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February 18, 2009


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As I'm sure you know, Dan, there almost was a Princeton Law; NYU was thinking of selling its law school to Princeton in the '70's due to fiscal crisis. I wonder if we'll see anything like that happen again (not to NYU, presumably, but to other schools)?


David Hollander's article on interdisciplinary legal research at Princeton discusses some of the persistent rumors that Princeton might buy a law school. But why would they do that? I understand why some schools would buy an already running law school (particularly a free-standing law school). But wouldn't Princeton--or Brown--be better served by starting their own?


I'd tend to think Princeton or Brown or any very good school would be better off starting a law school than buying one. (I guess if you could buy NYU that might be different, but that's not going to happen now.) The cases I've known of of schools buying a law school include Quinnipiac and, I believe, Michigan State. (Maybe Penn State, too?) In these cases the law schools have been decent enough, but one wonders if it's not better to start from scratch. Supposedly SUNY Stonybrook has been (or maybe is) considering buying Turo law school, but even considering that Stonybrook is no Princeton or Brown (find school though it is), would they not be better building the faculty they wanted, not having to deal with a large number of tenured faculty members that they didn't want and probably wouldn't have hired if they had the choice, and a school not connected to the university, making it hard to take advantage of synergies with other departments and programs? It seems to me that in most cases the U.C. Irvine (and at a more modest level the Drexel) approach is clearly preferable to the "buy a school" approach.

Truth Be Told

If you think that Dartmouth would hire Eugene Volokh from UCLA, you must be reading the Dartmouth Review.

Today's College would sooner hire Robert Reich or Barbara Ehrenreich that it would a serious scholar who hangs around with, gasp!, conservatives.

For proof, watch who gets hired as the next President in a few weeks.


I agree with Matt--that Princeton or Brown--would start a school from scratch. But I wonder what it means to buy a school?

Do you have to take all the tenured faculty? Why--because the ABA demands it? I wouldn't expect that the selling school would necessarily require that--especially if the buying school said it would pay less if it had to assume all the faculty. The buying school might want all the faculty, but I wouldn't bank on that given the world we now live in.

I'm not quite sure what the acquisition agreement would provide--but it's not at all clear to me that the new school would be bound to take all the faculty. Take the case of Touro Matt writes about; I've only heard some vague rumors of sale to Stony Brook. But I would think the purchase would include only what Stony Brook wants (and needs)--buildings, library, name. Not quite sure what the ABA would have to say about this, but I'd think Stony Brook might take only the faculty it wanted.


Hi Al- I'm not sure how it works for buying the schools. When I'd spoken w/ someone who has been at Quinnipiac since it was independent, I got them impression that the faculty voted on whether to accept the sale, but I might not have understood properly. I seem to recall something similar about when Michigan State (formerly Detroit Law School or something like that, I think)became "associated" with Michigan State University. (Their exact relation is unclear to me, even after reading their wikipedia page.) But, if you're right that, say, Stony Brook could just buy the contents of the law library, buildings it wanted, and keep any faculty it wanted, that would be more reasonable.


Ever since my alma mater, Johns Hopkins, appointed former University of Toronto law school dean Ronald Daniels as the University's new President, I've been idly wondering if they would start or acquire a law school.

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