Tuesday, July 18, 2017

June LSAT takers up nearly 20% last month compared to 2016

Is California’s bar examination minimum passing score anti-competitive? (Michael Simkovic)

Occupational licensing regimes can help markets function when those markets suffer from what Economist George Akerlof coined a “lemons” problem.  In a lemons market, it is too costly or difficult for consumers to distinguish goods or services of acceptable quality from those that are close to worthless or even harmful.  Licensing regimes can help solve this problem by assuring consumers of a minimal baseline level of quality.  Effectively, licensing removes the bottom of the market, increasing quality, consumer confidence, volume, and price.

But economists worry that licensing regimes could be abused.  For example, if members of a licensed occupation were to seize control of licensing, they might set unnecessarily high barriers to entry for their industry, above what is optimal for consumer protection.  This could create an artificial shortage, reduce competition, drive up prices and drive down quality of services.  Political leaders also worry that excessive state or local licensing regimes could deprive workers of valuable economic opportunities and reduce their geographic mobility.

The deans of almost all ABA approved California law schools have jointly expressed concerns that California’s minimum passing score (‘cut score’) on the nationally uniform, multiple choice, Multi-State Bar Exam bar examination is excessively high. 

These leaders of legal education note that California has a higher cut score than any state except Delaware, no justification has been provided for this unusually high cut score, and some parts of California may have a shortage of lawyers.  Moreover, although law graduates from California score better on the MBE than the national average, they are less likely to pass the bar exam because of California’s unusually high cut score.  The case for bringing California’s cut score into line with those of other leading legal jurisdictions such as New York has been most forcefully stated by UC-Hastings Dean David Faigman. 

Amid concerns about possible anti-trust lawsuits against the State Bar, the Supreme Court of California has agreed to supervise the state bar of California and may set a lower bar cut score.

High cut scores are not the only signs of possible anti-competitive protectionism in California. California is among the few states that, without exception, forces experienced attorneys licensed in other states to sit for reexamination prior to relicensing. The overwhelming majority of jurisdictions—including New York, Washington D.C., Illinois, Texas, and Massachusetts—permit experienced lawyers who are licensed in another state to obtain a license to practice law on motion, without the need for reexamination.  (Some impose additional requirements, such as graduation from an ABA-approved law school or reciprocity by the state of origin).

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics[i] shows that California lawyers earn more, on average, than lawyers in any jurisdiction except Washington D.C. 


2016 BLS mean lawyer earnings by state

Top paying States for Lawyers:

State

Employment

Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient[ii]

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage 

District of Columbia

31,470

44.81

10.16

$87.89

$182,810

California

76,840

4.81

1.09

$77.89

$162,010

New York

72,760

8.00

1.81

$77.53

$161,260

Massachusetts

17,440

5.04

1.14

$76.33

$158,760

Delaware

2,590

5.87

1.33

$75.77

$157,610

While this may be great for lawyers, it is not necessarily an unmitigated good.  It means that legal services likely cost clients more and may be less widely available. 

Continue reading

July 18, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, July 17, 2017

Some corrected data on trends in law school applications and LSAT scores

Here.  The problem is that the Blog Emperor relies too often on unreliable sources like "Law School Transparency" and the hopeless Matt Leichter.

July 17, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, July 10, 2017

Lateral hires with tenure or on tenure-track, 2016-17

MOVING TO FRONT--ORIGINALLY POSTED AUGUST 1, 2016

These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2017 (except where noted); I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in.   (Recent additions are in bold.)  Last year's list is here.

 

*Aviva Abramovsky (commercial law, insurance law, financial regulation, legal ethics) from Syracuse University to the University at Buffalo (to become Dean).

 

*Ifeoma Ajunwa (privacy, health law & policy, antidiscrimination law) from the University of District Columbia Clarke School of Law to Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations (with a courtesy appointment in law as well) (untenured lateral).

 

*Richard Albert (constitutional law, comparative constitutional law) from Boston College to the University of Texas, Austin (effective January 2018).

 

*Erez Aloni (family law, contracts, law & sexuality) from Whittier Law School to Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia (untenured lateral). 

 

*Sahar Aziz (national security law, antidiscrimination law, Middle East law) from Texas A&M University to Rutgers University.

 

*Adam Badawi (contracts, corporate) from Washington University, St. Louis to the University of California, Berkeley.

 

*Shalanda Baker (energy law, international environmental law, administrative law) from the University of Hawaii to Northeastern University.

 

*Angela Banks (immigration law) from the College of William & Mary to Arizona State University.

 

*Natalie Banta (property, trusts & estates, tax) from Valparaiso University to Drake University (untenured lateral).

 

*Richard Bierschbach (criminal law & procedure) from Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University to Wayne State University (to become Dean).

 

*Binyamin Blum (legal history, evidence, criminal procedure) from Hebrew University, Jerusalem to the University of California Hastings (starting in Spring 2018) (untenured lateral). 

 

*William Boyd (environmental law, energy law) from the University of Colorado, Boulder to the University of California, Los Angeles (effective 2018).

 

*Richard R.W. Brooks (contracts, business organizations, law & economics, law & social norms) from Columbia University to New York University.

 

*Alfred Brophy (legal history, trusts & estates) from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (back after nine years) to the University of Alabama.

 

*Eleanor Brown (property, immigration and migration law, law & development) from George Washington University to Pennsylvania State University, University Park. 

 

*Christopher Bruner (corporate law, securities regulation) from Washington & Lee University to the University of Georgia.

 

*Marcilynn A. Burke (property, land use, natural resources) from the University of Houston to the University of Oregon (to become Dean).

 

*Megan Carpenter (intellectual property) from Texas A&M University to the University of New Hampshire (to become Dean).

 

*Erwin Chemerinsky (constitutional law, civil procedure) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of California, Berkeley (to become Dean).

 

*Nicolas Cornell (contracts, law & philosophy) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to the University of Michigan (law) (untenured lateral).

 

*Sharon Davies (criminal law & procedure) from Ohio State University to Spelman College (to become Provost).

 

*Darby Dickerson (higher education law & policy, litigation ethics) from Texas Tech University (where she is currently Dean) to John Marshall Law School, Chicago (to become Dean).

 

*Ben Edwards (corporate law, securities regulation, consumer financial protection) from Barry University to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (untenured lateral).

 

*Tonya Evans (intellectual property, entertainment law, trusts & estates) from Widener University Commonwealth to the University of New Hampshire.

 

*Catherine Fisk (labor & employment law, intellectual property, legal history, civil rights) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of California, Berkeley.

 

*Victor Flatt (environmental law, energy law) from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (back, after eight years) to the University of Houston.

 

*Sheila Foster (property, land use, environmental law & policy, local government) from Fordham University to Georgetown University (joint with Public Policy).

 

*Eric Franklin (corporate, contracts, economic & community development clinic) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (untenured latereal).

 

*Brett Frischmann (intellectual property, Cyberlaw) from Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University to Villanova University.

 

*David Gamage (tax) from the University of California, Berkeley to Indiana University, Bloomington.

 

*Rachel Godsil (property, civil rights) from Seton Hall University to Rutgers University.

 

*Erica Goldberg (torts, criminal procedure, insurance law) from Ohio Northern University to the University of Dayton (untenured lateral).

 

*Sarah Haan (corporate) from the University of Idaho to Washington & Lee University.

 

*Kevin Haeberle (corporate law, securities regulation) from University of South Carolina to the College of William & Mary (untenured lateral)

 

*Sam Halabi (health law) from the University of Tulsa to the University of Missouri, Columbia.

 

*Woodrow Hartzog (privacy law, media law, Cyberlaw, intellectual property) from Cumberland School of Law, Samford University to Northeastern University.

 

*David Hasen (tax) from the University of Colorado, Boulder to the University of Florida, Gainesville.

 

*Allison Hoffman (health law & policy) from the University of California, Los Angeles to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*David Hoffman (contracts, law & psychology) from Temple University to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*Herbert Hovenkamp (antitrust, legal history) from the University of Iowa to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*Nicole Huberfeld (health law, constitutional law) from the University of Kentucky to the School of Public Health, Boston University.

 

*Blake Hudson (environmental law, natural resources, land use) from Louisiana State University to the University of Houston.

 

*Lolita Buckner Inniss (property, legal history) from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law to Southern Methodist University.

 

*Margot Kaminski (law & technology, civil liberties, privacy law) from Ohio State University to University of Colorado, Boulder (untenured lateral).

 

*Orin Kerr (criminal procedure, computer crime law) from George Washington University to the University of Southern California (effective January 2018).

 

*Kurt Lash (constitutional law) from the University of Illinois to the University of Richmond.

 

*Yoon-Ho Alex Lee (securities regulation, corporate, administrative law, antitrust, law & economics, consumer protection law) from the University of Southern California to Northwestern University.

 

*Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky (torts, First Amendment) from the University of Florida to the University of Missouri, Columbia (to become Dean).

 

*Dayna Matthew (health law) from the University of Colorado, Boulder to the University of Virginia.

 

*Pamela Metzger (criminal law & procedure) from Tulane University to Southern Methodist University.

 

*Paul Miller (fiduciary law, private law theory) from McGill University to the University of Notre Dame.

 

*Nicholas A. Mirkay, III (tax) from Creighton University to the University of Hawaii.

 

*Samuel Moyn (legal history, human rights) from Harvard University to Yale University.

Continue reading

July 10, 2017 in Faculty News | Permalink

Friday, July 7, 2017

In Memoriam: Norman Dorsen (1930-2017) and John A. Robertson (1943-2017)

My former Texas colleague John Dzienkowski kindly called to my attention the recent passing of two well-known figures in the legal academy.

Professor Dorsen was a leading civil liberties advocate and longtime member of the NYU Law faculty.  The New York Times obituary is here.

I was particularly saddened to learn of the death of my former Texas colleague John A. Robertson, a leading figure in law and bioethics.  The Austin-American Statesman obituary is here, and there is a lovely remembrance from Glenn Cohen (Harvard) here.

July 7, 2017 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wall Street Journal trims legal coverage (Michael Simkovic)

The Wall Street Journal closed several of its blogs on Monday, including its Law Blog.  The WSJ has maintained its blogs with broader readership, such as those about economics and personal finance.  

July 5, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Weblogs | Permalink

A law professor's advice for Jeff Bezos

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Law schools that made multiple lateral hires with tenure during 2016-17

Based on our running list, these law schools made at least three lateral hires with tenure this year:

Georgetown University:  Sheila Foster from Fordham University; Brad Snyder from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Urska Velikonja from Emory University.

 

Rutgers University:  Sahar Aziz from Texas A&M University; Rachel Godsil from Seton Hall University; Rosa Villazor from the University of California, Davis.

 

University of California, Berkeley:  Adam Badawi from Washington University, St. Louis; Erwin Chemerinsky from the University of California, Irvine (as Dean); Catherine Fisk from the University of California, Irvine; Frank Partnoy from the University of San Diego.

 

University of New Hampshire:  Megan Carpenter from Texas A&M University (as Dean); Tonya Evans from Widener Commonwealth University; Ryan Vacca from the University of Akron.

 

University of Pennsylvania:  Allison Hoffman from the University of California, Los Angeles; David Hoffman from Temple University; Herbert Hovenkamp from the University of Iowa.

 

University of Southern California:  Orin Kerr from George Washington University; Michael Simkovic from Seton Hall University; Franita Tolson from Florida State University. 

June 29, 2017 in Faculty News | Permalink

Friday, June 23, 2017

Least educated county on Oregon's Pacific Coast shuts its last public library rather than increase taxes by $6 per month per household (Michael Simkovic)

Douglas County in rural Oregon recently shut its last public library rather than increase property taxes by around $6 per month per household.  Less than 16 percent of the population of Douglas County has a bachelor's degree or above, making it the third least educated county on the Pacific Coast of the United States and the least educated coastal county in Oregon. 

 

Across the Pacific, cities like Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai have built globally competitive workforces by investing heavily in education and infrastructure and embracing global trade.  In the United States, excessive anti-tax movements have contributed to disinvestment and have slowed U.S. economic growth.

 

Update:  Michelle Anderson (Stanford) and David Schleicher (Yale) debate policy responses to local economic decline and migration of educated populations away from depressed areas.  Hat tip Paul Diller. (Willamette).

 

June 23, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest, Science, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

House Democrats propose bill to reduce debt burden for graduate students (Michael Simkovic)

Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) (Pasadena) recently introduced H.R. 2526, the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt (POST GRAD) Act. The bill would restore the in-school interest subsidy for graduate and professional students who borrow federal Direct Stafford Loans.  

Federal in-school subsidies were terminated by The Budget Control Act in 2011, which ended the debt ceiling crisis of 2011.  During the debt ceiling crisis of 2011, Congressional Republicans successfully maneuvered for large cuts to federal spending (other than military spending and pension and health benefits for retirees) by threatening to force the federal government to default on its sovereign debt unless then President Obama agreed to large spending cuts.

The POST GRAD Act would reduce the disparity between funding policy for graduate education and undergraduate education by reinstating graduate students’ eligibility for federal subsidized student loans, although graduate student borrowers, who have lower default rates, would continue to pay a higher interest rate after they complete their studies.

Christopher P. Chapman, CEO of the AccessLex Institute, estimated that the bill would save the typical law student $4,000 if passed.  

If the interest rate subsidy encourages more investment in graduate education, it could more than pay for itself with higher future tax revenue.

 

UPDATE:  The New America Foundation, which has close ties to the private student loan industry, has condemned proposals to reduce federal student loan interest rates.   NAF claims that the immediate benefits of higher education financing only benefit a "small majority" of households and therefore are bad policy.  New America argues that an increased military presence in Syria, Iraq and surrounding countries would be a better use of taxpayer dollars.

 

UPDATE 2, 6/30/2017: The New York Law Journal covers efforts to reduce student loan interest rates for graduate students.

June 21, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest, Science | Permalink

New personal homepage

I've got a new personal homepage, courtesy of graphic designer Patrick Hennessey.  If you like his work for academic homepages (see also Monique Wonderly's page, which he also designed), consider hiring him:  more information, including contact information here.

June 21, 2017 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink