Shirking v. Intentional Bad Conduct: MoneyLaw and Tenure, Take Two

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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6 Responses

  1. Jeff Harrison says:

    Dave: I am all for more research but since tenure can be costly to an institution, shouldn’t you be describing the positive impact of tenure on scholarship and teaching?

  2. dave hoffman says:


    Why? I’m not arguing for tenure. I’m merely saying that a bad argument against it is that it results in shirking. MoneyLaw should be all about using data to make better, more focused, interventions in legal education, right?

    Focusing on good arguments & tight links between empirical findings and policy may create support for potential reforms to the system.

  3. Mark McKenna says:

    Dave –

    There’s probably an additional explanation for the decrease in the number of pages produced after tenure, one that isn’t related to age. Before tenure there is pressure to write pieces that demonstrate that one is conversant with the relevant literature; hence the redundant “state of the literature” sections in so many pieces. My sense is that this pressure drops away to some degree after tenure, since that’s about the time one has already made somewhat of a name for herself. Maybe this difference is less pronounced after the law reviews announced their policies on article length, but I doubt it has gone away. To the extent this factor explains some of the decrease in output after tenure, I think that’s a good thing.

  4. Howard Wasserman says:

    I think Mark is right that the nature of the work we do post-tenure changes. Post-tenure, people also may write more shorter symposium pieces, a product of having made a name for themselves and getting those invitations. Post-tenure, people also may be freed up to write books (an increasingly common element of legal scholarship), which involve more pages of scholarship, but take longer to produce, perhaps resulting in an overall decrease in total pages for a particular period of time.

  5. jeffrey Harrison says:

    Dave: Your point is well taken (although I disagree) but as a general matter shouldn’t the burden be on those who want to impose the cost of tenure on others. I have yet to hear that argument.

    With respect to the comments before mine, I believe the study I referred you to did include books. However as I say in that study, the decrease I determined probably understates the actual decrease. Many books are compilations of a few earlier articles and articles often build on old ones. Nothing is wrong with any of that but to suggest that as much effort or new thinking goes into many of those post tenure works would be incorrect.

    As for symposium pieces — they are the ultimate gathering places for ideas already expressed elsewhere (after all people are often invited on the basis of a prediction about what they will say).

  6. Jeff Lipshaw says:

    As I noted in a comment over at MoneyLaw, I think the merits of this discussion are interesting. I just object to the term “movement,” particularly since I have blogged at both Concurring Opinions and MoneyLaw. I’m all in favor of metonymy (and synecdoche and Schenectady for that matter), but personally, I wouldn’t want to join any movement that would have me as a member.

    For definition of movement, see Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant.