Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

February 20, 2015

My colleague Richard McAdams on his new book...

February 19, 2015

More signs of the times: major restructuring at Washington & Lee

A rather detailed announcement from the University; excerpts:

  • Beginning with the 2015-16 academic year, the school will enroll entering 1L classes of about 100 students, resulting in a full-time student body of about 300. For comparison's sake, the current law school student body is 374 and includes the largest third-year class in school history. The Class of 2017, which entered last fall, had 101 members....
  • In October 2014, the Board of Trustees authorized an increase in the payout from the law school's endowment income to 7.5 percent through 2017-18. This will add about $3 million to the law school budget in 2015-16. [BL note:  typical endowment payouts are in the 4 to 4.5% range]...
  • The current student-faculty ratio (9:1) will be preserved, but with smaller enrollments the allocation for faculty compensation will be reduced by about 20 percent (equivalent to six positions) and will be achieved through attrition over the four-year period. In addition, some senior faculty salaries will have a one-time salary reduction of 2 percent with salaries frozen for all faculty during the three-year period.... 
  • Operating budgets will be reduced by 10 percent in 2015-16 with the exception of the library budget, which will grow by 2 percent.
  • Although the financial model currently shows operating deficits for 2014-15 through 2017-18, the law school budget is projected to be back in balance by the 2018-19 academic year....

With a university-wide endowment of about $1.5 billion and only about 3,000 students undergraduate and graduate, Washington & Lee is quite a wealthy university--though how much of the endowment is for the law school is unclear, though I'm guessing a sizable amount.  (Here are 2000 figures, and most of the endowments on that list have roughly doubled since.)  A well-established law school (a member of the AALS since 1920!), Washington & Lee was most recently ranked 43rd in USNEWS.COM, though has ranked higher in prior years (sometimes in the top 25ish).  I would imagine similarly dramatic changes are taking place elsewhere with perhaps less publicity about them.


February 19, 2015 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

Statement by one of two African-American federal judges in Missisippi upon sentencing three white men convicted of a racially motivated murder

A powerful statement by Judge Reeves.


February 19, 2015 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Faculty productivity over time at one law school

Orin Kerr (George Washington) looked at his school; what he found may be surprising.


February 19, 2015 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

February 18, 2015

Bill Clinton, law teacher...

February 16, 2015

More signs of the times: new 2-year law degree at New York Law School

Story here.


February 16, 2015 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 15, 2015

Signs of the times: Hamline, William Mitchell merge

Hamline's press release about the merger is here.  It seems like a sensible strategic move in the current environment.

(Thanks to Carl Bogus for the pointer.)


February 15, 2015 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 11, 2015

As of last Friday, applicants to law schools are now only down...

...5% from last year, compared to 7.3% just a few weeks ago.  This is consistent with the pattern that has emerged the last couple of years of students applying later in the admissions season.


February 11, 2015 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February 09, 2015

Experiential learning does *not* improve employment outcomes

Jason Yackee (Wisconsin) takes an empirical look.

UPDATE:  Brian Galle (Boston College) suggests some alternative interpretations of the findings.


February 9, 2015 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

February 04, 2015

The battle for transfer students