Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Continuing our series of responses from various legal luminaries to the question: What is the single best idea for reforming legal education you would offer to Erwin Chemerinsky as he builds the law school at UC-Irvine?
Brian Leiter (Hines H. Baker and Thelma Kelley Baker Chair in Law, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Law & Philosophy Program, University of Texas at Austin; Editor, Brian Leiter's Law School Reports; Author, Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings):
I hope that Dean Chemerinsky will, in building a faculty, take advantage of the Law School’s association with a quite major research university. Scholarly excellence of the faculty is and is likely to continue to be the benchmark for excellence of a Law School, and so the association with the University of California at Irvine provides a unique advantage. There are already scholars of great distinction at Irvine whose work is of relevance to legal scholarship — Frank Bean in Sociology, Margaret Gilbert in Philosophy, Bernard Grofman in Political Science, Elizabeth Loftus in Criminology, and Brian Skyrms in Logic and Philosophy of Science come to mind right away — and any Dean would be well-advised to take advantage of their presence, both by finding ways for them to teach and/or participate in the intellectual life of the new Law School and by capitalizing on their presence at the University to make joint appointments of other leading scholars to Law and cognate faculties at Irvine. Within the UC system, this will give Irvine an advantage over Hastings (a free-standing law school) and Davis (UCD’s strengths being greater in the natural sciences than in fields with more natural points of intersection with law). Interdisciplinary scholarship is the coin of prestige in the realm these days, and a Law School based at Irvine should be able to excel on that front.
For all the posts in the series, see here.