April 21, 2022

The case against student-edited law reviews, an ongoing saga

The latest shot fired by Professor Paul Heald (Illinois).  He is, of course, right, but I don't expect anything to change.

April 21, 2022 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

April 19, 2022

Yale Law School melodrama, part 325

This time in CHE; an excerpt:

Some professors lay the blame at Gerken’s feet. “I have the sinking feeling that the values of the school are being eroded under this deanship,” one faculty member told me. Another said Gerken is a “genuinely nice person who doesn’t like telling people hard truths to their face.” The critics, who sought anonymity, basically accused the dean of repeatedly caving in to progressive students.


Gerken’s defenders were likewise reluctant to have their names printed. Several I spoke with argued that those taking shots at the dean are the law school’s old guard, and what they’re really upset about is Gerken’s emphasis on diversity and on punishing sexual harassment. One faculty member told me he thought the dean’s critics were setting a poor example for students.


The fact that no one will talk frankly on the record speaks to an overall loss of trust between certain factions of professors. More than one of them mentioned to me that they feared their comments in faculty meetings would be recorded and leaked.

I hope this doesn't need saying, but:  secretly recording a faculty meeting and leaking the recording is not protected by academic freedom, and a tenured faculty member could be severely sanctioned for such misconduct.  

In addition, as the recent scholarly impact studies show, Yale needs its "old guard"!

April 19, 2022 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

April 07, 2022

All about law school Deans...

...from the AALS.  A couple of striking data points:  "Most successful dean candidacies are initiated by someone else (62%)" and "More than one-half (59%) of deans are selected after a search that involves a search firm."  The latter is particularly surprising, given how clueless these search firms usually are, at least in my experience.

On the other hand, polling the Deans themselves about what helps them succeed in their role as Dean seems like an unsound methodology:  my impression is that a majority of Deans do not succeed and are not very good at the job (it's a rather difficult and often unpleasant job, or so it seems to me!).  It would be more interesting to poll just those Deans whom others (e.g., faculty, alumni, students) judge to be successful!

April 7, 2022 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

April 05, 2022

Yale Law melodrama continues: Professor Stith disagrees with Dean, says student protest violated the Law School's Free Speech Policy

Story here (prior coverage--and earlier examples of the clearly dysfunctional institutional culture).  Despite the continued bad press, and even as its USNews.com reputation score falls to 3rd, its #1 scholarly impact positions depends increasingly on an ageing faculty, and its younger faculty increasingly live in New York City (or decamp to NYC schools), the per capita expenditures metric will still keep Yale at #1 in USNews.com.

April 5, 2022 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

March 31, 2022

Ristroph v. Sklansky

Here and here.  I've not read enough of the work of either of these authors to have an opinion on the merits.

March 31, 2022 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

March 24, 2022

Yale Law School's public relations disaster continues

David Lat (who went to YLS, subsequently founded the abysmal online tabloid Above the Law, and then wisely bailed from that) shares on his substack a recent letter from a current Yale Law student:

Students here seem unwilling to have their beliefs and actions challenged. Many of my peers see the expectation of rigor and precision in classroom discussions and in community deliberation alike as somehow distracting from the normative urgency of their ends (many of which I share).


I’ve heard students deride decidedly liberal professors Dan Kahan and [former YLS dean] Tony Kronman as conservative or bigoted for clearly articulating challenges to student intuitions for pedagogical purposes in classroom discussions. In some cases, student commentary has become absurd in its near-purposeful missing of the point. For example, several classmates accused Kahan of hating women, even as he took pains in the classroom to demonstrate where the law incorporates misogynistic norms.5


Even as a progressive, I’ve felt uncomfortable sharing even friendly amendments to certain student views in the classroom. I have a lot of folk explanations for why the intellectual climate is like this (students are increasingly coming back to law school after spending time away from challenging academic environments, the teaching at YLS has never been exactly renowned for its excellence, etc.), but it’s nevertheless frustrating to see truth be treated as unimportant here.

March 24, 2022 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

March 17, 2022

Professor Stith to Yale law students: "Grow up"

Story here.  The "Alliance Defending Freedom" is awful, no dispute about that, but in an academic institution a lawyer for that organization gets to speak if invited; indeed, in this case, the lawyer was matched with a speaker opposing her views.   The law students can protest, but they don't get to disrupt and derail the event.

March 17, 2022 in Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

March 11, 2022

Applications and applicants are down a bit this year

From the ABA Journal:

As of March 7, 50,375 applicants had submitted 363,581 applications to law schools for the 2022 school year, Law.com reported. Last year at this point in time, 55,680 applicants submitted 395,870 applications to law schools.

That’s a 9.5% decline in applicants since last year and an 8.2% decline in applications.

The applicants and applications are higher than two years ago, however.

March 11, 2022 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

March 08, 2022

LSAC acquires "Law School Transparency [LST]"

Here.  At a time when the LSAT is at risk of being displaced by the GRE, this was not a smart move, given LST's dubious history:  e.g., here, here, or here.

March 8, 2022 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

March 03, 2022

Penn student organizations calls for "immediate" firing of Professor Wax

Ironically, resolutions like this will be fodder for a lawsuit by Professor Wax if Penn does breach its contractual commitment to academic freedom (including freedom of extramural speech) by firing her.  (See the earlier letter to Penn from the Academic Freedom Alliance.)

March 3, 2022 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink