October 10, 2013
Simkovic & McIntyre review Tamanaha's "Failing Law Schools"Here. Everyone who was initially taken in by that book (as I was) should read this. I am particularly struck by how many instances they identify where Tamanaha has misrepresented the very sources on which he purports to be relying (something I had noted about his work in other contexts).
Another a priori truth confirmed empirically...
...by Albert Yoon (Toronto):
[W]e find that, with few exceptions, law reviews publish more articles from faculty at their own institution than from faculty at other law schools. Law review publications of their own faculty are cited less frequently than publications of outside faculty. This disparity is more pronounced among higher-ranked law reviews, but occurs across the entire distribution of journals. We correspondingly find that law faculty publish their lesser-cited articles in their own law review relative to their articles published in other law reviews. These findings suggest that legal scholarship, in contrast to other academic disciplines, exhibits bias in article selection at the expense of lower quality.
I will counter this with one meaningless anecdote: my best-cited law review article appeared in Texas Law Review when I was on the Texas faculty!
October 07, 2013
Declining applications and 1L classes at New York law schools
Data on application volumes and enrollments from The New York Law Journal.
Judge Posner named likely candidate for this year's Nobel Prize in Economics......by Thomson Reuters, using their Web of Science citation data.
October 04, 2013
Rubenstein Scholarship Program at Chicago to continue......thanks to David Rubinstein.
October 03, 2013
The Labor Market for Law Professors
This is an empirical study of one year of it (2007-08) by Tracey George (Vanderbilt) and Albert Yoon (Toronto). It confirms mostly what I would have expected. This may be particularly noteworthy:
Among the metrics of comparison they look at are publications, fellowships, PhDs, school graduated from, clerkships and so on. They do err, I think, in taking U.S. News a bit too seriously in viewing one metric as "graduation from Yale, Harvard, Stanford," even though the evidence suggests that while Yale is in a class by itself for teaching placement, the other two are not. I've urged Professor Yoon to include some data on Chicago, Columbia, and Michigan, at least. (Of course, this was only one year, and it is possible that the data for this one year do support the grouping. In any case, hopefully the final version of the paper will include more evidence in support of the grouping.)
Despite the ink spilled on race and gender in legal academic hiring, we find, with limited exceptions, these factors have little effect. After controlling for credentials, gender and race do not improve a candidate's chance of getting a screening interview. The only stage where we find that race and gender have statistically significant effects are at the intermediate call-back interview stage where women and non-whites are statistically significant more likely to be invited for a job talk interview. But, women and non-whites are no more likely than similarly situated men and whites to get a job offer or, if they get an offer, for the offer to come from a more elite school.
October 02, 2013
Welcome to law school!An excellent address to the first year class here by my colleague Anthony Casey, but I commend it to everyone. The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education would do well to read it as well!
October 01, 2013
1L Enrollments, 2010 to 2013A useful chart, courtesy of Blog Emperor Caron. It covers only California schools, but the pattern there is probably typical nationally (UC Irvine excepted, for obvious reasons).
September 27, 2013
A different take on the ABA Task Force Draft Report on the Future of Legal Education
Robert Condlin (Maryland) calls to my attention his different, and more critical, take on the draft report (found in this paper of his); he makes a number of sound points that are worth airing:
This latest ABA paper on legal education is a deeply flawed document. Starting from what it describes as a “fundamental tension” between legal education’s dual status as a “public [and] private good,” id. at 6-7, (what the Report actually describes is the tension between education and training—it mistakenly thinks of those as the same thing), it proposes reconstituting law schools as technical training institutes “devoted to preparing students to pursue and compete for jobs.” Id. at 13. It makes a few, mostly adjectival, concessions to critics of its earlier Working Paper on the same subject, see note 6 supra, but for the most part it retains the anti-intellectualism and worker bee myopia that characterized that earlier work. It shows no awareness of the obligation to prepare lawyers to implement rules and operate institutions to serve the ends of justice, fairness, equality, and efficiency, for example, or the obligation to future generations to construct legal norms and institutions that can adapt to changing social and political circumstances, needs, and beliefs. Instead, it focuses obsessively on the present and constructs a blueprint for satisfying students’ immediate “customer” desires rather than theirs and the legal system’s long-term interests.
In this same spirit, it depicts legal scholarship as a drag on education, adding to its cost without producing any corresponding benefit, ignoring the numerous contributions legal scholarship has made to the development of law in areas as diverse as privacy, see e.g., Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193 (1890), tax, see e.g., Boris Bittker, Tax Shelters, Nonrecourse Debt, and the Crane Case, 33 Tax L. Rev. 277 (1978), commodities trading, see e.g., Saule T. Omarova, The Merchants of Wall Street: Banking, Commerce, and Commodities, 98 Minn. L. Rev. (forthcoming) (2013), antitrust, see e.g., Robert H. Bork, The Antitrust Paradox (1993), property, see e.g., Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L. J. 733 (1964), environmental protection, see e.g., Joseph Sax, The Public Trust in Natural Resource Law, 68 Mich. L. Rev. 71 (1970), copyright, see e.g., Robert Denicola, Applied Art and Industrial Design: A Suggested Approach to Copyright in Useful Articles, 67 Minn. L. Rev. 707 (1983), consumer financial protection, see e.g.,Elizabeth Warren, Unsafe at Any Rate, 5 Democracy (Summer 2007) available at http://www.democracyjournal.org/5/6528.php
<http://www.democracyjournal.org/5/6528.php>, product safety, see e.g., Guido Calabresi, The Cost of Accidents: A Legal and Economic Analysis (1970), and dozens of others. See David Kennedy & William Fisher III (eds.) The Canon of American Legal Thought (2006) (describing twenty law review articles that have had a profound effect on the shape of American law and legal institutions); Michelle Harner & Jason Cantone, Is Legal Scholarship Out of Touch? An Empirical Analysis of the Use of Scholarship in Business Law Cases, 19 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 1 (2011) (describing the influence of legal business law scholarship on the decisions of the Delaware Supreme Court). It also ignores the systemic contributions of scholars like Henry Hart and Albert Sachs, Mitchell Polinsky, Richard Posner, and numerous others, who changed the ways in which generations of judges and lawyers go about their business and think about law and legal institutions. Scholarship is the legal system’s seed corn, and destroying seed corn eventually makes an ecosystem uninhabitable.
The Task Force’s mindset reminds me of my brief experience as a member of the Long Range Planning Committee of a major state bar. Long range planning for our Committee consisted of someone saying: “You know, last week this happened to me; there ought to be a law against it,” and the Committee (with me excepting) agreeing. Hopefully, the ABA House of Delegates will understand the risks in such casual empiricism and spare law schools the harm wrecked by similar short term thinking in the present day worlds of law practice and business. “The customer is always right” may have worked for Marshall Field, but it is a prescription for disaster in legal education.
September 26, 2013
ABA Task Force on Future of Legal Education, Draft Report of September 20, 2013
Co-blogger Dan noted its appearance the other day, and I've now had a chance to look at it. Most of what was good and sensible is still there, but, alas, most of what was bad and unsupported is also still there (there were some minor edits, e.g., noting Income-Based-Repayment). As others have noted, there are still a lot of fact-free assertions, on the basis of which recommendations are then predicated. And, more disappointingly, the fact-free smear that "a substantial" number of law faculty "sought out their positions because those posts reside largely outside market- and change-driven environments" (p. 15) remains in this draft. People have lots of motives for going into law teaching, but I don't think I've ever met anyone for whom this was the motive. That this gratuitously stupid line still appears in the draft report indicates that there's someone on the committee with an idee fixe (but not much intellectual judgment!). If the ABA Task Force actually wants law faculty to take the report seriously, it would do well to remove lines like this which will alienate one part of the intended audience.