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University of Minnesota Law School Must be Doing Something Right:

UM has been doing a tremendous amount of lateral hiring lately, and excellent laterals at that. According to the lists compiled by Dan Filler at Concurring Opinions, last year Minnesota recruited Alexandra Klass from William Mitchell College of Law; Heidi Kitrosser from Brooklyn Law School; Claire Hill from Chicago-Kent; Thomas Kotter from Washington & Lee; Francesco Parisi from George Mason; and Chantal Thomas from Fordham. This year, Minnesota has recruited Laura Beny from Michigan; Susanna Blumenthal from Michigan; Thomas Gallanis from Washington and Lee; Michelle Goodwin from DePaul; and Gregory Shaffer from Wisconsin and Loyola.

I'd love to know the secret of Minnesota's recruiting success. I'm sure Minneapolis is a lovely city, but given the winter weather there, it must be awfully hard to persuade people to relocate (though less hard, I'm sure, if the candidate was already in Minneapolis, Chicago, or Ann Arbor, as six of them were--but still, if you lived in Chicago, wouldn't you want to move South).

LawJoe:
Didn't Minnesota lose a ton of their best faculty over the last five years? They say necessity is the mother of invention, so perhaps the necessity to replenish the faculty led them to be unusually focused on hiring good people.
3.23.2007 12:02pm
MikeR:
I'm always bemused by those further south who can't think beyond a little snow. They make clothes for that sort of thing. I enjoy being able to take a lap around (or on) one of the local lakes on my skis. And Minneapolis is a great place to live. While I don't know the secret of the law school's recruiting success, I can't imagine the weather is that big of a deal.
3.23.2007 12:08pm
davidbernstein (mail):
"A little snow" is no big deal. Windchills of 30 below, that's another story.
3.23.2007 12:12pm
New World Dan (www):
It should come as no surprise, that you can go literally anywhere in downtown Minneapolis without stepping outside. Likewise for most parts of the U of M campus. Minneapolis is also a great town if you're into the theater. Most of the winter isn't even that bad. You get 2-3 weeks where it's insanely cold and a couple of good snow storms, but the rest of it really isn't that bad.

The one hire that surprises me a bit is Klass from William Mitchell. I just can't imagine leaving a nice place like Billy Mitch for the hassle and frustration of the U of M.
3.23.2007 12:39pm
frankcross (mail):
And how about Tubby Smith! Minnesota's hot
3.23.2007 12:42pm
Minnesota Reader:
We like to think that windchills of 30 below are invigorating! Besides, it keeps the riff raff out. In actuality, I think that the weather here is a significant impediment to recruiting from outside the region for law firms. This is despite the fact that for many who work downtown, the most time spent outside most days is the time it takes for them to get from the back door of their house to their car. A conference room in Minneapolis is no colder than a conference room in Charlotte.
3.23.2007 12:44pm
SeaLawyer:

Minneapolis is also a great town if you're into the theater.


Don't forget all the chain restaurants.
3.23.2007 12:45pm
Insider (mail):
I think Beny and Blumenthal were both denied tenure at Michigan.
3.23.2007 1:11pm
chrismn (mail):
Across the University (not just the Law school) there is supposedly a good amount of evidence (I haven't seen it, but have been told it exists) that the University is unusually good at getting faculty to come back to Minnesota after they have left, but find it hard to get people who have never lived here to move here. This suggests that the climate is a bigger issue in people's minds than in reality. It also takes some getting used to. I mind it far less now than my first winter.
In fact, I look forward to sunny, cold, snow covered days. They're beautiful. The key is to do what the natives do: get outside constantly for sports (or at least walks) the entire winter. As an earlier poster said, it really just is a matter of equipment.

The Twin Cities have a lot of advantages. I know Stanford and UCLA have real problems recruiting senior faculty from less expensive cities because even with a raise the recruit can see that his standard of living is going to fall since a half decent house costs well over a million dollars. Here,
real estate prices, while nothing like a rural area, are still in the range that a professor can raise a family in a nice house without his wife having to work. That is, we're not in the California, New York range. On the other hand, it's a real metropolitan area with non-stop flights when you need to travel to give talks and so forth, and all the other stuff you expect from a real city as opposed to a land grant university in the middle of nowhere.
3.23.2007 1:42pm
bobolinq (mail):
Beny was very new at Michigan; she was nowhere near a tenure decision. Blumenthal is from Minnesota. I don't know if she was up for tenure — but neither does "Insider."

Insider: consider keeping uninformed speculation to yourself.
3.23.2007 1:56pm
anon5151:
chrismn - you might have said "spouse" instead of "wife" given the gender of many of the hires.

boboling - isn't your assertion that insider did not know anything itself speculative ?
3.23.2007 3:35pm
ksd:
I grew up in Michigan and attended the U of Michigan for both undergrad and law school. I now live in Minneapolis, so I know a little bit about the comparative climates of the two places. Trust me -- winter in Minneapolis beats the heck out of winter in Ann Arbor. Minneapolis is a little colder, but it is very sunny and gets decent snowfall. Ann Arbor is just gray, wet and dreary for months on end. In Minneapolis, you can enjoy the winter; in Ann Arbor, you just survive it. For that matter, winter in Minneapolis is a lot better than Memphis, too (where I lived for 7 years before moving to Minneapolis).

Besides, the twin cities have a lot of other things going for them. They have the best theater scene outside of New York and LA, great art galleries and museums and, yes, very good restaurants (not just chains). To top it all off, you have the best schools and park system, and the most highly educated population, of any state in the country, plus a vibrant economy and a quite low cost of living. If you can get past a little cold weather and friggin' "Minnesota Nice", you'll love it.
3.23.2007 3:53pm
Colin (mail):
They have the best theater scene outside of New York and LA

Why is that?
3.23.2007 4:30pm
New World Dan (www):
Minneapolis is very in to the theater. There are dozens of theater companies, reportedly more than any city outside of New York. They cater to nearly any niche you can imagine.

And we have "Minnesota Nice". Which means that we're all generally very polite and pleasant even while we're passive-agressively jerking you around. Truth be told, though, Minnesota Nice isn't what it used to be.
3.23.2007 4:43pm
frankcross (mail):
Beny just underwent tenure review, don't know how it came out.
3.23.2007 4:59pm
Rex:
The one hire that surprises me a bit is Klass from William Mitchell. I just can't imagine leaving a nice place like Billy Mitch for the hassle and frustration of the U of M.

Can you explain this? Is this sarcasm?
3.23.2007 5:30pm
Beny's Leaving? (mail):
I didn't know Beny wasn't coming back! I really have enjoyed her class.
3.23.2007 6:58pm
Luke:
3.23.2007 11:08pm
Bill Gleason (mail) (www):
Theater seeded by Tyrone Guthrie long ago. Just built fantastic new Guthrie theater in the last year. Children's Theater, Mixed Blood, Penumbra, Jeune Leune... All great theaters.

Don't forget classical music if you are into that. Osmo Vanska is relatively new conductor of Minnesota Orchestra and is an outstanding musician. St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Twin Cities is also outstanding.

Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities) is a really nice place to live. Maybe it's due to global warming, but I have been here 30 years and the weather does not get as cold or provide as much snow as in the good old days.

Go Gophers!
3.23.2007 11:28pm
chrismn (mail):
Anon5151 writes: chrismn - you might have said "spouse" instead of "wife" given the gender of many of the hires.

That's true. I might have said "spouse" instead of "wife." But I didn't. That's because I wrote "Here,
real estate prices, while nothing like a rural area, are still in the range that a professor can raise a family in a nice house without his wife having to work." I have never met a married female professor with a stay at home husband who took care of the kids. Have you?
3.24.2007 12:20am
Joshua:
And how about Tubby Smith! Minnesota's hot

The U of M men's hockey team (WCHA regular-season and tournament champions, #1 seed in the NCAA West region) isn't doing too shabby either.

Not to mention the NHL's Wild (winners of 8 straight as of this post) who play next door in St. Paul.
3.24.2007 1:39pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
chrismn wrote:
I have never met a married female professor with a stay at home husband who took care of the kids. Have you?
Actually, I have. She was one of my college classmates. Her husband used to be an engineer, but she makes more than he did (she's a medical professor and must earn more than profs in most other fields) so when they had kids he's the one who stopped working and cared for them at home.
3.24.2007 9:29pm