I thought “sex addiction” only afflicted world-famous celebrities who have the debilitating problem of getting a lot of ass. But apparently even regular people can get addicted to screwing anybody available…

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