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December 31, 2018

2018: well-known law professors whose passing was noted on the blog

We noted the passing of these well-known legal scholars during 2018:   David Caron, Robert W. Hamilton, Geoffrey Hazard, Jr., Robert O'Neil, Robert Pitofsky, Ronald Rotunda, Lynn Stout, and Alan Watson.  If you click on the "memorial notices" category (in which this post also appears) and scroll through, you can often find more information, including (often) links to obituaries.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 31, 2018 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

December 21, 2018

Yale Law School may be failing democracy, but others beg to disagree

Blog Emperor Caron collects some responses to the piece Professor Simkovic noted the other day.  I'll have my own response to Professor Moyn's melodramatic piece, but probably not until the New Year.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 21, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

December 19, 2018

Samuel Moyn (Yale): Law schools are too focused on public law to serve the public interest (Michael Simkovic)

In a thought provoking essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Professor Samuel Moyn argues that law schools' focus on judge made law in general, and the Supreme Court in particular, is counterproductive especially when justified on ostensibly progressive grounds.  Offline, Professor Moyn suggested that, to better help students understand how the legal system influences the distribution of economic and political power, progressives should focus more on teaching business law subjects like taxation and anti-trust.

Samuel Moyn, Law Schools Are Bad for Democracy: They whitewash the grubby scramble for power, Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 16, 2018.

Posted by Michael Simkovic on December 19, 2018 in Faculty News, Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Jurisprudence, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Weblogs | Permalink

December 18, 2018

Another way in which USNews.com runs American legal education

The market for transfers:  by taking large numbers of transfers, schools can admit a smaller and more selective 1L class, which is the only set of credentials (LSAT and GPA) that USNews.com counts.  The school makes up the lost tuition revenue from the smaller class with the transfers.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 18, 2018 in Legal Profession, Rankings | Permalink

December 17, 2018

The continued rise of non-JD enrollment in law schools

Usefully documented here.  The explanation for the rise is simple:  non-JD students (e.g., LLM students, but also, as in the case of Arizona, undergraduates taking courses taught by law faculty for an undergraduate law-related degree) generate tuition revenue, but are invisible to the masters of American legal education at USNews.com:  their numerical credentials don't show up, so it's all $$$ and no risk to ranking.   We're still waiting for the creative state AG who finds a way to nail US News.com for its role in consumer fraud.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 17, 2018 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

December 16, 2018

McKinsey responds to New York Times hit piece (Michael Simkovic)

The consulting firm McKinsey is a leading employer of graduates of elite law schools, business schools, medical schools, and other professional programs.  The New York Times recently ran a piece attempting to link McKinsey to regimes that abuse human rights.  McKinsey's response appears below.

Readers of this blog are probably familiar with how uneven in quality New York Times coverage can be in the higher education context.  I would encourage readers not to jump to conclusions about McKinsey based on N.Y. Times coverage. 

Note: I worked as consultant at McKinsey in New York approximately 10 years ago.  I have published in the N.Y. Times within the last 3 years.

From Thomas Seitz, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company:

As you may have seen, The New York Times ran an article yesterday about our work in Southeast Asia, China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. We realize this article, along with other recent coverage of our Firm, has raised questions. We therefore want to take this opportunity to respond, especially as we expect The New York Times to continue to write about our Firm.

We knew The Times had an agenda when a friend of the Firm forwarded us an email he received from one of the authors of yesterday’s article seeking information about connections, “no matter how tenuous,” between our Firm and “institutions that support anti-democratic activities” in a certain country. He added that such tenuous connections would be “of great interest to our readers.” We nevertheless engaged with the journalists over the past five months to try to correct facts and help them understand our Firm’s approach to client service and selection.

With yesterday’s story, The Times selectively uses a handful of engagements and one office retreat to fundamentally mischaracterize our Firm’s presence in large parts of the world. In building their narrative, the reporters ignored or discounted facts that did not support their argument. They bent unobjectionable facts, used innuendo and implied causality to build a deeply misleading account of how we operate.

As a global Firm, we fundamentally disagree with the assertion that our colleagues in Southeast Asia, China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East should not be serving clients where we have a demonstrated record of making a positive difference in the countries where they live, and on behalf of their fellow citizens. Together, these countries represent more than two billion people.

Indeed, the authors do concede that many other businesses operate legally in these markets, but they conclude that it is somehow different when McKinsey does so because “[no other firms] have the stature to confer credibility quite like McKinsey, a confidante for 92 years to many of the world’s most admired companies.”

A few points to keep in mind in light of this higher bar:

    • Broad swaths of The Times’ narrative are at fundamental odds with how our Firm works, such as the article’s insinuation that we have somehow orchestrated our work across multiple clients to support China’s Belt-and-Road initiative. To portray us as working behind the scenes to advance any government’s agenda – across separate CSTs – is simply untrue and impossible. We also dispute the inference that our client service on individual projects related to China’s Belt-and-Road initiative is somehow inappropriate. Each engagement was conducted and evaluated on its merits and not in any way as part of a coordinated effort to advance the initiative.
    • We comply with the law in all markets where we operate. Full stop. Despite The Times’ suggestive language about “clients under sanctions,” we fully comply with the requirements, and the intent, of all international sanctions –something The Times itself acknowledges.
    • We hire exceptional people. We have a robust and standardized global recruiting process, which ensures that every individual we hire into a client service role goes through a rigorous, meritocratic assessment process. As we explained to The Times, both of the individuals referenced in the article were hired through this process. To imply that either was hired for reasons other than merit is false and misleading.
    • Liu Chunhang was hired after graduating from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar. He did not work for any Chinese clients while at McKinsey. There is zero evidence his relationships were used by anyone to help develop clients or engagements.
    • Yulia Poroshenko (the daughter-in-law of Ukraine’s current president) was hired from the world-leading MBA program at INSEAD Business School, before she was married and two years before Mr. Poroshenko became President. She had no visible connection to Mr. Poroshenko at the time.
    • Like many other major corporations, including our competitors, we seek to navigate a changing geopolitical environment, but we do not support or engage in political activities. Take for example the context for two of the examples The Times cites – our work in Ukraine and in Malaysia:
    • In Ukraine, we chose to join widely-respected leaders and other international institutions to help reform an economy in desperate need of jobs and growth at a time when many saw real hope of both political and economic change. The Times’ suggestion that we undertook this work to polish the image of Mr. Yanukovych is deeply misleading. The local Partners who led this work were committed to the cause of reform; yet when it became clear that the country’s President would not follow through on his stated reform agenda, we made the tough decision to walk away and end our service. And let us be clear: the innuendo linking our work to Paul Manafort’s reported public affairs and lobbying activities is plain wrong.
    • In Malaysia, we evaluated the feasibility of the proposed East Coast Rail Link. Our role was limited to studying socio-economic impact and financial feasibility. We played no role in the Malaysian government’s selection of China Communications Construction Company. Most importantly, in this engagement we abided by one of our values: we told our client the truth. We advised that the project was not financially sustainable as scoped and recommended an alternative approach. This alternative approach was unfortunately not adopted by the government.

□    □    □

As a global Firm, we are proud of the positive contributions we deliver in all the geographies in which we are present. We are disappointed that The Times’ article ignored the work we do that makes the lives of millions of people and thousands of clients better from the impact we deliver. This work is one of the many reasons we are proud of our Firm, our impact and our people.  

We accept the scrutiny – including from the media – that comes with our work and leadership position in our profession. We also accept the commentary about the retreat in China, and we will be more thoughtful about such choices in the future. Yesterday’s article, however, crossed the line into criticism that is not justified by the facts of what we do and how we serve our clients.



Posted by Michael Simkovic on December 16, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice, Weblogs | Permalink

December 14, 2018

More on the Kesan case at Illinois

This time in CHE, with additional details about the complainants and Professor Kesan's creepy behavior.   The title of the article suggest something "went wrong," but I confess that's not obvious beyond the fact that it took far too long for the investigation to conclude.   His behavior, which is damning in its own right, doesn't appear rise to the level of "hostile climate" sexual harassment (at least not on the record that is public), as the investigation concluded.   The University could adjust its sexual harassment rules to cover cases like this, but as it is, he was found to have violated other university rules and sanctioned.   Did he reform his behavior subsequently?  That we don't know.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 14, 2018 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

December 13, 2018

Nevada's Boyd School of Law celebrates 20 years

Alaska remains the only state without a law school.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 13, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

December 12, 2018

Taking the LSAT will soon become more convenient (Michael Simkovic)

LSAC is rolling out several initiatives to make the LSAT more accessible, including a tablet-based version of the test that will increase the number and type of facilities that can serve as test administration centers, and will pave the way for more frequent test administration.  LSAT takers will also be able to take the essay portion of the exam from home through "remote proctoring."

LSAC is also offering free online LSAT test preparation and practice questions.

A competing standardized test that is less universally accepted for law school admission, the GRE, is available at administration centers on an almost continuous basis.

Bar examiners might want to consider investing in technology to increase the frequency with which the bar is administered and reduce the amount of time it takes to grade.  


Posted by Michael Simkovic on December 12, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice, Web/Tech | Permalink

December 11, 2018

ABA approves Illinois/Chicago acquisition of John Marshall Law School

Details.  Assuming tuition is set at more typical levels for public law schools in Illinois, that, together with the University of Illinois brand, will change the legal education marketplace in Chicago, especially for the Chicago private schools like DePaul, Chicago-Kent, and Loyola/Chicago.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 11, 2018 in Legal Profession | Permalink