How can international disputes be resolved in the courtroom rather than on the battlefield? All Rise brings this complex question into sharp and personalized focus through the journeys of seven passionate students of law from India, Israel, Jamaica, Palestine, Russia, Singapore, and Uganda to compete in the world championships in Washington, DC, of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (the “Jessup”), the world’s largest simulated court competition. The “court” is the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”), the judicial arm of the United Nations. Against this backdrop, this moving film lays bare the struggles, triumphs and transformations they experience alone and together.
Prerequisite: The Economics Institute is carefully designed for those who possess little or no previous formal economics education. It covers basic price theory, with emphasis on the allocative effects of alternative property rights regimes, transaction cost economics, and the application of basic economic theory to a variety of legal issues. As such, there is no prerequisite for this Institute.
Our investigation into law school admissions practices and trends has sent shock waves through the legal profession. Some law school deans remain in denial, but more (at least privately) want a minority of law schools to stop damaging legal education’s reputation. With no united front among law schools, influential members of Congress waiting to pounce, and the ABA primed to act, it seems the bets some schools made on regulatory inaction were misplaced.
One reason these bets may prove lethal is that law schools charge higher prices to those who are more likely to struggle.
This is one particularly egregious artifact of the U.S. News rankings methodology, which affects how law schools allocate scholarship money. Scholarships are predominately provided in exchange for relatively higher LSAT scores and, to a lesser extent, GPAs. While these resources decisions have always been questionable, they become even more ethically dubious as price discrimination shifts even more dramatically towards discounting tuition for those most likely to complete school, pass the bar, and obtain a legal job.
In this Article I discuss the impact on legal education of a recent study conducted at Princeton University and UCLA, which compared the levels of comprehension and retention of class lectures by those students who handwrote their class notes with those students who typed their notes onto their laptops. The study involved three separate experiments. In each test, the subjects using laptops had no access to the Internet, and were only permitted to use their laptops for taking class notes. Thus all possible laptop distractions were eliminated. In all three experiments, those students who handwrote their notes outperformed their counterparts who typed their notes on assessments administered between 30 minutes and one week after the lectures.
This study thus raises another chapter in the continuing debate regarding whether students should be permitted to use their laptops in class. Prior to the Princeton/UCLA study, the debate primarily centered around the distractive effects which laptops had on both laptop users who were engaged in activities unrelated to what was being discussed in class, and on their classmates who were sitting nearby and were distracted by the visuals and sounds emanating from the laptops. Such distractions included surfing the Internet, playing video games, and emailing others in the class.
The one reliable longitudinal study that has been conducted does not support the view of lawyers as miserable and debt-ridden. The After the JD study followed a representative cohort of law school graduates from the class of 2000 and found that the vast majority were satisfied with their decisions to become lawyers. Debt load had no effect on career satisfaction, and nearly half of the lawyers in the cohort paid off all of their debt by 2012.
Of course, the class of 2000 graduated into a better economy and paid less tuition than more recent classes. Nevertheless, while more rigorous longitudinal research is needed, the recession appears to have not impeded attorneys' long-term prospects.
The State Bar of Texas conducts an income survey of its nearly 100,000 members. The most recent survey was conducted in 2013 and provides median incomes for full-time lawyers by the number of years they have been licensed. The median income for lawyers in private practice who have been licensed for two years or less is $69,238. This figure rises to $99,152 for lawyers licensed for three to six years.
Edward Bell, the new president and managing partner of the embattled Charleston School of Law, made it clear that he’s not afraid to answer tough questions about the school’s future. ...
In response to a student who asked about not being able to find a employment after graduating, Bell said, “We’re going to help you find a job. You can’t find a job, you call me. ... You should know when you come to this law school, you can find a job. I will get on the phone. I will talk to people. If you’ve done a good job in your classwork and you have got skills, you’ll get a job. One day, and it won’t be long in the near future, if you go to the Charleston School of Law, they will be begging you to come work for them. This is going to be the top-tiered school in this area.” ...
The two-year program will train recent USC graduates in cutting-edge legal technologies, project management, and delivery processes to provide high-quality, efficient legal services to corporate legal departments and top law firms. Those selected for the residency program each year will receive rigorous classroom instruction provided by senior attorneys, serve in a supervisory capacity for client engagements, and work directly with clients to deliver legal services in key emerging legal areas including: litigation management, e-discovery, cyber security, contract management, patent licensing, IP management and immigration law. Residents will earn salaries and benefits equivalent to judicial clerkships.
[T]his is the best of Richard’s books, situating the changes facing the legal profession in both the long history of professions generally and the parallel challenges facing other fields such as medicine, accountancy, architecture, journalists, clergy and teaching.
Richard and Daniel begin by describing the implicit “Grand Bargain” between the professions and society, whereby the professions retained many of the protections (including, perhaps most importantly self-regulation) of the medieval guilds. Professions can define the appropriate nature of their service, the credentials needed to offer it, and enjoy reasonably high prestige and income. In exchange, professionals are expected to maintain their expertise, act honestly and in good faith, and put the interests of clients ahead of their own.
The debate over law schools can sometimes feel a bit rote. Critics say they scam students by promising high-paying careers that never materialize. Defenders say that, actually, J.D.s do quite a bit better for themselves on the job market than many of the most harrowing stories would suggest.
So give Noah Feldman some points for creativity. In a recent Bloomberg View column, the Harvard Law professor mounted one of the most straightforward and eloquent defenses of ripping off students I have ever encountered. ...
Nancy Staudt, JD, PhD, dean of the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, has been installed as the inaugural Howard and Caroline Cayne Professor of Law. A lecture and a reception to celebrate the occasion were held Oct. 22 in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom in Anheuser-Busch Hall.
A nationally renowned scholar in tax, tax policy and empirical legal studies, Staudt previously served as professor of law at the university from 2000-06.
Prior to her return to the university, Staudt served as academic director of the newly established Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California. She also was the vice dean for faculty and academic affairs at the USC Gould School of Law and the inaugural holder of the Edward G. Lewis Chair in Law and Public Policy. ...
Law schools are so desperate to fill classrooms that they are drastically lowering standards, according to a recent report by the nonprofit group Law School Transparency. The report says that many students may only pass the bar after numerous attempts—if at all. So America may soon suffer a plague of dumb lawyers who have trouble spelling their own names. Purry Mason. Ben Matchlock. Clarice D’Arrow. That sort of thing.
FiveThirtyEight has a great post noting that "there’s a good chance you scream at your television a lot when coaches sheepishly kick or punt instead of going for it on fourth down. This is particularly true in the 'dead zone' between roughly the 25- and 40-yard lines, where punts accomplish little and field goals are supposedly too long to be good gambles." David Yellen (Dean, Loyola-Chicago) asks Are Law Schools Punting on 4th and Short? as we face long odds and a dwindling clock:
The analysis offered here is not a Neo-Luddite rage against “the machine”. As with the oft-stated reproach about paranoia, there sometimes really are situations in which people are “out to get you”. In our current situation the threat is not from people but from the convergence of a set of technological innovations that are and will increasingly have an enormous impact on the nature of work, economic and social inequality and the existence of the middle classes that are so vital to the durability of Western democracy. The fact is that developed nations’ economies such as found in Western Europe and the US are facing a convergence of technologies that ostensibly fit into Joseph Schumpeter’s idea of “creative destruction” but with the unfortunate caveat that while we are undeniably experiencing Schumpeter’s “destruction” of a generation of economic and institutional forms, for a very significant portion of our population the emerging conditions involve “destructive destruction” without the “creative” phase of economic rebirth. The forces and technologies pushing us in this direction are relentless and in a globalized market economy with authority dispersed across borders with nations holding varying agendas and policy manifested in unaccountable multilateral institutions we simply lack the ability to intervene and impose limits on what is occurring even if we wanted to.
On this very website, Touro Law Professor Dan Subotnik published a response to a piece that I wrote that will be published in a forthcoming edition of the University of Minnesota’s Journal of Law and Inequality. My piece continues the debate that Professor Subotnik and I have had for the past two years over whether standardized tests like the SAT and LSAT are reliable. I argue that they are not, and he argues that they are the best indicators for success in higher education…warts and all. In doing so, he makes some comments and generalizations that I found a little distasteful, and unjustifiably harsh, thus I replied accordingly.
Is it too much to ask for people to refrain from lawyer bashing and telling tasteless lawyer jokes for a single day? Surely you can do it. And, if for some reason, you're unable to tame your tongue for that 24-hour span (like if you're a late-night talk show host), then donate $20 to charity for every joke you tell. Deal?
For the first time, government data back up what some parents have long suspected: Students who choose elite liberal arts colleges don’t earn as much money early in their careers as those who attend highly selective research universities.
The disparity, determined by a Wall Street Journal analysis of the data, means that some liberal arts colleges may face tough questions about the potential payoff of their expensive tuition.
The Journal compared median earnings 10 years after students enrolled at the most selective liberal arts colleges in the country to median earnings for students at the most selective research universities. The Journal analyzed salary figures for the top 50 schools in each category that had the highest average SAT scores [search data on individual schools here]. Those Ivy League schools, selective state colleges and other national universities compete with liberal arts colleges for the many of the same highly qualified applicants.
At nearly half of the top liberal arts colleges, the reported median salary 10 years out was below $50,000. (The government didn’t release the underlying data necessary to calculate an overall median salary for those schools.) Students at almost all of the top research universities beat the $50,000 mark, while at about a third of top research universities they had median salaries above $70,000.
This essay reframes the debate over the "growing disjunction" between legal scholarship and legal practice. Law review articles continue to make the world a better place, the essay stipulates. But are judicial opinions becoming less useful to students and scholars? A rigorous analysis and concrete prescriptions follow. ...
[I]t is all too clear that the judicial craft has become unmoored from real-world problems and thus in need of reform. Before we can solve this crisis in our profession, though, we need to comprehend it better. Why has the work of judges grown so distant from the practical concerns of students and scholars? ...
My organization, Law School Transparency, released a report last week about our eight-month investigation into law school admissions practices. With law schools across the prestige spectrum facing extraordinary financial pressure — 1L enrollment fell 28% between 2010 and 2014 — dozens of schools confront a dilemma with each new 1L class: either lower academic standards or lose even more money.
Many healthy businesses have diversified revenue streams so that a dwindling customer base will not necessarily devastate their entire business. Not so for law schools. Law schools depend on tuition revenue to pay the bills, and much of that money comes from federal student loans. To keep money flowing, many schools dramatically lowered admissions standards beyond any acceptable standard. ...
The LSAT is ... a statistically significant predictor of bar exam outcomes — the best one law schools have for evaluating whether an applicant will pass or fail the bar. ... [W]hen schools admit applicants with lower and lower LSAT scores, it’s natural to wonder about the line between exploitation and providing opportunities, especially when we know that schools are reluctant to enforce significant salary cuts, lay off large numbers of employees, or close. ...
We use a framework developed by Professor David Frakt to do the heavy lifting for risk assessment. Frakt set risk bands based on multiple scholarly studies and his experience with higher-risk students at multiple schools. ...
Even the law firms nimble enough to overcome the economic turbulence in recent years are not feeling invincible these days. The revenue looks good because costly litigation and specialized legal work are flourishing. But a generational divide is percolating just under the surface.
Rising associates in the millennial generation, worried about the future, are pushing up against the current law firm leaders, who are almost uniformly older men intent on staying for a few more years to top off very successful careers.
Two decades ago the rage on campus was to constructing climbing walls; today, lazy rivers are in vogue, places where students can float on rafts, probably drinking their favorite beverage and contemplating life. But what is really in vogue are lazy campuses, where neither the students nor the faculty work terribly hard, and, where effort is exerted, some of it is in trivial pursuits. ...
Noah Feldman recently argued that law schools are not helping students with low standardized test scores by denying those students the opportunity to attend law school simply because those students might find it challenging to pass the bar exam.* According to Feldman, denying people an opportunity to try to improve their situation in life is “paternalism that verges on infantilization.” Moreover, “A standardized test score, taken alone, shouldn't determine your future.”
Feldman’s perspective is bolstered by an important feature of bar exams: People who fail an exam can study harder and then retake it.
These  institutions from the U.S. and nearly 60 other countries have been ranked based on 12 indicators that measure their academic research performance and their global and regional reputations. Here are the Top 25:
The longstanding categorical distinction that elevates doctrinal teaching over skills teaching continues to harm the profession of law. In this Article, I consider two distinct effects produced by the doctrine/skills dichotomy.
First, the dichotomy is responsible for reinforcing class, gender, and race segmentation in legal education, which limits the quality of instruction that law schools can provide and abets the reproduction of existing power relations in the legal profession and society at large.
A new student movement at Harvard Law School is organizing to change the seal at the school, which the students argue represents and endorses a slaveholding legacy. The seal is the coat of arms of the family of Isaac Royall Jr., a slaveholder who endowed the first professorship of law at Harvard.
Dubbed Royall Must Fall, the movement styles itself after a student activist movement in South Africa that lobbied to remove imagery of Cecil Rhodes, a British imperialist, from the University of Cape Town’s campus. At Harvard, activists formally began their effort for change with a rally of about 25 people on the Law School campus on Oct. 23.
Blake Morant (President, AALS; Dean, George Washington), Kellye Testy (President-Elect, AALS; Dean, University of Washington) & Judith Areen (Executive Director, AALS; former Dean, Georgetown):
The New York Times fails to make its case on law school debt. Law students borrow more than undergrads, but most are able to repay, and do. The graduate student default rate is 7 percent versus 22 percent for undergrads.
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The problem of “inequality” looms over America like a storm cloud. ... I have a modest proposal: Abolish the Ivy League. Because if you’re worried about inequality among Americans, I can think of no single institution that does more to contribute to the problem. ...
[I]n the name of ending inequality, I have a few modest proposals.
We should eliminate the tax deductibility of contributions to schools having endowments in excess of $1 billion. ...
We should require that all schools with endowments over $1 billion spend at least 10% of their endowment annually on student financial aid. That will make it easier for less wealthy students to attend elite institutions.
We should require that university admissions be based strictly on objective criteria such as grades and SAT/ACT scores, with random drawings used to cull the herd further if necessary. That will eliminate the Ivy League’s documented discriminationagainst Asians.
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One of the great intellectual and moral epiphanies of our time is the realization that human diversity is a blessing. It has become conventional wisdom that being around those unlike ourselves makes us better people — and more productive to boot.
Scholarly studies have piled up showing that race and gender diversity in the workplace can increase creative thinking and improve performance. Meanwhile, excessive homogeneity can lead to stagnation and poor problem-solving.
Unfortunately, new research also shows that academia has itself stopped short in both the understanding and practice of true diversity — the diversity of ideas — and that the problem is taking a toll on the quality and accuracy of scholarly work. This year, a team of scholars from six universities studying ideological diversity in the behavioral sciences published a paper in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences that details a shocking level of political groupthink in academia. The authors show that for every politically conservative social psychologist in academia there are about 14 liberal social psychologists.
I always assumed my kids would care … but you never know with this stuff. My son’s favorite celebrity right now? Michael Jackson. He loves Michael and werewolves, in that order, so you can only imagine how he feels about Thriller. I never, ever could have predicted this. That’s parenthood. You roll with the whims of your kids. At the same time, there had to be some trick for hooking my daughter on sports beyond the old standby of “taking her to games and seeing if she likes it.” After she turned 5, I asked a few friends with older children for tips. The same suggestion kept popping up: You can’t necessarily make them follow your team, but you can steer them away from your least favorite teams. Good advice. Even if it’s difficult to sway a Los Angeles native toward Boston teams playing 3,000 miles away — don’t rule me out, by the way — I could brainwash her to despise the Lakers (as covered in 2010’s “The Color Purple” column), any team with the words “New York” in its name, and the Lakers a second time just to be safe. After that? Her call. This seemed like a fair compromise. ...
After five years of declines in the number of LSAT test-takers, the LSAC reports that the number of LSAT test-takers in September/October 2014 increased 7.4%, the fourth consecutive period with an increase:
In a recent editorial the New York Times made the claim that Florida Coastal School of Law is participating in a scam. As Dean of Florida Coastal School of Law, and a long-time reader of the Times, I was, to say the least, taken aback. After all, the Times is saying something demonstrably false and which had not been properly fact checked. I am taking this opportunity to provide the information the Times could have had if it had simply asked.
Law schools just made some new enemies. This week, lawmakers from both parties sharply criticized U.S. law schools for leaving students with overwhelming debt and degrees that may not get them jobs.
“We need to move away from a system that results in too many law school graduates twisting in the wind,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in an e-mailed statement. Putting law graduates in a position from which they might default on federal loans “isn’t good for the graduates, and it isn’t good for the taxpayers,” he added.
Grassley said he was “troubled” by problems illustrated in a new report by Law School Transparency, an advocacy group. The report highlighted the large numbers of under-prepared students being accepted into law schools. Test scores have declined for the lowest-achieving students since 2010 at the majority of law schools. Padding classes with underqualified students, the report said, is “leaving thousands deep in debt with few prospects for employment that will enable them to pay off their debt.”...
On September 12th America’s Department of Education unveiled a “college scorecard” website containing a cornucopia of data about universities. The government generated the numbers by matching individuals’ student-loan applications to their subsequent tax returns, making it possible to compare pupils’ qualifications and demographic characteristics when they entered college with their salaries ten years later. That information offers the potential to disentangle student merit from university contributions, and thus to determine which colleges deliver the greatest return and why.
As their application numbers collapsed in recent years, a good number of law schools were forced to choose between their academic standards and their finances. With fewer qualified candidates to go around, some decided to shrink their enrollment numbers and forgo a bit of revenue rather than drastically relax their admission criteria. But many others took the path of least resistance, opening their doors to poorly qualified students willing to pay tuition.
As a result, a depressing number of law schools are now filled with students who may simply not belong there. According to a new study released this week by the advocacy group Law School Transparency, there were 37 institutions last year where at least half of all new students scored below a 150 on the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, up from just nine such schools in 2010. Why is that significant? The group argues that students who fail to break the 150 mark face a "serious risk" of eventually failing their state bar exam once they graduate, which would leave them unable to actually practice law. ...
The College of Charleston recently advised U.S. News that it misreported data that were used in the 2016 Best Graduate Schools rankings.
The misreported data resulted in the school's numerical rank, which U.S. News had calculated but had not published, being higher than it otherwise might have been in the 2016 Best Business Schools rankings. ...
Harvard Law School, with the support of Ravel Law, a legal research and analytics platform, is digitizing its entire collection of U.S. case law, one of the largest collections of legal materials in the world. It will make the collection available online, for free, to anyone with an Internet connection.
The time has come for the legal community — and law schools in particular — to press the reset button on the reputation of our profession. As Deans, we should not stand silent as those with biases and outdated or inaccurate information recycle myths and tired, predictable versions of their “wisdom” about our profession, law schools and the quality of newly minted lawyers. Over and over again.
The overarching challenge facing lawyers and the law school community across the country is that there is virtually no effective public counterweight to offset the worn perceptions repeated by high visibility media and others. We must, together, come to the defense of the value of law and lawyers, and make the compelling case for lawyers’ contribution to society in general and America’s national experiment in democracy, in particular. We need to highlight how valuable lawyers are to our nation’s leadership around the world, and the important role our law schools play in developing lawyers that will provide the legal expertise necessary to assure our nation’s stability in the future.
The Charleston School of Law has a new owner and will become a nonprofit in the near future, essentially ending any possibility that The InfiLaw System will purchase the school.
Attorney J. Edward Bell, founding partner of Bell Legal Group, in Georgetown, said in a phone interview today that he paid an undisclosed price to become one of three co-owners of the school along with Robert Carr and George Kosko.
Bell said he will be inaugurated as president of the school on Thursday and will be managing partner of Charleston School of Law LLC, which owns the for-profit institution. ...
If the [New York Times] Editorial Board's accusations were true—if the “majority of law schools” really were running "“a scam” in which they load down their students with “crushing amounts of debt” which “they can’t repay”—Florida Coastal and other law schools should have among the highest default rates of any institutions of higher education in the country.
They don’t and they aren’t. ...
For the cohort entering repayment in 2012—the most recent year of data available*—the national 3-year cohort default rate on federal student loans was 11.8 percent. The comparable figure for Florida Coastal was only 1.1 percent—more than 10 times lower. ...
Even low ranked law schools with allegedly “outrageously high” tuition generally have much lower student loan default rates than either the national average, or the average for institutions that grant bachelor’s or advanced degrees.
Almost overnight, a persistently sad situation finally has many legal educators squirming. And rightly so.
The problem has been years in the making, as has been the profession’s unwillingness to address it. Federal funding mechanisms have combined with lack of accountability and non-dischargeability in bankruptcy to block the effective operation of market forces in legal education. Well-intentioned policies have gone terribly awry; they actually encourage misbehavior among many law school deans.