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law schools

NYT on law reviews

by Walter Olson on October 22, 2013

This time the critical coverage, by Adam Liptak, triggers a fair amount of pushback from legal academics defending the student-edited review format. My two cents last year here.

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Law schools roundup

by Walter Olson on October 8, 2013

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Eugene Volokh, often quoted in this space, isn’t enthusiastic about the idea of finishing law school in two years (earlier), but wonders about shortening the undergrad component. Some other views: Paul Caron/TaxProf reaction roundup, Orin Kerr, Hans Bader, Andrew Sullivan readers, Mystal (Kaplan survey). Yale’s Bruce Ackerman defends the three-year curriculum (more) leading to responses rounded up at TaxProf. What would happen to clinics? [Althouse, Schrag]

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Law school roundup

by Walter Olson on August 26, 2013

  • Now we’re getting somewhere? “ABA Task Force Releases Draft of Recommendations to Reform Legal Education” [Orin Kerr] “ABA Panel Favors Dropping Law School Tenure Requirement” [Karen Sloan, NLJ]
  • Now we’re getting somewhere, cont’d? “Obama: two years of law school should be enough” [Prof. Bainbridge, Stephen Gillers]
  • Many law reviews continue to “struggle with forthrightness” on circulation, Virginia’s claims 1700 but actual number is 304 [Ross Davies' annual Green Bag survey, just out; my related Atlantic take last year]
  • “Washington U. Dean Syverud Tells ABA Task Force: Law Profs, Deans Are Paid Too Much; 50% Pay Cut Would Solve Problem” [TaxProf] “New Law School Gets Just A Third Of Its Expected Starting Class” [Elie Mystal, Above the Law; Indiana Tech]
  • How misleading are stats Rutgers-Newark puts out for its grads’ “median private sector starting salary”? [Paul Campos] “Sixth Circuit: it was unreasonable for Cooley applicants to believe Cooley’s ‘objectively untrue’ statements” [John Steele] “Former Villanova Law Dean Suspended from Practice for Filing Knowingly False Admissions Data” [Legal Ethics Forum]
  • Claim: under “principles of social justice lawyering …lawyers have a fiduciary duty to create equal justice under the law.” Would she disbar those who don’t? [Artika Tyner, SSRN, via Legal Ethics Forum]
  • Has Georgetown figured out a way to offer free law school tuition, and if so how much of the “free” winds up being on the taxpayers’ dime? [Politico, Milan Markovic, Hans Bader]
  • “Law School to Remove Fraudster’s Name From Atrium” [Indiana; Lowering the Bar]

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  • Litigious anti-feminist loses case alleging that Manhattan club’s expensive bottle service for old men, free drinks for young women violate bias law [NY Mag, NYDN]
  • “Hospital cannot ban all service animals from psych ward, federal judge rules” [ABA Journal] “New Yorkers use bogus ‘therapy dog’ tags to take Fido everywhere” [NY Post via Althouse]
  • Canada: foes seek to prevent opening of evangelical law school in B.C. [CBC, Jonathan Kay/National Post, Globe and Mail editorial, TaxProf]
  • Related: broad religious exemptions in anti-bias law make good complement to same-sex marriage [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, my take] Gay couples must also live and let live, or else liberty is in for some cake wrecks [Bart Hinkle, Richmond Times-Dispatch]
  • Hiring based on IQ testing: widely regarded as legally suspect, but mostly tolerated in practice? [Bryan Caplan]
  • “‘Borgata Babes’ lose weight bias suit; judge says casino policy was legal” [ABA Journal, earlier]
  • 2009 expansion of federal hate-crimes law headed for a court challenge? [Josh Gerstein, Politico]

A Cincinnati couple has gone through 17 years of contentious litigation. “Their divorce case file had more than 1,400 entries in it. Many had to do with a back-and-forth custody dispute over their children, now ages 17 and 20.” Both husband and wife are law professors. [Cincinnati Enquirer via Daily Mail]

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Law schools roundup

by Walter Olson on July 26, 2013

  • “How To Fix Law School” symposium at New Republic with David Lat, Paul Campos, Mike Kinsley etc. follows up on Noam Scheiber article on erosion of BigLaw business model, which in turn drew semi-rebuttal from Mark Obbie at Slate;
  • “So the poor defendants have to spend thousands on legal fees, while law students get their ‘practice.'” [John Stossel]
  • Brian Tamanaha vs. Simkovic and McIntyre “law degree worth a million bucks” study [Balkinization, response here, Adler, Caron]
  • Amid crisis, tone-deaf ABA “actually in the process of trying to make it harder for accredited law schools to fire professors and control their costs” [Elie Mystal]
  • Foundation case studies include Carnegie 1921 report on legal education, Olin support for law and economics, and some others related to law schools [J. Scott Kohler and Steven Schindler, Philanthropy Central]
  • “Shifts in law professors’ views” [Kyle Graham]
  • Bring on the strong verbs, and not just in legal writing [Ross Guberman] In recent Nike shoe case, Chief Justice Roberts wrote rings round Justice Kennedy [same]

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Law schools roundup

by Walter Olson on July 9, 2013

  • “Law school plotted to sabotage its own students?” [Steele, Cassandra Burke Robertson, Caron on Phoenix allegations]
  • Bryan Garner’s take on law reviews [Green Bag]
  • Washington & Lee’s innovative practice-oriented third year has drawn much attention, but job placement results lag [Deborah Merritt via Alice Woolley]
  • “Law school sues for liability insurance coverage” [VLW on Liberty U., Miller-Jenkins kidnapping case]
  • The business of one high-flying law school: documents shed light on NYU [Joe Patrice, Above the Law]
  • Concussions: NFL players’ union to fund $100 million Harvard project, including HLS, on football and health [Cohen, Prawfs, with further thoughts from a notorious gadfly on lobbying by lawprofs]
  • John O. McGinnis and Russell Mangas, “An Undergraduate Option for Legal Education” [IRLE/SSRN]
  • Toward more sensible law school rankings? ABA makes it harder to count higher expenditures themselves as a plus [Above the Law]

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As much as any other institution, the Ford Foundation has shaped the modern American law school, having provided key backing for developments such as clinical legal education, public interest law, identity-based legal studies, and transnational law. Whether you agree or disagree with Ford’s ideological thrust — and as a libertarian, I regularly disagree — it’s a pretty remarkable set of accomplishments. I give an overview and brief history in this new article for the Capital Research Center’s Foundation Watch, adapted from my book Schools for Misrule. (cross-posted from Cato at Liberty; welcome readers from George Leef, NRO)

More: some essays on Ford’s crucial support during the formative period of public interest litigation [Steven Schindler, more, Scott Kohler]

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Law schools roundup

by Walter Olson on June 3, 2013

  • Law-school leftism is no longer a progressive force, argues Brian Tamanaha [Stanford Law and Policy Review, more] Paul Campos responds to critics of Tamanaha [UCLA Law Review via Caron]
  • Related: “Cleaning (one’s inbox) is its own reward: nice podcast re: law school reform that I took to gym (via @WalterOlson)” [@DavidLat]
  • Good news for law students? “Student Loans May Now Be Discharged More Easily In Bankruptcy in the 9th Circuit” [Karen Oakes, Bankruptcy Law Network] “Only if the law students don’t want to become lawyers.” [@moiracathleen]
  • No love lost: Mark Tushnet vs. Richard Epstein on Epstein’s new book Design for Liberty (PDFs)
  • “People’s Electric Law School”: George Conk recalls Rutgers-Newark’s salad days as a committed-Left law school at a state university [Fordham Urban Law Journal via Steele] Thoughts from Elizabeth Warren ’76 [Rutgers via @LegInsurrection]
  • “Assignment: defend the opponent’s viewpoint….” A dying art in the ideologized law school? [John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum]
  • John Murtagh hasn’t forgotten what Columbia prof/NYU “scholar in residence” Kathy Boudin did [NY Post]

Watch what you say about lawyers” is an old theme around here, but in light of developments at Wake Forest it might need to be extended to law students as well. [Above the Law, more]

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Law schools roundup

by Walter Olson on April 14, 2013

  • “If a law school held a conference on intellectual diversity and the panels really were intellectually diverse …You can bet your last nickel it was sponsored by the Federalist Society.” [Bainbridge, Nick Rosenkranz and more, Harvard Gazette; my 2011 book Schools for Misrule]
  • Washington Law Review takes one step to counter another problem addressed in Schools for Misrule, lawprofs’ conflicts of interest [Bainbridge]
  • BC dean: law schools should adopt residency model from medical education [Vincent Rougeau, ABA Legal Rebels via Paul Caron/TaxProf]
  • Missouri police union head, under fire for Facebook comments, is also constitutional law prof [Mike Riggs]
  • Some say drive for slave reparations is defunct, but U.Va. conference confirms many legal academics still haven’t given up on it [Alfred Brophy via Bainbridge]
  • “Academy’s Heavyweights Opine on Law Schools’ Problems” [WSJ via Legal Ethics Forum]
  • “Board of Regents to Investigate $5.5 Million in Forgivable Loans to University of Texas Law Profs” [Caron]

After 22 years in prison for political murder, Kathy Boudin is now NYU Law “scholar in residence” [NYPost; relevant section of Schools for Misrule recounting cases of Bernardine Dohrn, Angela Davis, Lynne Stewart, etc.]

From Twitter: “She is probably more conservative than the rest of the faculty.” [@MartelPlieiades] “Outrageous sexism: If a man had served 22 years in prison for political murder, he’d be NYU Law’s Dean.” [@Sam_Schulman]

Update: PowerLine has now reprinted the pertinent section of Schools for Misrule.

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In the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Ivey DeJesus trumpets the views of a “leading legal expert,” specifically “one of the country’s leading church and state scholars” who says, contrary to a state lawmaker’s assertions, that there’s no constitutional problem with reopening lapsed statutes of limitations so as to enable child-abuse lawsuits by now-grown-up complainants. Prof. Marci Hamilton is indeed a well-known church-state scholar, and there is indeed precedent for the (perhaps strange) idea that courts will not necessarily strike down retroactive legislation as unconstitutional so long as its impacts are civil rather than criminal. But it’s not until paragraph 18 that DeJesus, after introducing the expert at length by way of her academic affiliations, bothers to add a perhaps equally relevant element of her biography: she has “represented scores of victims in the Philadelphia Archdiocese clergy sex abuse case.” Why bring that up?

Law schools roundup

by Walter Olson on March 15, 2013

  • Harold Lasswell and Myres McDougal’s influential article on legal education figures prominently in Schools for Misrule; Henry Manne says their scheme of actual classroom pedagogy did less well [Bainbridge]
  • Deanship of local plaintiff’s attorney at St. Louis U. is short, colorful [NLJ]
  • GW lawprof trips, falls at Denver Law event, now in court [Above the Law]
  • Law reviews requiring authors to sign indemnity clauses. Reason for alarm? [Dan Markel, Prawfs]
  • Out-of-touch law academy, vol. 18: Duke prof dismisses floodgates arguments on principle [Ted Frank]
  • “Should Law Reviews Consider Race When Selecting Articles?” (and do they?) [Josh Blackman]
  • Insurance is an undercovered topic in the law school curriculum, so Randy Maniloff decides to do an intervention [Coverage Opinions, PDF, lead article]

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A letter to the ABA signed by 67 big names in legal education [Caron/TaxProf] comes to conclusions about the economic organization of law schools very similar to those I reached two years ago in the relevant section of Schools for Misrule (not claiming any particular prescience on my part, others had made a similar case before and the signs were clear enough to anyone who would look). Their recommendations:

Legal education cannot continue on the current trajectory. As members of a profession committed to serving the public good, we must find ways to alter the economics of legal education. Possible changes include reducing the undergraduate education required for admission to three years; awarding the basic professional degree after two years, while leaving the third year as a elective or an internship; providing some training through apprenticeship; reducing expensive accreditation requirements to allow greater diversity among law schools; building on the burgeoning promises of internet-distance education; changing the economic relationship between law schools and universities; altering the influence of current ranking formulas; and modifying the federal student loan program. As legal educators, it is our responsibility to grapple with these issues before our institutions are reshaped in ways beyond our control.

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Teresa Wagner had sued the University of Iowa’s law school alleging bias against her as an ideological conservative, but a jury ruled against her on most counts, and now the judge in the case has denied her retrial motion and granted the university’s motion to dismiss the remaining count. [AP via Adler; court opinion; comments by lawprofs Herbert Hovenkamp of U of I and David Bernstein of George Mason; earlier on this case, on which I was quoted in the press a number of times.]

  • California Supreme Court: fee shift in disabled-rights claim can go to winning defendant, not just plaintiff [Jankey v. Song Koo Lee, Bagenstos/Disability Law]
  • That’s Olsen with an “e”: “Lawmaker wants to protect cities from frivolous lawsuits over A.D.A.” [California Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen; L.A. Times] “Gas stations confront disabled-access lawsuits” [Orange County Register] Serial ADA filer hits New Orleans [Louisiana Record] ADA drive-by suits in Colorado and elsewhere [Kevin Funnell]
  • And this lawyer follows a see-no-evil policy regarding ADA filing mills: “I refuse to pass judgment on other attorneys here.” [Julia Campins]
  • Child care center could not turn away applicant with nut allergy because Iowa disabled-rights law said to have expanded its coverage of categories when the U.S. Congress expanded ADA, though Iowa lawmakers enacted no such expansion [Disability Law]
  • Feds join in LSAT accommodation suit [Recorder]
  • Official in San Francisco’s mayoral Office on Disability files disability-bias claim [KGO]
  • “Testing employees for legally prescribed medications must be done carefully” [Jon Hyman]

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