Posts Tagged ‘Schools for Misrule’

“I myself escaped by a bare whisker from attending law school…”

My tell-all interview at Fault Lines gets into why I don’t hate lawyers (really), my various books, my views on Cato and other think tanks, law and economics, the lack of any real reckoning for the Great Tobacco Robbery, why law schools might actually serve as a counterweight to campus pressure for ideological uniformity, my writing outside law, and much, much more. I’m interviewed by Scott Greenfield, well known to our readers for his criminal law blogging; Fault Lines is a recently launched criminal justice website that’s part of Lee Pacchia’s Mimesis Law.

There have been many flattering reactions already, scroll down from the interview to this comment from Margaret Little which made me particularly happy:

Overlawyered made an enormous contribution to understanding where lawyers were taking the legal system over the past several decades and it continues to fill a vacuum in the discourse about law. For too long that discourse was plaintiffs vs. defense lawyers, with both sides vulnerable to attack for self-interest. Worse, the defense bar, which has an economic interest in the expansion of liability, is often silent or even complicit in the game. While Overlawyered’s postings were made with much-appreciated wit and style, the sheer comprehensiveness of the empirical data, and the mind-boggling attention to detail in its analysis makes it a gold mine for research and a landmark accomplishment. Well done! Don’t quit!

Whole thing here.

Law school embraces social-justice theme

In 2014 the faculty of the Louis D. Brandeis Law School at the University of Louisville voted to commit the institution to “social justice,” and now plans are afoot to rebrand the public institution as the “nation’s first compassionate law school.” If everyone could settle on the same definitions of social justice and compassion, and maybe also agree that those values should trump others, the schools’ direction might look more neutral and scholarly, and less nakedly political. [Luke Milligan, Louisville Courier-Journal] U of L is hardly the first school to go down this path; as I note in my book Schools for Misrule, a number of law schools including some Top 30 institutions have veered off in the same direction in recent years, even before this year’s campus protests furnished considerable new momentum. But see: a second U of L lawprof dismisses the concerns as overblown, and points out that the school’s adoption of the word came in the context of a city-wide campaign in which various leading Louisville businesses and civic institutions had been prevailed on to declare themselves “compassionate.” [Caron/TaxProf]

P.S. If law schools want to jump into explicitly promoting social justice, John McGinnis has a modest proposal for how they might do that.

Annals of bonkers scholarship: “Trahison des Professeurs”

I’ve seen a hundred wacky and extreme papers out of legal academia, and wrote about more than one in Schools for Misrule, but this one, published by the National Security Law Journal at George Mason (whose editor-in-chief has already repudiated it) stands out. You can read the whole story at The Guardian, including links to some of the controversies that have followed author William Bradford, but it might make more sense to hand the gavel over to distinguished legal scholar and Prof. Jeremy Rabkin in his four-page rebuttal:

When an article proposes to arrest law professors and bomb law schools and nearby TV studios, it’s not engaging in “controversy,” but slipping into an alternate universe. It’s not “discomforting.” It is bonkers. The journal could not reasonably have expected readers to “respond” – unless to ask, “Are you out of your minds?”

Monday update: Bradford resigns.

Prof. Laurence Tribe flayed for arguing business side in SCOTUS cases

And critics such as lawprof Tim Wu in the New Yorker aren’t ready to accept as an excuse the genuineness of Tribe’s belief in the argued-for positions [John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum] Perhaps the idea is that strong lawyers — like cartoonists? — have an obligation not to “punch down,” whether or not justice in a given case is on the side of the putatively less empowered party.

I’ve got an extensive discussion of law professors’ real-life litigation involvements in my book Schools for Misrule.

Law-school-related opinion pieces that left me unconvinced

From a Harvard lawprof: were today’s abundance of law schools to give way in part to a revived clerkship/apprentice model, American law would develop more slowly and organically than it does now, besides which where’d we train our philosopher-monarchs? [Noah Feldman, Bloomberg View] You can buy my recent book Schools for Misrule (including a Kindle download version) here.

Questioning law schools’ role

In Schools for Misrule, I had positive things to say about the “reading law” or apprenticeship alternative to law schools, and the New York Times “Room for Debate” feature now runs a roundtable on that question with contributors that include Brian Tamanaha, David Lat, and Erwin Chemerinsky. Much deeper disruption than that may lay ahead: “Within ten years, MOOCs [massive open online courses] could replace traditional law school classes altogether, except at a few elite law schools” [Philip Schrag via TaxProf] And are law schools pro-cyclical? The state of Florida saw a steeper boom and deeper bust in legal services than the rest of the country; it doesn’t seem to have helped that five new law schools have opened lately in the state, or that many Florida law schools succeed in placing fewer than half of their grads in paying positions for which bar passage is required. [TaxProf]

How could lawprofs have gotten the ACA case so wrong?

Again and again, as legal challenges to ObamaCare made their way forward, leading law professors dismissed as frivolous or inconsequential arguments that wound up convincing many or most Justices on the Supreme Court. David Hyman via Stephen Bainbridge:

Almost without exception, law professors dismissed the possibility that PPACA might be unconstitutional — but something went wrong on the way to the courthouse. What explains the epic failure of law professors to accurately predict how Article III judges would handle the case? After considering three possible defenses/justifications, this essay identifies five factors that help explain the erroneous predictions of our nation’s elite law professors, who were badly wrong,
but never in doubt.

Related: NYU Prof. Jonathan Haidt, who has written powerfully about the lack of ideological diversity in academia, has this page of resources on the subject. And don’t forget my book Schools for Misrule.

More: Nick Rosenkranz at Volokh back in April.

At Canisius College October 30

I’m honored to announce that I’ll be giving a talk in the Frank G. Raichle Lecture Series, part of the pre-law program at Canisius College in western New York. Details here in a press release from the college. Previous speakers in this lecture series include an extraordinary list of legal notables including Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justices O’Connor, Scalia, Ginsburg, and White, among many others such as Alex Kozinski, Harry Edwards, John Langbein, and Randall Kennedy.

Earlier on the same day (October 30) I’ll be addressing the Buffalo Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society.