March 15, 2016
Significant actions! There are a couple of dozen (maybe more) law schools right now that might run afoul of the 75% bar passage rate requirement. My guess is the main effect of this change will be that these schools will focus more and more on bar prep rather than other aspects of legal education.
CLARIFICATION: A useful correspondence with Prof. William Gallagher (Golden Gate) made me realize that my reference to "other aspects of legal education" was ambiguous. I was not thinking in particular of, say, interdisciplinary courses (though those would be affected by a shift in focus), but primarily the traditional doctrinal courses, where it seems to me there’s still a big difference between teaching them with an eye to the bar versus teaching them to explore policy, argument, underlying principle etc. The pressure to do less of the latter may be substantial at some schools in the wake of this change. That may help some graduates pass the bar, which is good, but it may also deprive them and others of other useful learning experiences.
March 14, 2016
Berkeley law grads, apparently having learned nothing about due process during their legal education, call for ex-Dean Choudhry to be fired from his tenured faculty position
This is really disgraceful for a bunch of alleged adults and lawyers, to call for the firing of a tenured faculty member based on a university investigation and a complaint, the latter of which is obviously not an adequate basis on which to base any conclusions. I agree that the university investigation should have been sufficient to remove him from his role as the Dean, but the demand that he be fired from Berkeley "in any capacity" is shocking. (The letter states: "As long as Choudhry remains at Boalt or the University of California in any capacity, we cannot in good conscience contribute financially to Berkeley Law or to the University." Ordinarily, everyone would recognize the inappropriateness of alumni making financial threats unless tenured faculty are fired.)
As a law professor in the UC system wrote to me:
Keep in mind we do not know what actually happened. The Title IX proceeding gives the respondent no procedural rights. He is not allowed to examine witnesses or to hear their testimony. Sujit's admission is to violating a policy that did not require a finding that he knew or should have known his conduct was offensive. The process and findings are confidential because the process is intended to err on the side of the complainant, and to permit quick remediation of the situation.
Was there an offense adequate for the revocation of tenure? Perhaps, but right now, we have no idea, and the Berkeley law graduates should be embarrassed by their contempt for process and fairness.
ANOTHER: And now the Chancellor of the UC System, a politician not an academic, has ordered Berkeley to begin proceedings that could lead to dismissal of the former Dean from his tenured faculty position. At least there will be a process of some kind.
March 09, 2016
March 08, 2016
The National Law Journal's annual list, without much difference from past iterations. Chicago has been sending a slightly higher percentage of the class into clerkships, which given the tightness of the results, matters. Yale's relatively weak showing is no doubt due to a large number of students clerking and/or pursuing academia in one form or another (JD/PhDs, postdocs etc.). NLJ does not, of course, look at hiring at high-powered boutiques, like Susman Godfrey or Bartlit Beck.
March 05, 2016
That’s the question Frank McIntyre and I try to answer in Value of a law degree by College Major. Economics seems to be the “best” major for aspiring law students, with both high base earnings with a bachelor’s degree and a large boost to earning with a law degree. History and philosophy/religion get a similarly large boost from a law degree but start at a lower undergraduate base and, among those with law degrees, typically end up earning substantially less than economics majors.
The abstract and a figure are below:
We estimate the increase in earnings from a law degree relative to a bachelor’s degree for graduates who majored in different fields in college. Students with humanities and social sciences majors comprise approximately 47 percent of law degree holders compared to 23 percent of terminal bachelor’s. Law degree earnings premiums are highest for humanities and social sciences majors and lowest for STEM majors. On the other hand, among those with law degrees, overall earnings are highest for STEM and Business Majors. This effect is fairly small at the low end of the earnings distribution, but quite large at the top end. The median annual law degree earnings premium ranges from approximately $29,000 for STEM majors to $45,000 for humanities majors.
These results raise an intriguing question: should law schools offer larger scholarships to those whose majors suggest they will likely benefit less from their law degrees? Conversely, should law schools charge more to those who will likely benefit the most?
Figure 3: ACS Mean Earnings for Professional Degree Holders (Narrow) by Selected Field of Study* (2014 USD Thousands)
- Includes degree fields with more than 700 professional degree holders in sample.
COMMENT FROM BRIAN LEITER: The lumping of philosophy majors together with religion invariably pulls down the performance of philosophy majors!
March 03, 2016
Professor Franke has replied to Milbank partner Thomas Arena's letter concerning funding of student events at Harvard (the subject of this open letter); she kindly gave me permission to share her response: Download KF Response to Milbank
February 29, 2016
February 25, 2016
His diatribe is amusing, though for the record I think that anyone who runs a regression on what Rawls thinks should be fired! (Also, Steve, no one is interested anymore in what
Dworkin said--that's just a UCLA thing!)
February 23, 2016
Thomas Arena, a partner at Milbank, sent a letter to several faculty signatories of the open letter noted the other day (including me), and kindly gave me permission to share the response with readers of the blog:
Your open letter, relying on allegations in press reports, erroneously suggests that Milbank sought to “censor or influence the viewpoints being expressed at student-run events” and that Milbank threatened to terminate its five-year pledge to Harvard Law School. As Harvard Law School has publicly stated, the allegations are not accurate.
Here is what did happen. In 2012, Milbank agreed to establish the Milbank Tweed Student Conference Fund at the Law School. The Fund called for Milbank to make a substantial gift, spread out over five years, to broadly support the school’s student journals and organizations.
The Office of the Dean of Students at the Law School administered the Fund through an application process open to all student organizations and journals, and the Dean of the Law School and the Dean of Students had sole discretion to determine how to allocate monies from the Fund. Milbank had no input whatsoever into the selection of student organizations or journals to receive grants from the Fund.
For the current school year, Harvard awarded grants from the Fund to dozens of student organizations. Although Milbank was pleased to support student-run organizations and journals at the Law School, the awarding of grants from the Fund by Harvard was never intended to constitute or imply an endorsement of the viewpoints expressed by any particular organization or journal. Milbank is a diverse organization, comprised of partners and employees with varying points of views on many issues. We are extremely proud of that diversity in opinions. Consistent with that diversity, while individuals at the firm are free to express their political views, the firm does not take political positions or endorse particular political views.
In October 2015, a Harvard student organization used a grant from the Fund to sponsor an event entitled, “The Palestinian Exception to Free Speech.” We became aware of the event when the sponsoring student organization posted a Facebook page to promote it. The Facebook page contained a controversial image and included statements accusing governments of violating international law and other persons and institutions of engaging in wrongful or harmful conduct. The sponsoring group, without consulting the firm, also included a statement that the event “is brought to you by the generous support of Milbank LLP,” which created a false impression, among many who viewed it, that the firm endorsed the views expressed by the group. At the request of the Law School, the sponsoring student organization removed the statement relating to Milbank from its Facebook page about the event.