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Lewyn Addresses America

A little politics, a little urbanism- I also blog 100 percent on urbanism at and

My sense, from talking to non-academics, is that people who think legal education is too theoretical also tend to be skeptical of tenure.

But it seems to me that these people should be supportive of tenure. Here’s why:

At this year’s AALS conference (see last post) I learned that at least some tenure committees tend to favor theoretical scholarship (based on, I suspect, a feeling that this sort of work is more likely to be heavily cited in the long run). So if there is no tenure, faculty will be forced to write theoretical scholarship for the rest of their lives.

By contrast, tenure allows practically-minded faculty to write practical articles and books.

And if you assume (as I think some people do) that tenure committees’ theoretical orientation tends to be accompanied by a leftish political bias, you should probably favor tenure as a protection for conservatives as well.


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