Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, March 21, 2014

More signs of the times

Appalachian cutting faculty.  In addition, I recently spoke to a colleague at another law school--a strong, regional school but with a faculty with a national scholarly reputation--who reported the teaching load has been raised from 10 hours per year per faculty member to 12 hours.  Twenty years ago, 12 hours was the norm at most law schools, except for the very top ones.  Over the last twenty years, 10 hours/3 courses became increasingly common.  For a school of this caliber to make the move back to 12 suggests that other schools are following or will soon follow suit.

March 21, 2014 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Falsehood of the day: "U.S. News, for all of its faults, is how employers think of you"

Elie Mystal, one of the bloggers at "Above the Law," wrote this last week (a reader forwarded it to me).  No evidence was offered, and that's not surprising:  the statement is false in almost all cases.  Employers, to be sure, have views about different law schools, but they are based on experience, in some cases, experience that stretches over decades.  Actual lawyers and judges do not, in my experience, pay any attention to U.S. News at all.  A couple of years ago, for example, I was speaking to a distinguished group of Northwestern University Law School alumni about the U.S. News rankings.  There were about 125 to 150 lawyers (and a few judges) there.  Many of the lawyers in attendance had been or were the current hiring partners at their firms.  I asked a simple question:  how many had looked at the recent U.S. news rankings of law schools?  Maybe five hands went up in the entire room.  To a person, all these lawyers and judges said they based their evaluations of law schools--where they recruit, how deep into the class they will go for new hires--on their past experience with the schools and their graduates.  Full stop.  No one was waiting for the U.S. News law school rankings to decide where to interview or whom to hire.

So if lawyers and judges don't care about them, who does care about the U.S. News rankings?  Prospective students and journalists.  Prospective students are very clearly influenced by them, in part because journalists hype them and report on them irresponsibily.  And because of those two constituencies, law schools have to care as well:  if, in fact, the students a school wants will go elsewhere because of a precipitous drop in the US News ranking, this will over a period of time affect how the employers that hire frm that school perceive it, not because they follow U.S. News, but because they will notice the change in the caliber of the student body.

March 20, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Buffalo offers retirement incentives to faculty over 55...

...and eight accept, bringing the size of the full-time faculty from 48 down to 40.  The school is also shrinking its class size slightly.  Seems like sensible responses to the current economic climate for legal education.

March 18, 2014 in Faculty News, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, March 17, 2014

ABA votes to retain tenure (good) and require 6 hours of experiential learning of ALL students (bad)

Blog Emperor Caron has the details.  Fortunately, the insane proposal for 15 hours of so-called "experiential" learning was defeated.

ADDENDUM:  As a couple of readers noted, I have in the past expressed the view that tenure need not be an accreditation requirement, which is still my view.  But given some of the administrative mischief afoot, and some of the reasons given for opposing tenure, I am happy to see the ABA leave it alone for now.

March 17, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

February LSAT takers up very slightly from last year

A bit more than 1%.  A first indication that applications and enrollments may be about to level off in the next year or so.

March 17, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

In Memoriam: Eddie Ohlbaum

Temple University Law Professor Edward Ohlbaum passed away last week.  He had been on the Temple faculty since 1985.  He was 64.

March 17, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Saturday, March 15, 2014

U of Florida Dean Search Fails

Sounds like an ordeal, and it certainly won't be easier next year to fill the position given the start and now the finish to this year's.

March 15, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Toleration: Its Nature and Justification"

Video of a keynote from a conference in Rhode Island last fall.

March 14, 2014 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In Memoriam: B. Sharon Byrd

Law and philosophy scholar, Sharon Byrd, passed away last week in Erlangen, Germany.  She was a professor in the Law and Language Center at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and trained in the U.S. (holding a JD from UCLA and a JSD from Columbia.)  

March 12, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Why can't law schools just ignore US rankings?

Because of idiotic pieces like this that treat changes in the overall rank as meaningful. 

March 12, 2014 in Rankings | Permalink