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November 30, 2010

KapLaw? Hints of a New Bricks & Mortar Law School for Kaplan

According to the Washington Post, Kaplan (a division of the WaPo) is scouting Washington D.C. real estate for a possible new addition to its law school portfolio. 

Kaplan currently operates the unaccredited, online, for-profit Concord Law School and has apparently been pondering a move into the accredited law school market.  Concord has been remarkably successful offering a largely non-practice oriented JD.  Although Concord students can sit for the California bar, few actually do so.  (One hurdle is the requirement that Concord students pass the state's Baby Bar after year 1.)  Nonetheless, it appears that there is demand for the product that Kaplan does sell: an education and a diploma. The degree can be used for those seeking enhanced salary and promotion opportunities, improved professional skills, and jobs in quasi-legal fields: think compliance.  The Kaplan site is pretty explicit about the varied non-practice benefits of a JD.  

Then there's the sticker price.  You'll get your JD in 4 years for $40,000.  Total.

I've blogged previously about the development of sub-markets in legal education based on price.  Perhaps Kaplan will show the way to a low-cost, unsubsidized JD.  We may be skeptics today, but if the ABA is game, Kaplan might just be able to pull this thing off.  Whether you'll commend KapLaw to your kid is, of course, another matter entirely.

Posted by Dan Filler on November 30, 2010 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

November 29, 2010

The Most Important Characteristics in Evaluating Law Schools

With 184 votes cast on last week's poll, here are the five factors deemed most significant in evaluating a law school by the largely academic readership of this blog:

  1. Scholarly distinction/quality of the faculty
  2. Students numerical credentials (LSAT, GPA)
  3. Emphasis on legal doctrine & analytical skills
  4. Emphasis on legal research & writing skills
  5. Small class sizes

"Bar exam pass rates" weren't that far behind "small class sizes," but both were well behind the top four, and #3 and #4 trailed #1 by a wide margin.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 29, 2010 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

November 24, 2010

Maggs Named Interim Dean at GW

Gregory Maggs, senior associate dean of academic affairs at George Washington Law School, has been named that school's interim dean.  He succeeds Frederick Lawrence who will be heading Brandeis University.

Posted by Dan Filler on November 24, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

November 23, 2010

Another Law Dean Becomes Prez

Texas Wesleyan University announced the appointment of Frederick G. Slabach as its new President, effective in January.  Slabach is the former dean of Texas Wesleyan and former interim dean at Whittier.  People often remark that decanal experience in a law school is good training for a university president.  Certainly the fundraising expectations are similar.  But I'd guess that many have blind spots - especially around issues of outside funding.  Research funding issues are both practical and cultural and I'm guessing that faculty outside law schools get very nervous about a president who has little experience in these matters.  That said, law deans have succeeded and garnered wide support in even the most science-y of schools: think Lew Collens

Posted by Dan Filler on November 23, 2010 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

November 22, 2010

Solove on New TSA Airport Screening Procedures

This is easily the funniest thing I've seen on a law blog in years! 

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 22, 2010 in Legal Humor, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

November 19, 2010

Law Prof Predicts His New Consulting Firm Will Bring About a New Hierarchy of Law Schools

That wasn't quite the title of this article, but it should have been.   Professor Henderson's research about the legal profession is always instructive, to be sure, but this article is a bit silly.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 19, 2010 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

November 18, 2010

Legal Historians Are Massing in Philadelphia

Drexel University School of Law is formally hosting this year's annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History.  The meeting starts today and the schedule is here.  As always, this is a stellar conference and for those of you on the fence - please join us.  Philly is, after all, the hub of the Northeast Corridor.  (Or the Sixth Borough, according to the Times.)  Please stop by and say hello.

Posted by Dan Filler on November 18, 2010 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

November 17, 2010

How to Get Dean Search Committees to Stop Calling You to Ask If You're Interested

I thought I'd found the solution a few years ago, by having a blog, in which I speak plainly and honestly (which Deans are forbidden from doing) and in which I expressed political opinions so far out of the mainstream in the reactionary United States as to make all but the most progressive schools nervous.  This worked for awhile, though I've started getting the calls and inquiries again.   But now Brian Tamanaha (Wash U/St. Louis) has discovered the best way to guarantee one will never be sought after as a Dean:  make clear what you would do if you were Dean! 

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 17, 2010 in Legal Humor, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

November 16, 2010

What factors/characteristics do you consider most important in evaluating a law school?

As Dan noted, Wayne State has hired a consultant to survey law professors and lawyers (among others) about the characteristics they consider in evaluating a law school.  The readership here is primarily academic, and I thought it might be interesting to pose this question to you folks.  I've tweaked the choices the Wayne State consultants were using, so this isn't quite the same list of factors, though it's got a lot of overlap.   Some of the factors struck me as wholly irrelevant, and there's no good way to record that, other than to rank them very low--don't choose "no opnion," but do give what you think are irrelevant factors a low rank.   Here's the poll.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 16, 2010 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

November 15, 2010

Deconstructing the US News Reputation Survey

I have confirmed that for the 2011 law school ranking, US News incorporated the opinions of 646 voters in determining overall law school reputation.  (Additional voters were involved in the specialized rankings.)  That 646 number includes both academics (who contribute to the academic reputation ranking - which is 25% of a school's overall score) and lawyers/judges (whose opinions make up 15% of a school's overall score.)  Working backwards from the known response rate (65% for academics and 21% for lawyers and judges), it appears that about 520 of the voters are academics and 126 are lawyers and judges. 

One question I've been pondering is: how many of those surveyed don't bother to rate dozens of law schools?  I wouldn't be surprised if many people skip over schools they don't know. That would mean that many schools are being ranked on far, far fewer than 646 responses. 

Meanwhile, one law school is apparently trying to understand what those 520 law school voters are thinking about when they assess a school's reputation.  I've been forwarded an email sent by the Hanover Research group stating that they've been retained by Wayne State to conduct a 10-15 minute "survey of law professionals concerning the factors they consider to be important in determining law school quality and reputation." A survey of the surveyed!

I'm not going to lie.  I consider delicious salsa a highly compelling factor!

Posted by Dan Filler on November 15, 2010 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack