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July 14, 2006

Love and Fun are not "things of value" in Illinois

An associate at a Chicago law firm writes with the following amusing observations about a peculiarity of Illinois law:

The definition of prostitution or the nature of the proscribed conduct varies with the governing law of the jurisdiction where it is unlawful. In Illinois, the definition is.

Any person who performs, offers or agrees to perform any act of sexual penetration as defined in Section 12-12 of this Code for any money, property, token, object, or article or anything of value, or any touching or fondling of the sex organs of one person by another person, for any money, property, token, object, or article or anything of value, for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification commits an act of prostitution. 

720 ILCS 5/11-14(a).

However this also takes in the "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" cases.  Under this definition, you commit the offense of prostitution (prostitition is an offense in Illinois, 5/11-14(b)) if you have sex with someone (or touch or fondle his or her genitals for the purpose of sexual arousal), or even agree to do these things -- for hard cash, checks, or payment by credit card, precious gems, Ferraris, marketable patents, or even dinner and a movie.

However, if you do, or agree to do, any of these things in exchange for love or fun, you have not committed the offense.

It therefore seems to follows that in Illinois love and fun are not "things of value." Tells you something about this state, huh?

UPDATE:  Steve Lubet (Northwestern) writes:  "the Illinois associate should have parsed the statute more closely, noting that 'thing of value' has two elements.  It isn't that love and fun have no
'value' under illinois law, it's just that they are not 'things.'"  Professor Lubet added in a follow-up that "the statute could be construed to require the transfer of a thing of value.  Love and fun, of course, cannot be transferred but only shared."

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 14, 2006 in Legal Humor | Permalink | TrackBack

July 12, 2006

Not much real news in the dog days of summer...

...so time for more fun with SSRN downloads, from the July stats.

The top 20 law schools with the most downloads in the last 12 months (total # of downloads):

1.  Harvard Law School (42,319)

2.  Columbia Law School (30,156)

3.  University of Chicago Law School (29,253)

4.  University of Texas School of Law (28,914)

5.  University of California, Los Angeles School of Law (26,841)

6.  Yale Law School (24,105)

7.  Stanford Law School (23.980)

8.  George Washington University Law School (23,559)

9.  University of Illinois College of Law (18,886)

10. Georgetown University Law Center (18,221)

11. University of Minnesota School of Law (16,274)

12. Vanderbilt University School of Law (15,701)

13. New York University School of Law (14,185)

14. University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law (12,890)

15. University of Southern California Law School (12,781)

16. George Mason University School of Law (12,556)

17. University of Pennsylvania Law School (10,896)

18. Boston University School of Law (9,868)

19. University of San Diego School of Law (9,565)

20. Duke University School of Law (8,675)

20. University of Michigan Law School (8,675)

The top 20 law schools (with at least 20 papers) with the most donwloads-per-paper in the last 12 months (# of new papers; # of downloads per paper):

1.  University of Texas School of Law (68 papers; 130 per paper)

2.  Columbia Law School (51 papers; 110 per paper)

3.  George Washington University School of Law (71 papers; 106 per paper)

4.  Yale Law School (60 papers; 91 per paper)

5.  Stanford Law School (39 papers; 89 per paper)

6.  University of Cincinnati College of Law (22 papers; 85 per paper)

7.  University of Chicago Law School (76 papers; 83 per paper)

8.  Ohio State University College of Law (36 papers; 80 per paper)

9.  University of Colorado Law School (24 papers; 79 per paper)

10. University of California, Los Angeles School of Law (83 papers; 77 per paper)

10. Harvard Law School (107 papers; 77 per paper)

12. University of Illinois College of Law (64 papers; 74 per paper)

13. Georgetown University Law Center (55 papers; 72 per paper)

13. University of Southern California Law School (23 papers; 72 per paper)

15.  Rutgers University-Camden School of Law (20 papers; 70 per paper)

16. Marquette University Law School (32 papers; 68 per paper)

17. Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law (34 papers; 67 per paper)

18. University of Minnesota Law School (86 papers; 65 per paper)

19. Boston University School of law (24 papers; 64 per paper)

20. George Mason University School of Law (48 papers; 62 per paper)

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 12, 2006 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

July 11, 2006

Why so few female Supreme Court clerks?

Tom Smith (San Diego) makes some sensible (and characteristically amusing) points; an excerpt:

The assumption behind the question is, in my limited experience, if not false, at least unproven.  That is, that the smartest law students go on to be Supreme Court clerks.  That is rather like saying the smartest politicians go on to be Senators, or the smartest baseball players go on to the Hall of Fame.  In my limited experience, it don't look that way.  In terms of sheer academic horsepower, that combination of high intelligence, creativity, and applied elbow grease that leads to glory, the smartest kid in my law school class was Ahkil Amar, and I think he has since made good this claim.  He didn't clerk for the Supremes; I don't really know why.  Maybe he seemed to independently minded.  I doubt it was because he did not apply.  In fact, he told me I should apply at some impossibly early date, sometime before I graduated 12th grade.  I elected not to apply, given that in my third year of law school my thinking was more along the lines of, is Alaska far enough away from NYC/DC, or do I need to go to Mongolia?  Another extremely high horsepower academic was former Stanford Law dean Kathleen Sullivan, who didn't clerk for the Supremes either.  Don't know why.  And really, who cares. 

I would call the selection process for Supreme Court clerks a little, ah, imperfect.  At a minimum, an IQ test, it ain't.  I finally decided to apply for a Sup Ct clerkship a year late; it turned out Justice White had an opening.  I think he had eaten a clerk and so had a place to fill.  I went in to interview, and it went something like this.  JW:  "I see a lot of philosophy on your resume.  You don't really like philosophy, do you?"  At this point, the intelligent thing to have said would have been, "oh no, I hate philosophy; what I really like is [football?  rodeo? fly fishing? cow punching? in any event, some manly activity]"  But the little demon that has accompanied me through my sometimes mildly disappointing but all things considered fabulous life whispered in my ear words to the effect of "tell the old coot to go f@#$ himself," and so I said something like, "yes I like philosophy, as you can see from my resume."  I grant, this was an intelligence test of sorts, and one that I failed, and I have often regretted not repudiating my main intellectual passion at that stage of my life, the whole business of being true to yourself being rather overrated.  But, if it was an IQ test, it was hardly an objective, scientific sort of test.  It was just a test to see if I might really be a philistine and so qualified.  In fact, I was not, and I would have been a mediocre clerk, though I have heard those are hardly uncommon on the Court.  So perhaps the question should be, how many of the smart Supreme Court clerks are men, and how many women?  For all we know, the dumber clerks are all men. 

Let's be honest here, or at least somewhat honest.  Law ain't rocket science, string theory, materials science, fluid dynamics, quantum chromodynamics, set theory, real number theory, options pricing, or even making a living playing the sports books in Vegas.  It requires intelligence, to be sure, but it requires even more a sheer appetite for the job, and all the hard work that goes with it.  The kind that ruins your eyes and your lower back.  Some people take to this in their youth more than others, but it ain't quite the same thing as IQ.  This is my long winded way of saying, who is and who isn't a Supreme Court clerk isn't even a candidate for an instrument to measure intelligence, any more than being on the Supreme Court is. (That last point is what we lawyers call res ipsa loquiter.)   Here's a thought experiment for you.  Four people enter a room, and Justice O'Connor interviews them; she has to pick the smartest one.  Stop laughing and pay attention.  I should add that my view of that Justice's modest intellectual talents have nothing to do with her being from Arizona.  Or being a Republican. 

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 11, 2006 in Legal Profession | Permalink | TrackBack

Who is America's Worst Law Professor?

This weighty matter is debated here.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 11, 2006 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

July 3, 2006

The Final Tolling of (Tom) Bell for the University of Florida


Posted by Brian Leiter on July 3, 2006 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

On-Line Bullying and Defamation by Law Students

Interesting post on this subject here.  The author focuses mostly on harassment and "bullying" of students on blogs, though the issue is at least as serious in on-line "chat" rooms.  One putatively prelaw discussion board--memorably described in the comments here as the place where "the amount of racism, anti-semitism, and extreme aggression borders on psychotic" ( Kiwi Camara is the poster boy for interracial comity by comparison!)--has frequently included threads naming female law students and/or prelaw students accompanied by threats of rape and sexual assault, as well as defamatory statements about their sexual activity.  I've heard from several of the victimized students who told me that the owners of the site (including a Penn law student) do not respond to requests to remove this material.  Until law schools and/or Character & Fitness Committees start responding to this creepy phenomenon, the problem is likely to get worse.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 3, 2006 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack