There's been a little buzz recently about the relationship between where you got your JD and your likelihood of getting a law teaching job. Kaimi Wenger offered up good advice (and valuable links) for folks with JD's from non-superelite law schools. (He calls them the Top 5, but really its more like the Top 7 or 8). Michael Risch consolidated a lot of blogospheric advice here. Marc DeGirolami artfully adds to the conversation with a contemplation on the fate of those with JD's outside the top 15. To sum it up: it's tough, but not impossible, to get a teaching job if your JD doesn't come from an elite law school. And if you want to snag one of these positions, get to know people, consider a fellowship, write a lot, and choose a relatively unpopular doctrinal area.
But this led me to wonder: what was the educational pedigree of the folks who've recently accepted new law school deanships? Our list of dean searches (and their outcomes) is here. Keep in mind that virtually none of the new hiring law schools are themselves superelites or elites - but for most of us, the more relevant question is: what's happening in the 180 schools that aren't in the top 20?
It turns out that the backgrounds of these new deans look dramatically different than Larry Solum's entry level hiring report. These 25 new appointments come from 15 different law schools. They are such a diverse lot that only six law schools produced more than one dean this year - and two of these six are law schools that are far outside the normal lists of elites. The other nine schools are a mixed lot as well, including superelites, plain-vanilla elites, and a flock of other law schools that most of us would consider very good teaching gigs or law review placements. (The actual breakout is below the jump.)
What explains the diversity of JD producers at the decanal level? There are surely a variety of explanations. One simple reason: because deans are more senior, and come from an era of more varied hiring, it only makes sense that we'd see JD diversity in this group. Another possible explanation: once in the academy, the nerdiest types rarely become deans (at least at law schools that can't raise money based on brand alone.) The Indiana Law graduate who snags a teaching job almost certainly has strong social skills - talents that would not be required of the Yale JD/PhD. A third possiblity: folks with non-elite JD's try harder. And yet another: people with non-elite JD's are actually much more talented than their elite counterparts, or else they never would have scored a job in the first place.
Whatever the reasons, here is the list of the new law deans, organized by JD school:
Yale: Allan Vestal (Drake) Drucilla Ramey (Golden Gate) Bruce Smith (Illinois) Kevin Washburn (New Mexico) Davison Douglas (William & Mary)
Harvard: James Rasband (BYU) Matthew Diller (Cardozo) Michael Simons (St. Johns)
Duquesne: Donald Guter (South Texas) Phoebe Haddon (Maryland)
Florida: David Brennen (Kentucky) Penelope Bryan (Whittier)
Michigan: Lloyd Semple (Detroit Mercy) Patricia White (Miami)
Stanford: Lawrence Ponoroff (Arizona) Stephen Easton (Wyoming)
Columbia: George Johnson (Elon)
Georgetown: John Farmer (Rutgers-Newark)
Indiana: Kellye Testy (Washington)
Iowa: Kevin Smith (Memphis)
Kansas: Irma Russell (Montana)
Penn: Jennifer Rosato (Northern Illinois)
UC Hastings: Nell Newton (Notre Dame)
UCLA: Victor Gold (Loyola – LA)
Washington & Lee: John DiPippa (Arkansas - Little Rock)