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May 30, 2020

Do legal clinics help reduce civil unrest? (Michael Simkovic)

A recent article argues that legal clinics funded in the 1960s to help the poor obtain access to legal services helped reduce civil unrest and thereby increased property values in minority communities.  The article argues that the timing and location of grants to fund the establishment of these clinics was close enough to random (or at least unrelated to riot propensities) to facilitate causal inference, and attempts to control for differences between areas that received grants and those that did not.  In particular, the article instruments by whether or not the community had an established law school, which was a necessary precondition for receipt of a grant to fund a legal clinic.

Jamein P. CunninghamRob Gillezeau, The Effects of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program on Riots and the Wealth of African Americans,

The debate about law school clinics has tended to focus on the extent to which clinics provide pedagogical benefits and short term employment advantages to law students.  But if the authors of the article above are right, clinics may also be a way for law schools and universities to contribute to stability in their local communities. 

Posted by Michael Simkovic on May 30, 2020 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic | Permalink

May 26, 2020

Congratulations to the Chicago Alumni who made lateral moves this year

They are

Cathy Hwang '10 (corporate) who is moving from the University of Utah to the University of Virginia.


Kyle Langvardt '07 (First Amendment, contracts, law & technology) who is moving from the University of Detroit Mercy to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.


Goldburn P. Maynard, Jr. '05 (tax law & policy) who is moving from the University of Louisville to the Business School at Indiana University, Bloomington (untenured lateral).

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 26, 2020 in Faculty News | Permalink

May 21, 2020

University of Minnesota law professor Parisi wins defamation lawsuit against woman who falsely and maliciously accused him of rape

Good for him, some vindication after the ordeal he was put through.  (Prior coverage.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 21, 2020 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 20, 2020

A law professor felled by COVID-19 after a 50-year teaching career

Blog Emperor Caron has a very nice memorial for his colleague Jim McGoldrick, who taught at Pepperdine for a half-century, where he was clearly a beloved teacher; from Dean Caron's memorial:

As a faculty member and then Dean, I witnessed first hand Jim's incredible talent and dedication as a teacher. Courtney and I have hosted hundreds of students in our home for dinners in my three years as dean, and we always go around the table asking students which professor has had the biggest impact on them. Jim's name is mentioned time after time after time -- the students simply loved him. And Jim loved his students. I will never forget discussing with Jim how we could minimize the impact of his COVID-19 illness on his students moments before he was to be put on a ventilator. I am in awe that, in that scary moment, Jim's main concern was his students.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 20, 2020 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

May 19, 2020

"The Legal Academy": Orin Kerr (Berkeley) interviews law professors

Episode 1 is up with Akhil Amar (Yale).

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 19, 2020 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 18, 2020

Legal occupations prove resilient during COVID shutdowns (Michael Simkovic)

International efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus have come at heavy economic cost.  According to figures recently released by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. national unemployment rates have spiked from less than 5 percent to more than 14 percent as of April 2020, reaching the highest level since the Great Depression. 

Unemployment has increased the most for those working in food preparation and personal care occupations, where working remotely is less feasible.  For such workers, unemployment rates are now close to 40 percent.  In contrast, those in professional and related occupations have fared relatively well, with unemployment averaging below 9 percent. 

Legal occupations have proved remarkably resilient and currently have the lowest unemployment rate of any category tracked by the BLS.  Unemployment for legal occupations reached only 3.7 percent in April of 2020.  Unemployment rates for lawyers are likely even lower because legal occupations include lawyers as well as occupations that typically have significantly higher unemployment rates than lawyers, such as paralegals and other legal support workers.  In the first quarter of 2020, these non-lawyer legal occupations had unemployment rates around 2.3 to 2.5 percent, compared to 1.1. percent for lawyers.  To be clear, unemployment has increased in legal occupations—just not by as much as it has increased everywhere else.

Law may be resilient in part because electronic filing, electronic legal research resources, home computers, and telecommunications technology make it is easy for lawyers to work remotely, and in part because the COVID shutdowns are leading to additional work for lawyers in areas like restructuring, secured lending, and employment law.  Legal services may also be helpful for navigating recent relief legislation that seeks to provide federal assistance to businesses and other institutions.

In the 2008 to 2009 recession, law was also relatively resilient, but healthcare was the most stable sector.  The current downturn, however, is having a devastating effect on the finances of the healthcare sector.

Posted by Michael Simkovic on May 18, 2020 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic | Permalink

May 15, 2020

Lawsky's Entry-Level Hiring Report for 2019-20

Professor Lawsky (Northwestern) has released her typically excellent entry-level hiring report for this academic year.   I'll have more to say about some of what we learn from these results in a subsequent post.

I'll add one data point:  Professor Lawsky reports the number of graduates by school who got law teaching job, but not how many were on the market.  Using the first FAR distribution (not a perfect metric, since it includes LLMs as well as JDs, but that effect probably washes out across schools), here are the schools ranked by the success rate of their graduates on the market (for all schools that placed at least two graduates and had at least five graduates on the market):

1.  University of Chicago (57% [4/7])

2.  Stanford University (53% [9/17])

3.  Yale University (51% [18/35])

4.  University of California Berkeley (46% [5/11])

5.  Harvard University (33% [12/36])

6.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (23% [3/13])

7.  New York University (20% [6/20])

8.  Columbia University (15% [2/13])

9.  Georgetown University [14% [3/22])

Northwestern had only three graduates on the market, but placed two of them, so 67%!

I've calculated this a couple of times before:  here are the results for 2019 and 2016.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 15, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

May 13, 2020

Yada Yada Law School offering summer classes...

...via Zoom.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 13, 2020 in Legal Humor | Permalink

May 11, 2020

Entry-level hiring report for 2019-20...

...courtesy of Professor Lawsky (Northwestern).  Sorry for not posting this sooner, I had missed it.  Do submit your information.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 11, 2020 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 4, 2020

Average academic reputation scores in USNews.com have been increasing since 2015 (their low)

Law professor Robert Jones (Northern Illinois) documents the trends here.  Why is this happening?  Maybe because the fortunes of law schools started to improve in the last few years, so evaluators are being more generous?  Just speculation, I'm not sure there's any clear answer.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 4, 2020 in Rankings | Permalink