January 04, 2017
President-elect Trump intends to nominate Sullivan & Cromwell partner Jay Clayton to head the Securities and Exchange Commission according to reports by the Financial Times and other newspapers. Clayton has extensive expertise in M&A, capital markets, and financial regulation.
Clayton is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvannia Law School, where he taught a class on "M&A Through the Business Cycle" from 2009 to 2015.
January 03, 2017
December 30, 2016
December 27, 2016
December 26, 2016
Useful charts here. JD enrollment has stabilized, though well below its peak; non-JD enrollment has spiked as law schools try to sustain financial viability for schools that grew to their present size during the years of peak demand for legal education.
December 22, 2016
...according to an investigation by outside counsel. The report (available at the preceding link) ultimately turns on a Pickering balancing analysis, which like most such analyses could easily have come out the other way.
UPDATE: Some additional context here.
ANOTHER: Oregon law professor Shurtz objects to release of report, claiming errors and violations of confidentiality. I suspect this matter is heading to court.
December 21, 2016
December 19, 2016
December 15, 2016
Professor Seto (Loyola/Los Angeles) asked me to share the following analysis of the ABA's new proposed bar passs standard:
There is a serious mathematical problem with the ABA’s 75% proposal.
Assume for illustration’s sake that bar results are normally distributed – that is, that they will cluster around the mean in a normal distribution. (There is no reason to believe that deviations from a normal distribution affect the analysis given below.)
In a state in which only one school provides the bulk of bar-takers, the bulk of that the state’s normal distribution will be reflected in the school’s bar passage rate. Assuming that the state bar passage mean is reasonably high, the school will always meet the ABA’s requirement, regardless of the quality of the education it provides.
In a state with multiple law schools, however, the normal distribution of bar results will instead be distributed unevenly across those schools. Some schools’ results will incorporate the lower end of that normal distribution. If there are enough schools in the state and students are sorted by bar-taker aptitude across those schools, the bottom schools will always fail the ABA’s requirement, again regardless of the quality of the education they provide.
Note that the difference between the two results – always meeting and always failing – is not because students are being admitted who shouldn’t be. If, in the state with multiple law schools, all such schools were to merge into one single mega-school, without any change in admissions policies or educational quality, that mega-school would absorb the bulk of the normal distribution in bar passage and would always meet the ABA’s requirement.
What this means is that the ABA’s proposal should chiefly impact lower-ranked schools in large states – not because the quality of the educations they provide or because they are admitting students who should not be lawyers, but because of the mathematics of normal distributions. To the extent those lower-ranked schools disproportionately service students from underserved communities, the ABA’s proposal will disproportionately impact diversity in the legal profession. And again, this is not because schools are admitting students who shouldn’t be admitted. It follows from the failure of the ABA to take the mathematics of normal distributions into account in structuring its proposed standard.
Conversely, the ABA’s proposal should have no significant impact on schools in states with few schools – again regardless of the quality of the educations they provide or the students they admit. And again, this follows from its failure to take into account the mathematics of normal distributions.
I question whether a rule that it likely to have a dramatically different impact in different parts of the United States for reasons having nothing to do with the rule’s ostensible purpose should be adopted. It is likely that the ABA is seriously considering the proposal in its current form in part because lawyers are, for the most part, innumerate. Unfortunately, this reinforces the argument that the ABA should not have regulatory jurisdiction over law school accreditation – precisely the argument the proposal is intended to rebut.
Comments are open for those who have ideas about how to address this difficulty. Post your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.