The Rutgers University basketball coaching crisis has now made its mark on law schools. Rutgers - Newark Dean John Farmer, the former attorney general of New Jersey, has been named General Counsel of the University. He replaces John Wolf, the university GC who resigned as part of the continuing fallout from disclosure of the videos. This will be an interim appointment. Professor Ron Chen will temporarily take over the deanship until Farmer returns - allegedly in 12 to 18 months.
The University of Montana School of Law, one
of the few law schools to see an increase in applications this year, will
soon be starting a national dean search. Irma Russell, who has served as dean
of Montana Law since 2009, has announced that she plans to step down. She will
remain as dean during the transition, and will join the faculty upon the
appointment of her successor.
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl case. This is only the second time since the passage of ICWA that the Court will hear a case involving the statute. The case is drawing intense media attention, and has since its arrival in the South Carolina Supreme Court. Today Andrew Cohen posted his piece at the Atlantic, one of the few mainstream media outlets to give a balanced view of the case and a defense of the law at the heart of the case.
Very briefly, the case involves the child of a non-Indian mother and a father who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. As in almost all family law cases, there are various disputed facts about the involvement of the father in the mother's life after he found out the mother was pregnant. It bears noting again the trial court found the mother's testimony less compelling than the father's, and found for the father, as did the South Carolina Supreme Court. Father (while the names of all the parties are very easily ascertained, I prefer not to the publicize the name of the 3 year-old child at the center of this dispute) was serving at Fort Sill when he found out the mother was pregnant. He wanted to get married, she did not. When asked to surrender his parental rights, he believed he was surrending the rights to the mother, not to give up his daughter for adoption. When he found out his parental rights were being terminated for adoption purposes, he contacted his attorney on the base and started the legal process to get his child back. Days later he was deployed to Iraq for a year. Upon his return, he continued to fight the legal battle and the courts returned his child to him just after Christmas, 2011.
I've been asked repeatedly why the Court took the case, what caught the Court's eye, what I think will happen. I honestly don't know. I will say that the posture of the case--the tribal interest/father winning in state court and appealled up by the non-Indian party--fits Prof. Matthew Fletcher's analysis of the cert process for tribal interests these days. His work demonstrates that when a tribe wins below, the Supreme Court is more likely to take notice of the case.
While some are worried that the Adoptive Couple's aggressive use of the media in this case attracted the Court's attention. The more I think about this, the more I don't think this is the situation. The briefs of the Adoptive Couple and the Guardian ad Litem attack the very foundation of federal Indian law, claiming applying the Indian Child Welfare Act in this case is a prohibited race based use of the law (impermissable preferences). There is also a question of the use of state law to define terms in the federal statute (federalism concerns). Cohen's article details these claims, and shines a welcome light on the horrible role of the guardian ad litem in this case. Those concerns, plus the posture of the case, led to Court taking the case.
The amicus briefs on the side of the father, including 18 state attorneys general, the Solicitor General, and child welfare agencies and non-profits, are incredibly strong. And when we talk to child welfare professionals at the state and county level about the requirements of ICWA, the responses are almost always along the lines of surprise--that the law is really a best practices statute, and the practices it guarantees for American Indian children are practies our family law courts should aspire to for all children.
Bankruptcy judge J. Rich Leonard has been named the new law dean at Campbell. Judge Leonard completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina, and he earned a law degree at Yale. He has served on the bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of North Carolina since 1992. Judge Leonard has been the editor in chief of the prestigious American Bankruptcy Law Journal since 2011. And a few months ago he published a children's book entitled The House by the Creek, "a tale of the Revolutionary War set in NC, filled with bravery and surprises, and based on a family legend."
I was supposed to make it to Montreal today for an exciting
conference at McGill on “After Legal Equality: Family, Sex, Kinship” but, alas, Chicago
O’Hare and Midwestern weather problems had other plans for me. I’ll be Skyping in to the conference tomorrow
to present a work-in-progress of mine entitled “Marriage as Civil Union: Interstate Recognition of Same-Sex
Relationships and the Issue of Legal Translation,” in which I use relationship-recognition experience from the United Kingdom on my way to arguing that “U.S.
trans-jurisdictional analysis with respect to formal relationships must be
complicated and its reductionist insistences queried; doing so, in fact,
reveals that ‘civil unions’ and ‘domestic partnerships’ cannot simplistically
be trans-jurisdictionally translated as ‘marriage’ always, and neither can
For my friends north of the border, if you are in Montreal,
this conference has a public session Friday afternoon (starting at 4 p.m.) on “Radical
Formations: Sex, Trans, Race,” with Sharon Cowan, Roderick Ferguson, and Dean
Spade speaking. One of the conference
organizers, Robert Leckey, has also penned this article/op-ed about
the McGill conference and how it relates to contemporary Canadian queer
advocacy now that same-sex marriage has been available in Canada for the past
Lounge readers may recall the thread from February on whether we are sustaining a "VAP trap" by sustaining so many VAP programs at a time when most think the market for tenure-track jobs at American law schools is likely to contract significantly.
That post led to an avalanche of comments from (among others) current VAPs about their situations. One commenter offered in the comments to survey fellow VAPS, and I offered to publish the survey results here.
The organizer of the survey sent me the results this morning. They are below. Please don't ask me questions about them; I am simply presenting what was sent to me. If the person who ran the survey monitors this thread, s/he may (or may not) wish to respond to questions.
(Yes, I am entertaining myself with alliteration as
we slump towards the end of the semester)
U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong has refused to
dismiss the class action suit against ASRM (the American Society for
Reproductive Medicine), SART (the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology),
and all clinics and egg-donor agencies that agreed to follow their pricing
guidelines. (I’ve uploaded the order
Download Order denying mtd) The suit alleges that the caps
the societies have imposed on permissible oocyte compensation are per se
As regular Lounge readers may recall, this is a case about
which I’ve blogged quite a bit, and I wrote a law review
article in 2009 arguing that the ASRM-SART Ethical guidelines were simply horizontal
price-fixing of the type long considered per se illegal in other industries. And, as
I noted of the ASRM-SART motion to dismiss shortly after it was first filed
back in July of 2011, “this sounds suspiciously like the standard, and
typically unsuccessful, professional association defense.”
As a refresher, ASRM guidelines state that any payment by a
member clinic to an egg donor in excess of $5,000 requires justification, and
any donor payments above $10,000 "go beyond what is appropriate." The
societies claimed that the pricing guidelines were not a per se violation because
they were motivated by ethical concerns, rather than by a desire to enrich the
societies or their member clinics and agencies.
According to the motion to dismiss, the maximum price rules serve
several salutary functions: (1) they protect the health and safety of egg
donors and infertile patients by reducing their incentive to hide medical
information, (2) they resolve "social welfare concerns" about the
exploitation or undue inducement of egg donors, (3) they protect against the
devaluation of human life, and (4) the price caps provide access to donated
eggs for infertile couples with limited economic means. Regular Loungers are already aware of my
views on these arguments, and those of you new to that debate can catch up by
following the links below. Judge
Armstrong concluded that these issues were debatable and denied the motion to
dismiss, refusing to hold as a matter of law that per se analysis should not
apply to the societies’ pricing guidelines.
Judge Armstrong also addressed one argument under the rule
of reason analysis that I had not noticed in the pleadings: ASRM and SART attempted
to define the relevant market to include numerous other "alternative
income-generating opportunities" that are "close substitutes for egg
donation," including “blood, platelet, or plasma donation or paid clinical
trials by hospitals, universities, companies, or research institutions.” Really??
I’ll anxiously await the evidence on that. The Judge refused to settle this at the
pleading stage as well and denied the motion to dismiss under rule of reason
I will provide further updates on the case as I get them and
many thanks to my colleague, Barak Richman, for forwarding the latest news on
As the semester draws to a close, I'm sure many of us our thinking about scholarly projects for the summer. I wondered if now would be a good time to open a post to share some "scholarship tips". What is the most important thing you would advise colleagues, or want to make sure you remember to do yourself, in new scholarly projects? Issues relating to approaching research, effective use of research assistants, outlining a proposal, developing successive drafts etc...
With the movie 42 coming out on Friday, I’m sure we’ll hear folk say that Jackie Robinson was the first black Major League baseball player. But that distinction belongs to Moses Fleetwood Walker who played in the American Association in 1884. The color barrier was instituted to keep him out and, of course, Robinson broke it in 1947. Walker was originally an integrationist but his struggle with racism led him to champion Garvey’s “Back to African Movement.” He led an interesting life.
I am a co-chair of our Multiculturalism Affairs Committee
here at SLU Law, and our (faculty/staff/student) committee is in the midst of
discussions about ways to enhance ‘cultural competence’ at SLU Law. One thought as to how to do so is to
introduce changes into the curriculum, concertedly oriented towards exposing
students to the legal and social issues faced, both historically and
contemporarily, by racial minorities, immigrants, women, Native Americans,
queer folk, the disabled, and others.
Discussions are at a very preliminary stage, but different thoughts have
already emerged about how best to better incorporate the teaching of cultural competence
into the curriculum. Some people seem to
favor adding ‘diversity elements’ to each 1L course; others favor some sort of separate,
required first-year course aimed at getting students to think seriously about
in/justice in the American legal system over time; while others want to see us
add a ‘justice track’ to the curriculum which would culminate—after several courses
and other prerequisites—in some sort of certificate or other recognition on one’s
transcript. Of course, none of these are
I’m curious about other people’s experiences at other law
schools with these kinds of curricular proposals. I’m aware that CUNY-Law has some sort of required
1L course on justice, and I would love to hear more from people there, and also
anywhere else where people have at least discussed these sort of curriculum
changes—even if no changes were ultimately made. What were the challenges you faced in
instituting these kinds of curricular changes?
Were they sustainable? Did they
face opposition? From colleagues, or
from students, or from other quarters?
What changes did you see in your law school after adopting the kinds of curricular
changes I’m discussing here? Thanks to
everyone in advance for your comments and discussion.
Recently, there was a discussion on the IPProfs board about why more IP law professors fail to join the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). Most who commented on why they were not members seemed to be concerned with the positions AIPLA has taken on issues arising in IP law, finding that the organization, at best, lacked transparency on how the positions advocated were developed. But for me, the reason I am no longer a member is the requisite for academic membership in AIPLA. To qualify for membership from the academy, you have to teach at an AALS approved institution. In other words, anyone who teaches at an institution that has only ABA or state accreditation is not a “real” IP law professor.
Of course, the AIPLA is not the only organization that does this. The AALS also has rules that prevent active participation at AALS events if your school is not an AALS member. Many of my colleagues used to be active with the AALS. They were interested in presenting papers and panels at the meeting, but were also willing to do scut work that goes with running an academic organization. With the exclusionary system now in place, faculty from non-AALS schools need not try to present papers as their work is automatically rejected. Even those of us who are willing to roll up our sleeves to do the behind the scenes work are excluded.
This limitation on participation is unjustifiable. Great scholarship can come from anywhere in the legal academy (or, dare we admit it, from those outside of the academy). As an example, think of Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of U.C. Irvine. If we follow the standards being used by the AALS, he was a great scholar when he was at Duke as it has both ABA and AALS recognition, but when he became the founding Dean at U.C. Irvine, he immediately became worthless as a scholar as it did not have either ABA or AALS accreditation when he joined. Even today, his scholarship is apparently substandard to the AALS as his institution, like my own, is only provisionally approved by the ABA and is years away from being eligible for AALS membership.
If the AALS (or AIPLA) are intent on being true academic societies, the “no one does it as well as our members” snobbery needs to go (except for the few elected officer positions where membership may be appropriately required). If the AALS is truly a “learned societ[y]” as its web site suggests, it needs to start acting like an academic-based organization — one that is open to all scholars who produce quality work.
I've taken the same data that Gary Rosin used in this post (which ranked schools by percentage employed in full-time, long-term jobs requiring a JD) and cleaned the list...by excluding all such positions that were funded by the law school.
One concern I have about Gary's list - similar to concerns about US News rankings - is that once you eliminate the top schools, an ordinal ranking suggests large distinctions between schools with small acutal differences. Thus, the gap in Gary's list from the #1 school (Penn) to the #31 school (Georgia) is 25 percentage points; Penn placed 94.4% of its students and Georgia placed 69.4%. But the gap between Georgia and the school 30 places down the list - #61 FIU (which placed 63.6 of its students) - was only 5.8 percentage points. A law school candidate might be agnostic as between Georgia and FIU, based on placement, but not between Penn and Georgia.
I am going to publish my list from number 1 to 197, but a savvy reader would be well advised to consider schools in clusters. For example, this time using my list, schools 1 to 6 place over 85% of their grads in legit L/T, F/T JD required jobs. Call that cluster 1. Schools 7-19 place over 75%. Schools 20-52 place over 65%. Schools 53-98 place over 55%. And so on.
Even this clustering obscures important facts for anyone comparing law schools, the primary one of which is this: outside of a few elite schools, most grads with jobs are working somewhere geographically close to their law school. So a graduate of #34 Campbell University has a comparatively good shot at a job; it's probably going to be in North Carolina. Ditto #28 South Texas College of Law. And if your goal is Big Law, particularly in $160K-ville, you'd best take that #17 Northwestern offer (even if you did get into #16 LSU or #15 West Virginia.) I do love Alabama - after all, it was my first academic home - but if I had an offer from #14 Yale and #13 Alabama...well, you know where this is going.
And a close reader might consider whether a particular school claims a very high number of graduates going into solo practice. While solos are treated the same as associates at Wilmer Hale, for statitstical purpose, the average solo is probably going to earn less during her first few years than she would have made in a non-JD job. You can go here and and sort through all sorts of these issues.
Are there any notable distinctions between my list and Gary's? That is, did some schools hire a big chunk of their grads in long-term, full-time JD required positions? A few. Virginia falls from #2 to #11 - or almost 15 percentage points. A bunch of schools - Chicago, NYU, Columbia, and others - showed distinctly weaker placement numbers, though they remained quite strong, comparatively. And then there was George Washington which fell from 14 to 76 or from 81% employed to 60.35%. This is an admirable form of back-end financial aid for unemployed grads, and phenomenally expensive, but it does confound the rankings a bit.
My chart is after the jump. If you want to compare Gary's ranking which includes law school funded jobs, it's here.
Last summer I blogged about my book on the term of Uncle Tom. Well, the 530+ page behemoth is now finished. I posted the short Introduction on SSRN if anyone is interested in reading. Now on to book #2.
I think faculty lounge readers will be very interested in Annette Clark's thoughtful and thought-provoking reflection on the events surrounding her departure as dean at SLU, "Postscript to a Deanship," which appeared recently in the Toledo Law Review. There is a lot in the article that's worthy of comment and reflection. The article reminds me that I should have said something last year when my friend and former colleague Phil Pucillo was blogging about about SLU here at the faculty lounge. Some people questioned why Phil, who's not a SLU faculty member, was blogging about this -- and I guess that was related to his urging faculty members to speak out. Phil is one of my heroes for having taken a stand in favor of faculty governance when he was on the Ave Maria faculty. His stand for faculty governance makes him an ideal person to comment on the situation at SLU and also to give some perspective on the likely consequences for everyone involved -- and the reasons why faculty might remain silent, as well as why they might speak out.