October 31, 2018

89-year-old prisoner murdered upon transfer to a new prison

There are many threats to the "rule of law" these days, but notorious prisoners being murdered while in state custody should feature among the threats law professors are taking seriously.

October 31, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 29, 2018

Michigan State College of Law to actually become part of Michigan State University

October 23, 2018

$25 million gift to Stanford Law School...

October 18, 2018

Average salaries and indebtedness

Interesting stats, but bear in mind three things:  first, this includes only students who refinanced their law school loans; second, schools continue to be a bit slippery about how they report average starting salaries; and third, average starting salaries are sensitive to region of the country (any school that primarily places in NYC "big law" will come out with higher average salaries, all else equal).  The strong performance by major regional schools--like BYU and Georgia--is striking.

October 18, 2018 in Legal Profession, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

October 16, 2018

Valparaiso's Law School a step closer to moving to Middle Tennessee State University


Both  universities have now formally approved the transfer. State higher education officials in Tennessee must now approve it.

UPDATE:  The Tenn. Higher Education Commission has rejected the plan.

October 16, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 03, 2018

Letter from law professors opposed to the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

The letter and details about how to sign here.

ADDENDUM:  I provide this for those interested.  I don't feel I should sign since I was already opposed to Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Court, for reasons one can gather here.  He holds some reactionary moral and political views that will inevitably influence some of his decisions:  that's enough for me to be opposed.   I think the allegations against him add reasons to oppose the nomination, but I feel less strongly that his belligerent performance before the Senate does.  (I would think the best evidence of "judicial temperament" is the temperament on display while judging--which he has done for a dozen years--not that on display while defending oneself from serious, public allegations.)  But some readers will no doubt feel differently, and perhaps there are even some for whom the performance in the Senate hearing changed their prior view about the merits.

October 3, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 01, 2018

A damning indictment of the culture of Yale Law School by an alumnus

Here; an excerpt:

Distinction at Yale is not tied all that closely to grades: The law school abolished traditional grades in the late 1960s, adopting a system whereby there are essentially only two grades: Honors and Pass. Career advancement is tied particularly to networking—making a few well-connected faculty members see themselves in you, so that down the line they’ll call their friends on the bench. Clerkships were an obsession: a good one, we gathered, had the power to make a career.


The resulting patronage system fostered a sort of self-interested blindness on the part of faculty and students alike. Most federal judges, in my experience, are reasonable and desirable bosses for the handful of clerks they employ each year. Some, however, are not. And all preside, even more than the standard boss, over a dictatorship. Federal anti-discrimination laws do not apply to federal judges. Meanwhile, given their stature and connections, federal judges hold tremendous power over the reputations and career prospects of their clerks.


Notorious among the judges to avoid, when I was in school, was Alex Kozinski, the appeals judge for whom Kavanaugh clerked. Kozinski retired last year amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations by former clerks, junior staff, attorneys and judges who accused the judge of behavior ranging from explicit comments to forcible and unwanted kissing and groping. (Kozinski has apologized for making “any of my clerks … feel uncomfortable,” but has also disputed these allegations.) Kozinski’s sexual innuendo—both in chambers and on an email list of former clerks—has become infamous, but when I was in school, the rumor mill among students spoke only in hushed and vague tones.


Typically, at least one of Judge Kozinski’s clerks each year came from Yale, propelled in part by connections from law professors. For faculty, sending students to clerk for judges like Kozinski and Kavanaugh—“feeder” judges whose clerks often go on to clerk on the Supreme Court—is a point of pride, a way to further distinguish oneself in the upper echelons of the legal profession. But the self-interested blindness of faculty can lead to obvious and tangible harms for students who become clerks. Kozinski’s harassing conduct, it seems, was an open secret: visible to those who knew to look, while hidden to those who didn’t—or didn’t want to see.

Continue reading

October 1, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 24, 2018

Yale Law investigating allegations about Amy Chua's advice to clerkship applicants to Judge Kavanaugh

IHE has some details, including Professor Chua's denial of the allegations.

September 24, 2018 in Faculty News, Legal Profession | Permalink

September 20, 2018

Yale's Chua, Rubenfeld now center stage in the Kavanaugh confirmation drama as new allegations emerge about what Kavanaugh likes in clerks

Many readers have sent me this article from The Guardian; some excerpts:

[Amy Chua], who strongly endorsed supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a “mentor to women” privately told a group of law students last year that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s female law clerks all “looked like models” and would provide advice to students about their physical appearance if they wanted to work for him....[She] was known for instructing female law students who were preparing for interviews with Kavanaugh on ways they could dress to exude a “model-like” femininity to help them win a post in Kavanaugh’s chambers, according to sources....


In one case, Jed Rubenfeld, also an influential professor at Yale and who is married to Chua, told a prospective clerk that Kavanaugh liked a certain “look”.


“He told me, ‘You should know that Judge Kavanaugh hires women with a certain look,’” one woman told the Guardian. “He did not say what the look was and I did not ask...."


Chua advised the same student Rubenfeld spoke to that she ought to dress in an “outgoing” way for her interview with Kavanaugh, and that the student should send Chua pictures of herself in different outfits before going to interview. The student did not send the photos....


The Guardian has learned that Rubenfeld is currently the subject of an internal investigation at Yale. The investigation is focused on Rubenfeld’s conduct, particularly with female law students. Students have also raised related concerns to Yale authorities about Chua’s powerful influence in the clerkships process.

September 20, 2018 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Why do some college students choose law school over other advanced degree programs? (Michael Simkovic)

The AALS today released a new report, Before the JD: Undergraduate Views on Law School, based on a survey with responses from 22,0000 college students and 2,700 law students.  The report discusses, among other things, the considerations that might drive college students pursuing advanced degrees to apply to law school over other advanced degree programs, when students first contemplate going to law school, and important sources of information and advice about law school and other advanced degrees to which undergraduates turn.

Some interesting findings include:

  • Students considering law school are also likely to consider a PhD, Masters Degree or MBA instead of a law degree, but are much less likely to consider Medical School
  • Only 15 precent of students considering a graduate degree were considering a law degreee
  • Law was seen as better preparation for a career in politics, government, or public service than other options
  • Compared to other advanced degrees, students are less concerned about time to completion for law degrees, but students are more concerned about work life balance in law than in other fields
  • Debt /cost was slightly less of a concern for a law degree than for other advanced degrees
  • Students interested in law school developed this interest early, often even before attending college
  • Law was not seen as using cutting edge technology as much as other fields

September 20, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink