The University of Virginia School of Law recently announced the addition of 17 high-profile academics to the faculty roster, and Twitter took notice in its own colorful way.
Just in the past six months, UVA Law reported the hires of tenured or tenure-track professors Payvand Ahdout, Rachel Bayefsky, Jay Butler, Danielle Citron, Mitu Gulati, Craig Konnoth, Kimberly Krawiec, David Law, Joy Milligan and Bertrall Ross – with two joining the faculty on the tenure track and the rest making lateral moves.
The list is packed with former U.S. Supreme Court clerks and Rhodes Scholars. Most will join the faculty this summer. Citron, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship genius grant recipient, joined in December.
Those new faculty members follow this past school year’s additions: professors Naomi Cahn, Kristen Eichensehr, Thomas Frampton, Cathy Hwang, Richard Re, Lawrence Solum and Megan Stevenson.
Collectively, the hires range from seasoned scholars to emerging academics and represent a wide variety of interests, approaches and methodologies. Nine of the group are women and seven are people of color.
On Twitter, peers at other law schools made note of the hiring wave as they congratulated their colleagues making moves. The tweets drew analogies to winning sports teams, antitrust law, popular films and other cultural touchstones.
Melissa Murray of New York University School of Law, who recently taught a January Term course at UVA Law, and Danielle Holley-Walker, dean of the Howard University School of Law, speculated that UVA might be assembling heroes against some kind of cosmic threat.
Stephen Mouritsen, a commercial litigator and adjunct law professor at Brigham Young University, teased, “According to my model, within 30 years, everyone will teach at UVa.”
Still others went old-school with their analogies.
A hyperbolic tweet by David Noll of Rutgers Law School got the attention of reporter Karen Sloan, who writes for National Law Journal and Law.com.
Soon, there will be a single U.S. law school--@UVALaw--and people will talk about other schools the way we talk about "independent" bookstores.— David L. Noll (@davidlnoll) May 6, 2021
In her article “One Law School To Rule Them All?,” Sloan commented, “I too had noticed that the University of Virginia School of Law has been on an absolute tear this cycle with lateral faculty hiring. It seemed like every other day the Charlottesville law school was announcing another high-profile faculty hire.”
So she asked Dean Risa Goluboff to reveal her recruiting secrets. The dean explained that the Law School takes an active interest in prospects years in advance of their hires, reading everything they write and steadily building relationships.
Goluboff and outgoing vice dean and UVA Law alumna Leslie Kendrick worked with successive hiring committee chairs Deborah Hellman, Michael Livermore, Frederick Schauer, Quinn Curtis and Michael Gilbert, as well as three years of hiring committees and the whole faculty, to identify, evaluate and recruit the talented new professors.
“Our appointments committee and our faculty have worked tirelessly over the past several years to bring supremely talented and diverse scholars and teachers to our already stellar faculty,” Goluboff said. “Our new and incoming faculty are either already academic superstars or superstars in the making – highly influential voices in their fields whose scholarship will have an impact at UVA Law, both inside and outside of the classroom, and well beyond it.”
Goluboff herself has been the subject of some of the Twitter banter.
“HOW IS @RisaGoluboff doing it?” Paul Gowder of the Northwestern School of Law asked. “Did she sell her soul at a crossroads, Robert Johnson-style, for the unholy power to recruit amazing faculty?”
The dean did not comment on the possibility.
As the Law School announced one of its final hires for the cycle, Lee Kovarsky of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, a 2004 UVA Law grad, tweeted in summation, “UVA FTW for like the 100th time this season.”
Follow the Professors
The new faculty members have diverse scholarly interests and, where noted, can be followed on Twitter:
- Payvand Ahdout, modern federal courts, @PAhdout
- Rachel Bayefsky, courts, dignity in the legal process, @RachelBayefsky
- Jay Butler, international law and corporate social responsibility
- Naomi Cahn, family law, trusts and estates, feminist jurisprudence, @NaomiCahn
- Danielle Citron, digital privacy, civil liberties and civil rights, @daniellecitron
- Kristen Eichensehr, cybersecurity, foreign relations, separation of powers, national security, @K_Eichensehr
- Thomas Frampton, criminal law, constitutional criminal procedure, @TFrampton
- Mitu Gulati, sovereign debt, contract law
- Cathy Hwang, corporate contracts and deals, business law, @cathyhwang47
- Craig Konnoth, health care law, law and sexuality, @CKonnoth
- Kimberly Krawiec, market regulation, nontraditional/taboo markets, @KimKrawiec
- David Law, courts, constitutions, comparative law, @DavidSLaw
- Joy Milligan, race-based economic inequality, civil rights, civil procedure, @_joymilligan
- Richard Re, criminal procedure, federal courts, constitutional law, @RichardMRe
- Bertrall Ross, law and democracy, election integrity and fairness, @Bertrall_Ross
- Lawrence Solum, constitutional theory, procedure, the philosophy of law, @lsolum
- Megan Stevenson, law and economics, criminal law and policy, @MeganTStevenson