March 09, 2017

Harvard Law to join U of Arizona in accepting GRE, as well as LSAT, for admissions purposes

March 01, 2017

Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota) and Colleen Chien (Santa Clara) win American Law Institute Young Scholars Medal (Michael Simkovic)

The press release is here.  The award is highly selective.  The ALI--publisher of the influential Restatements of Law and co-creator of the Uniform Commercial Code--selects two out of thousands of eligible "young scholars" every two years for work that has the potential to change the law for the better.  

Congratulations to Dan and Colleen!

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March 1, 2017 in Faculty News, Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 21, 2017

Other successful strategies for improving bar performance?

Following up on yesterday's post about Syracuse Law's successful reforms that dramatically improved the bar pass rate of its graduates, I wonder if other schools have similar stories to share?   Signed comments only--full name and valid e-mail address; post your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear (I have a busy day).


February 21, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 20, 2017

How Syracuse Law made its graduates into stars of the New York Bar exam

We noted awhile back Syracuse's impressive results on the July 2016 New York bar exam--a pass rate of 89%, fourth highest in the state, behind only Columbia, Cornell, and NYU, and ahead of Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn, Buffalo and others.   I recently visited Syracuse, and talked with Professor Christian Day about the changes they made to achieve these results.  He kindly gave me a written version to share; I'm sure this will be of interest to many schools.  Professor Day writes: 

In the later 1990s and early 2000s Syracuse had a terrible bar pass rate. One year it was dead last among the 15 New York law schools.  A faculty ad hoc committee was created and it developed a program over several years. 

 

Under Dean Hannah Arterian’s leadership the faculty adopted 1L and upper-class curves.  The curves are centered on a low B (2.9-3.0) and approximately 8% of the 1L class is dismissed.  Before the implementation of the curve, most of the students who were dismissed were re-admitted and placed on probation.  But only 10% of that group passed the bar for the first time.   With the new curve, a much smaller group of students is re-admitted and placed on probation.  The Structured Curriculum, described below, and a comprehensive bar success program, which includes a staff member dedicated to the bar success effort have provided a foundation for achievement.  We also inaugurated a comprehensive third year bar prep program.   That program was mandatory for those on probation and voluntary for the balance of the student body.

 

A consultant worked with the College and confirmed that bar exam success was correlated to 1L class rank AND the number of so-called “bar courses” students had taken. Syracuse had a 90% pass rate for students in the upper 75-80% of the 1L class who had taken most of the bar courses for grade.  Students who failed the exam took around four of those courses, often on a pass/fail basis.  The faculty adopted the Structured Curriculum that requires all students on probation and those below a 2.50 average at the conclusion of the first year to take the following courses for grade:  Commercial Transactions, New York Civil Procedure, Business Associations, Constitutional Criminal Procedure—Investigation and Adjudication, Wills and Trusts, Family Law, Evidence, and Foundational Skills for Professional Licensing  (a bar prep course taught by faculty or staff that emphasizes exam prep and writing).

 

The efforts have borne fruit. In 2014 Syracuse and St. John’s tied for fourth place among the New York law schools.  In 2016, with the adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam, Syracuse was again in fourth place behind NYU, Columbia and Cornell. 


February 20, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

February 07, 2017

ABA votes to reject change to bar passage requirement for law schools

The proposal would have required that 75% of graduates taking the bar pass within two years of graduation.  I suspect in a Trump Administration, there will be less danger of the ABA losing its accreditation role, but I can imagine a more aggressive Education Department in the future wondering what the explanation could be for rejecting such a standard. 

More details here.


February 7, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 04, 2017

Judge Gorsuch should speak out in defense of judicial independence in light of Trump's latest disgraceful behavior

Excellent point by my colleague Eric Posner.


February 4, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 03, 2017

Deans of 20 ABA-approved law schools in California call on California Supreme Court to intervene and reset the scores for bar passage

Here is the letter:   Download 2 1 17 LTRtoCalSupCt (003)

It's quite clear there's no real justification for California failing more bar takers than any other state in the country.


February 3, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 02, 2017

I'm not sure we should hold high school antics against nominees to the federal bench...

...but founding the "Fascism Forever Club" does raise questions about one's judgment, even allowing for age!

(Thanks to Michael Swanson for the pointer.)

ADDENDUM:  It appears Judge Gorsuch attended a high school run by quite liberal Jesuits (unlike the late Justice Scalia who went to a famously conservative Jesuit high school in New York).   I imagine his liberal teachers tended to deride conservatives as "fascists," ergo the conservative students decided to "zing" them back!

ANOTHER:  This story confirms that it was, indeed, a joke (and not even an actual club).


February 2, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

January 31, 2017

Supreme Court clerks by school, 1882-2017, 2005-2017 (UPDATED & CORRECTED)

Brad Hillis called this data compilation he did to my attention; I haven't verified its accuracy, but the recent (2005-17) data looks roughly right.  Readers can weigh in at Wikipedia to correct the data if need be.  Neither list is adjusted for class size.

Here are the twenty law schools that have produced the most Supreme Court clerks since 1882:

Rank/ Law School/ # clerks / % of all clerks

1) Harvard 607 27%

2) Yale 396 18%

3) Chicago 156 7%

4) Stanford 137 6%

5) Columbia 135 6%

6) Virginia 110 5%

7) Michigan 87 4%

8) Georgetown 61 3%

9) Berkeley 59 3%

10) NYU 54 2%

11) Penn 48

12) Northwestern 42

13) Texas 35

14) GW 26

15) Duke 21

16) UCLA 19

17) Notre Dame-17

18) BYU 13

19) Indiana 11

19) Minnesota-11

And here is Mr. Hillis's list of the top 20 law schools which have produced the most clerks since 2005 through 2017 (again, note that Harvard is more than twice the size of Yale, Stanford, and Chicago; that Virginia, Columbia, and NYU are about twice the size of the latter; etc.):

 

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January 31, 2017 in Legal Profession, Rankings | Permalink

January 27, 2017

Startling development: Harvard Law students think they are more important than they really are!

Some want to play an "indispensable" role in the search for a new Dean.  I'm sure student feedback on candidates will receive some weight, but that's about it.  Were I a betting man (I am not), I would bet on  John Goldberg or John Manning--both current HLS faculty--to be chosen as the new Dean.


January 27, 2017 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink