[T]here is no statistical relationship between law school opportunities for skills training and JD employment outcomes. In contrast, employment outcomes do seem to be strongly related to law school prestige.
[T]he rationale for clinical education is much more about effective pedagogy for adult learners (both about substance and skills) and the need to create effective lawyers, not just as beginning attorneys, but as life-long learners and reflective practitioners. ... [A]ssuming that Yackee is correct about the hiring disconnect, the real question is why aren't employers influenced by clinical education when (a) they vocally demand practice-ready lawyers and (b) it is so pedagogically valuable? I suggest that the problem does not reflect a lack of interest by employers in experientially trained and practice-ready graduates (and hence in clinics), but rather inadequacy in the hiring metrics and heuristics that are currently available to employers, and indeed a desire by private law firms for a broader range of clinical offerings (not fewer clinics).
Following up on my previous posts (links below): Donald S. Dobkin, 62, a partner in a Troy, Michigan immigration law boutique law firm who describes himself as "the most prolific academic scholar ever to come out of the ranks of the practicing immigration bar," has sued the University of Iowa College of Law for age discrimination and retaliation for refusing to interview him after he responded to an ad in the AALS placement bulletin seeking a tenured or tenure-track faculty member to teach administrative law and immigration law. Trial is set for March 8, 2016, and the Iowa District Court on Thursday denied the University of Iowa College of Law's motion to dismiss:
Wheaton College’s move last month to fire one of its tenured professors, after questioning her beliefs on Islam and Christianity, raised new concerns about academic freedom at evangelical colleges. The incident on the Illinois campus also poses another, less publicly discussed, question: Do evangelical Christian colleges have a diversity problem?
I haven't talked to anyone at WF about this, but my intuition as a faculty member is that proving to the ABA that the GRE is as predictive as the LSAT has a lot of benefits (and not mere instrumental USNWR gaming). What we have seen in admissions is that a lot of stellar undergraduates are choosing not to apply to law school (and not to take the LSAT). These people must be doing something else instead, and chances are many of them are taking the GRE and going to a different graduate program. If you could get that cohort to apply to law school easily, then you might be able to persuade them that law is still a great career path. If they've already taken the GRE, then they can use that score and not worry about studying for the LSAT or plunking down $1k for a prep course. In addition, recruiting folks already in graduate programs or who have completed graduate school to apply may be easier if they don't have to take a different test. Even trying to recruit someone who has taken neither test to apply to law school would be easier if they could take the GRE. The GRE is given on a rolling, year-wide basis around the world and even on your own computer. I just looked online, and I could take the GRE as early as Monday (less than a week from now) a few miles from here or even sooner if I drove 30-45 minutes. I would have my scores in 10-15 days. The LSAT, however, is given four times a year (with alternate dates for Saturday Sabbath observers and Spanish speakers). Test-takers must register a month in advance and wait a month following the test for their scores. I find it strange that the LSAT schedule has not changed since I took it in 1989.
Plenty of recent law school grads are learning an unwelcome truth — finding a job that puts their degrees to use is easier said than done. In August 2015, the New York Times reported that just 60 percent of 2014 law school graduates had landed "full-time long-term jobs that required them to pass the bar exam." This is not exactly good news to people who are spending tens of thousands of dollars a year in law school tuition.
With this in mind, StartClass found the 25 law schools whose graduates aren't using their degrees. Using the most recent data from the American Bar Association Employment Summary Report — which has data on students that graduated between Sept. 1, 2013 and Aug. 31, 2014 — we found the percentage of students from each school who were employed and did not have positions in which passing the bar is required or having a JD has a demonstrable advantage.
The ten U.S. law schools with the highest number of graduates who are not using their J.D. degrees are:
I detest standardized tests, so I'm usually skeptical about how much they truly measure. That said, I'm alarmed by the big rise in the number of law students with dreadful LSAT scores.
In The Legal Whiteboard, Jerry Organ, a professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School, presents all sorts of charts and graphs that track the recent history of LSAT scores—and the picture is troubling. The bottom line is that the LSAT scores of admitted students are dropping on both the highest and lowest ends of the spectrum. ...
Women of color are already severely underrepresented in legal academia; as enrollment drops and legal institutions constrict further, race and gender disparities will likely continue to grow. Yet, as many deans and associate deans, most of whom are white, step down from leadership positions during these tumultuous times in legal education, opportunities have arisen for women of color to fill those roles in record numbers. However, there are individual and structural barriers preventing access to the leadership level. Significant hurdles have long prevented women of color from entering law teaching. Thus, this Article provides evidence to support the thesis that ongoing changes in legal education will likely continue to create barriers both to entry and advancement for women of color law faculty members and those who aspire to join legal academia.
For all the thought that families put into choosing a college, very often the decision is dominated by a simple line of reasoning: The more prestigious the school you attend, the higher your salary will be after you graduate.
So, they focus their efforts on getting their children into the best possible college they can afford, figuring that even if they’re paying more tuition now, they’re maximizing earnings down the road.
But that formula doesn’t always hold true. And following it blindly can leave graduates burdened with much more debt than necessary when they get out of school.
Specifically, for business and other liberal-arts majors, the prestige of the school has a major impact on future earnings expectations. But for fields like science, technology, engineering and math, it largely doesn’t matter whether students go to a prestigious, expensive school or a low-priced one—expected earnings turn out the same. So, families may be wasting money by chasing an expensive diploma in those fields.
Do professionals have an ethical obligation to educate new members of their profession? The ancient Hippocratic oath recognized such a commitment, requiring all doctors “to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning...to pupils who have signed the covenant.” Contemporary theories of professionalism point to the same result, identifying intergenerational education as an essential feature of professional status. Moral theory and economic policy, finally, underscore this outcome: In return for the exclusive right to practice a profession, established members of the profession must agree to share their knowledge, skills, and other expertise with newcomers.
Non-lawyers are encroaching on legal services traditionally offered by lawyers. Technology is changing how lawyers and clients think about value. Law schools have created a mismatch between the number of graduates and entry-level legal jobs. Throughout it all, regulators across the country are actively grappling (and griping) about how best to address these extraordinary circumstances.
While proposed actions or inactions cause sharp disagreements around the country about how to move the profession forward in the 21st century, one common-sense action shouldn’t: adopting the Uniform Bar Exam. Next Monday, the ABA’s House of Delegates will consider a resolution from the ABA’s Law Student Division that calls for all jurisdictions to adopt this portable exam. The House should support this measure, and all jurisdictions should adopt the UBE as quickly as possible.
One of the most surprising and controversial findings from Timing Law School was that changes in law school graduating class size do not predict changes in the boost to earnings from a law degree.* Many law professors, administrators, and critics believe that shrinking the supply of law graduates must surely improve their outcomes, because if supply goes down, then price—that is, earnings of law graduates—should go up.
In a new version of Timing Law School, Frank McIntyre and I explore our counterintuitive results more thoroughly. (The new analysis and discussion appear primarily in Part III.C. “Interpreting zero correlation for cohort size and earnings premium” on page 18-22 of the Feb. 1, 2016 draft and in Table 10 on the final page).
This Article makes two main contributions to the literature. First, it is, to my knowledge, the first article in the legal literature to systematically analyze this huge new entitlement benefit that will affect millions of people and hundreds of billions of dollars. Second, in framing income-driven repayment as a tax instrument, this Article shows that PAYE should be viewed as an integrated part of the public finance system, not merely as a loan program. This framework then provides the basis for a novel analysis of the effectiveness, equity, and economic efficiency of the program, and for several new policy recommendations to make PAYE more effective and equitable.
Is the law school crisis affecting Harvard? Probably not. The school did choose to take 55 transfer students last year, the fourth largest transfer class in the country. In the prior four years the school took between 30 and 34 transfers each year. Its higher than usual acceptance of transfers has fueled speculation that it was compensating for an original applicant pool that wasn’t strong enough. Whether that’s so or not, several indicators that may show a school faces financial duress have each remained steady at HLS between 2011 and 2015. ...
UC Berkeley faculty members are buzzing over news that University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the installation of computer hardware capable of monitoring all e-mails going in and out of the UC system.
“The intrusive device is capable of capturing and analyzing all network traffic to and from the Berkeley campus and has enough local storage to save over 30 days of all this data,” Ethan Ligon, one of six members of the school’s Senate-Administration Joint Committee on Campus Information Technology, wrote in an e-mail Thursday to fellow faculty members.
Information that the hardware gathers, Ligon wrote, “can be presumed to include your e-mail, all the websites you visit, all the data you receive from off campus or data you send off campus.”
If you have a law degree, do you believe attending law school was worth it? If you are currently in law school, are you happy with your decision? Do you believe that for most law school graduates, the value of a law degree will exceed its cost by “hundreds of thousands of dollars”?
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A proposed change in the law school accreditation standards that would lift the ban on students receiving academic credit for paid externships has drawn a lot of comment—and much of the comment is in opposition to lifting the ban.
Under the current standards, law students are barred from receiving both credit and pay for an externship. But the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved for notice and comment a proposal that would eliminate the ban.
Now that evidence of the great law school brain drain is on display for all the world to see, with LSAT profiles of matriculants dipping lower and lower every year, law school administrators are trying even harder to find a way to weasel out of having to admit students who have taken the LSAT (unless, of course, their LSAT scores are amazing; those students are allowed to continue taking the LSAT, if only because those high scores will help the law school’s U.S. News ranking instead of hurting it).
What are law schools trying to do now to keep the LSAT far, far away from their U.S. news ranking? At Wake Forest University School of Law ... has teamed up with Educational Testing Service (ETS) and two other law schools to see if the GRE would work as an alternative to the LSAT for law school admissions, and the school needs assistance from both current students and recent graduates for some experimentation. ...
How desperate is Wake Forest to get rid of the LSAT? Wake Forest is so desperate that it’s willing to pay people to take a standardized test with a math component. Yikes.
In recent weeks I have had extensive conversations with President Schill and Provost Coltrane about our positive visions for the law school. They were helpfully candid and direct with their feedback stemming from the results of the recently-concluded five-year review process, and I am very grateful to them for presenting me with a generous offer to remain as Dean for a second five-year term. Earlier this week, however, after considerable soul-searching, I concluded that the time is right for me to conclude my service as Dean and for the University to seek new leadership for the law school.
Standard 501 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2015-2016 states that “a school shall not admit an applicant who does not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.”
The ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is responsible for enforcing this standard. Unfortunately, for the past five years while law school admissions standards have plummeted, the Council has shown no willingness to use to this standard for its intended purpose — to protect unqualified applicants from being admitted to law school when they have extremely poor prospects of actually becoming a lawyer.
In December 2015 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) updated its biennial Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), which predicts future employment. The OOH's entry on lawyers warns: "Competition for jobs should continue to be strong because more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available."
That glum pronouncement isn't surprising. Every edition of the OOH going back to at least the 1990s has cited law graduate overproduction as an obstacle for would-be lawyers. What the agency does not say is that its lawyer job-growth estimate has declined considerably since the edition it published two years ago. The 2014 OOH predicted 74,800 new lawyer jobs through 2022. Between 2014 and 2024, the agency now estimates, the number of lawyer positions will grow from 778,700 to 822,500, adding just 43,800 jobs—a plunge of 41 percent.
Since 2010, the UB Law School has dropped its number of full-time faculty actively teaching so significantly that it ranks among the top national law school statistics.
UB’s law school went from having 54 full-time faculty members teaching in the fall of 2010 to just 27 last fall, according to the American Bar Association’s annual 509 information reports. That includes a drop off from 48 full-time faculty members who taught in the fall of 2014. UB’s decrease is among the top 10 largest net decreases in the country ...
Did Baylor U's new provost step down over faculty objections to his diversity initiative, in particular his plan to hire a chief diversity officer? Does diversity look different at a Christian university?
Baylor University has had its fair share of administrative turnover in recent memory: two of its last three presidents were forced out after clashing with the faculty and the Board of Trustees over such issues as how to advance its strong academic reputation while remaining true to its Baptist roots. But the campus has been relatively united under President Kenneth Starr since he took over in 2010. That’s despite some initial misgivings among faculty members.
Now the campus is again experiencing tumult. This time it’s over a diversity initiative, which faculty members say likely led to the abrupt resignation of Edwin Trevathan as provost after little more than a semester on the job. ... [T]here’s widespread speculation on campus that Trevathan was forced out of his administrative role over faculty concerns about both the diversity initiative itself and his handling of it. ...
The ABA Standard 509 reports came out a few weeks ago, and there are many alarming statistics in them, but none quite so disturbing as the admissions information from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. The class that Cooley admitted in 2015 is statistically the worst entering class of law students in the history of American legal education at an ABA-Accredited law school, and that is saying something. ...
On Jan. 21, 2016, the Accreditation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar issued a recommendation in favor of Indiana Tech’s application for provisional approval. However, the committee’s recommendation is not final. Indiana Tech must appear before the Section’s Council on March 11-12 in Phoenix, Arizona, after which the Council will issue a final decision on Indiana Tech’s application for provisional accreditation.
This fall, Indiana Tech enrolled 17 1Ls, with 25%/50%/75% LSATs of 148/151/153. Indiana Tech's total enrollment for its current 1L, 2L, and 3L classes is 57, 53% of whom are receiving half-to-full scholarships.
I’m not their mother. And I’m not their girlfriend either.
I’m their university professor. At times I encounter students, both male and female, who don’t quite grasp this, and I consequently find myself in a whole host of awkward situations, trying to subtly remind them that I’m neither going to make their bed nor go to bed with them.
The problem is that my students lack the cultural scripts to know how to deal with our teacher-student relationship. In 1925, Sigmund Freud coined the idea of the “Madonna-whore complex,” according to which men are able to see women only as their saintly mothers or their sexual playthings. Whatever one thinks of Freud, we can all recognize some truth to this insight.
If I were to serve as their mother, I’d have only compassion and unconditional acceptance to offer, not intellectual lessons. And being their sexual plaything isn’t an option either; playthings aren’t generally accorded the kind of respect needed for effective teaching and learning, not to mention the respect I deserve after more than a decade of postsecondary education.
My male colleagues don’t have these problems. There’s no shortage of roles they can avail themselves of in trying to reach their students.
What’s the value of Harvard Medical School’s name: A billion dollars, or more? ...
After Harvard broke with tradition last year and renamed its public health school in return for a billionaire’s record-setting $350 million gift, faculty members have been discussing whether Harvard Medical School should be next, according to Dr. John Rowe, chair of the Board of Fellows that advises the medical school.
Brigham Young University has been hit with a complaint claiming that the law school’s expulsion of ex-Mormons violates the American Bar Association’s nondiscrimination rules.
A group of university alumni called FreeBYU filed the complaint with the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar against Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School alleging that the university’s policy of kicking out students who leave the Mormon faith runs afoul of its rules meant to protect against religious discrimination.
FreeBYU has also asked the ABA to examine whether the university honor code, which bans homosexual behavior, violates the accreditor’s protections of gay, lesbian and transgender students. ...
As applications plunge, especially from the very best students, a growing number of highly regarded law schools are slashing class sizes. The crisis in legal education, once confined to the lower tier (schools ranked below 50 by U.S. News and World Report), has hit the upper echelon. ... The majority of elite campuses, unwilling to seriously dilute their student bodies, still had to downsize. Class sizes declined by a median of 5 percent at the top 20 schools over the last five years, ABA data shows.
Academic work is often solitary, but succeeding in the professoriate arguably requires social acumen. So is that why gay men and women are disproportionately represented among academics? A new study investigating the phenomenon of “occupational segregation” argues that certain jobs -- including that of professor -- are particularly appealing to gay men and lesbians for these reasons.
The conference will reexamine first principles of legal scholarship – its value (to legal education, to the legal profession, to society) and its essential aspects – and will survey particular issues of contemporary concern, including emerging scholarly forms and technologies and the relationship among legal scholarship, journalism and new media.
The two-day conference will consist of themed plenary sessions, concurrent small-group sessions, opportunities to interact informally and a keynote address by Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.
There’s mounting evidence suggesting that student evaluations of teaching are unreliable. But are these evaluations, commonly referred to as SET, so bad that they’re actually better at gauging students’ gender bias and grade expectations than they are at measuring teaching effectiveness? A new paper argues that’s the case, and that evaluations are biased against female instructors in particular in so many ways that adjusting them for that bias is impossible.
Moreover, the paper says, gender biases about instructors -- which vary by discipline, student gender and other factors -- affect how students rate even supposedly objective practices, such as how quickly assignments are graded. And these biases can be large enough to cause more effective instructors to get lower teaching ratings than instructors who prove less effective by other measures, according to the study based on analyses of data sets from one French and one U.S. institution.
“In two very different universities and in a broad range of course topics, SET measure students’ gender biases better than they measure the instructor’s teaching effectiveness,” the paper says. “Overall, SET disadvantage female instructors. There is no evidence that this is the exception rather than the rule.”
Robert Kuehn has written an excellent post about clinical courses and bar passage. He notes that Erica Moeser, President of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, suggested in print that declining bar passage rates might stem in part from the rise of experiential learning in law schools. NCBE’s Director of Testing and Research has made the same claim, noting that: “There has also been a trend toward incorporating non-core courses and clinical experiences into the law school curriculum. These, too, can take students’ time away from learning the core concepts that are tested on the bar examination.”
When Kuehn contacted Moeser to ask if she knew about any empirical research supporting this purported connection, she admitted that she knew of none. Nor did her testing staff.
Kuehn, in contrast, assembles the available research in his post. There is very little evidence that taking courses on bar subjects correlates with success on the bar exam. There is evidence–cited by Kuehn–that well designed academic support programs can improve bar passage. Where do clinical, writing, and other experiential courses fall on this spectrum? We don’t know; this is an essential subject for research.
Los Angeles lawyer and law professor, Jim Gash, tells the amazing true story of how, after a series of God-orchestrated events, he finds himself in the heart of Africa defending a courageous Ugandan boy languishing in prison and wrongfully accused of two separate murders. Ultimately, their unlikely friendship and unrelenting persistence reforms Uganda's criminal justice system, leaving a lasting impact on hundreds of thousands of lives and unearthing a friendship that supersedes circumstance, culture and the walls we often hide behind.
The story is as emotional as it is thrilling, and it reads like a major film.Publishers Weekly
With great courage and conviction, Jim Gash provides an extraordinary glimpse into the power of obedience, prayer, and hope in transforming not only one life-or even one community-but an entire justice system. Divine Collision speaks to what is at the heart of our Christian calling: Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." (Isaiah 1:17). Gary A. Haugen, President & CEO of International Justice Mission and author of The Locust Effect
Steverson, 54, has taught at the private Southwest Portland college for more than 25 years. Starting this summer, she'll no longer teach classes, but will devote her attention to her new role of crafting and implementing a campus wide plan to make the college "a safe, welcoming, and equitable learning community."
In a fascinating article, James Phillips has focused on the productivity, citations, and credentials of scholars at the top sixteen law schools. His analysis suggests that conservatives and libertarians are more productive, better cited, and, with one important exception, better credentialed than other scholars. The powerful combination of these findings is thus consistent with the hypothesis that conservatives suffer discrimination in hiring, perhaps particularly in the lateral market when productivity and citation data are very visible. It is as if they are competing in a race with an extra weight on their backs. ...
[T]he normative implication that I draw is that in hiring schools should weigh more objective data, like productivity and citations counts more heavily and take less account of their faculty’s more subjective impression of scholarship. ...