Prof. Stephen Bainbridge, writing at his site the evening before last:
I had a slip and fall at a restaurant tonight after Christmas Eve dinner. (No. It’s not what you’re thinking. I had only had two beers. It was dark and the step was hard to see.) The manager freaked and then double freaked when I mentioned I was a lawyer. My first thought was “payday!” Mega-settlement baby.
But my second thought was that it was just a scraped knee and injured pride. And then my third thought was about all those nasty things I’ve said about trial lawyers over the years. And then my fourth thought was that I’d end up as a story on Walter Olson’s Overlawyered blog! And my final thought was I’d never be able to hold my head up around my tort reform pals again!
So I’m just going to put some ice on it and forget about it.
Tyler Cowen and Arnold Kling salute the new Robert Litan book Trillion Dollar Economists, on how economists and their ideas have contributed to the world in practical ways ranging from auction design and financial innovation to telecommunications and prediction markets.
Kevin from Lowering the Bar has a new book out on odd laws (more on how to buy it).
Ken at Popehat and Mike Masnick at TechDirt are on the case of Prenda Law, which is in the business of monetizing low-value copyrights to adult entertainment properties. The story, which recently resulted in the filing of defamation suits against Prenda critics, is highly convoluted, so I recommend scrolling down to earlier posts in the series (such as this one by Ken).
If you don’t feel you can nominate Overlawyered in good conscience, Lowering the Bar would make a good blog to nominate.
The widely discussed blog post by Deirdre McCloskey is at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.
In the light of the ongoing controversy over Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren’s ill-documented claims of Native American status, Point of Law — the website I launched and ran back when I was at the Manhattan Institute — has begun a featured discussion on the effects on legal academia of the ongoing pressure to hire by race (and sex and several other categories). Following an introduction by James Copland, I’ve kicked off the discussion with an opening post (“Better Scholarship Through Diversity?”). There’s plenty on the subject, of course, in my book Schools for Misrule from last year. Other participants in the discussion will include Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and, most likely disagreeing with us, Gerald Torres of the University of Texas.
Kevin at Lowering the Bar has been collecting more cases in which plaintiffs have sued themselves.
Listicles and award contests from around the blawgosphere: Popehat on censorious clowns, Legal Ethics Forum, Trask on class action cases and articles, White Collar Crime Law Prof, Heritage on worst federal regs, Greenfield on best criminal law blawg post (and winner), Faces of Lawsuit Abuse (Chamber) on most ridiculous lawsuits, Balko on worst prosecutor (and finalists).
P.S. From The Week, “8 craziest lawsuits of 2011.” This in turn prompted a NYC personal injury attorney named David Waterbury, taking up valuable real estate at Eric Turkewitz’s, to write a counter-article saying the cases weren’t so bad, which involved me in the comments section after I observed Waterbury spreading the trial lawyer-favored line that the “Kara Walton” series of bogus lawsuit stories was a purposeful political fabrication.
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.”
Sure. What could go wrong with that? Relatedly, Ann Althouse wonders how we’ll all react next year when Group X demands the right to occupy the Wisconsin capitol for 10+ days. Consistently? (& welcome Instapundit readers).
More: “Did Wisconsin Police Violate the First Amendment through Selective Enforcement of Limits on Protests?” [Hans Bader]
Behind the menacing letter in question, apparently: a baffling failure to grasp the context in which the phrase “Academic Advantage” appeared on the popular blog.