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Site Suggestions and Announcements / delete my account
« on: April 18, 2007, 12:31:49 PM »
unable to delete account, please delete my account or fix the problem.

Choosing the Right Law School / Leiter on Michigan - Interesting
« on: March 05, 2007, 09:21:01 AM »
Faculty Turnover at Michigan Law
An earlier posting on Northwestern Law's faculty retention problems led a Michigan law student to ask me to elaborate on a parenthetical remark from that posting as follows: "(Michigan has given Northwestern a run for the money on senior faculty losses, but has fared better, I think, in new recruitment--a subject for a different day.)" That student recently reminded me of my promise to post on that subject, which I turn to, finally, here.

Let me add, for the benefit of prospective law student readers, that what follows will have little relevance for most students: Michigan's reputation among practitioners and judges and its national placement clout has been little affected by any of the faculty turnover issues. Those for whom issues of faculty quality most matter are those who are thinking of law school like graduate school in a Ph.D. discipline, i.e., as an educational and intellectual experience such that the scholarly caliber of the faculty will very much matter.

When I enrolled at the University of Michigan Law School in the fall of 1984, Michigan could still, quite credibly, claim to be one of the top five law faculties in the United States. The faculty ranks included, for example, the leading figure in international private law (John Jackson); the leading figures in criminal procedure (Jerold Israel and Yale Kamisar); the leading figure in the then vibrant law-and-literature movement (James Boyd White); the leading authority on the Uniform Commercial Code (James J. White); the leading senior figure in environmental law (Joseph Sax); one of the two or three leading free speech scholars (Frederick Schauer); a leading figure in environmental law, whose innovative property textbook dominates the national market (James Krier); and so on. J.B. White had recently been stolen away from the University of Chicago Law School, and a few years later Michigan would again raid Chicago for the distinguished legal historian and comparative law expert A.W.B. Simpson.

During the 1990s, something happened to Michigan's relative market position: Michigan no longer raided Chicago, and instead saw itself being raided by Georgetown and NYU--schools that a generation ago never would have been competitive with Michigan on the market for faculty--and ever more frequently by Columbia, long a rival, and now distinctly ahead in the competition for the top faculty. Israel, Kamisar, and Jackson are now retired (each moved to teaching posts at new schools: Florida, San Diego, and Georgetown, respectively); Simpson is in his 70s and half-time; Schauer left for Harvard's Kennedy School, Sax for Berkeley; J.J. White is also nearing retirement. During the 1990s, Georgetown picked off Alexander Aleinikoff (immigration law, constitutional law), Jackson, and Avery Katz (law and economics) (who has since moved to Columbia); NYU stole Deborah Malamud (labor law) and Richard Pildes (constitutional law, voting rights); Columbia hired Jose Alvaerz (international law), Debra Livingston (criminal law/procedure), Michael Heller (property), and Merritt Fox (corporate law). Other faculty moved to Harvard (Joseph Weiler in European Union and comparative law, now at NYU), Texas (Ronald Mann in commercial law and intellectual property), and Vanderbilt (Kent Syverud in insurance law and legal ethics; he became Dean at Vanderbilt).

What happened is very hard to say. Some of it surely has to do with the difficulties of recruiting two-career couples to Ann Arbor, a town of modest size, whose nearest metroplitan area is Detroit. More of it, I suspect, simply has to do with the competition (e.g., NYU, Georgetown) getting stronger. My colleague Larry Sager (who, himself, played a major role in NYU's rise to prominence, before moving to Texas a few years ago) has observed, plausibly in my view, that while Michigan was one of the first top schools to make the "interdisciplinary turn" in legal education, it failed to keep pace as other schools moved in that direction during the 1980s and 1990s (this was most apparent in law-and-economics, but not only there--only in work at the intersection of law and the other social sciences did Michigan retain a dominant position).

One factor I'm sure this change in Michigan's relative market position has nothing to do with is money. Michigan has lots of it; it has operated as a de facto private law school (in funding sources, not to mention tuition charged) for a good while now. (One of their recent lateral hires was of my colleague Steven Ratner, a leading international law scholar; when I heard how much money Michigan spends on international law [conferences, internships, etc.] each year, I have to say I couldn't begrudge Ratner for taking the offer!)

Michigan made relatively few lateral appointments during this time period when its senior talent was being picked off or retiring. Instead of hiring established or up-and-coming scholars, Michigan pursued the strategy of hiring promising new assistant professors. This is always a risky strategy, since promise is one thing, realization of promise another. Yet for a period of time in the 1990s, Michigan was on a winning streak, recruiting many of the top young faculty candidates on the market--folks like Steven Croley (torts, administrative law), Roderick Hills (constitutional law), and Kyle Logue (tax)--young scholars that many other top schools were eager to hire.

Unfortunately, some of those so recruited have already decamped to elsewhere (e.g., Heller and Mann). And while some recent assistant professor hires have been outstanding (John Pottow in commercial law comes to mind), overall Michigan hasn't recruited quite as many of the top junior prospects as it had earlier in the 1990s.

Where does this leave my alma mater? Michigan may not, by anyone's estimation any longer, be one of the top five law faculties, but it is still clearly in the top ranks. Leading figures in several fields--for example, law and sociology (Richard Lempert) and law and psychology (Phoebe Ellsworth)--still grace the faculty, though Michigan no longer boasts as many clear leaders in as many fields as a generation ago. The results of last year's reputational survey of 150+ leading legal scholars are not implausible on this count: Michigan now competes in a cluster with Berkeley, Virginia, Penn, and Texas, whereas a generation ago it would have competed in the cluster with Columbia, Stanford, and Chicago. (NYU, of course, is now in this latter cluster as well.) The combination of Ann Arbor and new, credible competition from schools in bigger cities like New York and Washington, D.C. (not to mention Austin!) makes it unlikely that Michigan will recoup its dominant position in legal academia of the 1960s and 1970s. The combination of substantial resources, strong existing faculty, and involvement with a first-rate research university (one clearly better than NYU, Texas, and Penn, not to mention Virginia and Georgetown) makes it equally likely that Michigan will remain in the top ranks for any future one can foresee.

Incoming 1Ls / T14 options working 55-60 hours a week?
« on: February 20, 2007, 10:28:51 AM »

Biglaw billing requirements and hours worked sound pretty terrible to me.  Coming from a T14, will there be options for firms asking for 55-60 hours worked (35-40hr billed) a week?  Do they also recruit like Biglaw?  What kind of salary range would this be? 

I think the Penn people could help out here, they seem to know the firm stuff.  I'm looking to make over 100k, but have a fairly balanced life.  Is this possible?


Choosing the Right Law School / Ann Arbor Summer Sublets?
« on: February 15, 2007, 04:06:31 PM »

I'm wondering what I should expect to pay for a summer sublet (per month) as a UM summer starter.  (Sorry if this has been covered thoroughly in other boards)

Option 1: Within 5 minutes of Law Quad, basic one bedroom, one bath, one "living space" apartment

Option 2: Around 10 minutes from LQ, same quality

Option 3: 15 minutes away from LQ/boarderline must drive car to class, same quality.

Thanks for the help!

Incoming 1Ls / Clerkships - Which is more prestigious?
« on: January 12, 2007, 01:35:10 PM »
I know very little about clerkships, my question is whether clerking for a State Supreme Court or a random Federal District Court is more prestigious.  Thanks!

General Off-Topic Board / A.I. is going to DENVER
« on: December 19, 2006, 01:08:17 PM »
Sixers, Nuggets reach agreement for IversonBy Marc Stein and Chris Sheridan

The Denver Nuggets have reached an agreement in principle with the Philadelphia 76ers to acquire Allen Iverson, according to NBA front-office sources.

The trade, pending league approval, some two weeks after Iverson demanded a trade in Philly, would send Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two 2007 first-round picks to the Sixers for Iverson and perhaps another minimum-salaried player or two. It was expected to be completed later Tuesday barring any snags.

The Sixers had been hoping to take back only expiring contracts in any Iverson deal, unless they were receiving a top-flight young player like Minnesota's Randy Foye or Shaun Livingston of the Los Angeles Clippers.

But with Philly and Denver struggling to find a third team to join in to make the deal more financially enticing for the Sixers, they decided to end an auction that began in earnest when Iverson's demand to be traded was confirmed by Sixers chairman Ed Snider on Dec. 8.

This deal will bring Philly a former league assist leader in Miller, Smith's expiring salary of nearly $7 million and those two first-round picks in June -- projected to be in the 20s -- to go with their own lottery pick. Miller is averaging 13 points and 9.1 assists per game -- third-best in the NBA -- while Smith, an 11-year veteran, has played little this season, averaging only 13.5 minutes and 5.1 points per game.

The Nuggets' interest in Iverson dates to last February and has only increased since the Sixers made him available to the whole league earlier this month. Their chief motivation is pairing Iverson with Anthony in coach George Karl's up-tempo attack, but acquiring Iverson now -- just a day after Anthony and J.R. Smith were suspended for 15 and 10 games, respectively, for their roles in Saturday night's fight with the New York Knicks -- gives a much-needed jolt to Denver's depleted roster.

The former teammates from the 2004 U.S. Olympic squad won't be able to play together until Anthony is reinstated for a Jan. 20 game at Houston.

Miller, who led the NBA in assists with 10.9 per game for Cleveland in 2001-02, makes $8.7 million this season and has $19.2 million left on his contract over the following two seasons.

It's apparent, though, that the Sixers decided it was better to absorb Miller's contract now -- along with the opportunity to have three first-round selections in what scouts are calling the deepest draft in years -- as opposed to dragging out the Iverson saga further.

Iverson has been in exile for the past 11 days, languishing on the Sixers' inactive list while still accruing his per-game earnings of $156,218.

Iverson, 31, is averaging 31.2 points per game -- second only to Carmelo Anthony's 31.6 ppg -- in 15 games this season. He has a career 28.1 ppg scoring average in 11 NBA seasons, all in Philadelphia. He led the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games, but the team has seen little playoff success since.

He was Rookie of the year in 1997 and MVP in 2001. He has led the NBA in scoring four times, most recently in 2005, finishing in the league's top three every year since 1999, and twice led the league in steals.

Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.


Choosing the Right Law School / Where should I NOT go next fall?
« on: December 10, 2006, 09:24:08 AM »
List places I should not go to next fall.

i.e. "To a racially insensitive halloween party in Austin"

Choosing the Right Law School / Taking UMich over Columbia???
« on: December 06, 2006, 08:35:54 PM »
Is it crazy to pick UMich with a small scholarship over Columbia with no scholarship?  I know Columbia is ranked higher, but i do not want to practice in NYC, and I am worried about cost of living.  Will it make a significant difference under the following circumstances??

1. Academia is a goal
2. Biglaw is a goal
3. Government is a goal
4. The midwest is a geographic priority


Law School Admissions / Worst PS Titles?
« on: December 01, 2006, 12:50:10 PM »
This post is intended as a repository for one-liners.

Q: What is your idea of the worst PS title?

Choosing the Right Law School / It's Official, Duke has the worst Alums!
« on: November 28, 2006, 08:34:07 PM »

The bracket below comes from this post:,76329.0.html

The very final vote, winner takes all.  Final four: Yale, UMich, NWestern, Duke (probably the only final four Duke will reach this year)

NCAA Bracket History
Skull and Bones Region:
1. Yale
8. Penn           1. Yale               1. Yale
4. Chicago        4. Chicago
5. Boalt

3. Houston
6. Michigan       6. Michigan           6. Michigan
2. Georgetown     2. Georgetown     
7. Stanford

Barack Obama Region:
1. Harvard
8. NYU            1. Harvard
4. Nwestern       4. Northwestern       4. Northwestern
5. Columbia

3. Brooklyn
6. Virginia       3. Brooklyn           2. Duke
2. Duke           2. Duke
7. Cornell

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