Since May 24, I've been officially unemployed! My time at Virginia is technically over, and my various new affiliations technically don't begin for another month or so (those affiliations are: Georgetown, preceded by a leave of absence during which I'll be based at the Open Society Institute, working on a book).
I'm feeling very sad about leaving Virginia (Ed.: Then why leave? RB: just geography). Although I'm looking forward to new adventures and new friends elsewhere, I do wonder if any major US law school comes close to duplicating Virginia's intensely warm and collegial culture. At Virginia, faculty members routinely have dinner parties and parties together, go shopping together, form book clubs together, host baby showers for one another, and even go on vacations together. That's not to mention the work stuff: people are in their offices, they pay a lot of attention to teaching, and we have a very well-attended general interest workshop (at which people have actually read the paper) that meets on Friday afternoons at 3:30, and starts with wine and cheese.
Granted, Charlottesville is a small town, so I suppose one might say we have nothing better to do here than hang out together-- whereas people at big city schools have plenty of other options. But I think it is more than that. Do Cornell, Michigan, and other small-city schools have similar cultures?
How unique is Virginia's faculty culture? And how important is it to try to create such a faculty culture? And... can such a culture be created where it does not exist? Any examples?