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January 19, 2009

Another law professor takes on another big job in the Obama Administration

The BLT Blog reports on another law professor taking on an important role in the Obama Administration as second banana in the Office of the Solicitor General: "Legal Timeshas confirmed that Georgetown law professor Neal Katyal, who successfully argued the landmark detainee rights case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld before the Supreme Court, will serve as principal deputy solicitor general, the office’s No. 2 spot, starting Tuesday."

Though the substantive significance of this appointment will be of greatest interest to practitioners, I think would-be law school innovators can and should see this appointment as yet another indication that the disjunction between the legal academy and the practicing bar is likely to shrink in the new Administration.  Indeed, recall that, in the wake of his work in Hamdan, Neal wrote a terrifically interesting Harvard Law Review comment encouraging the legal academy to go practice.  I wonder if Neal can and will use his new position to continue making this important call to law professor service.

Some related posts:

Posted by DAB

UPDATEThis post by Jack Balkin at Balkinization reports on still more transitions of academics into key positions in the Obama Admininstration's Justice Department: 

Some of you may have noticed that Marty Lederman has not been blogging recently at Balkinization. The reason is that he has been working on the Department of Justice Transition team. As of today, the commencement of the Obama Administration, he begins work as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. There he will be joined by two of his former OLC colleagues, Dawn Johnsen, nominated to be head of the office; and David Barron, who will serve as the Principal Deputy (and as the Acting AAG while the Senate considers Dawn’s nomination).

January 19, 2009 in Legal profession realities and developments | Permalink


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Academics do not innovate, to my knowledge. They compile cases, years after the decisions. That is true in most other professions as well.

Academic thinking is that of the practitioner from 5 years ago.

This appointment is shocking. The person who won the decision mandating that no terrorist may be held without giving a lawyer a job, will now be in charge of future prosecutions of our secret agents, and of the terrorists they capture.

I pray that does not invite a major terror attack.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 19, 2009 5:20:55 PM

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