In an e-mail from the Charlotte administration to its students sent on January 3, the Dean and President of Charlotte informed students:
We are actively pursuing an arrangement with Florida Coastal School of Law to ensure that regardless of our dispute with ED our students can complete their program of study and receive an ABA-accredited degree. We have been actively working with our regulators respecting this arrangement.
We hope to have in place by the end of the week a specific process for transferring to Coastal, including for students with fewer or more than 30 credits.
This e-mail, along with an earlier e-mail, suggested that Coastal students would be guaranteed a place at Florida Coastal.
Not so fast, says Florida Coastal Dean Scott Devito. In an e-mail sent to all Florida Coastal students on January 5th, he stated:
At present, there exists a misconception that Coastal Law is going to effectively allow any Charlotte Law student to transfer to Coastal.
Let me be clear. That is not true.
. . .we will only allow students to transfer to Coastal if the student’s academic credentials (including LSAT, undergraduate GPA, and law school GPA) demonstrate that the student has a high probability of passing the bar.
. . . A concern that has been raised by faculty, students, and staff is that too many Charlotte students will apply to transfer here. I do not believe this will be the case.
. . .we will only accept students who meet our criteria for admission to the law school—a central feature of such criteria is that the student’s academic credentials demonstrate that they are highly likely to succeed in law school and pass the bar. This will limit the students who will be able to transfer to Coastal Law.
Let's Start with the "Hall of Shame" headed up, not surprisingly, by InfiLaw's three law schools:
1. Charlatan Law, I mean Charlotte Law, just placed on probation by the ABA, still doesn’t get it. Their 2016 entering class profile is 148/144/141 3.07/2.80/2.48. This is after their bar pass rate has come down from 62% in 2013 to 58% in 2014, to 46% in 2015 to somewhere in the low 40s for 2016 (in North Carolina, they had a 34.7% rate in February and a 45.2% rate in July). Yet the school still admitted 1416 students and matriculated 343 students, an even larger class than last year’s entering class of 309, when what they should have done is cut the class size in half and tried to get to 151/149/147 3.2/3.0/2.8 to get back to some semblance of respectability. Clearly, Dean Conartiston decided to milk maximum profits out of the school for one more year.
2. Florida Costly, that is, Florida Coastal: The September 19, 2016 letter by Florida Coastal Dean DeVito’s, which I wrote about previously, turns out to have been very misleading. The letter stated, “We have raised our incoming LSAT requirements by five points and plan to raise it two more in the subsequent admission cycle.” This suggested to me that Florida Coastal had already raised standards for the class that just started in the fall of 2016. But in fact, they did no such thing. In fact, they admitted a class almost identical to their sister school, Charlotte Law, with LSATs of 149/144/141 and UGPA of 3.27/2.87/2.57. This class is also virtually identical to the class they admitted last year, at 148/144/141 3.29/2.88/2.54. Meanwhile, having completely destroyed their reputation, the number of applications and the class size at FCSL continue to plummet. Consider that in 2011, Florida Coastal had 5277 applications and matriculated 679 students. This year, they had 1813 applications and enrollment is down to 235, almost 2/3 less on both counts.
3. Arizona Plummet, er Summit somehow managed to convince 143 students to matriculate this fall, despite their incredibly dismal record of performance on the bar and in job placement. The class they admitted is virtually identical to last year’s class in terms of credentials. Both the 2015 and 2016 entering classes are at 148/143/140 with virtually identical grades as well – 3.34/2.88/2.54 last year and 3.31/2.96/2.54 this year. Arizona Summit’s bar pass rate has gone from a respectable 72% in 2012, to 69% in 2013 to 52% (more than 21 points below the state average) in 2014, to 42% in 2015 (more than 24 points below the state average) to somewhere around 30% in 2016 (38.1 on the Arizona bar in February and 24.6% in July). Arizona Summit is likely to be more than 30% below the state average for 2016. So Arizona Summit is clearly out of compliance with ABA Standard 316 having been more than 15% below the state average 3 years in a row. And they are clearly in violation of ABA Standard 501, for admitting students who do not appear capable of completing a J.D. and passing the bar. In fact, the classes of 2015 and 2016 are even weaker than the class of 2013 that just bombed the bar in historic fashion. The ABA must act immediately to stop this egregious exploitation.
Hi - I'm excited to be guest blogging this month about a few topics that I find engaging. I hope they are also relevant to many of you. Thank you to the moderators for this opportunity.
Like many people, I scroll through Twitter looking for comments and articles about things that interest me. Last week, I saw the following exchange between film director extraordinaire Ava DuVernay and Alex Lauth, an employee of Villanova Law School:
@AVAETC I work at Villanova Law School and we want to have a showing of #The13th for students in our MLK programming week. Is that allowed?
My interest was immediately piqued for several reasons. First, as a law professor committed to social justice, it is encouraging to read that law schools around the country are providing space to screen 13th, the Netflix documentary film directed by DuVernay centering on racial inequities in the American criminal justice system.
Second, I’ve been planning a January 2017 screening of 13th at my own law school, outside of my standard classes, that I'd like to be open to the full campus. I have a Netflix membership and could easily stream the film from my personal account. One of the items on my to-do list has been to figure out whether such an approach is permissible under both Netflix policy and current copyright law. This proved to be more challenging than I thought, so DuVernay’s announcement was quite timely.
The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning will be holding its Summer 2017 Conference July 7-8, 2017 at my current (and wonderful) academic home, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. This year’s conference is entitled “Teaching Cultural Competency and Other Professional Skills Suggested by ABA Standard 302.”
From the Source:
The Institute invites proposals for workshop sessions addressing how law schools are responding to ABA Standard 302’s call to establish learning outcomes related to “other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession,” such as “interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency and self-evaluation.” The conference will focus on how law schools are incorporating these skills, particularly the skills of cultural competency, conflict resolution, collaboration, self-evaluation, and other relational skills, into their institutional outcomes, designing courses to encompass these skills, and teaching and assessing these skills. The deadline to submit a proposal is February 1, 2017.
Background: Concordia University School of Law, located in Boise, Idaho, invites applications for a Director of Academic Success and law professor position beginning in the 2017-18 academic year. This is a full-time faculty position that may lead to long-term successive contracts. Our goal is to recruit a dynamic, bright, and highly motivated individual who is interested in making significant contributions to our law school and its students. Experience in academic support and bar exam support is preferred, and teaching experience is desirable. As a Lutheran institution of higher education, we seek candidates who will support our mission and promote Lutheran values.
Special Instructions to Applicants: Questions about the position can be directed to the Chair of the Committee. Applicants should submit a current Curriculum Vitae, a statement of faith, and a letter of interest to https://cu-portland.csod.com/ats/careersite/JobDetails.aspx?id=118. Please also provide the names and email addresses of three individuals prepared to speak to your professional qualifications for this position. Please note: these references will not be contacted immediately, but may be contacted at an appropriate later point in the review process. Additional materials related to teaching excellence and samples of scholarly publications may be emailed to the Victoria Haneman, Chair of the Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Review of applications will begin immediately and continued until the position is filled. Concordia University reserves the right to give preference in employment based upon religion in order to further the Lutheran objectives of the University and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
As part of it's naming gift, the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law has established the Charles Widger University Professor in Law, Business and Economics. The position is envisioned as interdisciplinary, with the ability to teach in multiple schools at the university. We think it's a really exciting opportunity.
Villanova Law also seeks a junior professor in Business Ethics, and will consider junior laterals.
The press release, which provides much more information about these positions, is here.
Interested parties should contact the chair of our appointments committee Teri Ravenell: ravenell [at] law.villanova.edu
In light of the sad news about Daniel Bernstine's recent passing, Sarah Krinsky - chair of the LSAC Board of Trustees - has appointed Thorny Steele as the LSAC Interim President. He served as Chair of the LSAC Board of Trustees from 2013 to 2015, and previously served as Dean of both Nova Southeastern Law and Capital University Law.
Back in April 2014, when I gave my infamous Dean candidate presentation to Florida Coastal School of Law, (see also here) I predicted that the class that had just been admitted for the fall of 2014 would surely have less than a 50% bar pass rate in 2017. The numbers for the entering class of 2014: LSAT 147/143/140 and UGPA 3.20/2.93/2.63, were down across the board from 2013 when they were already appallingly low. I also predicted, correctly, that Florida Coastal's bar pass rate would drop below 60% that summer. Well, the 2016 Florida bar exam results are out, and Florida Coastal has underperformed even my low expectations by dropping below 50% a year early, at least in Florida, where most Florida Coastal grads take the bar. Here's the numbers: 16 of 49 Florida Coastal first-time takers passed the February 2016 Florida bar; 83 out of 160 passed the July 2016 Florida bar. The combined total for 2016 is 99 of 209, or 47.4%.
Now, in fairness to Florida Coastal, they were not the worst performing school in Florida this year. Both Barry (where I used to teach, but not since Fall semester 2011, so don’t blame me) and St. Thomas had a 45% combined first-time bar pass rate in Florida this year, with 98 of 217 Barry first-time takers passing (45.2%), compared to 81 of 180 for St. Thomas (45.0%).
The appointments are organized alphabetically by state, and within each state, by school, with a list of the Head Dean and any Assistant and Associate Deans. In addition, profile links, email addresses and background degree information is provided. Certain information is color-coded to help identify specific factors (e.g., female deans, post-graduate degrees). We specifically focused on questions of gender, pedigree and level of degrees in relation to state geographies, and we have included some overview of our findings below.
There are, of course, a substantial number of additional factors that could be incorporated into the study, and might influence how the data is interpreted: e.g., questions of age, disability, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic conditions, and so forth. The data was compiled from the 2015-2016 academic year, so there may be some more recent updates that are not incorporated into this study. We apologize for any errors, hope the document is of interest, and grateful for any corrections.
Loyal readers of this website will recall my debate in late 2014/early 2015, with Charlotte Law’s Dean Jay Conison, about Charlotte’s/InfiLaw’s admission policies. (For a refresher, see here and here.) I suggested, as I did in my infamous Dean candidate talk at Florida Coastal, that admitting so many extremely high risk students would inevitably result in a steep drop in bar passage rates, which would potentially jeopardize the school’s accreditation. Dean Conison disputed this notion, suggesting that horrible LSAT scores and UGPAs did not have the same meaning at Charlotte Law as elsewhere and admonishing me that law school is not a “black box.”
Dean Conison took the helm at Charlotte Law in April 2013, in time to impact admissions for the entering class of 2013. Let us not forget that Dean Conison came straight from being the Dean at Valparaiso Law School where the classes that he recruited in his final years have driven the school’s reputation, and bar passage rate, right into the toilet. Since the fall entering class of 2013 recently graduated, I thought it would be a propitious time to check in on how Charlotte’s students have fared under Conison’s leadership.
We're proud to welcome Darrell D. Jackson as a guest blogger at the Faculty Lounge. DJ, as he is known to his many friends, is an Associate Professor at the University of Wyoming College of Law, and teaches Criminal Law and Procedure and Critical Race Theory after a substantial career as a state and federal prosecutor. He also has a Ph.D. in Education, and as I recently learned at a conference we both attended is a provocative and original thinker about legal pedagogy and curriculum.
DJ will be Lounging around here for the next month or so. Watch for his posts!
I have had the privilege of being a member of the legal community since the early 1980s and of legal academia since the early 1990s. It used to be that I would look around at a conference and note that a majority of the attendees were peers of approximately my age. Well, that era has ended. Unless there is far more use of cosmetic surgery and hair dye within our community than I would guess, legal academia has moved to the next generation. As I have spent the day listening to presentations at IPSC, my optimism about the next generation’s custodianship of the Academy is reassured.
When I was a pup, the raging intellectual battle in my field was how could we possibly deal with this new thing: computer software. For some, programs required a radical transformation of the law because now “things are completely different.” For others, programs were nothing but a new way to write down information, so “nothing needs to change.” By the 1990s, two things became clear: (1) both sides of the debate were wrong but (2) the debate itself was critical for determining which analogies in the existing law would work for software and where the underlying concepts required modification to adjust the system to the new innovation.
Well, now the debate in my field has moved to artificial intelligence. If a computer generates a new invention, who owns the patent rights? It is not that this debate first came up this year as several of us have written about the area or the related copyright question years ago. The difference is that what could be predicted as technologically possible twenty years ago has become real. Computers are generating things that are outside of the scope of the programmer’s abilities and intellectual property protection for the innovations is being sought.
Not surprisingly, today’s battle is the same pattern as the one in the 1980s. The forces of “things are completely different” and of “nothing needs to change” are assaulting each other's castle. It is clear that the proponents of each feel that everything depends on winning the day. The cynical approach would be to predict the ultimate result: the castles of both groups will be destroyed and only rubble will remain, but I am not that cynic. For me it seems clear that the Academy is at it again and out of the battle will come the analytical advances that are necessary to continue moving us forward. In the mean time, for all of you who do not see the clear logic of my side of the argument: watch your flank!
Transparency is a relatively new concept to the world of health and health care, considering that just a few short decades ago we were still in the throes of a “doctor-knows-best” model. Today, however, transparency is found on almost every short list of solutions to a variety of health policy problems, ranging from conflicts of interest to rising drug costs to promoting efficient use of health care resources, and more. Doctors are now expected to be transparent about patient diagnoses and treatment options, hospitals are expected to be transparent about error rates, insurers about policy limitations, companies about prices, researchers about data, and policymakers about priorities and rationales for health policy intervention. But a number of important legal and ethical questions remain. For example, what exactly does transparency mean in the context of health, who has a responsibility to be transparent and to whom, what legal mechanisms are there to promote transparency, and what legal protections are needed for things like privacy, intellectual property, and the like? More specifically, when can transparency improve health and health care, and when is it likely to be nothing more than platitude?
This conference, and anticipated edited volume, will aim to: (1) identify the various thematic roles transparency has been called on to play in American health policy, and why it has emerged in these spaces; (2) understand when, where, how, and why transparency may be a useful policy tool in relation to health and health care, what it can realistically be expected to achieve, and when it is unlikely to be successful, including limits on how patients and consumers utilize information even when we have transparency; (3) assess the legal and ethical issues raised by transparency in health and health care, including obstacles and opportunities; (4) learn from comparative examples of transparency, both in other sectors and outside the United States. In sum, we hope to reach better understandings of this health policy buzzword so that transparency can be utilized as a solution to pressing health policy issues where appropriate, while recognizing its true limitations.
Information about the call for abstracts after the jump...
From our friends at California Western School of Law ...
California Western School of Law seeks 2-3 tenure-track faculty members
Do you value diversity? At California Western School of Law, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our student body. This year, around 50% of our incoming students are from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We are committed to having a faculty that reflects our student body and our community.
Do you want to influence legal education at an established but innovative law school? California Western recently celebrated its 90th anniversary - but we have never been stale or ordinary. We were on the forefront of innovative, experiential education three decades ago. As a result, our graduates have a reputation for being uniquely practice-ready. California Western continues to rethink the status quo in legal education – balancing a rigorous practical education with cutting edge scholarship and community service.
Who are you? We are seeking candidates with an entrepreneurial spirit who are eager to put their own stamp on a law school with an expanding faculty and many growth opportunities.
What do you want to teach? We can prioritize your teaching preferences regardless of subject matter.
Where do you want to live? California Western is in downtown San Diego, California, literally overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A city of breathtaking beauty, we have perfect weather, miles of beaches, and nearby mountains. We are a family-friendly, diverse city with small city traffic and walkable neighborhoods.
If you are excited about teaching a diverse student body, shaping the next iteration of an innovative and successful law school, and living in “America’s Finest City,” we want to hear from you.
Candidates should email their materials by September 30, 2016 to Professor Ken Klein at email@example.com. Candidates are encouraged to submit a statement to our Appointments Committee addressing how they can contribute to the goal of creating a diverse faculty.
The Law and Society Association kicks off its 2016 Annual Meeting tomorrow in New Orleans. The full on-line program is available here. Within Law and Society, there are a variety of Collaborative Research Networks that organize panels and themed sessions. Practically speaking, the CRNs organize in many cases what become mini-conferences within the larger conference. My experience with the CRNs is that they tend to be highly organized and welcoming of new voices.
After the fold is a list of all of the programs sponsored by a Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network, an active CRN. There are many panels that look interesting.
I want to sincerely thank the entire Faculty Lounge crew for letting me hang out here for the month, but it's time for me to sign off. I have weddings to attend, courses to prepare, and doctoral work to attend to, and maintaining a posting schedule on two blogs (I have my own blog, The Debate Link, where you can find me year round) is more of a fun decision than a wise decision. That said, it's always worthwhile to step outside my own little corner to interact with new people and make new friends, and I appreciate the opportunity to do so here.
I'll be teaching undergraduates for the first time in the Fall, and I've taken to reflecting on what makes law and law students distinct from those in other academic disciplines. In the media there are plenty of horror stories about Students These Days, none of which I've had any experience with while teaching law school classes. In part, that's because I think more than a bit of the hysterics over Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings and what have you are nothing more than today's moral panic. And of course law students are older, more mature, and self-select to a particular type that may be less keen on the sort of performative activism associated with certain undergraduates.
But I do think there is something to be said for the particular deliberative virtues that are inculcated in law schools. Whatever can be said about the legal job market or the challenges of being a lawyer (and there is much to be said about these things), purely as an academic discipline I think law very much can be proud of our niche in the scholarly community. Things as basic as the importance of letting all sides say their piece, of taking opposing arguments seriously, of grappling with dissenting opinions, and of keeping an open and impartial mind, are fundamental in our discipline. Developing these skills is part and parcel of what it means to be a member of the legal community. It's not that we're perfect or close to it, but I've yet to met a law professor of any persuasion who does not truly and honestly value these virtues. This is something we can be proud of. And if we are concerned that the rest of academia does not always embrace these values, then I think it is incumbent upon ourselves to export them.
It is perhaps because of the prevalence of these virtues that I've always found the legal academic community to be by and large a great place to "grow up" as a scholar. I don't think it is any accident that it was legal academia that came up with an idea like JOTWELL, for instance. In my experience, the blawgosphere has served both as an incubator of good scholarly ideas and as a community that can help bring scholars of a variety of interests, backgrounds, and career-statuses together. In a world where people usually don't have to listen and so frequently will elect not to listen, the diversity and vibrancy of this community is something we should not take for granted, but can also be very proud to have sustained for so long.
A Lounge reader reached out to let me know that Penn State Law’s dean search has been unsuccessful (announced to the faculty by the provost) and that at least some faculty have been unhappy with the search process and a perceived lack of faculty input. This seems to be a recurring theme these days -- see for example, this previous discussion regarding the Florida dean search, this one about the SLU interim dean appointment, and this item regarding DePaul law school.
In the case of Penn State, the complaints apparently include search committee composition, a lack of openness and communication during the search process, the way in which candidates were vetted, and whether (or the extent to which?) faculty are polled on their views of candidates. Some of the discontent may also stem from the law school’s recent rankings drop. As Above the Law reported in March:
Penn State, fresh off separating its campuses into two separate law schools, continues its downward descent into oblivion by losing another 15 spots in the rankings, following up on a 20-spot drop just last year. To think, Penn State was once so close to being ranked as a Top 50 school.
Of course, there have probably always been tensions and disagreements surrounding the level of faculty involvement in a dean search. But the enrollment crisis at many law schools and consequent budget tensions with the main university may have exacerbated the issue in recent years. I don’t have a personal knowledge of these events and am simply passing on the information as its been told to me. Readers who do have a personal knowledge of the situation at Penn State are, of course, invited to comment.
Scholars working in any religious tradition whose work explores developments in women's religious leadership are invited to apply for this semester long residency. This program will be directed by Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI) Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and Law at Brandeis University.
Participants will meet twice monthly for luncheon seminars in which they discuss their ongoing work. Participants will: (1) present one public lecture, which may consist of a presentation to an appropriate Brandeis class; (2) present one "teach in" session for HBI staff; (3) present a lecture or participate in a round-table at a 1-day conference that will be organized during the last week of the SIR Program.
The accepted program recipient(s) will receive a monthly stipend to support her/his research. In addition, recipients will receive (shared) office space at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University and access to all available Brandeis University resources.
SIRs may also contribute to the HBI’s Donna Sudarsky Memorial Working Paper Series, or write for the HBI blog, Fresh Ideas from HBI.
Michelle Anderson, the outgoing dean at CUNY Law, has been named the President of Brooklyn College. Here is a portion of the announcement:
The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York today appointed Michelle J. Anderson as the tenth President of Brooklyn College. She is presently the Dean and Professor of Law at the CUNY School of Law. Chancellor James B. Milliken recommended Dean Anderson’s appointment to the CUNY Board of Trustees after a national search.
In a joint statement, Board of Trustees Chairperson Benno Schmidt and Chancellor Milliken stated: “Dean Anderson brings to Brooklyn College a record of extraordinary academic leadership and success, a strong commitment to students, an exemplary record of public service and a deep belief in Brooklyn College’s mission of academic excellence and opportunity. She will build upon an exemplary foundation of student and faculty achievement nurtured and enhanced by President Karen Gould at an institution so vital to our State, City and nation.”
The nomination was approved unanimously. The appointment is effective August 1, 2016.
Founded in 1930, Brooklyn College serves nearly 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students and was recently rated the number one “Best Bang for the Buck” college in America by Washington Monthly. Dean Anderson succeeds Dr. Karen L. Gould, the first woman to serve as Brooklyn College’s president, who is retiring from a long and distinguished career in higher education administration.