Schools for Misrule: some early blog reactions

by Walter Olson on March 2, 2011

Several interesting reactions to my book already from around the blogosphere:

  • University of Illinois law professor Larry Ribstein (who commented at my speech there last week): “There was a good turnout and a lot of deserved buzz for this very interesting book. … The book deserves a lot of attention, particularly from law professors and their students as a source of critical perspective on trends in legal education. There is little doubt that the ideas Olson criticizes are hatched mainly in law schools rather than by practicing lawyers and judges, and have led to costly and questionable litigation.” And a response from Scott Greenfield, who says the book’s premise that law professors have great influence over the state of the law “warms the cockles of lawprofs’ hearts given that most of the legal profession considers their influence marginal at best.”
  • Ted Frank: “should be required reading for law students, and deserves a place on any Federalist Society member’s bookshelf.”
  • Alan Crede writes a lengthy and thoughtful review at Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Blog. He notes that on, e.g., the work of legal clinics, “the traditional taxonomy of liberal and conservative breaks down when you start to deal with many fine-grain legal issues.” And: “There are at least two law professors – Tim Wu and Elizabeth Warren (who is now in the Obama administration) – who possess rock star cachet in progressive circles” and can hardly be charged with any sort of airy unwillingness to engage with the demands of practical law reform. Crede generously concludes “whether you agree with Olson’s conclusions or not, there is a lot that you can learn from ‘Schools For Misrule.’”
  • Perhaps my favorite review so far (aside from the great one in Publisher’s Weekly) is from Ira Stoll at Future of Capitalism. It begins: “Of all the possible explanations for Barack Obama, one of the most intriguing is that, like Bill Clinton before him, he was both a law school graduate and a law school professor.” Stoll summarizes many of the book’s themes, particularly as regards “public interest”, human-rights and institutional-reform litigation, and includes this takeaway: “Any donor or foundation wanting to reshape legal education would find Mr. Olson’s book a fine place to begin.”

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Schools for Misrule at Cato Tomorrow | Cato @ Liberty
03.03.11 at 12:58 am

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1 John Fembup 03.02.11 at 6:47 am

“and a law school professor.”

I accept as true Obama’s assertion that he was born in Hawaii just as I accept as true that he was for a while on the payroll of the UC Law School.

However I think the statement that he was a law professor is nearly as controversial as his claim to have been born in Hawaii because the evidence is not overwhelming in either case.

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