Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

August 28, 2015

Only one-third of published psychology results (even *less* in social psychology) turn out to be reliable!

Wow.  This is going to require a serious rethinking of the role of empirical psychology in law and in philosophy, among other disciplines.


August 28, 2015 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

"Timing Law School" in The Washington Post (Michael Simkovic)

August 27, 2015

Case in Point (Michael Simkovic)

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 27, 2015 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Weblogs | Permalink

Tuition discounting at private law schools? Up to nearly 50% from only 20% a decade ago...

August 25, 2015

National Security Law Journal repudiates an article it published!

Here.  (Those with somewhat longer memories may recall the author of the now repudiated piece as this fellow; more here.)

ADDENDUM:  A critique of William Bradford's article by Prof. Jeremy Rabkin (George Mason):

When an article proposes to arrest law professors and bomb law schools and nearby TV studios, it’s not engaging in “controversy,” but slipping into an alternate universe. It’s not “discomforting.”  It is bonkers. The journal could not reasonably have expected readers to “respond” – unless to ask, “Are you out of your minds?”


August 25, 2015 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Chicago Alumni and Bigelows on the Teaching Market, 2015-16

MOVING TO FRONT, ORIGINALLY POSTED AUGUST 12

This post is for schools who expect to be hiring this year.

In order to protect the privacy of our candidates, please e-mail me at bleiter@uchicago.edu to get a copy of the detailed profiles of our candidates, including hyperlinks to their homepages.  All these candidates (except for two) will be in the first FAR distribution.

We have a very strong group of candidates this year in a multitude of areas, including federal courts, civil procedure, administrative law, property, legislation, national security, corporate law, securities regulation, corporate finance, insurance law, criminal law & procedure, evidence, constitutional law, jurisprudence, law & race, contracts, commercial law, international business transaction, international trade, intellectual property, privacy, empirical legal studies, consumer law, torts, conflicts, environmental law, water law, natural resources, alternative dispute resolution, arbitration, land use, local government law, real estate, labor law, and employment discrimination. 

Our candidates include former Supreme Court clerks; numerous past editors of the Law Review; numerous former Circuit Court clerks; JD/PhDs in Philosophy, Psychology, and Linguistics; and many experienced practitioners (some with years of practice experience and publications).  Several will also help meet diversity objectives in hiring.  All have publications and writing samples.

If when you e-mail, you tell me a bit about your hiring needs, I can supply some more information about all these candidates, since we have vetted them all at some point in the recent past.


August 25, 2015 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

You can't make this stuff up

Paul Campos, who has admitted in writing that, as an academic, he is a "fraud," takes to the pages of CHE to question the scholarly integrity of an actual scholar, mostly through innuendo and repetition of points made already by Steven Lubet (Northwestern).   Campos writes:

How did a book consisting of so many [sic] unsourced, contradictory, and improbable events get published by a prestigious academic press and praised to the skies by prominent scholars and intellectuals?

Quoting this line to me in an e-mail, a colleague elsewhere offered an answer:  "Well, Paul, the same way you got tenure! Academia is weaker than people think."  To be clear, the criticisms of the Goffman book are underwhelming (contrast this investigation, which largely supports Goffman), while the evidence, including his own words, that Campos is a malevolent fraud is overwhelming

Looking on the bright side, I suppose it's a sign that the "law school crisis" is over that Campos has found a new bandwagon to join in his relentless quest to remain in the media spotlight.


August 25, 2015 in Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

August 24, 2015

Law Schools’ Four Billion Dollar Collective Action Problem (Michael Simkovic)

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?

Continue reading


August 24, 2015 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Weblogs | Permalink

August 20, 2015

The first FAR distribution: only 410 candidates, down from over 600 about five years ago

Sarah Lawsky (UC Irvine) has the numbers.   In the past, I would estimate that 50% of those in the FAR were non-starters wasting their time and their money.  That percentage has probably gone down with the amount of information easily accessible via the Internet.  But does the drop in total applicants represent the casual/tourist candidates not bothering or does it represent credible, but well-informed candidates deciding to wait in light of the weak market?  I'm not sure.  Here's another data point:  there are roughly 200 candidates in the FAR with JDs or LLMs from Yale, Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Michigan, Columbia, NYU, and Virginia, to take schools that send sizable numbers into law teaching on a regular basis.  Add in graduates of Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, UCLA, Northwestern, Penn, Southern California, and Texas, and the total rises to about 270.   Not all these candidates are going to turn out to be serious--I'd guess 15-25% of these folks threw their hat in the ring without much consultation or preparation.  If, in fact, there is more hiring this year (my impression so far is that the number of schools hiring is up slightly), then it could turn out to be a good year to be on the teaching market given the overall decline in candidates--but it's too soon to say for sure.


August 20, 2015 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

USD's Vic Fleischer proposes universities spend more of their endowment each year