Following up on yesterday's post, More Law Prof Debate On Ideological Discrimination In Faculty Hiring At Chicago-Kent, Other Law Schools:
Jim Lindgren (Chicago-Kent, 1990-96; Northwestern, 1996-present):
So things at Chicago-Kent are even worse than I suspected.
In a prior posting, I noted that Chicago-Kent in the years ending in 1990 hired on both sides of the political spectrum (a period essentially bracketed by the hiring of Randy Barnett and myself). Asked to name how many Chicago-Kent faculty appointed after I was hired in 1990 who voted for Republicans in any of the last three elections, Ralph Brill names “Dale, Fred, Fred, Phil, Gerry, and, perhaps on some issues, Jeff.”
If I am guessing correctly about the names that Ralph is referring to, he is not able to suggest a single hire after 1990 still on the Chicago-Kent faculty who probably voted Republican. That is an appalling lack of intellectual diversity. Regarding the professor named “Jeff,” if I am identifying him correctly, I discussed politics with Jeff when we were co-chairs of appointments: he was—and presumably is—an open-minded and non-orthodox Democrat who would be very unlikely to have voted Republican for president. Dale, Phil, Gerry, and the first Fred listed by Ralph were hired before I joined the faculty (or concurrently with my hiring), and thus support my account of a lost era of open-mindedness in faculty hiring at Chicago-Kent that ended in 1990. Gerry (if I’ve got the right Gerry) was hired in 1990 (the same year as I was) and is listed on Chicago-Kent’s website as a senior instructor (and administrator), not as a professor. The first Fred (hired in the 1980s) left C-K in 1990, Dale (also hired in the 1980s) left C-K in 2002, and Phil (hired in 1971) is emeritus. That leaves one more name—the second Fred. If I am supposing correctly, this Fred was a senior practicing lawyer hired in 1991, who died in 2013. When I posted here, I thought there might be four or five Republicans hired after 1990 still left on the C-K faculty, but Ralph Brill is able to come up with the name of only one Republican-leaning professor hired after 1990, and he was hired 26 years ago—in 1991—and died in 2013. So (if I’m right about identities) Ralph doesn’t list a single Republican hired after 1990 still on the C-K faculty. There may be some, but either the C-K culture keeps them in the closet or (for whatever reasons) Ralph is unaware of them.
As for Ralph’s other comments about my tenure at Chicago-Kent, I can think of at least four of the most eminent of C-K’s senior faculty who, despite being exceptionally stellar candidates, for one reason or another probably would not have been hired at C-K but for my pushing the school to hire them: Lori Andrews, Evelyn Brody, Kathy Baker, and Hal Krent (the long-time dean). Also, during my short tenure as Associate Dean (essentially for faculty development), we approximately tripled our faculty publications in top 10 and top 20 law reviews.
Ralph blaming me for annual tuition reductions is quite a stretch. I indeed spearheaded an effort to reduce standard teaching loads to 3 courses, to substantially increase research leaves, to increase faculty productivity, and (as Ralph correctly notes) to reduce the credits required for graduation to levels consistent with some elite publishing schools. As I recall, our proposal did nothing on tuition, which was set by the dean, not the faculty. As David Bernstein noted in comments here, “So it never occurred to C-K to charge tuition by the school year rather than by the credit hour?” Richard Matasar (our dean at the time) may be many things, but stupid is not one of them. My memory of this may be in error, but I don’t remember any significant cuts in C-K’s annual tuition in the early 1990s, as Ralph’s comment seems to imply.
As for my comments about Texas and Northwestern, these were not criticisms of Chicago-Kent, but rather were designed to suggest that the problem is far more widespread and serious than Ralph claims about C-K and other schools he offers opinions about. James Phillips shows that conservative leaning professors generally have better credentials on hiring, a generally better publishing record at tenure, and a much better publishing record in the decades after tenure. Thus, Chicago-Kent would probably be a better law school if, over the last quarter century, it had been hiring across the political spectrum, instead of building a political monoculture. It’s been 26 years since 1991, when the last of Ralph Brill’s suspected (now dead) Republicans was hired. Even assuming that Ralph Brill may have missed a few names, Chicago-Kent can do better for its students and the profession.
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