A Real Lawyer!

As Orin noted a few days ago, I've become an Academic Affiliate of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. (My wife, babies, dogs, and I have been moving to Pacific Palisades this week, so I haven't had much of a chance until today to post about this myself.) I'm delighted to be working with the Mayer people, who are first-rate lawyers, and who have the largest appellate practice in the country. I'm particularly proud that Michael McConnell, one of my academic idols, used to be an academic affiliate at Mayer. Leading First Amendment scholar Martin Redish and tort law scholar John Goldberg are academic affiliates there, too.

I've been a legal academic for going on 12 years, and a law clerk for 2 years before that; but I have little actual lawyering experience, and I think being affiliated with Mayer is an excellent way of filling that gap. I'll only be working roughly 150 hours a year or so with Mayer, so I'll continue being a law professor first and foremost; my teaching load will remain the same as before, and I'll continue writing legal articles as before. In fact, I hope the experience will make me a better teacher and scholar, and give me lots of ideas for new scholarly work. (For those curious about how the University views consulting arrangements, I should mention that the UC rule seems to be that academics are expected to spend no more than 1 day in 7 on outside work; my 150-hour target is roughly half that maximum.)

I'll also continue blogging, talking to reporters, and writing the occasional op-ed, though I'll probably comment relatively little about cases that I'm involved in. (This has been my practice in the past as well; this is why, for instance, I've not commented much on the Lyle v. Warner Brothers "Friends" sexual harassment case.) I will naturally disclose my connection with any case that I do blog or comment about. If I'm right that this will be an important learning experience for me, then I suspect that it will improve my blogging as well, since it will give me a better perspective on how the legal rules actually play out on the ground.