Wednesday, June 22, 2016

More citations by faculty specialty area coming...

...including civil procedure, property, antitrust, critical race and feminist legal theory, and perhaps a couple of others.

June 22, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Now a non-anecdotal factual piece about law schools at the NY Times

15 Most-Cited Law & Social Science (excluding economics) Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive)

 Once again, drawing on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:  

 

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Tom Tyler

Yale University

920

66

2

Lee Epstein

Washington University, St. Louis

850

58

3

Frank Cross

University of Texas, Austin

800

61

4

Jeffrey Rachlinski

Cornell University

770

50

5

Tom Ginsburg

University of Chicago

710

48

6

Chris Guthrie

Vanderbilt University

550

49

7

John Ferejohn

New York University

530

72

8

Linda Hamilton Krieger

University of Hawaii

500

62

9

Bryant Garth

University of California, Irvine

480

67

 

Charles Sabel

Columbia University

480

69

11

Herbert Kritzer

University of Minnesota

460

69

12

Malcolm Feeley

University of California, Berkeley

450

74

 

Michael Heise

Cornell University

450

56

14

David Hoffman

Temple University

440

40

15

David Garland

New York University

420

61

 

Jonathan Simon

University of California, Berkeley

420

57

 

Runner-up:

 

   
 

Mathew McCubbins

Duke University

410

60

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Dan Kahan

Yale University

1110

53

 

G. Mitu Gulati

Duke University

  860

50

 

Bernard Black

Northwestern University

  630

63

 

Carrie Menkel-Meadow

University of California, Irvine

  590

67

 

Bernard Harcourt

Columbia University

  430

53

June 21, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Monday, June 20, 2016

How to Count: Choosing the Right Data Source (Michael Simkovic)

How to Count: Choosing the Right Data Source

In response to my last post, a reader asked why different data sources give different counts for the total number of lawyers in a given year.

Continue reading

June 20, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Science | Permalink

Saturday, June 18, 2016

6 factual errors and several misleading statements in recent New York Times story by Noam Scheiber

New York Times reporter Noam Scheiber was kind enough to respond to my open letter and ask if I could point to anything specifically factually wrong with his story.  My response is below.

 

Noam,

Thanks so much for responding. Yes, there are at least 6 factual errors in the article, and several misleading statements.

I’ll start with my interview with Acosta from earlier today, and then we can discuss empirics. Here’s what Acosta said:

"There’s no way I could pay back my student loans under a 10-year standard payment plan. With my current income, I can support myself and my family, but I need to keep my loan payments low for now. I’ve been practicing law since May, and I’m on track to make $40,000 this year. I think my income will go up over time, but I don’t know if it will be enough for me to pay back my loans without debt forgiveness after 20 years. What happens is up in the air.   I’m optimistic that I can make this work and pay my student loans. I view the glass now as half full.

 

Valparaiso did not mislead me about employment prospects. I had done my research. I knew the job market was competitive going in. I knew what debt I was walking into. I think very few Americans don’t have debt, but for me it was an investment. I saw the debt as an investment in my career, my future, and my family.

 

Valparaiso gave a guy like me, a non-traditional student a shot at becoming a lawyer. Most law schools say they take a holistic approach, but they don’t really do it. I had to work hard to overcome adversity, and they gave me a shot to go to law school and to succeed. They gave me a shot at something that I wanted to do where most law schools wouldn’t.

 

My situation might be different from other law students who start law school right out of college. I was older and I have a family to support."

On to empirics.

The story states that:

“While demand for other white-collar jobs has rebounded since the recession, law firms and corporations are finding that they can make do with far fewer full-time lawyers than before.”

This is incorrect.

First, the number of jobs for lawyers has increased beyond pre-recession levels (2007 or earlier), both in absolute terms and relative to growth in overall employment. (error #1)

Focusing only on lawyers working full-time in law firms or for businesses (I’m not sure why you exclude those working in government), there are more full-time corporate and law firm lawyers in 2014 according to the  U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS)—870,000—than in 2007—786,000. There have been more full-time corporate and law firm lawyers in every year from 2009 on than there were in 2007 and earlier.

You were looking at NALP or ABA data, which is measured at a single point in time—9 or 10 months after graduation—and is therefore much less representative of outcomes for law graduates—even recent law graduates—than Census data. Indeed, many law graduates who will eventually gain admission to a state bar will not have done so as of the date when NALP collects data. NALP and the ABA also use different definitions from the Census, so you cannot readily use their data to compare law graduates to others.

The trend of growth in lawyer jobs holds true for other cuts of the data (all lawyers; all full time lawyers) using other data sources—U.S. Census or Department of Labor (BLS OES) data.[i]

This is in spite of large declines in law school enrollments, which would be expected to reduce the number of working lawyers.

Second, employment has not rebounded to pre-recession (2007 or earlier) levels outside of law. (error #2)

Continue reading

June 18, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Professional Advice, Science, Student Advice, Weblogs | Permalink

Friday, June 17, 2016

An Open Letter to New York Times Journalist Noam Scheiber: Journalists Should Consult Peer-Reviewed Research, Not Bloggers (Michael Simkovic)

To: noamscheiber@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Scheiber:

Have you seen this line of peer-reviewed research, which estimates the boost to earning from a law degree including the substantial proportion of law graduates who do not practice law? 

High quality nationally representative data from the U.S. Census Bureau, analyzed using standard and widely accepted econometric techniques, shows that even toward the bottom of the distribution, the value of a law degree (relative to a terminal bachelor’s degree) is much greater than the costs.

All of the data suggests that this has not changed since the financial crisis. The economy is worse and young people are facing more challenges in the job market, but law graduates continue to have the same relative advantage over bachelor’s degree holders as they have had in the past:

These findings have been covered in the New York Times before: 

They have also been covered in other major news outlets such as The Atlantic, The Washington Post, CBS, Slate, etc.  And more importantly, they have been cited favorably in the scholarly literature.

Data from the U.S. Census and the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of lawyers has grown since the financial crisis, both in absolute terms and relative to overall employment.  

Data from the Department of Education shows that law school graduates, even from very low-ranked law schools, have exceptionally low student loan default rates.

I have a number of concerns about factual inaccuracies in your recent story, “An Expensive Law Degree, and No Place to Use It” and your reliance on “experts” such as Paul Campos who lack any technical expertise or even basic financial or statistical literacy.

Your readers would receive more reliable information if you concentrated less on sources like Paul Campos and internet “scamblogs” and focused instead on peer-reviewed research by professional economists using high quality data and well-established methods of statistical analysis.

 

UPDATES:

June 18, 2016: Noam Scheiber replies and I respond by re-interviewing Acosta and pointing out specific factual errors in Scheiber's story.

June 20, 2016: I explain different data sources that are useful for counting lawyers.

June 21, 2016: Steven Davidoff Solomon weighs in at N.Y. Times Dealbook, citing my research and supporting my points.

June 21, 2016, 10:05pm EST:  Noam Scheiber sent a lengthy response by email and posted his response to his facebook page.   Scheiber informs me that his response was reviewed by his editors at the New York Times.  

June 24: I responded to Scheiber and explain Why The New York Times Should Correct The Remaining Factual Errors in Its Law School Coverage.  In response, the New York Times posted a correction to the most minor of the 5 remaining errors.

June 17, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Professional Advice, Weblogs | Permalink

Chicago's Martha Nussbaum wins 2016 Kyoto Prize

It gives me particular pleasure to report that my colleague Martha Nussbaum is this year's winner; past philosophers recognized with this Prize include Jurgen Habermas, W.V.O. Quine, Karl Popper, and Charles Taylor.

June 17, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

20 Most-Cited Intellectual Propery & Cyberlaw Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive)

Once again, drawing on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:  

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Mark Lemley

Stanford University

2400

50

2

Robert Merges

University of California, Berkeley

1030

57

3

Dan Burk

University of California, Irvine

  780

54

4

Pamela Samuelson

University of California, Berkeley

  760

68

5

Rochelle Dreyfuss

New York University

  700

69

6

John Duffy

University of Virginia

  680

53

7

Julie Cohen

Georgetown University

  660

52

8

Timothy Wu

Columbia University

  640

44

9

Jane Ginsburg

Columbia University

  610

61

 

Peter Menell

University of California, Berkeley

  610

58

11

Yochai Benkler

Harvard University

  600

52

 

Jessica Litman

University of Michigan

  600

63

13

Rebecca Tushnet

Georgetown University

  570

43

14

Rebecca Eisenberg

University of Michigan

  560

61

15

Michael Meurer

Boston University

  530

58

16

Jamie Boyle

Duke University

  480

57

 

Paul Goldstein

Stanford University

  480

73

18

Eric Goldman

Santa Clara University

  460

48

 

Arti Rai

Duke University

  460

50

20

Neil Netanel

University of California, Los Angeles

  450

62

   

Other highly cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Lawrence Lessig

Harvard University

1720

55

 

Jack Balkin

Yale University

1710

59

 

Daniel Solove

George Washington University

  940

44

 

Robert Bone

University of Texas, Austin

  700

65

 

Gideon Parchomovsky

University of Pennsylvlania

  650

48

 

June 14, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Congratulations to the University of Chicago Law School Class of 2016!

It's been a pleasure and a privilege to teach such talented young men and women, and I am sure I speak for all of my colleagues in wishing you much professional success and personal happiness in the years ahead!

June 11, 2016 | Permalink

Friday, June 10, 2016

Tabloid Gawker Media Files Bankruptcy, Seeks to Prevent Privacy Plaintiff from Collecting $130 Million Judgment (Michael Simkovic)

Gawker Media, an internet tabloid, filed bankruptcy today in the Southern District of New York after losing a $130 million privacy lawsuit to former professional wrestler Terry Bollea (better known as ‘Hulk Hogan’). According to the WSJ, the Court overseeing the Bollea case refused to stay collection against Gawker pending Gawker’s appeal unless Gawker posted a $50 million bond.

Filing bankruptcy could provide Gawker with a less expensive way to delay paying the judgment, to continue operations, and to finance its appeal. Gawker almost immediately asked the Bankruptcy court to halt privacy and defamation litigation against not only Gawker corporate affiliates, but also against individual defendants, including Gawker’s founder Nick Denton and other key employees.  Bankruptcy courts routinely stay (or pause) civil litigation against entities that have filed bankruptcy (debtors), but extending the protections of the automatic stay to non-debtor co-defendants is more controversial.

Denton and other individual defendants have not yet filed personal bankruptcy, but may do so if the Court does not extend the automatic stay.  

Gawker is seeking to sell itself quickly to a friendly buyer through a 363 sale. The buyer would take the assets of Gawker free and clear of liability. The proceeds of the sale would be used to first repay the expenses of Gawker’s bankruptcy process and to repay its secured creditors. The bankruptcy trustee could use the proceeds to continue to appeal the Bollea judgement and challenge the viability of other claims. Any remaining funds would be paid to unsecured creditors. (If all unsecured creditors were paid in full, the remainder would go to equity holders). 

Depending on the sales price, Bollea might collect substantially less than the $130 million judgment. Research suggests that speedy 363 sales often bring in low prices. This may sometimes be because of collusion between buyers and managers. Managers can exercise a great deal of control over the sales process, and often wish to ensure that the company lands in friendly hands.

According to Business Insider, Nick Denton valued Gawker at $250 million as recently as 2014. Gawker’s revenues appear to have increased by about 7 percent in 2015.  

In its bankruptcy filing Gawker listed $50 million to $100 million in assets and $100 million to $500 million in liabilities. (The going concern value of the company could be substantially higher than book value of its assets). Bollea’s $130 million claim is by far the largest unsecured claim, with the next highest claim at just over $100,000.

June 10, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Weblogs | Permalink