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Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Georgetown Refused to Hire 62-Year Faculty Candidate Due to Lack of Scholarship, Unwillingness to Teach Tax

Spaeth Following up on my prior posts (links below):  Blog of the Legal Times, Georgetown Law Fights Age Discrimination Lawsuit:

In considering candidates for tenure-track jobs in 2010, Georgetown University Law Center said in a court filing today that it passed on former North Dakota Attorney General Nicholas Spaeth's application because of his lack of scholarship, and not because of his age.

Spaeth sued Georgetown and several other law schools after he failed to get an interview that year through the AALS faculty recruitment conference, accusing them of age discrimination. Today, Georgetown filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it had legitimate and non-discriminatory reasons for rejecting Spaeth. ...

Spaeth's attorney, Lynn Bernabei of Washington's Bernabei & Wachtel, said that they had uncovered evidence that Georgetown was taking age into consideration in hiring. On the question of scholarship, she said Spaeth had written articles and that Georgetown never articulated that a primary criterion was how many articles a candidate had published in a law review. "I think it a little disingenuous at this point to say the primary criteria is scholarship where that's written nowhere," she said. ...

[T]he school noted that during the 2010-2011 hiring cycle, they interviewed three candidates over the age of 40. Georgetown also pointed out that Spaeth didn't indicate an interest in teaching tax law on his application, an area where the school was hoping to hire that year; two of the three candidates who were hired during that cycle were tax law specialists, according to the school.

Spaeth sued five other schools, but after they were transferred to their home jurisdictions he dismissed most of the claims. He is still pursuing the Georgetown case in Washington federal court and a lawsuit against the University of Missouri School of Law in state court.

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Law schools are going to have a hard time explaining how enrollments are down yet they consider practice experience to be virtually irrelevant.

Posted by: michael livingston | Feb 3, 2013 3:43:40 AM

First, practical experience is not irrelevant to faculty hiring at top-100 law schools. To the contrary, it is generally considered a disqualifying factor. Second, virtually everyone and every institution both in and outside of the legal academy discriminates on the basis of age, notsithstanding the ADEA. Third, if Mr. Spaeth did not know that "how many law review articles a candidate has published in a law review" is the primary and overriding consideration in faculty hiring at ALL law schools in the U.S., then without more he is unqualified for the simple reason that he is clueless.

Posted by: Old Georgetown Alum | Feb 4, 2013 7:30:16 AM