Big, and good, news for Notre Dame Law School: Professors A.J. and Patricia Bellia have turned down tenured offers from the University of Virginia Law School, which is ranked in the U.S. News Top 10, and will stay at NDLS. Brian Leiter calls this a "major retention coup for Notre Dame."
My impression is that it’s almost an article of faith among some NDLS critics, skeptics and detractors that the school’s young superstar professors, such as the Bellias, will inevitably be "poached" by other, higher-ranking law schools in due course. This development appears to contradict that belief, which is a very good thing.
As Leiter says, "Notre Dame has long had a strong reputation among practitioners … but the school
has also noticeably strengthened its faculty from a scholarly point of
view in the last decade." Indeed, during last year’s unfortunate "Paulinogate" incident, one thing that became crystal clear was that pretty much everyone, even those who strongly criticize the law school for various things, totally disagreed with Jimmy’s criticisms of the faculty: there was almost universal agreement among Irish Trojan commenters that the NDLS faculty rocks. And the Bellias are a big part of that, so it’s great that they’re staying put. Indeed, I daresay this is a much bigger deal than last week’s news that NDLS had climbed back to #22 in those flawed U.S. News rankings. Those numbers may vary from year to year, but if profs like the Bellias are staying put, the law school will be just fine.