January 30, 2014
More factual problems for law school bashers: law students are not unhappier now than they were before the recession
An amusing, but related anecdote: a former student told me he tried to challenge one of the hysterical scam bloggers about his claim that "a very large percentage of alumni wind up out of the law within a few years and much of the remainder had higher earnings potential at 35 than they do at 55" and that "most BigLaw associates are gone by year 5 to lower-bracket employment options." The challenge consisted of: what is the evidence for these claims (since none had been cited or linked)? The scam-blogger didn't even approve the question for the comment section, and no answer has been forthcoming. Hardly surprising, since the law school bashing has become an utterly fact-free pastime (at least when it doesn't devolve into cyber-harassment and sexist abuse.)
January 24, 2014
Volokh blog to go behind a paywall in six months!
But, seriously, it seems a surprising decision. Even I will miss reading a couple of those folks now and then (and not simply for head-shaking amusement!).
January 17, 2014
"dybbuk" the cyber-harasser
I appreciate all the feedback via the poll and many e-mails. Notwithstanding the attempted blackmail, I will be posting the identity of "dybbuk," the sexist cyber-harasser and generally pathetic human being, but I would like to wait for the Illinois Bar's investigation, which is now in process, to conclude, since I would not want cyber-hysteria to affect the evaluation of the merits. I expect by April we will know where things stand.
January 15, 2014
On CDA 230
Useful perspective from Mary Anne Franks (Miami). The Internet is the cesspool of vile stupidity and vicious harassment that it is mostly because of CDA 230. The recent court decision against The Dirty website (discussed by Prof. Franks) is a hopeful sign.
January 11, 2014
On being female (and feminist) in cyberspace
(Thanks again to Jason Walta for the pointer.)
January 08, 2014
"Why women aren't welcome on the Internet"
This is timely, given the topic du jour in the legal blogosphere concerning the harassment of Prof. Leong. The article mentions important work on these issues by Danielle Citron (Maryland) and Mary Anne Franks (Miami). It also reveals that, once again, the Elecronic Frontier Foundation is on the morally depraved side of the issue. (At what point will so-called progressive law professors become ashamed to ally themselves with the juvenile libertarians of EFF, the leading supporters of keeping cyberspace the cesspool it is?)
(Thanks to Jason Walta for the pointer.)
ABA Journal on Professor Leong's complaint
Here; an excerpt:
James Grogan, chief counsel for the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, told the ABA Journal that state supreme court rules bar him from confirming or denying that a probe request was filed. Speaking generally, he said Illinois and a few other jurisdictions have initiated cyberstalking investigations of lawyers in the past.
It's been curious to see dybbuk's various defenders (including some posting at the ABA site) claim that Professor Leong's allegations aren't accurate, yet they are all documented with screen shots of the postings in the complaint. And it appears to be true, and easily verifiable with search engines, that dybbuk's most extended ridicule and abuse of tenure-track law faculty, in particular of their scholarship, has been directed at seven individuals, two minority men, and five women, three of them also minorities (this includes Prof. Leong). Dybbuk has, to be sure, occasionally delivered passing insults aimed at white men (even me, but no surprise there!), but none of them that I have seen (and I have seen a lot) have been subjected to the extended cyber-harassment dybbuk visited on these others, all of whom are women and/or minorities, as Professor Leong claimed. Why the scholarship of female and minority law faculty warrants special abuse by this dybbuk character is a question that perhaps the Bar investigation, if there is one, will illuminate. It could simply be coincidental, and not a matter of gendered or racial animus. Or perhaps it will turn out that he is more of an equal opportunity harasser of law professors than the evidence so far suggests?
In any case, it's good to know that the Illinois Bar does sometimes investigate these kinds of cases.
January 06, 2014
Paul Campos now resorting to "blackmail"!
Alas, my hopes for a Campos-free 2014 have been dashed. After the poll went up last week about whether to identify "dybbuk," the sexist cyber-harasser, I received the following e-mail from Campos:
From: Paul F Campos [mailto:paul.campos@Colorado.EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 11:03 AM
To: Leiter, Brian
I have been asked by somebody who has passed on (unsolicited) some potentially very embarrassing personal information about you to me, regarding your activities in cyberspace and some related goings-on in the real world, to make this information public, should you choose to “out” Dybbuk.
I am told by a colleague who teaches criminal law that this threat is blackmail (criminal "intimidation" as we call it in Illinois, or "extortion" or "criminal coercion" as it is in many other jurisdictions). I have no idea what fabrications Campos would produce this time, but there is nothing truthful he could post, and he knows it. (Remarkably, this is also not the first time Campos has tried to coerce another law professor with threats.)
Several law professors and lawyers I consulted thought that I should now absolutely name "dybbuk," since it would be wrong to give in to scurrilous threats like this. On the other hand, I noted last week some of my misgivings about identifying “dybbuk” (in the final update), and those misgivings remain; and while it is true that Campos and dybbuk are "cyber-buddies," as it were, I have no evidence that "dybbuk" put him up to this malevolent stunt ("dybbuk" is an actual lawyer, who probably knows blackmail when he sees it).
I'd be especially glad to hear from some of those originally skeptical about naming "dybbuk" how Campos's latest malfeasance should factor into a decision; others with thoughts on this matter are also welcome to post their thoughts: full name and valid e-mail address required. If you'd rather not comment in public, I understand--getting on the radar screen, even virtually, of these vile people can be unnerving. Anyway, if you prefer, feel free to e-mail me instead.
Thanks. (This is the first week of class, so please be patient if I do not respond in a timely way or if your comments do not appear right away.)
ADDENDUM: A couple of readers point out the link is to multiple statutes (including the "intimidation" statute); here's the relevant bit of the statute: "A person commits intimidation when, with intent to cause another to perform or to omit the performance of any act, he or she communicates to another, directly or indirectly by any means, a threat to perform without lawful authority any of the following acts...(3) Expose any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule...." Meanwhile, the tweet by law professor Kevin Heller (Melbourne & London) pretty much sums up the reader reaction so far.
ONE MORE: An alert reader calls to my attention that "dybbuk" surfaced on one of the websites where he usually spends his time insulting and ridiculing law professors to make a "statement": "I had no prior knowledge of Paul Campos’s alleged [sic] email to Brian Leiter, and do not approve of it." I am inclined to believe him, partly for the reasons noted earlier. Meanwhile, thanks to other readers for their e-mails. The funniest response comes from a colleague at Penn whose subject-line read "Campos" and whose e-mail consisted of three words: "Oh my God." I do think some readers are having trouble believing he would do something this stupid--even "dybbuk" apparently can't quite believe it! Alas, it is true.
ANOTHER: A commenter below writes:
I thought you'd be interested to know that Mr. Campos has posted on JDU [a chat room] the following explanation for his e-mail: "I contacted Leiter because I assumed he would want to know that someone is trying to get me (and perhaps other people with media platforms) to participate in this person's scheme to embarrass him. And of course this person might act on his or her own." That's a ridiculous defense given the message he sent and given his clear hatred of you. Someone in the same chat observed, “In what world does Paul Campos give a shit about fucking Brian Leiter's reputation enough to inform him of a threat to release embarrassing information?”
This "explanation" is remarkably absurd: if Campos had wanted to warn me of danger, he would have assured me he would never publish such trash, would have warned me about the content, and alerted me to the person making the threat. I guess he now realizes the mess he is in--"blackmailing" another law professor from his university e-mail account--so he is floating this silly story as a trial balloon to see if anyone is stupid enough to believe it! Amazing.
January 05, 2014
The Winter Quarter starts here at Chicago this week...
...and no doubt others are returning from their winter breaks and/or AALS (barring winter weather fiascos!). Here then a few blog items from the winter break you might have missed:
January 01, 2014
Two short Huffington Post pieces...
...that appeared over the last few days:
I'm sure they'll make for good discussion at the bar at the upcoming AALS meeting.
I'll be blogging somewhat more regularly this year at Huffington Post, though not primarily about legal education.