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Today, thirty-one prominent deans, professors, and former government officials who specialize in law and economics and antitrust submitted a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee supporting Josh Wright‘s nomination to be a Commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

The letter, which is addressed to Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, strongly urges confirmation of Josh, praising him for his knoweldge and his many accomplishments.  Here’s just a small snippet:

As a young professor, Josh has a well-deserved reputation for producing rigorous, high-quality scholarship that explores important issues in competition and consumer protection policy.  His scholarly work reflects that rare professor who possesses impeccable academic and intellectual integrity in combination with thoroughgoing knowledge in economic theory, econometric and empirical skill, and knowledge of relevant legal institutions. The rigor of his scholarly work is second to none, because it is truly bottom-up, data-driven in its conclusions. As a result, his scholarly output at this early stage in his academic career, in terms of its quantity, quality, and impact, is unsurpassed within his field.

. . . .

As a result of his rigorous and scrupulous analysis of data according to well-established empirical and economic methodologies, Professor Wright is widely regarded as a top antitrust law scholar of his generation, and his scholarly efforts have had a significant impact in the academic and public policy debates.  Top antitrust and law and economics scholars, moreover, consistently cite his scholarship, and Professor Herbert Hovenkamp, the author of the leading antitrust treatise, has described Josh as a “top scholar of competition policy and intellectual property.”

I can attest that this is all well-deserved praise, as I have learned much from Josh in the years that we have been colleagues at George Mason.  I will be very sorry to lose him as a colleague, but I can think of no other better person for this position.  I wish him all the luck in his confirmation hearing tomorrow, but he doesn’t need it, because as the letter rightly concludes, his is “an easy case for the Senate’s approval of his nomination.”

Read the whole letter here.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued eBay last week for agreeing not to poach employees from rival Intuit. According to the Department’s press release, “eBay’s agreement with Intuit hurt employees by lowering the salaries and benefits they might have received and deprived them of better job opportunities at the other company.” DOJ maintains that agreements among rivals not to compete for workers have long been deemed per se illegal. (Indeed, Google, Apple, Adobe, and Pixar quickly settled antitrust claims based on similar non-poaching arrangements in 2010.)

DOJ is right to attack this type of arrangement. Apart from harming individual employees, non-poaching agreements occasion a societal harm: They preclude labor resources from being channeled to their highest and best uses. To poach a competitor’s star employee, you must offer to pay that employee more than she’s currently making (or otherwise adjust the terms of her employment in a way she deems desirable). Her current employer will usually have a chance to counter your offer. If you win the bidding war, it’s likely because the current employer’s willingness-to-pay for the employee—an amount reflective of the degree by which the employee enhances her firm’s value—is less than yours. If you can derive more value from the employee, you should have her. When employers agree to limit competition for workers, they preclude labor resources from flowing to their highest and best ends, causing an “allocative inefficiency.”

So perhaps DOJ should go after the members of the Association of American Law Schools. Pursuant to a Statement of Good Practices to which AALS members scrupulously adhere, each law school has agreed to limit competition with its rivals by refraining from making lateral offers of employment after March 1 each year. Unlike the eBay/Intuit arrangement, the competing law schools’ trade restraint is applicable for only part of the year–from March 1 until the fall hiring season–but it has the same basic effect as the eBay arrangement. And, despite the law schools’ claims to the contrary, it isn’t justified on efficiency grounds.

By preventing law professors from credibly threatening to leave their existing employers after March 1, the AALS restraint significantly reduces professors’ ability to negotiate higher wages or more favorable employment terms. If you announce a competing school’s offer six weeks before fall classes start, you’re much more likely to receive an attractive counter-offer from your current employer than you would be if you sprang the news of your potential departure six months before the start of classes, when you’re more easily replaced. What’s more, law schools generally don’t tell professors what they’ll be earning the following year until after March 1, when it’s too late for a disgruntled professor to secure another offer elsewhere. The AALS restraint thus artificially depresses the salaries of a school’s most desirable professors.

Now this might not seem like something to get worked up over. Most people think law professors are a spoiled lot. They have relatively low teaching loads and, despite the fact that most lack PhDs, they generally earn a good deal more than most academics. Why should DOJ intervene on behalf of these fat cats? Because the law schools’ non-poaching arrangement diminishes the quality of legal education. Here’s why.

At most law schools, where equality of end-states tends to be fetishized, professors are generally compensated in lock-step according to seniority. There’s some variation, but apart from endowed positions, starting salaries and annual raises are around the same level for everyone.

Talent and effort, by contrast, are not evenly distributed. Most law schools have some super-stars who are exceptional teachers and scholars, a number of “solid” professors who put in their time and provide competent teaching and enough scholarship to stay engaged, and a fair bit of dead weight. Lock-step compensation depresses the incentive to move into the first category and enhances the attractiveness of the last. It’s favored by administrators, though, because it permits them to avoid awkward conversations about merit.

If late-in-time departures of professors were a real possibility, administrators would have a stronger incentive to keep their most productive folks happy. They could stand to lose teachers with low course enrollments, so they probably wouldn’t worry too much about keeping their salaries relatively high. They’d also know that their less productive scholars are unlikely to receive a late offer. But highly productive scholars who also provide lots of the thing the law school is ultimately selling–law teaching–would likely begin to earn higher salaries than their less valuable colleagues. With compensation more accurately reflecting the value professors provide, labor resources would be allocated more efficiently. And, of course, law professors would have an increased incentive to make themselves both “poachable” and indispensable by firing on all cylinders–teaching, scholarship, and service.

But don’t the law schools need their non-poaching arrangement in order to prevent scheduling disorder that would hurt students? That’s certainly what they claim. The “Statement of Good Practices” memorializing the law schools’ collusive agreement begins:

[T]he departure of a full-time law teacher always requires changes at the law school. Unless the school is given sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements to find another to offer the instruction given by the departing teacher, the reasonable expectations of students will be  frustrated and the school’s educational program otherwise disrupted. To serve  the best interests of the program of legal education from which the teacher is departing and that to which she or he may be going, the Association urges that law schools and law faculty members follow these suggested practices….

A horizontal restraint of trade, though, isn’t necessary to prevent the sort of harm the law schools envision. If a law school believes it needs some amount of lead time to prepare for a professor’s departure, it may unilaterally negotiate contracts with its professors obligating them to provide a certain amount of notice before any departure and specifying liquidated damages for breach. Unlike the “one-size-fits-all” AALS restraint, such contracts could accommodate heterogeneous needs and preferences. For example, required lead times and the amount of liquidated damages could vary based on the location of the school (urban with lots of adjunct possibilities vs. rural with few), the degree to which the professor’s course offerings require a specialized background (Securities Regulation vs. Contracts), and the pedagogical importance of the courses (Business Organizations vs. Law & Literature). Moreover, this contractarian approach, unlike the AALS’s horizontal restraint, would further allocative efficiency across law schools: If Raider Law is willing to pay Target Law’s hot professor an amount that will increase her salary and cover the liquidated damages she owes Target because of an untimely departure, then Raider must value her more than Target and should get her. Thus, it is possible to achieve the practical benefit the AALS restraint purports to pursue without using a horizontal restraint and in a manner that permits allocative efficiency.

A horizontal agreement not to compete should not be allowed to stand when a less restrictive, easily achieved vertical option could secure the retraint’s benefits. See, e.g., Maricopa County Med. Soc’y (condemning an efficiency-enhancing maximum price-fixing agreement among physicians and observing that the procompetitive benefit occasioned by the restraint could be achieved via vertical agreements rather than a horizontal restraint); NCAA (refusing to allow the need for competitive balance to immunize a naked horizontal restraint because such balance could be achieved less restrictively); cf. Professional Engineers (horizontal agreement not to engage in price negotiations in order to assure high-quality engineering illegal when substantive quality standards could achieve same result).

Perhaps one day the DOJ will acknowledge that American law schools are competitors and, for the benefit of law students and the legal profession, ought to act like it.

I have recently joined my colleague Bruce Johnsen as co-director of the Robert A. Levy Fellowship in Law and Liberty at GMU Law.  It is a very generous fellowship — a tuition waiver plus a generous stipend —  for economists who have their PhD’s or “ABD” status to come to law school on our dime along with a stipend of up to $27,000 annually.   PhD’s and doctoral candidates in other social science disciplines are also welcome to apply.  Several Levy Fellows have successfully ventured into the legal academic market over the past few years, and we continue to look for economists and economists-in-training with an interest in law and legal institutions.  Among others, Levy Fellow alumni include Jonathan Klick (University of Pennsylvania School of Law), Moin Yahya (University of Alberta),  and James Cooper (former Director of the Office of Policy and Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, former student of our TOTM’s own Paul Rubin, and now Research Director at the George Mason Law & Economics Center).  More recently, Levy alum Murat Mungan joined the faculty at Florida State as a Visiting Assistant Professor; and Levy Fellow alum Jeremy Kidd is now as Assistant Professor at Mercer.

If the opportunity is of interest — please contact me via email, or check out the details in the advertisement below, as well as the website with further details on the application process.

GMU Law is a great place to do law and economics.  The GMU Law and Economics Center, with a new and ambitious research and policy agenda under Henry Butler, is a wonderful asset for a rising law and economics scholar, and the law and economics faculty here are interested in a wide range of legal topics and play an integral part in the Levy Fellow program.  The program isn’t for everybody.  We’re looking for economists and other social scientists who are interested in understanding legal institutions and plan on entering the academic job market.  Experimental economists interested in the special opportunities available at the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Center for the Study of Neuroeconomics might also find the program especially attractive.

The full text of the advertisement is below the fold.  Contact me if you have questions about the application process.

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

School of Law

Robert A. Levy Fellowship

George Mason University School of Law invites applications for the Robert A. Levy Fellowship in Law & Liberty. The Levy Fellowship includes an annual stipend of up to $27,000 per year plus a tuition waiver and is available to PhD or ABD economists who wish to pursue a JD at George Mason.

DESCRIPTION:

Applicants will be evaluated for their promise as Law and Economics scholars capable of making a significant contribution to understanding the institutions of a free society. We are pleased in recent years to have placed fellows in highly ranked institutions. Two or more fellowships will be awarded for the 2013/14 academic year. Applicants should arrange to take the LSAT no later than February 2013. George Mason University is an equal opportunity-affirmative action institution.

A special opportunity now exists for those interested in experimental economics. Levy Fellows will have the opportunity to run experiments and collaborate with faculty at the path breaking Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Center for the Study of Neuroeconomics.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE:

Please provide all items requested in standard law school application process, including LSAT/LSDAS, PLUS cover letter with three references, curriculum vitae, graduate transcripts, and a copy of current research.

Letters should be sent to the:

CONTACT:

George Mason University School of Law
Office of Admissions
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201

Or calls made to:

Tel: (703) 993-8010

The co-director of the Levy Fellowship program:

CONTACT: Professor Joshua Wright
Email: jwrightg at gmu dot edu

My former student and recent George Mason Law graduate (and co-author, here) Angela Diveley has posted Clarifying State Action Immunity Under the Antitrust Laws: FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc.  It is a look at the state action doctrine and the Supreme Court’s next chance to grapple with it in Phoebe Putney.  here is the abstract:

The tension between federalism and national competition policy has come to a head. The state action doctrine finds its basis in principles of federalism, permitting states to replace free competition with alternative regulatory regimes they believe better serve the public interest. Public restraints have a unique ability to undermine the regime of free competition that provides the basis of U.S.- and state-commerce policies. Nevertheless, preservation of federalism remains an important rationale for protecting such restraints. The doctrine has elusive contours, however, which have given rise to circuit splits and overbroad application that threatens to subvert the state action doctrine’s dual goals of federalism and competition. The recent Eleventh Circuit decision in FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc. epitomizes the concerns associated with misapplication of state action immunity. The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted the FTC’s petition for certiorari and now has the opportunity to more clearly define the contours of the doctrine. In Phoebe Putney, the FTC has challenged a merger it claims is the product of a sham transaction, an allegation certain to test the boundaries of the state action doctrine and implicate the interpretation of a two-pronged test designed to determine whether consumer welfare-reducing conduct taken pursuant to purported state authorization is immune from antitrust challenge. The FTC’s petition for writ of certiorari raises two issues for review. First, it presents the question concerning the appropriate interpretation of foreseeability of anticompetitive conduct. Second, the FTC presents the question whether a passive supervisory role on the state’s part can be construed as state action or whether its approval of the merger was a sham. In this paper, I seek to explicate the areas in which the state action doctrine needs clarification and to predict how the Court will decide the case in light of precedent and the principles underlying the doctrine.

Go read the whole thing.

I’m very pleased to announce the George Mason Law & Economics Center is hosting a program focusing on our friend and colleague Larry Ribstein’s scholarship on the market for law.   Henry Butler and Bruce Kobayashi have put together a really wonderful program of folks coming together not to celebrate Larry’s work — but to use it as a platform for further discussion and for legal scholars to engage in these important issues.

Interested readers might want to check out the TOTM Unlocking the Law Symposium.

The announcement follows and I hope to see some of you there on Friday, November 9, 2012 at GMU Law.
The Henry G. Manne Program in Law and Regulatory Studies presents Unlocking the Law: Building on the Work of Professor Larry Ribstein to be held at George Mason University School of Law, Friday, November 9th, 2012. The conference will run from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

OVERVIEW: In a series of influential and provocative articles, Professor Larry Ribstein examined the forces behind the recent upheaval in the market for legal services. These forces included increased global competition, changes in the demand for legal services resulting from the expanded role of the in-house counsel, and the expanded use of technology. His analysis showed that changes in the market for legal services were not just the result of a cyclical downturn in the economy. Rather, the profound changes in the market reflected building competitive pressures that exposed the flaws in the business model used by large firms to provide legal services. His recent writings also examined the broader implications of this upheaval for legal education, the private production of law, and whether legal innovation will be hindered by or hasten the demise of the current system of professional regulation of lawyers.

Professor Ribstein passed away suddenly on December 24, 2011. In the wake of the terrible loss of their close friend and colleague, Professors Henry Butler and Bruce Kobayashi (along with several other colleagues at Mason Law) have decided to honor Larry through a conference designed to capture and expand on the spirit of Larry’s recent work. The Unlocking the Law Conference seeks to advance these goals by inviting legal scholars to present their views and engage in a vibrant discussion about the present and future of the market for legal services. The panels at this conference will showcase 14 papers written specifically for this occasion and presented to the public for the first time.

This conference is organized by Henry N. Butler, Executive Director of the Law & Economics Center and George Mason Foundation Professor of Law, and Bruce H. Kobayashi, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law through a new Project on Legal Services Reform – under the auspices of the Mason Law & Economics Center. The Project on Legal Services Reform seeks to continue and extend the important work on legal innovation, legal education, law firms, and legal regulation produced by Larry. We hope to encourage scholars who have not worked in these areas to read Larry’s work, critique it in the same manner in which Larry famously commented on papers, and expand (or even restrict or redirect) the thrust of Larry’s work. In essence, this project is about “Larry as Catalyst.”

For background information, you might want to visit TRUTH ON THE MARKET (http://www.truthonthemarket.com), which held an online symposium on this topic on September 19 and 20, 2011.

REGISTRATION: You must pre-register for this event. To register, please send a message with your name, affiliation, and full contact information to: Jeff Smith, Coordinator, Henry G. Manne Program in Law and Regulatory Studies, jsmithQ@gmu.edu

AGENDA:

Friday, November 9, 2012:

Panel I. The Future of Legal Services and Legal Education

How the Structure of Universities Determined the Fate of American Law Schools
– Henry G. Manne, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ave Maria School of Law; Dean Emeritus, George Mason University School of Law

The Undergraduate Option for Legal Education
– John O. McGinnis, George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law, Northwestern University School of Law

Panel II. Deregulating Legal Services

The Deprofessionalization of Profession Services: What Law and Medicine Have in Common and How They Differ
– Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

The Future of Licensing Lawyers
– M. Todd Henderson, Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School

Failing the Legal System: Why Lawyers and Judges Need to Act to Authorize the Organizational Practice of Law
– Gillian K. Hadfield, Richard L. and Antoinette Schamoi Kirtland Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Globalization and Deregulation of Legal Services
– Nuno Garoupa, Professor and H. Ross and Helen Workman Research Scholar, University of Illinois College of Law; Co-Director, Illinois Program on Law, Behavior, and Social Science

Panel III. Law Firms and Competition Between Lawyers

From Big Law to Lean Law
– William D. Henderson, Professor of Law and Van Nolan Faculty Fellow, Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Director, Center on the Global Legal Profession

Glass Half Full: The Significant Upsides to the Changes in the American Legal Market
– Benjamin H. Barton, Professor of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law

An Exploration of Price Competition Among Lawyers
– Clifford Winston, Senior Fellow, Economics Studies, Brooking Institution

Panel IV. Reputation, Fiduciary Duties, and Agency Costs

Lawyers as Reputational Intermediaries: Sovereign Bond Issuances (1820-2012)
– Michael H. Bradley, F.M. Kirby Professor of Investment Banking Emeritus, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University; Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law
– Mitu Gulati, Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law
– Irving A. De Lira Salvatierra, Graduate Student, Department of Economics, Duke University

The Fiduciary Society
– Jason Scott Johnston, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law and Nicholas E. Chimicles Research Professor in Business Law and Regulation, University of Virginia School of Law

Class Action Lawmakers and the Agency Problem
– Barry E. Adler, Bernard Petrie Professor of Law and Business and Associate Dean for Information Systems and Technology, New York University School of Law

Panel V. Private Lawmaking and Adjudication

Decentralizing the Lawmaking Function: Should There Be Intellectual Property Rights in Law?
– Robert G. Bone, G. Rollie White Teaching Excellence Chair in Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Arbitration, the Law Market, and the Law of Lawyering
– Erin O’Hara O’Connor, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University Law School
– Peter B. Rutledge, Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law, University of Georgia Law School

VENUE:
George Mason University School of Law
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201

FURTHER INFORMATION: For more information regarding this conference or other initiatives of the Law & Economics Center, please visit: http://www.MasonLEC.org

Call or send an email to: Tel: (703) 993-8040, Email: lec@gmu.edu

The Henry G. Manne Program in Law & Economics honors the legacy of Henry G. Manne, Dean Emeritus of George Mason Law School and founder of the Law & Economics Center. Manne was a trailblazer in the development of law and economics, not only as a prominent and influential scholar, but also as an academic entrepreneur. He spurred the development of law and economics into the most influential area of legal scholarship through his Economics Institutes for Law Professors and Law Institutes for Economics Professors. The Manne Program promotes law-and-economics scholarship by funding faculty research and hosting research roundtables and academic conferences.

http://www.MasonManne.org

Paul Fain has an interesting update today on the issue of two-tier pricing for California’s community college system. Santa Monica College rocked the boat in March when it announced plans to start using a two-tier pricing schedule that would charge higher tuition rates for high-demand courses.

Santa Monica–and most all community colleges in California apparently–have been slammed with would-be students looking to take classes that would help prepare them for better jobs or for further education and training (that would prepare them for better jobs).  The problem is that state funding for community colleges has been drastically reduced, thereby limiting the number of course offerings schools can offer at the subsidized tuition rate of $36 per credit hour. Santa Monica had the radical idea (well, radical for anyone that fails to understand economics, perhaps) of offering additional sections of high-demand courses, but at full-cost tuition rates (closer to $200 per credit hour).

Students protested. Faculty at other community colleges complained. Santa Monica College relented. So students don’t have to worry about paying more for courses they will not be able to take and faculty at other colleges don’t have to worry about the possibility of more students wanting to go to their schools because the overflow tuition at Santa Monica drives students to find substitutes. Well, that, and no more worries for those faculty at schools who charge even more than $200 for students to get those core courses that they cannot get into at their community college. It didn’t matter much anyhow, since most agreed that Santa Monica College’s proposal would have violated the law.

Now there is a proposal before the California legislature that would allow schools to implement two-tier pricing, but only for technical trade courses, not for high-demand general education-type courses.

Aside from complaints that “the state should be giving away education–even if they are not” (which are the most inane because they have nothing to do with the issue at hand), there are a few other arguments or positions offered that just cause one to scratch one’s head in wonder:

1) Fain reports that Michelle Pilati, president of the Academic Senate of California Community Colleges, asserted that “two-tiered tuition is unfair to lower-income students because it would open up classes to students who have the means to pay much more.” Apparently, Ms. Pilati would prefer all students have equal access to no education than to open up more spaces (to lower-income students) by opening up more spaces to higher-income students at higher prices. Gotcha.

2) The Board of Trustees at San Diego Community College seems to agree, having passed a resolution opposing the proposed legislation because it “would limit or exclude student access based solely on cost, causing inequities in the treatment of students”. Apparently the inequity of some students getting an education and some not is more noble because explicit out-of-pocket costs are not involved and other forms of rationing are used. And yet…

3) According to Fain,  Nancy Shulock, director of the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy at California State University at Sacramento, asserts “wealthier students have a leg up when registering for courses. She said research has found that higher-income students generally have more ‘college knowledge’ that helps them navigate often-complex registration processes. That means wealthier students could more quickly snag spots in classes, getting the normal price, while their lower-income peers would be more likely to pay the higher rates under a two-tiered system.”

So, community colleges have created overly complex registration systems that disadvantage lower-income students. Yet, all that suggests is that the current system already punishes lower-income students because wealthier students can more easily “snag” the limited number of subsidized sections. Perhaps community colleges could make their enrollment processes less complex?

Regardless the fate of the “two-tier pricing” legislation, there is already a two-tier system in place; only the current two-tier plan prevents people from getting educations at any price.

May 21-25 the GMU LEC will be hosting its Workshop on Empirical Methods for Law Professors once again this year.  Applications are available at the links below — and more information is available here.

The Workshop on Empirical Methods for Law Professors is designed to teach law professors the conceptual and practical skills required to (1) understand and evaluate others’ empirical studies, and (2) design and implement their own empirical studies. Participants are not expected to have background in statistical knowledge or empirical skills prior to enrollment. Instructors have been selected in part to demonstrate the development of empirical studies in a wide-range of legal and institutional settings including: antitrust, business law, bankruptcy, class actions, contracts, criminal law and sentencing, federalism, finance, intellectual property, and securities regulation. Class sessions will provide participants opportunities to learn through faculty lectures, drawing upon data and examples for cutting edge empirical legal studies, and participating in experiments. There will be numerous opportunities for participants to discuss their own works-in-progress or project ideas with the instructors.

Click Here to Apply

WORKSHOP FACULTY:

Eric Helland, Ph.D., Claremont-McKenna College
http://www.cmc.edu/academic/faculty/profile.asp?Fac=159

Jonathan Klick, J.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Law
http://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/jklick/

Bruce Kobayashi, Ph.D., George Mason University School of Law
http://www.law.gmu.edu/faculty/directory/fulltime/kobayashi_bruce

Joshua Wright, J.D., Ph.D., George Mason University School of Law
http://www.law.gmu.edu/faculty/directory/fulltime/wright_joshua

SCHEDULE:

The workshop will take place at:
George Mason University School of Law
3301 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
http://law.gmu.edu

The Workshop will begin on Monday May 21, at 8:30 a.m. and conclude on Friday May 25, at 12:00 pm. Classes on May 21 – 24 will run from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and include lectures and applied “hands-on” sessions. On May 25, the participants will have an opportunity to present their own empirical projects or “works in progress” and receive feedback from instructors and other participants.

Topics covered include:

• Research Design
• Finding Data
• Basic Probability Theory
• Descriptive Statistics
• Formulating Testable Hypotheses
• Specification
• Statistical Inference
• Cross-Sectional Regression
• Time Series Regression
• Panel Data Techniques
• Sensitivity Analysis
• Experimental Methods

Click here to see the draft agenda.

REGISTRATION AND TUITION:

Click Here to Apply

Tuition for the Workshop on Empirical Methods is $1000 (with a discounted rate of $850 if received by April 1, 2012) for the first professor from a law school and $600 for additional registrants from the same school.

 

I am pleased to pass along the following information regarding Olin-Smith-Searle Fellowships for the upcoming 2012-13 academic year.   The application deadline is March 15, 2012.

2012 – 2013

The Program

The Olin-Searle-Smith Fellows in Law program will offer top young legal thinkers the opportunity to spend a year working full time on writing and developing their scholarship with the goal of entering the legal academy. Up to three fellowships will be offered for the 2012-2013 academic year.

A distinguished group of academics will select the Fellows. Criteria include:

  • Dedication to teaching and scholarship
  • A J.D. and extremely strong academic qualifications (such as significant clerkship or law review experience)
  • Commitment to the rule of law and intellectual diversity in legal academia
  • The promise of a distinguished career as a legal scholar and teacher

Benefits

Stipends will include $50,000 plus benefits. While details will be worked out with the specific host school for the Fellow, in general the Fellow will be provided with an office and will be included in the life of the school. Fellows are not expected to hold other employment during the term of their fellowships.

Applications

All those who feel they fit the criteria are encouraged to apply. Applicants should submit the following:

  • A resume and law school transcript
  • Academic writing sample(s) with an approximately 50-page limit on the total number of pages submitted (i.e. two 25-page pieces are fine, two 50-page pieces are not)
  • A brief discussion of their areas of intellectual interest (approximately 2 pages)
  • A statement of their commitment to teaching law
  • At least two and generally no more than three letters of support. These should come from people who can speak to your academic potential and should generally include at least two letters from law professors. If you are doing interdisciplinary work a letter from someone who can speak to your work in that area is also helpful. You may also include additional references with phone numbers.

Applications must be received no later than March 15, 2012.
Applicants will be notified in early to mid-May 2012.

Please submit applications to:

Olin-Searle-Smith Fellows in Law Program
ATTN: Tyler Lowe
c/o The Federalist Society
1015 18th Street, N.W., Suite 425
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 822-8138

Or send an email to tyler.lowe@fed-soc.org with “Olin-Searle-Smith” in the subject line.

I am very pleased to pass along this information about the 15th Annual Symposium on Antitrust Law on January 26th, 2012 sponsored by the George Mason Law Review, GMU Law & Economics Center, and Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.

 

The George Mason Law Review, in partnership with the George Mason University Law & Economics Center and sponsor Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, is pleased to present its 15th Annual Symposium on Antitrust Law on January 26, 2012. The symposium, entitled “Antitrust in High-Tech Industries,” will be held in the Founders Hall Auditorium at George Mason University School of Law, located at 3301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia.

The program will focus on the proper role of antitrust in high technology industries, including the extent to which current competition policy is adequate to address dynamic competition concerns that are prevalent in rapidly evolving sectors.  Specifically, panels will explore the application of antitrust laws to social media, mergers, online search, and online advertising.

The Keynote Address will be delivered by William Kovacic, former Chairman of the US Federal Trade Commission.

Please join us on January 26, 2012! To register, click here.

For a detailed description of the Symposium Panels, click here.

Fees:
General Admission: $150.00
Government/Academic: $50.00
Student: $50.00

Note: 5.5 CLE credit hours from the Virginia Bar Association are available for program attendees.

For more information, contact Katie Brown at gmusymposium@gmail.com or call (703) 375-9529.

15th Annual Symposium Brochure

Speakers and Agenda:

8:00 – 8:30am            Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:35am             Welcome and Introduction

8:35 – 10:00am          Panel 1: Perspectives on High-Tech Antitrust

Howard Shelanski, Georgetown University Law Center

Herbert Hovenkamp, University of Iowa College of Law

George L. Priest, Yale Law School

Keith Hylton, Boston University School of Law

10:15 – 11:45pm        Panel 2: Social Media

Catherine E. Tucker, MIT Sloan School of Management

Spencer W. Waller, Loyola University, Chicago School of Law

Frank Pasquale, Seton Hall Law School

11:45 – 1:45pm          Luncheon and Keynote Address

William E. Kovacic, The George Washington University Law School

1:45 – 3:15pm             Panel 3: Mergers

Luke M. Froeb, Vanderbilt University

Thomas W. Hazlett, George Mason University School of Law

Jonathan B. Baker, American University Washington College of Law

3:30 – 4:45pm           Panel 4: Search and Online Advertising

William C. MacLeod, Kelly Drye & Warren LLP

Joshua D. Wright, George Mason University School of Law

Daniel Crane, University of Michigan Law School

Scott A. Sher, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

4:45 – 5:00pm           Closing Remarks

5:00 – 6:00pm           Refreshments/ Reception

Location:
George Mason University School of Law
Founders Hall Auditorium
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201

For directions, click here.

The AALS each year selects a few “hot topics” program proposals for discussion of “late-breaking” subjects at the January meeting.  This year I agreed to be included in a hot topics panel described as follows:

Law schools have long kept a comfortable distance from the concerns of the practicing bar. Earlier calls for reform such as the MacCrate Report (1992), the Carnegie Foundation’s Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Practice of Law (2007), and Stuckey et al, Best Practices for Legal Education (2007), have led to a greater emphasis on more practical training, at least in law school admissions brochures if not always in the curriculum. Increasing competition for rankings has also changed the dynamics of reputation with respect to academic study and practical training at some law schools. Fundamentally, however, most schools have seen little change in the curriculum and overall approach to delivery of instruction since the last century. Despite this, students have continued to flock to law schools, and more law schools have sought and received accreditation. Recently, however, a series of high-profile news reports, blogs, lawsuits by recent graduates, ABA disciplinary actions against law schools, and calls from Congress for stricter regulation have brought increased public attention to fundamental questions about the delivery of legal education in the U.S. What was once dismissed as the unfounded complaints of a minority of embittered law students is approaching a full-blown scandal. Issues such as the ABA’s capture by the law schools it is meant to accredit and regulate, the skyrocketing cost of a legal education in the face of what some argue is a long-term restructuring in the legal market and a permanent downturn in employment, and law schools’ failure to disclose meaningful and accurate information regarding employment prospects, are converging into a widespread sense of disillusionment and dissatisfaction with legal education.

While the perspectives and methods of the panelists vary, each has been a voice for reform within legal education. Some call for a strengthened regulatory hand; others call for deregulation of the legal profession or for voluntary collective action by law schools. All share a concern for the improvement of legal education and the profession. This panel will be an opportunity for a candid and highly interactive assessment of the situation and directions forward.

Does this discussion sound like the sort of late-breaking “hot topic” that ought to have been included in the AALS program?  I guess not, because it was rejected. 

Instead, the AALS chose programs on Occupy Wall Street, the Endangered Species Act, human rights in Russia, health care reform, the legacy of Derrick Bell, Supreme Court recusal, the ministerial employment discrimination exception, DOMA and alternatives to incarceration.

Why the rejection?  There are two hypotheses: the AALS didn’t think its members would regard the future of legal education to be as important and current a topic as those just listed; or the AALS as an organization didn’t want to be the forum for such a panel.

Either way, the rejection seems disturbing for law teaching (not for me — I can find other things to do).

I’m pleased to pass along the following information from the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law:

 

Introduction

  • The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law is now accepting applications for the Lowell Milken Institute Law Teaching Fellowship.
  • This fellowship is a full-time, year-round, one or two academic-year position (approximately July 2012 through June 2013 or June 2014).  The position involves law teaching, legal and policy research and writing, preparing to go on the law teaching market, and assisting with organizing projects such as conferences and workshops, and teaching.  No degree will be offered as part of the Fellowship program.

Eligibility

  • Fellowship candidates must hold a JD degree from an ABA accredited law school and be committed to a career of law teaching and scholarship in the field of  business law and policy.  Applicants should have demonstrated an outstanding aptitude for independent legal research, preferably through research and/or writing as a law student or through exceptional legal experience after law school. Law Teaching Fellowship candidates must have strong academic records that will make them highly competitive for law teaching jobs.

Fellowship Requirements

The Fellowship program is year-round, over one or two academic years, during which time the Fellow will:

  • complete at least one substantial scholarly publication and present the publication as a work-in-progress to the UCLA School of Law faculty;
  • teach at least one class per academic year of the appointment;
  • work closely with a faculty mentor in order to observe and participate in teaching, as well as to complete a publishable scholarly piece;
  • assist the Institute’s Executive Director with other projects relating to the Institute’s work, including organizing conferences and other events,  research, publications, public education and outreach efforts;
  • permit the Institute to publish any article(s) resulting from the Fellowship—as long as such publication will not interfere with the Fellow’s ability to publish such articles in a law journal; and
  • acknowledge the Institute’s assistance in any published work that is facilitated by the Fellowship.

Fellowship Benefits

The unique features of this Fellowship include opportunities to:

  • develop expertise in business law and public policy;
  • work with a faculty mentor;
  • develop expertise in business law teaching;
  • complete a published piece of research before entering the law teaching market;
  • obtain faculty recommendations and support for law teaching jobs;
  • participate in the rich mixture of scholarly symposia, invited lectures, and conferences of the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy; and
  • participate in UCLA School of Law’s rich interdisciplinary scholarly symposia, lectures, and conferences.

Application Material and Deadlines

To apply for the 2012-2013 Lowell Milken Institute Law Teaching Fellowship, please submit the following materials by March 1, 2012:

  • A cover letter summarizing your qualifications for the fellowship;
  • A current resume, including a list of published works;
  • An official law school transcript;
  • Contact information for three references, including at least one from a law school professor familiar with your scholarly potential;
  • A detailed research proposal, no longer than five single-spaced pages in length; and
  • A description of teaching interests (course abstract and plan for class or seminar preferred)

Interested candidates should submit materials as a single PDF or Word.doc file to estrada@law.ucla.edu.

Equal Opportunity Employer

The University of California is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, and seeks candidates committed to the highest standards of scholarship and professional activities and to a campus climate that supports equality and diversity.

About a month ago I discussed a case in which I had written an amicus brief:

Last year I wrote here about Roni LLC v Arfa, which I cited as an example of the ”troubling lawlessness of NY LLC law.” In brief, the court sustained a non-disclosure claim based on “plaintiffs’ allegations that the promoter defendants planned the business venture, organized the LLCs, and solicited plaintiffs to invest in them” despite holding that the parties’ arms-length pre-formation business relationship did not support a fiduciary relationship.  I argued that this new pre-formation duty to disclose

promises to make a mess out of NY LLC law. It also creates significant problems for business people who now have a fiduciary duty, with uncertain disclosure duties, imposed on what the court itself recognized is basically an arms’ length market relationship. It’s not even clear how parties can contract out of this duty, since the whole problem is that they do not yet have a contract.

I later noted that my blog post was cited in the appellants’ brief on appeal, which triggered a response in the respondents’ brief (see n. 25) and then my amicus brief in connection with the appeal, which the NY Court of Appeals accepted for filing.

Now the NY Court of Appeals has decided the case.  In its brief opinion the Court said “we conclude that plaintiffs’ allegations of a fiduciary relationship survive the dismissal motion.” The Court added (footnote 2):

2 Based on the foregoing analysis, we need not decide the question of whether the promoter defendants’ status as organizers of the limited liability companies, standing alone, was sufficient to allege a fiduciary relationship.

In other words, the Court of Appeals, without saying so directly, effectively rejected the lower court’s determination that the complaint had not alleged a fiduciary relationship.  The Court did so in order to avoid a holding in favor of promoter liability that would, I argued, “make a mess out of NY LLC law.”

The Court elsewhere in its brief opinion alluded to another aspect of my amicus brief.  My brief pointed out (p. 6) that there was no authority for a pre-formation disclosure duty in LLCs, and that analogies from other business entities

should be drawn carefully because * * * the LLC has evolved as a unique entity, sharing some features of but ultimately distinct from all other business entities. See generally, Larry E. Ribstein, Rise of the Uncorporation ch. 6 (2010). 

In its opinion, the Court recognized (n. 1) that “[c]ertainly, there are differences between limited liability companies and traditional corporations, but the distinctions are not relevant to the allegations in this case.”  They were not relevant because the Court strained to accept the alternative basis for a fiduciary duty the lower court had rejected.

In short, I invited the Court not to wreck NY LLC law by imposing open-ended pre-formation promoter liability.  The Court accepted my invitation although this forced it to weave a circuitous course around the lower court’s opinion.

Now, I must avoid taking too much credit for the result in the case.  The NY court might have reached the same conclusion without my brief.  The case was very well argued by the defendant-appellant’s lawyer, David Katz, who raised all the relevant issues. 

All I can say for sure is that my brief made it harder for the Court of Appeals to accept the lower court’s promoter liability theory, and the Court did, in fact, reject that theory.   I think it’s plausible my brief affected some of the language in the opinion, and thereby the course of NY LLC law.

I make these points not solely out of pure ego (not that I’m totally devoid of same) but because they relate to the many words that have been spilled over the uselessness of legal academics.  You see, we academics do have some credibility because we devote ourselves to the study of underlying theory and policy rather than to achieving particular results in cases.  This is a quality that could be lost if legal academic is restructured so as to reduce the time and resources available for such work.