Posts Tagged ‘Schools for Misrule’

67 leading law profs: time to reform legal education

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.

Law schools roundup

  • U. Miami: “Law School Email Draws Fire Amid Hotly Contested Retention Election for 3 Top Florida Judges” [ABA Journal, earlier on election]
  • Janet Jenkins sues Liberty U. School of Law, charging assistance to custody-nappers; school describes suit as baseless [ABA Journal, earlier on Miller-Jenkins custody case]
  • “Maybe a lawprof is not what you want in a politician. And yet, Bill Clinton was a lawprof. So was Hillary Clinton. And there are different types of lawprofs. They don’t all listen, give ground, and offer complex caveats!” [Ann Althouse]
  • “Former law student became a chronic litigant” [Boston Globe]
  • Andrew Morriss on Tamanaha’s Failing Law Schools [Liberty Law]
  • “Institute for Humane Studies Webcast on the Pros and Cons of Law School” [Ilya Somin]
  • Fred Rodell knew: reasons not to write law review articles [Matthew Salzwedel, Lawyerist] What a rising law professor should put in a book review [Pierre Schlag via Prof. Bainbridge]
  • Bradley C.S. Watson on law school progressivism [National Review, pay site, mentions Schools for Misrule]

Bias against conservative lawprofs: Wagner case heads toward trial

The Associated Press covers the pending lawsuit against the University of Iowa by Teresa Wagner, who believes she was shot down for a job teaching legal writing because of her outspokenly conservative views (earlier here, here, and here). A federal trial starts Monday in Davenport, Iowa.

One sentence misses the mark slightly in conveying my views. As I should have taken pains to make clear, the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, as a decision, is by no means sacrosanct in legal academia; law professors both right and left, young and old, criticize it often for its reasoning, as a political blunder, and on other grounds. What is a good bit less common — and especially rare among younger academics aiming for tenure offers at law schools with no religious affiliation — is a passionate stand against abortion in itself, like Ms. Wagner’s.

The university, for its part, disclaims political bias and apparently intends to argue that Ms. Wagner did not perform as well at the interview stage as her lawyers contend. As I told the AP, while I have no doubt that political bias is rife — in 2007, Iowa’s law faculty is recorded as having had 46 registered Democrats and only one registered Republican — I have severe doubts that the courts will improve matters by peering over the hiring committees’ shoulders. (& TaxProf with links; Des Moines Register “Juice”; Prof. Bainbridge)

Diversity hiring on law school faculties, cont’d

Point of Law has been continuing its discussion of racial preference and diversity hiring at law schools in the wake of the Elizabeth Warren brouhaha. I’ve now concluded my contribution with a second post (first one here). Excerpt from my new post:

…were competing approaches to diversity permitted, newcomers would be more likely to find an institution that suits their own desired experience: some would seek a pledge that advancement would be race- and sex-blind, others an assurance of encountering colleagues from backgrounds very different from their own.

Of course that’s not the world we live in. In our actual world, all law schools must conform to a prescribed format. Accreditation officials will haul up any institution that tries to be race-blind, and HLS will scramble to claim hiring credit for Prof. Warren’s vague family lore of Cherokee ancestry.

Should outsiders care? One reason to care might be if the prevalence of identity politics tends to reinforce the problem (assuming it is a problem) of ideological imbalance in the legal academy. In Schools for Misrule I conclude that it does, though only as one of many contributing factors….

Debate on law school faculty diversity

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.

Law schools roundup

  • Yale lawprof Peter Schuck reviews Schools for Misrule [American Lawyer last November, alas behind subscription paywall]
  • Look at bright side: Prof. Warren “did not list herself with the AALS as the rightful Empress of France” [Popehat; Seth Mandel, Commentary]
  • Jeffrey O’Connell, greatly admired and influential torts scholar at the University of Virginia, retires from teaching [via Robinette]
  • New Brian Tamanaha book on law schools stirs wide interest [Orin Kerr, Scott Greenfield, Chron of Higher Ed via TaxProf, Bill Henderson]
  • In recent criminal law and procedure cases, high-level academic opinion did sway Supreme Court [Jack Chin, Prawfs]
  • “75 Years of Law Professors as Pundits” [Kyle Graham; and thanks for Schools For Misrule reference)
  • Kindle version of Charles Reich’s “Greening of America” omits super-embarrassing stuff. It’s 80% shorter [Ann Althouse]

U.N. enlists U.S. lawprof to scold U.S. on Indian land rights

As noted earlier, last week U.N. Human Rights Council rapporteur James Anaya (who also happens to be a lawprof at the University of Arizona) declared the U.S. to be trampling the aboriginal land rights of Indian tribes. I have a new Daily Caller piece pointing out (as I detail at more length in Schools for Misrule) that the U.N.’s involvement with American law school projects is nothing new: “Now the plaintiff’s counsel [in the Western Shoshone claim] of a few years back re-surfaces as the official instrument of a U.N. body, a revolving-door arrangement that is actually quite typical of the international human rights establishment, where a rather small band of crusading law professors, ‘civil society’ activists and Guardian readers around the world seem to take turns investigating each others’, or as the case may be their own, countries for putative human rights violations.” (& Julian Ku, Opinio Juris)