December 01, 2021

Former Temple Business School Dean convicted of wire fraud for "cooking the books" in data reported to

Story here.  I was struck by this quote from the prosecutor:

“The hope is that this case sends a message to other college and university administrators that there are real consequences to making representations that students and applicants rely on,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark B. Dubnoff said. “So many people turn to these rankings … to help them make informed decisions of where to go to college, graduate school, and it’s important that people are honest and fully truthful with the representations they make.”

You'll note who is missing in this sermon from the prosecutor:  the editors of, who don't audit the self-reported data, and who then stir it into a stew of arbitrarily weighted factors to produce a ranking that misleads students and applicants, leading them to make misinformed decisions.   I guess the wire fraud statutes don't cover this kind of "fraud" on the public.


December 1, 2021 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink

November 30, 2021

Law school application season: total applicants down slightly, high-end LSAT scores down more

Blog Emperor Caron reports on the state of the law school application season about one-third of the way through.  Given how strong last year's applicant pool was, this slightly downturn (if it holds) should not be of great concern to the vast majority of law schools.

November 30, 2021 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

November 18, 2021

UIC's John Marshall Law School should lose its accreditation if it continues with this "witch hunt" against a faculty member

Professor Andy Koppelman (Northwestern) comments at CHE (do read the full account):

In January the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Law disgraced itself with its foolish persecution of Jason Kilborn, a professor who was accused of racism for asking students to address an ordinary hypothetical, of a kind they are likely to encounter in normal legal practice. That episode has now ballooned into calls for his firing, with an ill-informed Rev. Jesse Jackson leading protests against him. And the university, while it refuses to fire Kilborn, is continuing to punish him for things it knows he didn’t do.


The trouble started when, in a “Civil Procedure” exam, Kilborn asked whether a hypothetical company, sued for discrimination, must disclose evidence to the plaintiff. In the test’s scenario, a former employee told the company’s lawyer “that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, calling her a ‘n____’ and ‘b____’ (profane expressions for African Americans and women) and vowed to get rid of her.” The exam did not spell out those words, which appeared exactly as you just read them. (This was just one of the test’s 50 questions.)

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November 18, 2021 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

November 16, 2021

Two Yale law students sue Yale and various Deans...

...for their actions during L'Affaire Chua.   The full complaint is here.  As paragraph 21 notes, the absence of grades at Yale "means that Yale Law School students are in high competition over non-grade signifiers of merit."  How much this competition has to do with "merit" is questionable, of course.  Coming on the heels of the "Trap House Affair" (and the earlier expose of the class divide), this has not been a good year for Yale Law School.

ADDENDUM:  A comparison of allegations about administrator conduct in the two cases.


November 16, 2021 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

November 11, 2021

Simon Lazarus YLS '67 on "Where Yale Law School Has Gone Off the Rails, and What is Needed to Get It Back on Track"

Mr. Lazarus is a 1967 graduate of Yale Law School and a distinguished lawyer who served as associate director of President Jimmy Carter’s White House Domestic Policy Staff, and since then with private and public-interest law firms in Washington, D.C.  He kindly gave permission to share with readers his penetrating analysis of Yale's mishandling of the "Trap House Affair" and how to now make things right:  Download 11.9.2021 memo on the Trap House Affair.  Do read the whole memo, but here is an excerpt to give the flavor:

What now is most baffling is the YLS administration’s defiant, defensive crouch response to the widening public criticism – batting away the smoking-gun-studded factual record, as “partial facts” in a “charged media environment,” and attempting to deflect criticism by announcing an “assessment” by Deputy Dean Ian Ayres, “to help us move forward.”  Refusing to address publicly available facts, and trivializing, as media hype, outrage from a Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post columnist, a Post Deputy Editorial Page Editor, and distinguished academics – will not stem this tide. Nor will Dean Gerken’s passing the buck to a subordinate.  

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November 11, 2021 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

October 18, 2021

The Yale Law School spectacle continues

October 07, 2021

$13 million gift to Villanova Law

Wow!  Unlike the wealthy alums who give to Yale, I bet this won't come with donor control over appointments and course content!

October 7, 2021 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 05, 2021

"My Favorite Law Review Article"

A new video series sponsored by the American University Law Review.  There are instructions at the site about how to submit your own video.

October 5, 2021 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 29, 2021

Sag v. Sisk on scholarly impact rankings

Professor Matthew Sag (Loyola/Chicago) called my attention to his recent critique of and alternative to Professor Sisk's scholarly impact rankings.  I have not had an opportunity to look at his paper, but I did read his blog post.  Professor Sag states: 

Gregory Sisk and his team release these rankings of the top 67 or so schools every three years. And so every three years I find myself wondering: “Really? Can it be true that all these schools have higher academic impact scores than Loyola Chicago, DePaul, and Houston Law?”  The short answer is: no, it’s not remotely true. There are quite a few schools that Sisk leaves out who would outrank those he includes on almost any conceivable method of aggregating citation counts.

This is not correct, however:  Sisk et al. studied DePaul and Houston, but not Loyola/Chicago.  If you are only trying to rank the top third of U.S. law schools by scholarly impact, you need only to study those schools there is reason or evidence to think will be in the top third. Sisk et al. studied 99 schools.  (I list only the top 50, since I'm very confident that is the top 50 in impact based on citations.)    (Professor Sisk says more, below, about how schools were chosen for inclusion.)

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September 29, 2021 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

September 22, 2021

Samuel Moyn (Yale) vs. defenders of the late Michael Ratner (including Katherine Franke [Columbia])

Here.  I have found Moyn's work quite interesting, but the criticisms of Ratner do seem unfair.

September 22, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink