Tuesday, December 7, 2010


No, I do not mean the faculty I am on which I assume is about like all others. What I mean by my faculty is the faculty I would choose or at least how I would choose it. First, I am starting from the proposition that there are oodles of people who can do the type of research and teaching law professors do. We pretend otherwise but, come on!

So, having satisfied those baseline standards there are two decision points I regard as critical for joining my faculty permanently. The first comes at hiring and would require answering a list of interview questions I have posted over on Moneylaw: Here they are:

1. What was your favorite book at age 15.
2. What were the last 10 books you read that had nothing to do with law.
3. Name your favorite opera, aria, sonata, symphony or any non pop, folk, alt music. (I mean one that gets you in the gut.)
4. What non law book is on the top of the stack on your night stand.
5a. What is your "car book" -- the one you keep in the car for waiting in lines or waiting rooms.
5b. What is your favorite pasta? (Opps, this question slipped in from the Italian cooking blog but it could still be important.)
6. Who was your favorite teacher before law school and why?
7. How would a Rawlsian design the faculty recruitment process?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The only wrong answer would be not being able to answer and have an interesting discussion.

The next critical point comes at tenure time and, assuming there was an actual review process which the candidate passed. That's a big IF -- the part about having a real review process, I mean, as opposed to having enough buds on the faculty to get the candidate through.

I'd like to know the following:

1. How many times have you complained about your teaching assignment?
2. How many times have you insisted to a secretary that your work gets done?
3. Do you tend to go over your travel budget and then tell the Dean how you have to have more because of all your obligations?
4. How many days on average do you cancel class in order to consult?
5. How many nights (after 7) a semester are you out drinking or hanging out with the students?
6. How many times did you visit the dean's office or email the dean to complain about someone else without first talking to that person?
7. How many times per year did you, on your own initiative, visit the dean's office for any reason?

Wrong answers are as follows:
1. More than 0.
2. More than 0.
3. More than 0.
4. More than 0.
5. More than 1.
6. More than 0
7. More than 1.

So, my faculty would be full of interesting people and who require no special handling

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