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October 31, 2022

Travelling this week, so more posts next week

Also Typepad, the blog service provider, melted down over the weekend, but seems to have come back to life.  Apologies to readers.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 31, 2022 | Permalink

October 28, 2022

A new "Creative Commons" license that permits users to "remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially"

Some academics are concerned; law professors should feel free to weigh in on the discussion in the comments at the link.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 28, 2022 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

October 26, 2022

Links to all the 2021 Scholarly Impact ranking posts (final version) (for citations during 2016-2020)


Top 50 law faculties in overall scholarly impact, 2016-2020

Top 25 law faculties in median scholarly impact, 2016-2020

10 Most-Cited Faculty in the US, 2016-2020

20 Most-Cited in Administrative and/or Environmental Law

10 Most-Cited in Antitrust

10 Most-Cited in Civil Procedure

10 Most-Cited in Commercial Law

20 Most-Cited in Constitutional Law

20 Most-Cited in Corporate & Securities Law

20 Most-Cited in Criminal Law & Procedure

20 Most-Cited in Critical Theories of Law

10 Most-Cited in Election Law

10 Most-Cited in Evidence

10 Most-Cited in Family Law

10 Most-Cited in Health Law

10 Most-Cited in Immigration Law

20 Most-Cited in Intellectual Property

20 Most-Cited in International Law & Security

10 Most-Cited in Labor and/or Employment Law

15 Most-Cited in Law & Economics

10 Most-Cited in Law & Philosophy

15 Most-Cited in Law & Social Science

10 Most-Cited in Law & Technology

10 Most-Cited in Legal Ethics/Legal Profession

10 Most-Cited in Legal History

10 Most-Cited in Legislation/Statutory Interpretation

10 Most-Cited in Property (including Wills & Estates)

10 Most-Cited in Tax

10 Most-Cited in Torts & Insurance Law

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 26, 2022 in Rankings | Permalink

October 25, 2022

Is US News an "authoritative" ranking of law schools?

I know this question will make readers of this blog laugh, even as they recognize the pernicious influence the USNews.com rankings have on legal education and the decisions of applicants.   But I was struck when having lunch this past Spring with some talented LLM students from Japan and China that they seemed to assume the answer to the question was "yes."  In a way, that sums up the problem confronted by American legal education.   USNews.com is undoubtedly perceived as authoritative by many students, who lack the knowledge and resources to assess the nonsensical ranking stew (reputation, library resources, expenditures per capita, self-reported employment data and on and on) used by USNews.com. 

No one outside Palo Alto (and maybe not even there), for example, thinks Stanford is the #2 law school in the country, better than Harvard, Chicago, or NYU (all ranked behind it in USNews.com).  Penn is now #6 in USNews.com, but it is clearly not as strong as NYU and Berkeley, ranked behind it.   Arizona State's law school is ranked ahead of the University of Arizona, but it does not have a stronger faculty.   The same could be said about the University of Florida and Florida State.  Many law schools outside the USNews.com top 50 are better (by many metrics) than those inside the top 50. 

Consider what a little knowledge and information makes clear:  Yale is the perennial #1 in USNews.com only because of per capita expenditures (unsurprisingly); it was ranked 3rd in the USNews.com surveys of both academics and lawyers/judges this past Spring.  Yale--in addition to being the capital of law school melodrama--is still riding on the laurels of its over-65 faculty.  But even when they retire, Yale will still be #1 in USNews.com, as long as per capita expenditures are given so much weight.

The only thing law schools can do is inform and educate prospective students.  Journalists could help by educating their readers about the stew of factors, and by no longer treating them as meaningful, but as a bad joke.   What will finally bring an end to the USNews.com reign of misinformation will be some combination of (1) more competitors that command equal attention from journalists; (2) further scandals involving misreporting of data; and (3) civil or criminal consumer fraud charges against USNews.com (an uphill battle).  My guess is #1 and #2 are more likely.


Posted by Brian Leiter on October 25, 2022 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

October 24, 2022

Judge Ho heading to Yale, at invitation of Dean Gerken

So reports the Blog Emperor.  Judge Ho's threatened boycott sure seems to have gotten Yale's attention!

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 24, 2022 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 19, 2022

Law professors on Twitter

Professor Bridget Crawford (Pace) has updated her "census" of lawprof Twitterati.  And there's some discussion and comparison to prior years here.  While Twitter use has increased, it still looks like a clear majority of law faculty avoid that dismal cyber-realm!  (A few schools do seem to have a majority of faculty on Twitter:  e.g., Arizona, Ohio State, maybe Virginia, and others.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 19, 2022 | Permalink

October 18, 2022

CFP for the conferences in honor of Joseph Raz...

...at King's College, London and Columbia Law School.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 18, 2022 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

October 17, 2022

Etchemendy on "Legal Realism and Legal Reality"

This is the best paper on legal realism to appear in a law review in many, many years.  It's telling about the unreliability of the student-edited law reviews that a paper of this caliber should appear in the Tennessee Law Review (kudos to them for picking it up), while much weaker articles have appeared in Texas Law Review, California Law Review, and other more prominent reviews.  (Equally disappointing are pieces that rehash points I made a quarter-century ago, and try to make them look new by completely misrepresenting my prior work--but the uneven and often irresponsbile scholarship on legal realism is a story for another day!)

Here are a few things law professors should know by now about American Legal Realism:  (1) Robert Hale was a marginal figure in the American Realist movement, and was so regarded by other leading Realists (the critique of the public-private distinction was orthogonal to most of what the American Realists worked on); (2) Jerome Frank's views were an outlier among the American Legal Realists--the vast majority of Realists did not think law was as radically indeterminate as he did; (3) Most American Realists thought that appellate court decisions fell into predictable patterns that tracked "situation-types"; judges, on this view, responded to situation-types in predictable ways because they shared normative judgments about how those situations should be dealt with (sometimes this involved judicial sensitivity to non-codified norms of commercial practice, sometimes proto-economic efficiency judgments, sometimes judgments of "fairness"); (4) restatements of the law should aspire to make official statements of doctrine more fact-specific, so that the rules actually picked out the normatively relevant situation-types; (5) legal realists arguments for the indetreminacy of law presuppose a legal positivist account of legal validity; and (6) the long-moribund Critical Legal Studies had little to do with American Legal Realism. 

Etchemendy's contribution in the paper linked at the start is to show that the Realist arguments operate at the epistemic, rather than metaphysical, level.  I think that is right, although I think he understates the extent to which epistemic indeterminacy can license metaphysical conclusions.  Thanks to his crisp formulation of the issue, other scholars can now take this challenge up.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 17, 2022 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

October 13, 2022

Yale Law Dean Gerken shares "message to alumni" on free expression at the law school

Here.   This seems a victory for Judge Ho, despite the controversy about his threatened boycott.

UPDATE:  Correspondence with a colleague at Yale makes me realize an ambiguity in the preceding:  what I thought was a "victory" for Judge Ho's proposed boycott was that Dean Gerken shared this message in public.  Past criticisms from prominent YLS alumni make it clear why the Dean would have been concerned with these issues and would have written to alumni prior to the current brouhaha.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 13, 2022 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 11, 2022

Which judges are participating in the Yale law boycott?

A couple of readers have asked whether there is a list of the boycotters.  The only two that appear to be public are Judge Ho of the 5th Circuit and Judge Branch of the 11th Circuit.  One law professor who inquried about this explained:

Since your blog is read by many law profs, I think you should publish the names of judges who have publicly stated they will not hire Yale clerks so that faculty at other places can decide whether they will recommend students to those judges.   One of the advantages of a clerkship is exposure to someone of experience who can model good decision-making and convey an appropriate sense of how a judge comports him/herself and takes on hard questions in our system.  A faculty member could well come to the view that a particular judge would not provide a good life-learning experience for a would-be clerk and a boycotting announcement could well figure in such a determination.

I guess I would be disinclined to encourage a boycott of the boycotting judges, as it were.   Still, it ought to be a matter of public record (if only for the benefit of Yale students) which federal judges are joining this boycott.  If anyone knows of a list of the other judges participating in this boycott, please post a link in the comments.  Submit the comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 11, 2022 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | Comments (0)