Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

BYU And Pepperdine Are The Most Ideologically Balanced Faculties Among The Top 50 Law Schools (2013)

Adam Bonica (Stanford), Adam S. Chilton (Chicago), Kyle Rozema (Northwestern) & Maya Sen (Harvard), The Legal Academy's Ideological Uniformity, 47  J. Legal Stud. 1 (2018):

Political Ideology Original

We compare the ideological balance of the legal academy to the ideological balance of the legal profession. To do so, we match professors listed in the Association of American Law Schools Directory of Law Teachers and lawyers listed in the Martindale-Hubbell directory to a measure of political ideology based on political donations. We find that 15% of law professors, compared to 35% of lawyers, are conservative. After controlling for individual characteristics, however, this 20 percentage point ideological gap narrows to around 13 percentage points. We argue that this ideological uniformity marginalizes law professors, but that it may not be possible to improve the ideological balance of the legal academy without sacrificing other values.

Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink


"Thankful I went to Georgetown."

That explains a lot.

Posted by: MM | Aug 16, 2018 7:11:56 PM

Thankful I went to Georgetown.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Aug 15, 2018 11:30:16 AM

Andy Patterson has hit the nail on the head. Per Pew, only 12% of Americans say they have given money to a political candidate or party. 1 in 8. Even the 32% political giving rate for household incomes above $150k means that the vast majority are not donating and per this study's methodology will not be counted. It reminds me a bit of the bad old days when no-account law schools would claim "Our graduates make an average of $160k at graduation," with a teeny tiny disclaimer that this factoid was based on the 5% of their students they knew to be entering Biglaw.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Aug 14, 2018 10:29:02 PM

"calculated by first placing candidates on a unidimensional
ideological scale..."(p.8). As legal scholars, do we believe ideology is unidimensional? Do these authors?

Posted by: Jeremy Bearer-Friend | Aug 14, 2018 1:13:57 PM

It depends on what you define as conservative or liberal.

If believing that man made global warming is real, that evolution explains the origins of mankind without the scientific need for belief in a supernatural being, and that tax cuts don't magically pay for themselves makes you liberal, then sure I suppose law professors are "liberal"--along with 99% of the scientists in the world.

Posted by: Ideology | Aug 14, 2018 12:47:26 PM

A potential methodological problem -- the scoring of individual faculty members was based on who they made campaign contributions to. This only works if faculty members across the entire political spectrum make campaign contributions at the same rate. But, if one group of faculty members is over-represented in making contributions, then that group will be over-represented in the scoring. And, those who make no contributions at all are not scored at all.

Posted by: Andy Patterson | Aug 14, 2018 12:29:46 PM

If the professors are good at their job and act professionally, it shouldn't make a difference. Too bad that isn't the typical situation. Prospective students should look closely at this aspect of their choices.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Aug 14, 2018 9:10:58 AM

The ideological chart shows counts -- not the effective impact of liberal vs. conservative professors, which would swing it even more to the liberal side.

It doesn't show that conservative professors have been told to shut up if they know what is good for them, whereas liberal professors are quite vocal and boastful in spreading their gospel to students. That results in an even smaller pool of future conservative professors, who find the marketplace more fair and inviting than the academic environment. For the Left, everything is going as intended.

Posted by: Woody | Aug 14, 2018 8:45:30 AM

There is secret, dishonest discrimination against Reps. Worse than against women or against Blacks. The worst 10% should be on notice to lose all Fed Funding / support for loans for students. It's not that hard to hire good conservatives, if that's what they want.

Posted by: Tom G | Aug 14, 2018 8:09:49 AM