Lewis and Clark Law School is now accepting applications for two VAP positions, both two year positions. One VAP position is in the environmental and energy law program, the other is in the lawyering program.
Those interested should contact Doreen Corwin, firstname.lastname@example.org or Professor Melissa Powers at (503) 768-6727, or email@example.com.
Penn State Law (University Park) and the Penn State College of Medicine (Hershey) invite applications for the position of Professor of Law and Medicine. This faculty line is jointly funded by both units (2/3 Law; 1/3 Medicine), with a tenure home in the law school. The successful candidate will teach and conduct research in both units.
Penn State ranks among the top 20 U.S. research universities, with a large number of research institutes and centers of excellence in the biosciences The law school has an ambitious plan to enhance the breadth of its faculty through a number of strategic hires in the coming years. This co-hire is part of a university-wide strategic initiative to "be a leader in promoting quality of life through comprehensive approaches to enhancing personalized and population health, achieved through a commitment to and investment in relevant research, education, clinical practice, and outreach"
We seek an established scholar with qualifications appropriate for appointment as a full professor, but will also consider a junior candidate with an unusually strong record. Applicants should have a J.D., an M.D., or a Ph.D. (or equivalent degree), superior academic credentials, and demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship. Review of applications will continue until the position is filled. Applications may be submitted at https://psu.jobs/job/69205. For further information, please contact David Kaye, Chair, Law and Medicine Professorship Search Committee, Penn State Law, Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA 16802, 865-8974, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Akron School of Law invites applications and nominations for the position of Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology, a tenure-track or tenured faculty position, with an anticipated start date of August 2017. Review of applicants will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The Committee is open to candidates in any area of IP, but experience and expertise in the areas of Copyright, Internet Law, Privacy, International IP, and Health Law are of particular interest.
Akron Law's Center for IP Law and Technology is renowned for its extensive curriculum, an LL.M. in IP, joint degree program, non-J.D. and post-J.D. certificates, rich scholarly and practical programming, and strong relationship with the national and international IP community.
The Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Technology is responsible for developing, articulating, and implementing a long-term vision for the Center that will achieve greater distinction for the University of Akron School of Law. The Director, in coordination with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, is responsible for implementing the IP curriculum within the School of Law. The Director also manages and supervises the law school’s special IP degree and certificate programs, and may help propose and create additional new programs in intellectual property for attorneys and other professionals as appropriate. The Director is responsible for the management and coordination of all law school programming in the area of intellectual property law, including programs for both attorneys and academics.
The Director fosters and advances external relationships, including the law school’s ongoing international relationships with other universities, where those relate to intellectual property and technology. The Director also works with the law school’s Intellectual Property Advisory Council in advancing the intellectual property program. The Director serves as a faculty advisor to the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Association, a law student organization, oversees the advising related to the annual issue of the Akron Law Review devoted to intellectual property law, and also oversees the law school’s participation in intellectual property-related moot court competitions.
As a member of the law school faculty, the Director will engage in relevant scholarship, teach in the area of intellectual property law, and serve on administrative committees.
The University of Akron School of Law is a public, mid-size law school of approximately 450 students located in the Akron/Cleveland metropolitan area. Akron Law offers excellent teaching, relatively low tuition and a commitment to student success. Akron Law prides itself on outcomes including our high bar passage rate, award-winning clinical programs, national championship trial team program, outstanding job placement rate, and various areas of academic excellence in which students can distinguish themselves.
Required Qualifications: Juris doctor or equivalent law degree with intellectual property law experience.
Preferred Qualifications: A demonstrated record of successful scholarship and teaching and commitment to continue producing both at a high level; record of or potential for appropriate administrative leadership; entrepreneurial skills to advance the impact of the Center; ability to create and sustain a network of IP leaders; ability to articulate and implement long-term vision to achieve greater distinction for Akron Law’s IP program.
For complete details and to apply for this position, visit: http://www.uakron.edu/jobs. Job ID#10009. While all candidates are required to submit their applications via this centralized system, please feel free to direct any inquiries to Professor Tracy Thomas, Chair of the search committee, at email@example.com. Review of applications will begin immediately. Anticipated start date: August 2017. The University of Akron is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity and to the principles of affirmative action in accordance with state and federal laws.
My main disagreement with Doug Richmond’s Comment is with his leadoff assertion that Crystal Riggins “was not punished for doing her job.” That can’t be right. There’s no serious question whether Stanford punished her (by which I mean penalized her in retaliation for criticizing Stanford’s Title IX dispute-resolution rules), and I don’t think Doug disagrees. So our disagreement comes down to whether what she was punished for was “doing her job.” Her job was to act as the attorney for students seeking to have Stanford’s Title IX system recognize and remedy disputed claims of sexual violence. It cannot seriously be contended that it was either legally or ethically improper, or outside the legitimate scope of her engagement, to criticize and seek to change the rules of Stanford’s Title IX procedures that she contended (well within the realm of rational argumentation, whether you agree with her or not) were unfair to her clients. Period. So she was doing her job, just in a way that Stanford—who Ms. Riggins correctly and pointedly observed was not her client—disagreed with (and more to the point appears to have found embarrassing).
Doug’s Comment analogizes to attorneys who remain liable for defamation for statements outside official proceedings or for ethical violations for improper pretrial publicity. Both are bad analogies, as they depend on the attorney’s doing something legally or ethically prohibited. Ms. Riggins did neither.
John Steele takes a different tack, and points out that it’s hard to isolate a legal theory under which what Stanford did was either unlawful or unethical (in the sense of violating attorney disciplinary rules). I agree, and was careful in my post to emphasize all the legal norms Stanford most likely did not violate. The closest I could get to a legal wrong on Stanford’s part is a possible violation of Title IX (either in its procedural rules themselves or their application in particular cases), but I conceded that it's debatable.
I didn’t consider attorney disciplinary violations on Stanford’s part, mainly because I was focused on how proper and ethical Ms. Riggins’ conduct was. But that’s worth a moment’s consideration. Let’s start with the observation that the Stanford officer in charge of these policies (and who excluded Ms. Riggins from the referral list), is Senior Associate Vice Provost Lauren Schoenthaler, who formerly served in Stanford’s University Counsel’s office and is a licensed California attorney.
Bearing in mind that Stanford was never Ms. Riggins’ client, and only recommended her and obligated itself to pay for a certain number of hours of her services, one way to look at what Stanford did was to seek to define a limited scope of engagement for its referral counsel’s representation of aggrieved or accused students that does not include challenging or criticizing Stanford’s procedural rules, even if that would be in the represented student’s interest. Remember that the ethical rules cited in my original post require an attorney (here, Ms. Riggins) whose services are being paid for by someone other than the client (here, Stanford) to ensure that the attorney remains independent of the payor’s influence and loyal exclusively to the client. It could be argued that Ms. Schoenthaler, who bears the same ethical obligations that every lawyer in California does, sought to induce Ms. Riggins and other referral attorneys to violate their duties of loyalty to their student clients in violation of Cal. R. Prof. Cond 1-120 (see also Model Rule 8.4(a) to the same effect). The problem here (if you can call it that) is that the effort failed, and Ms. Riggins refused to compromise her loyalty to her clients.
It also could be argued that Ms. Schoenthaler caused Stanford to make or offer an agreement limiting a lawyer’s practice in violation of Cal. R. Prof. Cond. 1-500, specifically the agreement to recommend and help pay for client services so long as the panel lawyer does not in the course of those services criticize Stanford’s rules. (Model Rule 5.6(b) limits this prohibition to such agreements as part of settlements of “a client controversy,” but California’s Rule specifically disclaims that limitation.)
And it could be argued that Ms. Schoenthaler caused Stanford to improperly demand something of value in return for a referral, specifically a limitation on what panel lawyers would do for their clients, in violation of disciplinary and other rules limiting referral fees, capping and running. Again, this may seem a stretch, but the facts reported in the press can be seen to fit some of those prohibitions pretty literally.
I confess I have not done any detailed research to see how any of these disciplinary rules may have been applied in similar contexts, and I have my doubts about whether the State Bar of California would pursue any of them for any number of reasons. I also question whether they could be machined into some kind of civil claim if Ms. Riggins felt so inclined (though California’s broadly capacious Unfair Practices Act, Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200 et seq., is a candidate worth watching).
But ultimately none of this is the point.
The point I was trying to make, quaint though it may seem to an audience of lawyers, is that whether or not Stanford’s efforts to marginalize Ms. Riggins are enforceably unlawful or unethical, they are certainly unethical in the broader, moral sense: Stanford acted badly, and ought to be ashamed. On this, I think both Messrs. Richmond and Steele agree with me (John perhaps a little more strongly than Doug), and I’m glad for the company.
Speaking only for myself, I think that Stanford’s conduct especially deserves public condemnation (and voluntary reversal) for two reasons. One reason is that, in this context, Stanford’s interests as adjudicator may be colored if not tainted by other institutional interests. One such interest may be the desire to present itself to the public as a safe space free from sexual violence, making determinations of such violence an evil to be avoided as much as the actual assaults themselves. Another may be the desire to avoid criticism regarding both student conduct and the processes by which it is judged that could lead to serious sanction from the Department of Education.
The other reason that Stanford deserves condemnation is the one I emphasized in my original post: Stanford is not an ordinary commercial actor whose conduct ought to be judged merely by the morals of the marketplace. As a great university, it is infused with a public interest to act in exemplary fashion, to show the world how to Do Right under difficult and ambiguous circumstances. The failure to live up to that duty may not create a cause of action, but it ought to create a cause for remorse.
I find myself reluctantly gesturing toward one of the third rails of public discourse—sexual assault. Substantively, of course, there is very little disagreement: No one speaks out in favor of sexual assault. (Jokes about whether the President is an exception can be made in another forum.) But in the lawyer’s wheelhouse of procedure—especially procedure that influences outcome (which, let’s face it, is just a wordier name for procedure)—there are deeply held and pointedly variant views.
One such issue came to a head recently. Stanford University did something that, at least based on what I can glean from the mainstream media, seems incomprehensibly ill-considered. I’m hoping there’s something the New York Times isn’t reporting that explains things more fully. (Full disclosure: I attended Stanford Law School in the early 1980s. I loved my time there, and remain immeasurably grateful for the outstanding education I was privileged to enjoy. So far as I know, the events related here don’t involve the Law School, its faculty, or its administration. The University, however, ought to know better.)
A quick primer: Because the formality and procedural complexity of the criminal justice system in this country is largely fixed, a certain amount of debate in recent years concerning how to address sexual violence has focused on an alternative remedial system in force in places where a substantial amount of sexual violence occurs—Title IX. Title IX is part of the Education Amendments of 1972 to the Civil Rights Act, and prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex” at any educational institution that receives federal funds. 20 U.S.C. § 1681. Among other things, this means that Title IX applies to any college or university that receives any federal money for any purpose, and that’s most of them. And though administrative enforcement of Title IX was for many years sparse at best, beginning in 2011 with what is widely known because of its charmingly informal salutation as the “Dear Colleague” Letter, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) in the Obama Department of Education took a series of strong positions that sexual harassment or sexual violence that affects a student’s education—including individualized student-on-student conduct—is discrimination on the basis of sex that violates Title IX. The OCR further opined that any federally assisted educational institution has an obligation both to try to prevent such conduct and to remediate it if it happens, on pain of losing the federal funding that has become integral to most of their budgets. (It remains to be seen how this policy will fare under Donald Trump’s and Betsy DeVos’s stewardship.)
The “Dear Colleague” Letter suggested a range of strategies to discourage, determine and remedy violations, but left the details up to the educational institutions. Very few had devoted anything close to the levels of attention and resources the OCR seemed to expect, and it soon called out a substantial list of colleges and universities, including many elite ones, that it considered out of compliance. What followed was a national scramble to develop policies and practices consistent with notice and enforcement standards that were in many important respects explicitly and deliberately vague. (More disclosure: While I was on the faculty at the University of North Carolina, I served on University committees charged with Title IX compliance and enforcement issues, and as a Title IX hearing officer in disputes concerning sexual harassment and assault. I have real admiration for UNC’s efforts to meet regulatory standards, and heaven knows we took our duties seriously when we served as hearing officers. But no, I can’t and won’t discuss any of that.)
Stanford has been one of the universities subject to OCR’s Title IX scrutiny, and there are differences of opinion over how effective its efforts to discourage and remedy sexual violence have been. Stanford has chosen to put unresolved disputes over whether a student-on-student violation occurred to a three-person hearing panel, with a finding of a violation requiring the unanimous concurrence of all three panelists. Convening a hearing panel to resolve disputed facts is not unusual, but requiring a unanimous finding of a violation is. To make the process more accessible to the students invoking the hearing process, Stanford also took the unusual step of providing them a choice from a list of knowledgeable local lawyers, apparently at the University’s expense for the first nine hours of service, and at a reduced rate of $200 per hour paid by the student after that. (Students were also free to choose their own counsel at their own expense.)
Crystal Riggins was one of the “Stanford-sponsored Title IX attorneys” on Stanford’s referral list, and represented exclusively students seeking recognition and remedy of sexual wrongs. By all reports, Ms. Riggins is an able and experienced lawyer who served the students who chose her with zeal and fidelity. Stanford nevertheless recently removed her from its referral list because it found her lacking in loyalty—to Stanford.
Those of you steeped in the lawyer’s duty of loyalty to her client should just have snapped to attention. Surely you can’t mean what you just said, Bernie. But at least according to the Times, that seems to be what happened. Ms. Riggins considered some aspects of Stanford’s hearing process unfair to her clients, particularly its unusual requirement of panel unanimity to find a violation. This is hardly a fringe position (not that it should have mattered if it were). She criticized the policy publicly in the New York Times. (See here and here.)
Retribution was swift. Lauren Schoenthaler, Stanford’s Senior Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Access, promptly wrote Ms. Riggins that her comments were “disappointing” and indicated “a lack of faith in Stanford’s Title IX Process.” “Given your stated lack of confidence,” Ms. Schoenthaler continued, “it does not make sense for the university to continue to refer our students to you.” So much for Institutional Equity and Access, I guess.
Crystal Riggins’ response was precisely the one the Rules of Professional Conduct demanded of her: “As a zealous advocate, my only duty is to the student-parties that I represent.” Damn right. See ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 5.4(c) (“A lawyer shall not permit a person who recommends, employs, or pays the lawyer to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the lawyer's professional judgment in rendering such legal services”). The ethics rule in California (Cal. R. Prof. Cond. 3-310(F)) is differently worded, but to similar effect.
Let me start by making clear some things that are not wrong with Stanford’s actions. This is not a First Amendment issue: Stanford is a private university. This is not an employment wrong: Ms. Riggins is not Stanford’s employee. This doesn’t really meet the requirements of any of the interference torts. Is it a violation of Title IX? That’s debatable, but given the change in administration it’s a debate that may never occur, at least not in any formally enforceable context. I don’t know, of course, but I find myself forced to wonder whether Ms. Riggins would still be on Stanford’s referral list had the recent election come out the other way, so that no change in Education Department policy might have been expected.
The point here is not whether you agree or disagree with Crystal Riggins’ criticisms of Stanford’s Title IX dispute-resolution system. The point is that Stanford made Ms. Riggins’ services more expensive and less accessible to the students participating in that dispute-resolution system precisely because she criticized the system’s procedural rules, and advocated what she viewed as improvements. She was punished for doing her job. Imagine the outcry if a governor had fired a public defender for publicly advocating what she considered fairer rules of criminal procedure than the ones that state had in effect. Yes, there’s a difference because the defender is a public employee (and required to be part of the criminal justice system by the Sixth Amendment), but don’t dodge the larger point.
The Preamble to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct begins: “A lawyer, as a member of the legal profession, is . . . a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.” It later elaborates: “As a public citizen, a lawyer should seek improvement of the law, access to the legal system, the administration of justice and the quality of service rendered by the legal profession.” I learned that at Stanford. Stanford seems to have forgotten it.
Perhaps naively, I have always felt that Stanford distinguished itself as one of the truly great modern universities that, while private, fully embraced its public moral duty to lead by open and fearless inquiry into whether its own governance of its awesome intellectual and financial resources exemplified the Right Way to Do Things. But compare Stanford’s reaction here with the recent report of Yale’s “Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming” University facilities, some of which bear the names of slavery apologists and white supremacists. Yale’s report was unstintingly open-minded in its confrontation of the difficult questions presented, and courageously self-critical on issues that are every bit as fraught, divisive and publicly contested as these. Stanford’s gesture is by contrast censorious, closed-minded, mean-spirited, fearful, and small. Shame.
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.