- Sally Katzen's testimony on the REINS Act - she sees a possible take care clause problem with the statue and otherwise makes the argument that when one act amends hundreds of them, there might be an issue. Both are worth thinking about, but what Congress giveth, it can taketh away, I think.
- Adler on the REINS Act, if you haven't seen it.
- Suzanne Craig on the financial crisis commission report - the highlights.
- Here is a Davos version of nobody-knows-what-to-do-about-banking. The banks themselves appear to be using the forum to complain about how they - your friends and neighbors - are tired of being demonized.
From time to time on this blog, I mention the scouting accomplishments of my twin boys. When I blogged about their merit badge accomplishments on New Year's Day 2010 (here), I felt some ambiguity about whether they had completed all of the merit badges, given that the Boy Scouts had approved some new merit badges and announced the reactivation of some historic merit badges at the end of 2009. Standing at the end of 2010, the ambiguity is gone: Christian and Conrad have finished all of the merit badges!
One of our local scout leaders is fond of telling the boys about the value of doing hard things, and I completely endorse this message. Earning all of the merit badges has been hard, not just for the boys, but also for their parents and leaders. Nevertheless, I have watched them grow immensely during these last years, and I am grateful for their willingness to do hard things. I am also grateful to their Mom, who deserves a great deal of credit for scheduling, prodding, and guiding.
We have asked Troy Pugh to add them to the list of Merit Badge Knot achievers. Given that they are only 14 years old, I suspect that Conrad and Christian will add to their merit badge talley before all is said and done, but congratulations are due now. Congrats, boys!
Thanks again for having me!
I’ve very much enjoyed posting for the last couple of weeks and hope to have contributed some food for thought.
- I participated in the Penn Journal of Business Law/Journal of International Law symposium on Friday, on a panel with Bill Bratton, Chris Brummer, Eric Pan (academics all), and former SEC Enforcement chief counsel Joan McKown. Joan relayed the discomfort the business community has with Dodd-Frank's whistleblower provisions, which basically turn the statute into a qui tam arrangement - that is, the uncoverer of fraud gets a chunk of the recovery. When paired with foreign corrupt practices practice - Siemens just paid out a billion dollars in fines to various regulators for an Italian bribe - you can see how you're talking about real money. Anyway, the Times has an overview of the implementation issue - my own sense is that qui tam arrangements work worst when quasi-wrongdoers (someone who saw the bribery, but didn't say anything about it) or corporate compliance officers (once you discover wrongdoing, should you tell your bosses, or try to retire on the news, via the government?) get to recover. You can imagine the conflicts, and the SEC has proposed exempting these sorts of people from recovery. We'll see if that's what Congress wanted.
- And of course, there's this litigation finance story too.
- I think that David Post is late to the Mike Tanier admiration club, which I've belonged to since he started at the Times, and others in the olden, Football Outsiders days. He's totally right, though - Tanier can really write.
Many thanks to Gordon Smith and everyone at the Conglomerate for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts over the next couple of weeks. I have been a frequent reader and look forward to contributing to the discussion.
My scholarship focuses on the law as it pertains to investing and finance. I’m particularly interested in the regulation of mutual funds and hedge funds; the philosophical and regulatory theories that underpin securities regulation (and regulation in general); behavioral finance and the behavior of financial markets; and the role of the stock market in society and retirement savings. I plan to touch on these areas in my upcoming posts.
I have two older sisters, both of whom spent a great deal of energy and time manipulating me. Most of their attempts are pretty standard fare ...
"If you swallow chewing gum, it stays in your stomach for the rest of your life."
"If you cross your eyes, they will get stuck."
"Santa Claus doesn't really exist."
You get the idea. Occasionally, they raised the stakes, like dressing me up as a ballerina ("You look cute in that tutu"), when everyone knew I was really Batman.
One of the most memorable events of my early childhood was a trip to Disneyland. While boarding the Matterhorn, one of my sisters enjoined me: "Stay in your seat! Last week a kid unbuckled his seat belt on this ride and died!"
He died on this ride?! I was about four years old and that scared the bejeebers out of me. Indeed, I trace my ongoing fear of fair rides to that day.
At some point, I concluded that my sister had invented that story to keep me safe, but it turns out she was right, at least about the most important fact. From Wikipedia: "Mark Maples, age 15, was killed on the Matterhorn in May 1964 when he unbuckled his seat belt and tried to stand up as the cart was approaching the peak of the mountain. He lost his balance and fell onto the track below and crushed his skull." This didn't happen the week before my visit to Disneyland, but it was only a couple of years prior.
Sorry I doubted you, Sis. As of today, no more crossing my eyes.
- Do businesses benefit from government stasis? The Times had one guy do a bank of the evenlope calculation; he "defined 'governmental gridlock' as a period when no single party controlled the White House and both chambers in Congress. From 1926 through last year, an index of large-capitalization stocks returned about 7 percent, annualized, when there was gridlock, compared with about 12 percent when there was not."
- I've got a short paper on the way that's going to delve into Ken Feinberg's tenure as the pay czar for the special seven TARP companies, and to that end, I went to hear the man speak at this Wharton conference (I gave a paper there, too). He was at his best - just resigned the job to focus on mediating the often rather speculative claims of injury coming out of the Gulf oil spill. No big reveals, but it's worth noting that the AIG people wanted cash now, rather than long vesting stock, even more than most, and it's worth noting that he got his consultants Lucian Bebchuk and Kevin Murphy (the one from USC) to agree that the stock grants were the way to go. Now that's skilled mediation!
- Who will be the educational institutions that grok and enjoy a reputation for doing so for Islamic finance? They may not be American.
I love libraries. In college, I worked at the George & Helen Mahon Public Library in Lubbock, Texas. I was a shelver; I made minimum wage and got a 15 minute break for every 4-hour shift. I read Love in the Time of Cholera in 15-minute increments when it was a "NEW" book. I started out shelving in the 300s and the 600s under the Dewey Decimal system. (The 300s are how-to books, including The Joy of Sex, which I reshelved every morning after retrieving it from wherever a patron squirreled it away -- no one ever checked out The Joy of Sex.) I was promoted to the Easy section, which is the hardest because toddlers never reshelve, then enjoyed a relaxing seniority stint in Fiction/Detective/Science Fiction. I think I have had a library card in every city in which I have lived. I am a regular at "Friends of the Library" sales.
So, this headline seemed sort of ominous: Anger as a Private Company Takes Over Libraries. Yikes! Are corporate raiders toilet-bowling libraries now, selling off books, shelving and microfiche readers? No. Municipalities are outsourcing management of public libraries to private concerns. Whew. Except some people are quite up in arms. The fear is that if we run libraries like private businesses, there will be "greater cost, fewer books, less access." Protests are held. Petitions signed. But it seems that the constituency that will lose out are employees, who were public employees with public pensions, and now might be private employees with 401(k)s. (Of course, in some states I know of, having a 401(k) seems preferable.) States may well be attracted to moving some of its liabilities on to a different ledger. Another concern might be if volunteers do a lot of a libraries' work -- people may not volunteer if they see the library as a private, for-profit concern.
In Champaign, we've had a library crisis of our own. Here, there is a proposal to require out-of-county folk to pay extra for a library card instead of having reciprocal lending privileges. Apparently, these "reciprocal" agreements are fairly one-sided, with non-Champaign resident use vastly exceeding use by Champaign residents at out-of-county libraries. (Ours is new, beautiful, etc.) The proposed fee is (gulp) $200, the average amount in taxes that a property owner in Champaign county pays to the library each year. I guess there's no such thing as a free library. That is a number that made me pause. That's more than a Netflix account. (I understand that a bricks-n-mortar operation is much more expensive than a nationwide website with huge economies of scale, etc.). but $200? How many families would pay that voluntarily to have library access? We are heavy users of the library. We are there most weeks. But some people probably don't go, and are subsidizing me. (Of course, I've had the same 3 Netflix movies on my counter for six months, so I'm subsidizing some 24 year-old who stays up a lot later than I do.) But there are also a lot of families who have less-than-average tax bills, or who rent, who could not come up with $200 a year, but who use the library's services.
The article never mentioned (and our local debate has not touched on) the reality of public libraries that I experienced during my time as a shelver. Public libraries are ports in the storm for a lot of people. They serve as small refuges during the day for all kinds of people from the homeless to latchkey middle schoolers to moms of toddlers who just need a diversion for an hour. These are challenges to all public libraries, and many embrace all of these populations, others not so much. So, I would be interested to see if changing the management changes the philosophy in how welcoming libraries are to all comers.
- I've been listening to the transactional instruction conference podcast from Emory, and if you've been noodling about adding some transactional instruction to your classes, you might enjoy a listen as well. In my view, the critical problems for this sort of instruction is the work required of the instructor, and the scalability of the exercises. I can use TAs, but law professors can't. And I've got a city full of adjuncts. Most people don't. A semester-long deal class still looks like a post-tenure luxury (be nice to expose my students to a modest drafting exercise though).
- An actual real finance lawyer on Basel III, and he writes well.
- Watts on Zaring on Jotwell.
- I'm teaching freshmen, starting in three weeks. Eager to make sense of the modern young person, I've tried to make it through a Fred video (his feature film drops this fall), and I checked in on Justin Bieber's twitter account, assuming that it must be pretty good if it has 4 million followers. The takeaways, in addition to a renewed commitment to keep the age divide unbridgeable: bangs are popular, and short form expression is getting even shorter.
An Old Spice spoof from BYU's library ...
A colleague from another department sent this video of poetry slammer and teacher Taylor Mali along to all her teaching friends at the end of the semester. I found it amazing, so I thought I'd pass it along as well. (anti-lawyer humor bonus.)
- Goldman before the senate: Tourre mentioned the sophisticated parties in much of his prepared talk, where he didn't look evil, but he did look slick; otherwise, I learned less than did the commentators at the link.
- Now that the New Yorker is evincing some skepticism about the Goldman case, it almost feels like a movement. John Cassidy is right to think about the ways that the case affects the possibility of financial reform; it seems like an interesting research question more generally. But the Lehman executives must be pleased that the prosecution of them has not become the zeitgeist legal matter of the post-crisis.
- Here's Jay Verret on how to get a job in financial regulation, that doesn't necessarily involve joining the government.
- Here's the corp commentator list of the top ten articles of the year.
It is that time of year again. Many entry-level candidates have offers and are negotiating their first academic job. Despite the relatively short time I have been in the academy, I have had the pleasure and privilege of mentoring several entry-level candidates and professors who are (barely) more junior that I am. Time and again I am reminded that many entry-level candidates have less than the ideal amount of information when they begin negotiating their first law teaching position. With that in mind, I am linking to a few relevant posts and sharing the checklist of questions that I put together when I was interviewing for law teaching jobs not so long ago.
I am aware of several helpful posts:
- Brian Leiter on What do you need to find out now that you've gotten a tenure-track offer? (2009)
- Glenn Cohen on Asking questions on the job market - Part II: about the offer (2008)
- Geoffrey Rapp on Negotiating Your First Law Professor Job (2006)
I am sure that there are others out there and I hope that people will include links to them in comments to this post.
Questions to Consider in Academic Job Negotiations
a. What is the salary scale and where would you be on that scale? Is it negotiable?
b. Are there interim promotions and, if so, what are the expectations for promotions?
2. Teaching Package and Load:
a. What is the standard breakdown of the course package?
b. How are the courses distributed?
c. How is the class size determined?
d. What is the policy on determining the days and times to teach?
3. Start Date: What is the standard start date? Is it possible to start earlier to prepare for classes?
4. Moving Expenses: What is the policy on moving expenses?
5. Summer Research Money:
a. This Summer: Is it possible to get summer research money for the summer before I teach my first classes? Is the amount negotiable since you may have start-up costs?
b. Summer Research Money Pre-Tenure: What is the policy on summer research money pre-tenure? Can it be agreed in advance or do you have to reapply each year?
6. Pre-Tenure Teaching Dispensation: Is there a reduced teaching load in the first semester / first year / pre-tenure period?
7. Pre-Tenure Committee Dispensation:
a. What are the expectations around committees?
b. On which committees do junior faculty usually serve?
8. Conferences: Is there a policy on funding to attend conferences? Do you have to apply for each one? Is it possible to designate certain conferences that you will be able to attend even if you are not participating? Is there a different policy for domestic versus international conferences?
9. Research Assistants:
a. Is it possible to get money for research assistance throughout the academic year?
b. Is there funding for research assistants during the summer and if so, what is the procedure?
a. Does the law school support ExpressO for article submissions?
b. Does the library carry the law reviews and journals that are important to your field or research?
c. Does the law school have access to electronic databases that are important to your field or research?
11. Contract Duration:
a. What is the standard length of pre-tenure contracts?
b. What is the process for renewal?
a. What is the timeline for the tenure process?
b. What are the tenure expectations?
c. Is there a mid-pre-tenure review process and when does this take place?
d. If there is a mid-pre-tenure review, and what are the expectations around that?
e. Is it possible to get an option to request earlier tenure review?
13. Housing Assistance:
a. Is there a university-wide or law school program to provide housing assistance and if so, how is that structured? Is there anything to compensate for high property taxes?
b. Is there travel funding to return for house hunting visit?
14. Faculty Budget: Do faculty members have a discretionary budget, for example, for books and, if so, how is that money accessed?
15. Bar Membership Fees: What is the policy on bar membership fees?
16. Furniture and Computer Hardware: What is the policy on furniture and computer hardware?
17. Health Care: What is the health care plan and how does that work?
18. Pension: Is there a pension or retirement program and how does that work?
19. Offices: How are offices allocated?
20. Parking: Is there a parking allowance? How does that work?
21. Sabbatical: Is there a sabbatical policy and if so, what is the policy?
22. Title: What do the terms assistant, associate, and full professor mean and what obligations, rights, and privileges are associated with each?
23. Junior Faculty Support:
a. How many other senior/junior people are they hiring this year, or have they already hired?
b. Are there programs in place for them (e.g. paper workshops, workshops on teaching)?
24. Timing for Answer: When do you need a response?
This is not an exhaustive list and candidates will need to make choices about which questions to ask, who to ask which questions, and when to ask these questions. Many thanks to all my friends and mentors in the academy, who suggested these questions and advised me when I was on the market.