What opportunities, rather than disruptions, do digital technologies present? How do developments in digital media not only support scholarship and teaching but also further social justice? Written by two experts in the field, this accessible book offers practical guidance, examples, and reflection on this changing foundation of scholarly practice. It is the first to consider how new technologies can connect academics, journalists, and activists in ways that foster transformation on issues of social justice. Discussing digital innovations in higher education as well as what these changes mean in an age of austerity, this book provides both a vision of what scholars can be in the digital era and a road map to how they can enliven the public good.
Q: On the topic of metrics: as you point out, few (if any) academic departments use altmetrics in tenure and promotion cases. We’ve seen the same sort of hesitancy when it comes to evaluating digital scholarship more broadly. Do you feel that colleges have been right to wait it out while these evaluation methods mature, or should they have taken a more active role?
Announcement and Call for Proposals 2017 Pepperdine Law Review Symposium: The Supreme Court, Politics and Reform
On April 8, 2017, the Pepperdine Law Review will hold its annual symposium on the question of whether the political deadlock over the Merrick Garland nomination provides a stark indication the U.S. Supreme Court has become an unduly political institution, and, if so, what internal and external reforms might address this problem. We invite all interested scholars to submit a relevant proposal to present at the symposium and be considered for publication in a special edition of our law review.
COMMENTATORS: Confirmed lead commentators include:
Akhil Amar (Yale)
Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Irvine)
Michael McConnell (Stanford)
Hon. Richard Posner (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit)
I enjoyed law school as much as I enjoyed the preparation for my colonoscopy, it was that good. My time at the American University Washington College of Law (WCL) wasn't a great experience because I felt like I was hoodwinked into going and was promised a bill of goods that they failed to deliver. ...
Over the past eight years, President Barack Obama has boosted diversity on the federal bench with his judicial picks. This month he added a name to his list of barrier-busting nominees: Abid Qureshi, believed to be the first Muslim tapped for a federal judgeship. ...
[A]sk judges if their faith factors in their work and most provide a two-part response. They say they don’t apply religious doctrine to cases. However, they acknowledge that religion can inform their sense of justice, empathy and values. Studies have shown a correlation between judges’ religious affiliations and decisions on abortion, gay rights, religious freedom and other hot-button issues. ...
A new law firm has opened its doors near Times Square founded on the faith that churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions in New York City could use some legal help.
Nelson Madden Black LLP, as the firm is called, says it’s the first private law firm based in the city that’s “dedicated to the legal representation of religious institutions and individuals.” Announcing its launch this week, the firm said it will offer a “full spectrum of litigation, transactional and advisory legal services” to clients of all faiths.
Last month, after the scoring of the state bar exam was completed, the charter class of Indiana Tech Law School posted what was accurately described as the “worst bar exam results ever.” Out of 12 graduates who had taken the Indiana bar exam, only one of them passed. At the time, the overall pass rate for Indiana Tech Law graduates was 8.33 percent, and a school spokesperson refused to confirm the overall pass rate because five graduates were appealing their scores on the exam.
With the appeals process having concluded this week, the Indiana Lawyer now reports that an additional graduate of Indiana Tech passed the state bar exam on the first try, bringing the school’s passage rate to 16.7 percent.
This past admissions cycle, the legal education community saw something they haven’t seen since 2009: an increase in the number of law school applications and LSAT® takers. This momentum is reflected in continued optimism that Kaplan Test Prep finds in its 2016 survey of law school admissions officers.* Of the 111 law schools from around country that participated in the annual survey, 92 percent say that they are feeling “more optimistic about the state of legal education” than they did one year ago. That optimism leads 78 percent of respondents to express confidence that their law school will see another increase in applications for the 2016-2017 application cycle — a far cry from the 46% who expressed such confidence, when Kaplan conducted its 2014 survey.
The Princeton Review tallied its lists based on its surveys of 19,400 students attending the 172 law schools [an average of 113 per school]. The 80-question survey asked students to rate their schools on several topics and report on their experiences. Some ranking list tallies also factored in school-reported data.
Best Professors: Based on student answers to survey questions concerning how good their professors are as teachers and how accessible they are outside the classroom.
Washington & Lee
St. Thomas (Minnesota)
Best Quality of Life: Based on student answers to survey questions on: whether there is a strong sense of community at the school, whether differing opinions are tolerated in the classroom, the location of the school, the quality of social life at the school, the school's research resources (library, computer and database resources).
As prosecutors in the Dan Markel murder "zero in" on the Adelson family and Hurricane Matthew targets Florida, a reader sent me an item that I have not seen reported elsewhere: Wendi Adelson's Truman Scholar profile, published three months before Dan was killed. This excerpt is especially chilling:
A Clinical Professor and the Director of the Medical Legal Partnership at FSU’s College of Law, Wendi, who is a native Floridian, had this to say about what informed her decision to become a lawyer and how she arrived at Florida State University:
I screwed up fantastically and ended up with a dream job as a clinical law professor. I fell in love with the wrong man, and he got a job in Tallahassee. I had wanted to be in DC or become a foreign service officer, or in the previous few years, live closely to my family in South Florida. So, ill-fated romance took me to Tallahassee, and love for my children keeps me here.
As I blogged in April, Pepperdine Law School Dean Deanell Tacha has extended her five-year term to continue serving through our ABA Re-Accreditation visit this month and will retire on December 31, 2016. She has sent this letter to various leaders in legal education reflecting on her time at Pepperdine and inviting nominations to succeed her as dean of this very special law school:
This is a bittersweet moment in my life. After 5½ wonderful years as Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law, I have decided it is time to yield this leadership position and return to my home state of Kansas. I know, some would question the judgment of trading the ocean for the plains, but it is right for me!
I write today to ask your assistance in helping Pepperdine choose the right successor to build on our progress and secure Pepperdine’s unique place as one of the nation’s premiere Christian law schools.
Prosecutors likely hope that by arresting Magbanua and charging her as an accomplice in Markel’s murder—not with a lesser crime such as accessory to murder—she will strike a deal and implicate Charlie Adelson and perhaps his mother, Donna Adelson, as the architects of the murder, said Charles Rose III, a law professor at Stetson University College of Law.
“They’re trying to get her to roll,” Rose said, noting it’s a common tactic to try and cut a deal with the least culpable person in a criminal enterprise. “They’ve put Katherine between a rock and a hard place. They’re trying to get her to provide the piece of information the prosecutors don’t yet have that will get an indictment of the Adelsons.”
The Wall Street Journal in partnership with the Times Educational Supplement has just released a ranking of colleges. It provides a useful corrective to the more famous rankings by U.S. News and World Report, because it focuses more on the student outputs rather than inputs. That is, while U.S. News heavily weights the credentials of incoming students, such as the SAT scores and high school grades, the Wall Street Journal weights the outputs, like student satisfaction and salaries earned at graduation. This ranking system also appears to take a more quantitative approach to the quality of the faculty, relying less on reputation and more on actual research output.
It would be hugely beneficial for legal education, if this consortium were to undertake similar rankings of law schools. It would undermine the unhealthy power of US News’ ranking of law schools, which, as with colleges, focuses more on student inputs than outputs. ...
The state attorney's office has suggested that Luis Rivera may be cooperating in the murder-for-hire case. Rivera was scheduled to go before a judge 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, but the hearing was abruptly changed and pushed back to 3 p.m. Rivera is currently one of three suspects in the FSU professor's murder and is slated to stand trial in three weeks.
When asked about the delay in today's hearing, State Attorney Willie Meggs indicated there is a tentative deal. There's no word yet on the details of that deal. "We gave up a little more than we wanted to give up in the desire to get information that we needed," Meggs told WCTV. "We knew we would have to give up something and we did." ...
The musical’s opening number begins with Alexander Hamilton himself arriving in a new city to start a new challenging endeavor. ... [I] want to talk to you briefly about Hamilton, and to offer you three ways that you might consider Hamilton’s advice for your own time in law school.
Lesson Number One: Take ideas seriously. Relentlessly question the conventional wisdom. Say what you will about Alexander Hamilton, but he had audacity. ... My first suggestion is that you take a little bit of Hamilton’s … attitude with you into your classes. ...
In my last post, I discussed the need to consider both sides of the ratio when examining bar passage rates. Looking only at a particular law school’s passage without examining the overall bar passage numbers can lead to incorrect conclusions. In this post, I am going to challenge the belief that law schools can easily predict which students will do well in law school and the bar. ...
Without a doubt, the objective information drives the process at most schools. ... The essence of the argument is that some students with low objective indicators should never (or at least hardly ever) be admitted to law school. See David Frakt’s LSAT Score Risk Bands.
The major problem with this argument is that it ignores what the statistics tells us about the LSAT and UGPA. ...
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law (ranked #45 in U.S. News) welcomed 93 1Ls this Fall, up 1 from last year (and down 23% from 2010's 122). Interestingly, Utah's 50% LSAT remained 158 and 25% and 75% increased to 156 (+2) and 161 (+1), but its 25%/50%/75% GPAs all fell, to 3.33 (-.03), 3.50 (-0.7), 3.68 (-.07).
Utah is the only Top 50 law school with an entering class under 100 for the past two years. I would love to know how they are able to balance their budget with 46 full-time faculty, giving them a reported 6.8 to 1 student/faculty ratio, lower than every law school except Columbia (ranked #4, 6.1) and Northwestern (ranked #12, 6.5). Utah has a spectacular new building and an audacious goal of ensuring that 100% of its students pass the bar on their first attempt and land professional jobs (more here).
I've heard from faculty members at two law schools just this week who report (not for attribution) that their law schools either are laying off a substantial number of faculty (the faculty member's word was "bloodletting") or that buy-out offers have been made to all faculty. These are respectable schools, and the downsizings I am referring to have not yet been reported in the blogosphere as best I know. That probably means there are many more occurring than we know about.
I've also had occasion to browse recently the faculty bio pages of several law schools. Given the paucity of hiring over the last several years, it comes as no surprise that many schools are top-heavy, but the extent of this at some schools is astounding. It appears that at some schools, there is almost no one on the tenure-track faculty within a full generation of the average age of the students we are trying to attract.
Police suspect a South Florida love triangle provided the guns and money to kill Florida State law professor Dan Markel.
Katherine Magbanua, the woman investigators believe is the go-between for the family of Markel's ex-wife Wendi Adelson and the men suspected of killing him, was arrested Saturday in Broward County. She faces a murder charge in the 41-year-old's death. ... It's an arrest, court documents suggest, that could put investigators closer to the Adelsons, the wealthy owners of a Tamarac dentist office who were determined to move Markel and Wendi's two young boys from Tallahassee to South Florida. ...
DU law professor Lucy Marsh originally filed the charges with the EEOC. The agency engaged in talks with the university to remedy the situation, but those efforts failed in May, according to the filing.
The suit says that Marsh had worked for the university for 37 years at the time of the 2013 charge, but that her annual salary, $111,977, was less than every male full-time law professor, including many who were hired after she started.
Katherine Magbanua, the suspected link between the family of Dan Markel's ex-wife and the two men accused of shooting him, was arrested on murder charges in Broward County.
Magbanua, 31, was booked into the Broward County Jail on Saturday.
Police say Magbanua connected Sigfredo Garcia, the father of her two children, and Luis Rivera with the family of Markel’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson.
Investigators say Rivera and Garcia were hired to kill Markel in connection with his acrimonious divorce from Adelson. They were charged with first-degree murder in May. ...
Police say Rivera and Garcia, who will stand trial Oct. 24 and Nov. 14 respectively, traveled to Tallahassee from Miami in a rented Toyota Prius. Multiple security cameras showed them tailing the 41-year-old throughout the day he was killed. A similar Prius was seen leaving Markel's home after sounds of gunfire were heard by a neighbor.
Kentucky joined a number of other states with disappointing results from this summer’s bar exams, as only 65 percent of those taking the state exam passed in July. The total pass rate of 69.9 percent from all winter and summer exams in 2016 marked a low point for Kentucky in the past decade, falling over 10 percentage points from its previous high in 2011.
The fall in pass rates over the last five years among first-time bar exam takers in Kentucky was even larger, with this year’s rate at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and University of Kentucky College of Law decreasing by nearly 20 and 15 percentage points from their previous high marks in 2011, respectively.
The pass rate for first-time takers of the Kentucky bar exam was 86.3 percent in 2011, but has fallen each year since and reached 74.3 percent in 2016. UK’s law school graduates taking this exam for the first time in 2016 passed at a rate of 79.3 percent, which was only a slight decrease from the previous year, but nearly 15 percentage points lower than its 94.8 pass rate in 2011. UofL’s Brandeis graduates taking the exam for the first time this year passed at a rate of 71.2 percent — which is below the state average and a drop of 13.6 percentage points from 2015 and 19.5 points since 2011.
Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law has far fewer graduates who take the Kentucky bar exam — many choose to take the Ohio bar exam — but their first-time takers passed at a rate of 79.6 percent in 2016, which was the highest in the state and a slight increase from 2011.
How much and what sort of process is due in university sexual harassment administrative proceedings? The question, once for me a relatively academic question, has become painfully personal after Sujit Choudhry [right], a personal friend and the former Dean of Berkeley, was accused by his former administrative assistant of sexually harassing her.
Five years ago, I criticized my friend Peter Berkowitz for insisting in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that criminal procedures – in particular, the “beyond-a-reasonable-doubt” (BARD) standard -- be imported wholesale into university hearings where accusations of sexual misconduct are being adjudicated. Without taking any position on the right standard of proof, I argued that one could not automatically assume that the BARD standard was appropriate for a university’s administrative hearing where the stakes are not personal liberty but rather suspension or expulsion. The justification for criminal trial procedures favoring the accused is that the social and moral costs of convicting one innocent person vastly outweighs the costs of letting a lot of guilty people go free (the exact ratio of false positives to false negatives being a conundrum in which 1L criminal law professors delight). The appropriate ratio of false negatives to false positives in the university setting is, to my mind, a closer call. Because the procedural norms for these university adjudications are both hotly contested and reasonably disputed, I urged that the U.S. Department of Education not prematurely centralize them with OCR guidance documents but instead allow universities to experiment with different procedures.
Peter has now trained his sights on one of those decentralized experiments – namely, University of California’s attempt to re-try an accusation of sexual harassment against former Berkeley Law Dean Sujit Choudhry for which Choudhry has already been charged, investigated, and punished. This time I have to agree with Peter as well as with Brian Leiter and Slate: This is a Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment gone horribly awry. As Choudhry’s complaint in federal court alleges, there is an egregious assault on procedural due process going on at U.C. Berkeley. After the jump, I will offer my reasons for believing that President Janet Napolitano, the President of the University of California, is abetting mob justice in urging a do-over.
A Leon County judge denied a motion by one of the men charged in the shooting of Dan Markel to change the trial venue. Circuit Judge James Hankinson denied the motion by Luis Rivera's attorney Chuck Collins on Thursday, the day after it was filed.
Prosecutors also are trying to block the testimony of a convicted double murderer from Broward County, who has been transported to testify in Rivera's Oct. 24 trial. Imran Hussain, who was convicted of the 2001 murders of two shopkeepers the 41-year-old worked for, will be a witness in Rivera's trial. ... [I]n Wednesday court filings, Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said Collins may try to introduce Hussain and two others listed as witnesses in court documents as the possible perpetrators in Markel’s July 18, 2014, shooting. ...
There are some advantages to taking a national test, especially in a professional field. You can see how you stack up against other test-takers across the country and, in the case of the Uniform Bar Examination, a passing score makes it easier to practice law in other states that give the same test instead of having to take another exam there.
This year, the University of New Mexico School of Law started giving the national exam, which is used in about half of U.S. states.
The results weren’t pretty. The number of students who passed the exam on their first try (68%) in July was down 13 percentage points compared to July 2015 (81%) [92% in 2012, 96% in 2009] on the old state exam. Those who failed were disproportionately minorities and women. None of the 14 Native American students who took the test passed.
[O]ne tipster has gone through and actually broken down how many students from each New York area school are landing at specific Biglaw firms. Here’s the methodology:
I scoured the websites of Cravath, S&C, DPW, Skadden, STB, Cleary, PW, Debevoise, Latham, and K&E (Weil’s website made it impractical to include them), and saw how many associates they each currently employ from Brooklyn, Columbia, Cardozo, Fordham, Hofstra, NYLS, NYU, Pace, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Johns. Since I was mainly interested in recent placement, I kept the list to associates only (no partners, counsel, etc). My goal was to see how successful each school has been at placing students at these top firms, and if you’re really that much better off paying more to go to a better school (spoiler alert: you are). ...
Here's a list of 76 faculties that might have some claim on having one of the 50 strongest law faculties in terms of scholarly distinction (with apologies to any wrongly omitted). Have fun! Detailed ballot reporting will make attempts at strategic voting obvious, so don't! I'll call out your school! Remember, this is about the scholarly distinction of the faculties, so if all you know is the U.S. News rank, don't complete the survey, or choose "no opinion" for those schools!
BAD BEHAVIOR WATCH: Remarkably, 4 people have ranked Arizona State ahead of Yale! I wonder where they teach? ...
The lesson from the past several years of unprecedented struggles for many law schools is that this is a time when innovation in legal education should be encouraged.
Unfortunately, it appears that the American Bar Association is doing just the opposite in its treatment of University of North Texas (UNT) Dallas College of Law. The recommendation of the Accreditation Committee of the ABA to deny provisional accreditation to UNT raises disturbing issues concerning how important innovation is being squelched.
Nancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC) maintain a guide to submitting articles to 204 law reviews (last updated in 2016). The guide contains two charts: (1) the mechanics of the submission process, and (2) the ranking of the law reviews and their schools in six measures: (a) US. News Overall Rank; (ii) U.S. News Peer Reputation; (iii) U.S. News Judge/Lawyer Reputation Rating; (iv) Washington & Lee Law Review Citation Ranking; (v) Washington & Lee Law Review Impact Factor; and (vi) Washington & Lee Law Review Combined Rating.
The Illinois Law Review has just published a ranking of 81 online law reviews (SSRN) and their schools in three measures: (1) US. News Overall Rank; (ii) U.S. News Peer Reputation Rank; and (iii) Washington & Lee Law Review Combined Ranking.
UC-Davis School of Law (ranked #30 in U.S. News) welcomed 157 1Ls this Fall, down 13% from last year's 180 (and 20% from 2010's 196). Despite the enrollment decline, UC-Davis's 25% and 75% LSATs fell one point to 158 and 164, respectively (its 50% LSAT remained 163). UC-Davis's 25%/50%/75% GPAs all increased, to 3.31/3.52/3.73 (+.04/+.01/+.05). Here are UC-Davis's admission data for the prior six years from Law School Transparency:
The U.S. Department of Education will not implement a panel recommendation that called for suspending the ABA from accrediting new law schools for one year.
In a letter sent to Barry Currier, managing director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Emma Vadehra, the department’s chief of staff, wrote that she was accepting the recommendation of department staff to allow the ABA to continue accrediting new law schools rather than the recommendation for a one-year suspension made by the National Advisory Council on Institutional Quality and Integrity.
Kif Augustine-Adams (BYU), Candace Berrett (BYU) & James R. Rasband (BYU), Speed Matters:
What, if any, is the relationship between speed and grades on first year law school examinations? Are time-pressured law school examinations typing speed tests? Employing both simple linear regression and mixed effects linear regression, we present an empirical hypothesis test on the relationship between first year law school grades and speed, with speed represented by two variables: word count and student typing speed. Our empirical findings of a strong statistically significant positive correlation between total words written on first year law school examinations and grades suggest that speed matters. On average, the more a student types, the better her grade. In the end, however, typing speed was not a statistically significant variable explaining first year law students’ grades. At the same time, factors other than speed are relevant to student performance.
In addition to our empirical analysis, we discuss the importance of speed in law school examinations as a theoretical question and indicator of future performance as a lawyer, contextualizing the question in relation to the debate in the relevant psychometric literature regarding speed and ability or intelligence. Given that empirically, speed matters, we encourage law professors to consider more explicitly whether their exams over-reward length, and thus speed, or whether length and assumptions about speed are actually a useful proxy for future professional performance and success as lawyers.
In law schools across the U.S., professors are discussing current events and social justice movements in their courses. The idea? To demonstrate how race and class intersect with law. Also, in a contributed piece, a law dean offers students advice for the first year — work hard and connect with classmates of different cultures — for your own benefit and that of your future clients. And law school access to justice initiatives are discussed by another dean and colleagues.
It is with profound sadness that the Law School Admission Council shares the news that Dan Bernstine, President of LSAC, passed away suddenly at his home late last week at the age of 69. Any additional information that becomes available concerning funeral or memorial services, or directed donations, will be posted on our website, LSAC.org.
Mr. Bernstine was appointed to the presidency of LSAC in 2007. For 10 years prior to joining LSAC, he was the president of Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. He also served as Dean at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Prior to his tenure at Wisconsin, Mr. Bernstine was a professor of law and interim dean at Howard University. He was general counsel at Howard University and Howard University Hospital. He was the William H. Hastie Teaching Fellow at Wisconsin and a staff attorney for the US Department of Labor early in his career. He has been a visiting professor and lecturer all over the world, including Taiwan, Germany, and Cuba, and additional US law schools.
I am walking away from the law. I’ve resigned my position as a law professor at Ohio State University, and I’ve decided to teach and study at a seminary. Why?
There is no easy answer to this question, and there are times I worry that I have completely lost my mind. Who am I to teach or study at a seminary? I was not raised in a church. And I have generally found more questions than answers in my own religious or spiritual pursuits. But I also know there is something much greater at stake in justice work than we often acknowledge. Solving the crises we face isn’t simply a matter of having the right facts, graphs, policy analyses, or funding. And I no longer believe we can “win” justice simply by filing lawsuits, flexing our political muscles or boosting voter turnout. Yes, we absolutely must do that work, but none of it — not even working for some form of political revolution — will ever be enough on its own. Without a moral or spiritual awakening, we will remain forever trapped in political games fueled by fear, greed and the hunger for power. American history teaches how these games predictably play out within our borders: Time and again, race gets used as the Trump Card, a reliable means of dividing, controlling and misleading the players so a few can win the game.