Dean Koh to State Department:

I just received an email from Yale Law School informing me that Dean Harold Koh is to be nominated by President Obama to be Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State. He is stepping down as dean. Prof. Kate Stith will be interim dean.

Most observers seem to think that Harvard has gained ground on Yale while Kagan and Koh have been the deans at these schools. In part this is because Kagan was an unusually effective dean, and in part because Harvard had "underperformed" previously, especially during the tumultuous 80s, when factional fighting on the faculty brought hiring to a near-standstill.

Of particular interest to many VC readers, Harvard under Kagan seemed far more open to hiring right-of-center faculty than did Yale under Koh, and, from what I understand the Harvard Federalist Society thrived in ways that its counterpart at Yale did not.

Now that both of these deans are leaving to join the Obama administration, it will be very interesting to follow developments at both schools. Meanwhile, congratulations to Dean Koh.