Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Simkovic Responds to Tamanaha (Part 4)

Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Brian Tamanaha’s Straw Men (Part 4): We Would Have to Be Off by 85 ercent For Our Basic Conclusion to be Incorrect:

Brian Tamanaha’s latest blog post has been hailed by Stephen Diamond and others as a major concession.  But in a comment below the post, Tamanaha explains to one of his followers:

 “I believe the doubts I raised about the study in my previous three posts have not been answered satisfactorily.”

We therefore continue our response to Tamanaha’s first three posts before addressing Tamanaha’s fourth post.

BT Claim 4:  Historical economic data tells us nothing about the future

"It is exeedingly rare to find reliably predictive 'historical norms' in the social sciences because social life is too complex and circumstances are constantly changing . . . S&M have produced a narrow, partial, time-bound study that has zero predictive relevance for anyone thinking about attending law school today." A proper study "may require data over several centuries."  

Response: We would have to be off by 85 percent for our basic conclusion to be incorrect.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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Simkovic, or any other professor for that matter should, (1) get the commencement booklet from any of 2009-2011 for Seton Hall or another similarly ranked law school, (2) start looking up students who are listed in the commencement booklet on the state bar website, and then (3) contact them and ask about their employment.

Posted by: a | Jul 30, 2013 7:34:40 AM

This is a typical reply by people who do unconvincing work. "Even if we were 15 percent correct, our work would still be significant." It ignores the fact that the work may be entirely premised on false assumptions and therefore of no value whatsoever. It is as if a devotee of Jupiter said, "even if I am 85 percent wrong about Jupiter's power, he is still more powerful than any other force in the universe." But if you are 100 percent wrong, because your assumptions and your very questions are flawed, the answer doesn't help very much.

Posted by: michael livingston | Jul 30, 2013 4:14:09 AM