Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Science at work: the "most influential" people in legal education

Blog Emperor Caron reports.  Thanks to the many Deans and law faculty who have been regular readers and correspondents over the years!

January 17, 2017 in Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, January 16, 2017

U of Washington/Tacoma to delay opening new law school

This is probably wise, absent clear evidence of unusually strong and growing demand for legal services in the Pacific Northwest.

January 16, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Law professors weigh in on Trump's "conflicts of interest" given his non-divestment from his businesses

Richard Painter (Minnesota) here and Daniel Shaviro (NYU) here.  (Thanks to Paul Dwyer for the pointer to the latter.)

UPDATE:  Also Kathleen Clark (Wash U/St. Louis) at NPR.  (Thanks to Nina Mendelson for the pointer.)

January 12, 2017 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

U of Oregon President Mike Schill (former Dean of U of Chicago and UCLA Law Schools) responds to commentary on Shurtz case

His response is here; it includes, implicitly, a rejoinder to the commentary by Eugene Volokh (UCLA).

January 10, 2017 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, January 9, 2017

Ten most downloaded American law professors on SSRN

With the start of a new year, here they are:

1.  Cass Sunstein (Harvard), 266,146 downloads of 232 papers (posting papers since 1996)

2.  Daniel Solove (George Washington), 263,111 downloads of 45 papers (remarkably, more than 60% of the downloads are due to a single paper!) (posting papers since 2001)

3.  Lucian Bebchuk (Harvard), 249,457 downloads of 174 papers (posting papers since 1996)

4.  Mark Lemley (Stanford), 188,578 downloads of 161 papers (posting papers since 1996)

5.  Bernard Black (Northwestern), 178,719 downloads of 155 papers (posting papers since 1996)

6.  Stephen Bainbridge (UCLA), 123,522 downloads of 98 papers (posting papers since 1997)

7.  Dan Kahan (Yale), 122,574 downloads of 69 papers (posting papers since 1996)

8.  Brian Leiter (Chicago), 122,416 downloads of 67 papers (posting papers since 2000)

9.  Orin Kerr (George Washington), 108,160 downloads of 54 papers (posting papers since 2002)

10. Eric Posner (Chicago), 105,954 downloads of 135 papers (posting papers since 1997)

January 9, 2017 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Jay Clayton to head Securities & Exchange Commission

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 4, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Should Venture Capitalists Compete with Law Firm Partners and Judges? (Michael Simkovic)

A partner in a prominent San-Francisco-Bay-area venture capital firm recently told me, “The tech sector is eating the world.  The menu is full of inefficient legacy industries.” 

The thesis of USC Professor Gillian Hadfield’s new book, Rules for a Flat World, is that the legal profession should be near the top of the menu.  Hadfield argues that law is overly complicated, expensive and inefficient.  This is because lawyers have monopolized the practice of law, locking out more efficient, technologically empowered, venture-capital backed competitors.  These competitors—software engineers backed by venture capital money, perhaps in cooperation with lawyers and paralegals—could hopefully improve quality, reduce costs, and generally run circles around overly conservative law firms and inefficiently subscale solo practitioners.

This book will engage venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, established legal technology companies, individuals interested in regulation of the legal profession, and more broadly, those who study privatization and deregulation.

She raises important questions about which regulations of the legal profession protect consumers or serve other legitimate public policy goals and which might be merely protectionist.  She targets prohibitions on practice of law within a corporation and prohibitions on profit-sharing with non-lawyers.  Without such regulations, it would be easier for non-lawyers to invest in and make high level decisions for legal services providers.  Non-lawyers might place more trust in technology than lawyers and might be more open to new business models.

Hadfield’s analysis focuses on the aspects of law that are an economic service (she describes it as “economic infrastructure”). Hadfield is primarily focused on commercial and corporate law.  Hadfield notes that while criminal law may be more salient in popular culture, since the time of Hammurabi, most law has been about money, property rights, risk allocation, and supporting business activity.

Hadfield argues that if companies such as Westlaw, Lexis and Legal Zoom could hire lawyers to provide customer support directly to end-users, these companies could improve the appeal of their offerings and more easily compete with small and solo-practitioners.  Moreover, these companies would have economies of scale and efficiencies that solo practitioners cannot readily match.  Because of these efficiencies and expansion of the legal market to under-served populations, lawyers working for incorporated legal services providers would not necessarily earn less than solo practitioners currently earn, although lawyer-employees would have substantially less autonomy than lawyer-owners.   

Continue reading

January 4, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Web/Tech | Permalink

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I answer "Ten Questions"...

Oregon law professor criticizes university's response to Prof. Shurtz

Friday, December 30, 2016

Hemel and Herzig in the WSJ: Republicans can repeal Obamacare, for a price

Daniel Hemel and David Herzig discuss the filibuster and the future of the Affordable Care Act in the Wall Street Journal.

December 30, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest | Permalink