There is great news coming from our neighbors at Penn Law. The University of Pennsylvania has named Professor Theodore Ruger, the current Deputy Dean of the law school, as its new permanent dean. He will take over from Wendell Pritchett, the Interim Dean, July 1. Ted is a graduate of Harvard Law.
Congrats to Ted and the law school on an excellent selection.
The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law is beginning a search for a new Dean. The new Dean would succeed Matthew Diller, who has served with distinction for nearly six years, and who will be stepping down this summer. The law school will post a formal search announcement in the near future. In the meantime, immediate nominations, inquiries, and expressions of interest are welcome and encouraged. Please send them to the Cardozo School of Law Dean Search Committee via Kathleen Horton, Director of the Cardozo Dean's Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe nominated Duquene Law Dean Ken Gormley to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today. He was nominated to serve the remainder of one of two current vacant slots on the Court - until new justices are elected this fall. Gormley has agreed not to run in that election and will, presumably, return to Duquesne. This will be a nice addition to Gormley's "service" report to the school's provost next year.
University of Dayton Law Dean Paul McGreal has been named the new dean of Creighton's law school. He will take over in July. McGeal became dean of Dayton in 2011. He holds a JD from SMU and an LLM from Yale. He previously served on the faculty of Southern Illinois Law.
Acting Dean Alicia Ouellette, of Albany Law School, has been named permanently to the position. She will also become the free-standing school's president beginning July 1, when former dean Penelope Andrews leaves that position. Ouelette holds a JD from the law school.
Mark Gordon, the president of Defiance College, in Defiance, Ohio, has been named the new dean of William Mitchell College of Law. He was previously the dean of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Gordon, who holds a JD from Harvard Law School, will take over in July.
University of Hawaii professor Danielle Conway has just been named Dean of the University of Maine's law school. Cribbing now from the university's announcement:
Conway is the Michael J. Marks Distinguished Professor of Business Law and Director of the Hawai‘i Procurement Institute at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law. Over the past 14 years at Hawai’i, Conway has earned a reputation as a leading expert in public procurement law, entrepreneurship, and as an advocate for minorities and Indigenous Peoples. She also has more than 20 years of active and reserve duty service with the U.S. Army, and currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Lincoln Memorial University, which recently received provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association, has extended its invitation for nominations and applications for the position of Vice President and Dean of Duncan School of Law, located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Dean is the chief academic officer and administrative head of the Law School and will be responsible for growth and development of academic programs, positive leadership of faculty, and effective operations of all aspects within the Law School. The Dean coordinates the work of the Law School and communicates such work to the President and to the University at large and communicates the plans and decisions of the administration to the Law School and University faculty, staff and students. Required qualifications include: an earned J.D. or equivalent and at least 10 years experience in teaching, law school administration, or legal professional eadership; a distinguished professional record and intellectual leadership; good interpersonal and communication skills; a demonstrated record or a demonstrated ability to be successful in major fundraising activities; a demonstrated commitment to building an organization that values and practices diversity, affirmative action, and equal opportunity; and the ability to provide innovative leadership and vision, management skill and insight, and an adroit ability to manage relationships across a spectrum of institutions and intellectual disciplines. The Law School’s home is the historic Old City Hall building in the heart of revitalized downtown Knoxville, 55 miles south of LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee. Knoxville offers incredible cultural and outdoor opportunities for a city its size and is a wonderful place to live and work. The Law School shares LMU’s mission, which is to provide educational opportunities to the people of the Appalachian region that they can use to serve their communities. The Law School graduated its first class in May 2013, and 91 percent of its graduates who have sat for the Tennessee bar exam have passed it. Applications must be submitted and completed by March 15, 2015. Nominations and inquiries may be sent to Tommy Sangchompuphen, Associate Professor of Law and Chair, Dean Search Committee, at email@example.com. Applications may be sent to Prof. Sangchompuphen c/o Pamela Lester, LMU Office of Human Resources, 6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway, Harrogate, TN 37752. Electronic submissions are encouraged and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. LMU’s hiring policies are in accordance with EEOC regulations and policies. LMU is committed to diversity and is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. For more information about the Law School, see www.lmunet.edu/law.
The mission of UF Law is to achieve excellence in educating professionals, advancing legal scholarship, serving the public, and fostering justice. UF Law has a longstanding tradition of producing national leaders and is one of the nation’s best values in legal education.
UF Law has outstanding faculty, students, and alumni. It currently has 54 tenure/tenure-track faculty, and 24 legal skills faculty. The faculty is highly productive with respect to research and scholarship, and is committed to high level of teaching and service. The law faculty has embraced and engaged in a multi-year process of strategic planning. It is invested in that ongoing process. UF Law has a total student body of approximately 1,000 students. The 2014 median LSAT/GPA were 158/3.50, and the July 2014 bar passage was 90.6%, the highest bar pass rate among law schools in the state. UF Law has approximately 21,000 loyal alums. The generosity of its loyal alumni and friends, including college namesake Fredric G. Levin, a prominent trial lawyer, makes the college one of the nation’s best endowed public law schools.
U.S. News & World Report ranks UF Law 49th overall and 24th among public law schools. UF Law has a Tax Law program that ranks 2nd overall and an Environmental Law program that ranks 14th overall. UF Law continues to be highly rated in terms of reputation: 16th among publics and 38th overall in the assessment of practicing lawyers and judges; and 14th among publics and 35th overall in the assessment of academics. In addition to the J.D., the college offers four LL.M. programs (Taxation, International Taxation, Environmental and Land Use Law, and Comparative Law), and it has one of the country’s few programs awarding S.J.D.’s in Taxation.
A major competitive advantage of UF Law is that it is one of the nation’s best values in legal education. UF Law is third most affordable among the nation’s top 50 law schools based on American Bar Association data for tuition and fees plus annual expenses. The in-state and out-of-state tuitions are $22,230 and $38,835. These tuition levels make UF Law a desirable school for law applicants.
Read the rest of the brochure and the nomination process here.
Professor Andrew Guzman of UC Berkeley Law has been named the new dean of the University of Southern California law school, effective this summer. Guzman is currently also the Associate Dean of International and Executive Education at Berkeley. He holds his JD and Ph.D in Economics from Harvard, and joined the UC faculty in 1998.
I feel certain that, if Dan Markel were still with us, he'd note that Dean Guzman received his degree in Canada, from the University of Toronto.
Cardozo Law Dean, and former Fordham Law Professor, Matthew Diller is moving back uptown. He will become the new dean of Fordham Law and will take over this summer. Diller, who holds a JD from Harvard, left Fordham in 2009 to lead Cardozo. He joined Fordham in 1993.
Last week, I challenged Jay Conison to provide some data to substantiate his claims that a.) Charlotte School of Law/InfiLaw has some magic formula for identifying students with very low LSATs and poor grades who nevertheless have a reasonable aptitude for the study of law, and, b.) that Charlotte School of Law/InfiLaw has better educational outcomes than other peer law schools with similarly qualified students.
One of the commenters to my post, posting under the name Barry, offered this comment:
“I think that we'll wait a loooong time before he tries to answer this (a much shorter time for him to attempt to BS his way out of this, of course).”
Today, Jay Conison proved Barry right with an incredible post entitled “Black Boxes and Halos.”
Dean Conison really loves this black box metaphor. Last week, he said that “Mr. Frakt’s view rests on model of a law school as just a black box, into which one inputs LSAT scores and outputs bar passage.” After I rebutted this assertion by explaining that my views are much more nuanced, he is now accusing all those who think that entrance credentials of admitted students, attrition rates, bar passage data, employment outcomes, or any other statistical measurement of “inputs or outputs,” have some bearing on the quality of a law school of engaging in over-simplified “black box thinking.”
In this post, Dean Conison once again suggests that Charlotte’s entering class profile (with the lowest LSAT scores of any ABA-accredited school in history) are not “good measures of something important” and “do not necessarily have an unambiguous meaning.” He implies that Charlotte’s low numbers relate to “incoming student diversity” and suggests that LSATs and grades have different predictive values at different schools, implying without stating that Charlotte gets better results from its students with low predictors than other schools. Once again, no data is provided. He also makes an irrelevant reference to the fact that students can take LSAT prep courses and raise their scores, and that we don’t know if this means that the student who achieves a higher score after taking a prep course will actually be a better law student. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Charlotte, like many schools, from counting only the highest LSAT score of an applicant.
Dean Conison also discounts the importance of bar passage and job placement data, which I suppose makes sense when your school is performing so poorly by both measures. He informs us that our black box thinking is causing us to miss “most of what law school is about.” According to Dean Conison, “[l]aw school is all about educating students and transforming them into professionals” which is apparently different in his mind from educating students so they can pass the bar exam and enter the legal profession, preferably with a job.
Dean Conison is right about one thing; he notes that “[a]s lawyers and educators, we are trained to ask questions.” Well, I am a lawyer and educator, and I asked Dean Conison several questions; not surprisingly, he has failed to even attempt to answer any of them. Instead he trots out tired platitudes such as “there are few simple answers to hard questions.” That may be true, but the questions that I asked aren’t hard to answer, it’s just that the answers will be hard to explain away, so Dean Conison has decided that obfuscation and double-speak are the better course of action. In the end, Dean Conison is guilty of precisely what he accuses his critics of: “wishing away so much of what we very much need to know.” Judging from the comments to his post, he is not fooling anyone.
Dean Conison’s black box analogy brings to mind another kind of black box -- the flight data recorders that are recovered after an aircraft accident. When Charlotte School of Law and its sister schools finally crash and burn, and InfiLaw is forced to reveal its internal data in response to the subsequent class action lawsuit, what will the data inside the black box say about the cause of InfiLaw’s downfall? Based on Dean Conison’s posts on The Faculty Lounge, one factor that will be difficult to rule out is “pilot error.”
The University of Tulsa has just named Lyn Entzeroth the new dean of their law school. Cribbing now from the University of Tulsa's press release
Known internationally for her expertise on capital punishment, Entzeroth has been a TU Law faculty member since 2002. She currently serves as associate dean for academic affairs, a post she has held since 2012. Before that, she was associate dean for faculty development from 2007 to 2009.
"I am deeply honored to be part of The University of Tulsa and the College of Law. I have been privileged to work with outstanding students, wonderful colleagues and a tremendous university community," Entzeroth said. "I look forward to serving as dean and continuing the College of Law's trajectory of providing an excellent program of legal education."
I had the pleasure of being back in Tulsa for the first time in about a decade last month; the city looks fabulous. I was so happy to see how much development there's been, including in my old stomping grounds of Greenwood. And the University, too, is riding a wave of optimism and building. These are exciting times in Tulsa and at the University. Congratulations to Dean Entzeroth and the University of Tulsa!
I commend Dean Jay Conison of Charlotte School of Law for coming on to The Faculty Lounge and trying to defend the recent admission practices of Charlotte and his sister InfiLaw schools. I appreciate that he is willing to engage, at least indirectly, in this important debate with me. As an experienced criminal defense attorney (I’m currently back on active duty with the Air Force defending a capital murder case), I know very well what it is like to defend a position when the overwhelming weight of evidence is against you, so I don’t envy Dean Conison’s position. Well, come to think of it, maybe I do envy his position. Wasn’t I just trying to become Dean at Florida Coastal? But I digress. . .
In this post, I will respond to several of the points raised by Dean Conison and raise some questions that I hope he will consider answering in a follow-up post.
First, I didn’t assert that “no one with an LSAT below 145 has more than a trifling chance of passing a bar examination” nor did I say that “law schools should admit any student with an LSAT below 145.” (You should read the comments, not just the main post, Dean Conison. The comments are where the real action is on TFL) What I have said is that students below 145 should not be admitted unless they have a strong undergraduate record or other substantial indicators of success, and they prove themselves capable of law school level work through a rigorous admission by performance program. I have expressed doubt that anyone who scores below a 142 (18th percentile) possesses the analytical reasoning skills (and test-taking ability) to succeed in law school and pass the bar, but I’m sure there are rare exceptions.
Second, I don’t claim to be an “expert on legal education and in particular the relationship between LSAT and educational outcomes” and I certainly don’t have the extensive background in legal educations Dean Conison does, but I do know there is a strong, albeit imperfect, correlation between LSAT scores and success in law school and on the bar. If 25-30% of first time bar takers are going to fail the bar, a standardized exam, it stands to reason that many of those who fail are going to be those who aren’t very good at taking standardized exams, like the LSAT. It also stands to reason that if a substantial majority of a school’s students are from the bottom 25-30% of LSAT takers, then many of them, even if they do make it through law school, are going to fail the bar, where they must compete with recent graduates from other schools from the top 70-75% of LSAT takers. It also stands to reason that if a school is experiencing a downward trend in bar passage and struggling to meet the ABA standards for bar passage that the school should not substantially lower their admissions standards.