October 02, 2015
September 30, 2015
September 21, 2015
MOVING TO FRONT FROM LAST WEEK--MORE COMMENTS WELCOME
Prof. Jeff Sovern (St. John's) writes:
We often hear Chief Justice Roberts’s famous complaint about law review articles: “Pick up a copy of any law review that you see and the first article is likely to be, you know, the influence of Immanuel Kant on evidentiary approaches in 18th-century Bulgaria, or something, which I'm sure was of great interest to the academic that wrote it, but isn't of much help to the bar.” I’ve been wondering how many law review articles have changed the law. Given your role, through your blog, as a connector of legal academics, I wondered if you would be interested in inviting people who know of such articles to list them in the comments. I would limit it to articles written in the last ten or fifteen years on the theory that the Chief Justice was probably not complaining about older scholarship. I can start the list off with citations my co-author, Dee Pridgen of Wyoming, compiled to articles in our field of consumer law. Her list consists of Oren Bar-Gill and Elizabeth Warren, Making Credit Safer, 157 U.PA. L. Rev.1 (2008); Kathleen C. Engel and Patricia McCoy, A Tale of Three Markets, 82 Tex. L. Rev. 439 (2003). Kathleen C. Engel and Patricia A. McCoy, A Tale of Three Markets: The Law and Economics of Predatory Lending, 80 Tex. L. Rev. 1255 (2002)—all of which contributed to the Dodd-Frank Act; Oren Bar-Gill, Seduction by Plastic, 98 Nw. U.L. Rev. 1373 (2004)—which led to the Credit CARD Act; and Steven M. Graves and Christopher L. Peterson, Predatory Lending and the Military: The Law and Geography of “Payday” Loan in Military Towns, 66 Ohio St. L.J. 653 (2005)—which brought about the Military Loan Act. The pieces on that list produced statutes, rather than case law, but I would still count them. Of course, it is impossible to show that the changes in the law would not have occurred anyway in the absence of the writings, but perhaps we can take it on faith that the articles helped push things along.
Comments are open for other examples. (And just for the record, the idea that legal scholarship has to be interesting to the Chief Justice or to lawmakers is silly, though if some is, that's fine too [assuming it's a good influence!].)
September 08, 2015
Blog Emperor Caron has some excerpts (it is otherwise behind a paywall). The chart overstates the hiring, since it includes all faculty appointments, not only tenure-stream academic lines. My anecdotal impression is that more schools are hiring, and hiring for more positions, this year--we won't get over 100 new hires, but I am guessing we will get to 80 or more (compared to 60 or 65 the last two years). With the enrollment decline over, schools can now budget for the future and start filling positions that need to be filled.
August 28, 2015
August 27, 2015
I recently posted about the need for law schools to fund the AALS so that it can become a resource for journalists and encourage more accurate and balanced press coverage. I noted how unrepresentative and disconnected from reality the press coverage has been, and that individual law professors and deans who have pointed this out have faced ad hominem attacks and other abuse, which has had a chilling effect on speech.
The online gossip blog Above the Law has been kind enough to illustrate my point by responding with a series of misrepresentations and ad hominem attacks. They’ve misrepresented my calls for provision of honest and accurate information as an invitation to lying and propaganda (and included a Pinocchio cartoon in cased anyone missed their headline) and somehow managed to dredge up completely irrelevant and salacious allegations against a former Dean, who I mentioned in my post only because of the attacks he and his law school faced immediately after his 2012 New York Times editorial.
I believe that law schools should provide accurate information to the public in an efficient way. There is nothing unethical about this view and no reason to keep it secret, which is why I have openly posted these views on a blog that anyone and everyone in the world can read.
ATL has done a terrible job in terms of accuracy and balance in their reporting—repeatedly misrepresenting (here and here) my and Frank McIntyre’s peer-reviewed research on The Economic Value of a Law Degree —and the way in which they’ve depicted well intentioned efforts to correct the record is yet another example of biased reporting, anti-law school vitriol, and of the need for active efforts to correct the record and provide greater balance.
August 24, 2015
Earlier this month, I charted the overwhelmingly negative press coverage of law schools and the legal profession over the last 5 years and discussed the disconnect between the news slant and economic reality. To the extent that news coverage dissuaded individuals from attending law school for financial reasons, or caused them to delay attending law school, newspapers will on average have cost each prospective law students tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. The total economic harm across all prospective law students could easily be in the low billions of dollars.*
What can we learn from this?