Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Following up on my previous post, Symposium: Uncomfortable Conversations About Legal Education — Student Debt, Diversity, And More: Law.com, Cracking the Case of Law School Cost:
Here’s the million-dollar question on my mind today: How do you make a law degree more affordable?
That was the focus on a day-long session I attended last week on bringing down the cost of a legal education held at the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco. It was an interesting—and at times frustrating—discussion, so I’m going to devote this newsletter to parsing some of the ideas that emerged. ...
The U.S. News rankings loomed large in the day’s conversation, and Law School Transparency Executive Director Kyle McEntee tackled it head on with a talk about how the rankings can be improved and their influence curbed. He proposed a change to the rankings formula that would do away with the expenditure-per-student metric, which rewards schools for spending money. In its place, he proposed an alternative measure that would divide the total amount of J.D. revenue a school receives annually by the number of long-term, fulltime bar passage required or J.D. advantage jobs its graduates land. This would essentially reward schools for keeping tuition low while also sending graduates on to good legal jobs.
McEntee also made news when he announced that in 2020 Law School Transparency will launch its own law school certification system, which is intended to create some competition for U.S. News in terms of evaluating the quality of law schools. It will award badges to law schools that meet its criteria in different areas, such as affordability and diversity and inclusion. The badges will offer schools alternative benchmarks that don’t hinge solely on the U.S. News formula, McEntee said. Law schools can then use the LST badges in their marketing materials and websites as a signifier of quality, along the lines of LEED certification for energy efficient construction. He said law deans are hungry for alternatives to the U.S. News rankings because they feel very constrained by those rankings’ narrow definition of what makes a good law school and the perverse incentives they create, such as the need to devote funds to merit scholarships at the expense of need-based ones. ...
[Q]uite a few legal educators associate efforts to reduce student costs with also reducing the quality of legal education. That’s a pretty serious obstacle to overcome. The way I see it, faculty and the various stakeholders involved in legal education need to buy into the idea that law school can cost less while also serving as the gatekeeper into the profession if there is ever to be progress made.
August 21, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink
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Saturday, August 10, 2019
We are writing to invite you the LatCrit, Inc./SALT Annual Faculty Development Workshop (FDW), which will take place on October 17, 2019. The FDW will be held the day before the 2019 LatCrit Biennial Conference The Dispossessed Majority: Resisting the Second Redemption in América Posfascista (Postfascist America) in Atlanta, Georgia.
The FDW is designed for those who are planning to enter or who have recently joined the legal academy. The day-long workshop includes sessions on topics facing prospective, junior, and pre-tenured faculty, while providing generous opportunities to network and form mentoring relationships with established faculty. The FDW is an invaluable learning and professional development opportunity!
Registration for the FDW is free for attendees of the LatCrit conference. Please see the attached flyer for more information. Additionally, please feel free to e-mail Professor Ron Hochbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
August 10, 2019 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink
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Thursday, August 8, 2019
The ABA Young Lawyers Division and Law School Transparency are hosting a symposium on Uncomfortable Conversations About Legal Education: Student Debt, Diversity, and More today at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco:
Kyle McEntee, Abhay Nadipuram, Tommy Preston Jr.
Law schools face an unrelenting system of incentives that make lowering prices, equitable access, and curricular innovation extremely difficult. This half-day program examines how to cause positive change in legal education.
Law School Deans Panel: Obstacles to Lowering Costs
Ben Barros (Toledo), Camille Nelson (American), Carla Pratt (Washburn)
Three current law school deans will discuss barriers to more accessible and affordable legal education. The discussion will cover U.S. News & World Report rankings, accreditation, university culture, and more.
Introduction to the Blue Sky Initiative (more here and here)
Maggie White, an Iowa attorney and member of Law School Transparency’s board of directors, will describe a wide-ranging initiative from Law School Transparency and other partners to address the cost of legal education.
August 8, 2019 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News | Permalink
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Tuesday, August 6, 2019
My talk last week at SEALS on A Dean's Perspective On Diversity, Socioeconomics, The LSAT, And The U.S. News Law School Rankings focused on the tension faced by deans and faculty as they try to increase the diversity of their student bodies in the light of the great weight U.S. News places on median LSATs and UGPAs in its law school rankings methodology — 22.5% of the total ranking. Several folks asked for copies of this chart of the racial and ethnic composition of the 2017-2018 law school applicant pool from LSAC data:
The chart shows that Caucasian and Asian applicants are over-represented (compared to their share of the applicant pool) in the top 160-180 LSAT band (Caucasians comprise 57% of total applicants, and 68% of the top LSAT band; Asians: 10%, 15%), and African-Americans and Hispanic/Latinos are under-represented in the top LSAT band (African-Americans: 13%, 3%; Hispanic/Latinos: 12%, 7%). In terms of raw numbers, only 590 African-Americans in the applicant pool scored at least 160 on the LSAT. African-Americans and Hispanic/Latinos are over-represented in the bottom 120-149 LSAT band (African-American: 13%, 27%; Hispanic/Latinos: 12%, 17%).
August 6, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink
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Wednesday, July 31, 2019
One of the Legal Ed panels today at the 2019 SEALS Annual Conference in Boca Raton, Florida:
Building Bridges: Socioeconomics, the LSAT and U.S. News and World Report Rankings
This panel explores methodologies and programs that will help students from low income and diverse backgrounds have opportunities available to them to attend law school. AALS President Wendy Perdue of the University of Richmond has said: “As our society struggles with this problem of deep polarization, lawyers and law schools have an important role to play. Lawyers, are, after all, in the dispute resolution business. Resolving conflict is central to what we do. And today, perhaps more than ever before, the skills that we as lawyers have, and we as law professors teach, are of critical importance.” In order to resolve these conflicts, we need to make sure that all communities have access to engage in these important conversations. The Before the J.D. Study shows that African American and Hispanic students think about going to law school before going to high school and college. In addition, the study highlights that over 60% of students report the most important advice about going to graduate or professional school comes from a family member or relative. Many students from low-income backgrounds do not have family members who are lawyers and are at a disadvantage in getting advice about going to law school because they may not be encouraged by these close family members or friends. There is still a small percentage of African American and Latino/a attorneys Nationwide 5% of lawyers are African American and 5% are of Hispanic origin. These percentages have remained consistent for almost the past ten years. So many students from these racial and ethnic backgrounds also can’t readily turn to family members or friends for inspiration and advice about going to law school. The ABA reports that the entering class for 2017 has an aggregate African American enrollment of 8.6% and 13.2% for Hispanics. Meanwhile, African Americans consist of approximately 13% and Hispanics approximately 18% of the overall U.S. population. These two racial groups, along with Asian Americans, are on target to be a majority of the U.S. population in the next 30 years. Given the growth trends in these demographic groups, there will be an insufficient percent of lawyers from these groups to meet their (and society’s) legal needs in the next few years. Moreover, some scholars have argued that there is a strong tie between socioeconomics and law schools admissions. There has recently been a very passionate Twitter discussion of this issue on Lawprofblawg. Some believe that the LSAT and U.S. News privileges those from middle- and upper middle-class backgrounds. Others point out the LSAT’s strength in providing an accurate assessment of core skills required for success in law school and that an admission process that correctly uses the LSAT as one factor in a multi-factor holistic admission process is fairest to applicants. Recently, U.S. News attempted to reduce economic privilege in its rankings of undergraduate schools by injecting socio economic factors. The formula now includes indicators meant to measure "social mobility" and drops an acceptance rate measure that benefited schools that turned the most students away. A recent Politico article reported that U.S. News will change its methodology at the college level. This panel consists of experts who examine these issues in terms of the LSAT, U.S. News & World Report law school rankings, and socioeconomic and diversity issues.
- Leonard Baynes (Dean, Houston), Pre-Law Pipeline Program: We’ve Got The Power
- Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), A Dean's Perspective on Diversity, Socioeconomics, the LSAT, and the U.S. News Law School Rankings
- Victor Quintanilla (Professor & Co-Director, Center for Law, Society & Culture, Indiana), Initial Results on Relationship Between the LSAT, USNWR, SES, and Demographics From the Productive Mindset Intervention Study
- Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News), Building Bridges: Socioeconomics, the LSAT and U.S. News and World Report Rankings
- Kellye Testy (President & CEO, LSAC; former Dean, University of Washington), Adversity and Admission: Tackling “Opportunity to Learn”
July 31, 2019 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink
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Friday, July 19, 2019
A Summit on the Future of Legal Education and Entry to the Profession, 13 FIU L. Rev. 313-511 (2019):
- Scott F. Norberg (Florida International), Summary of the Proceedings, 13 FIU L. Rev. 313 (2019)
- Bernard A. Burk (North Carolina), The New Normal Ten Years In: The Job Market For New Lawyers Today and What It Means for the Legal Academy Tomorrow, 13 FIU L. Rev. 341 (2019)
- Joan W. Howarth (Former Dean, Michigan State) & Judith Welch Wegner (Former Dean, North Carolina), Ringing Changes: Systems Thinking About Legal Licensing, 13 FIU L. Rev. 383 (2019)
- Kyle McEntee (Law School Transparency), More Transparency, Please, 13 FIU L. Rev. 465 (2019)
July 19, 2019 in Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
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Wednesday, July 17, 2019
AALS Summer Webinar Series: How Law Schools Can Save $150 Million Using Open Casebooks:
The casebook is over 100 years old. It’s mostly filled with public domain cases, but yet, it often costs over $200. The economic system that outsources casebook production to traditional publishers could be handled by a nimble non-profit and paid authors — paid MORE than they get from royalties, I claim.
This would also fuel innovations in teaching materials, better updates, richer interaction. Is this all a unicorn hunt?
In this presentation, John Mayer, Executive Director of CALI, will talk about open casebooks. Besides CALI’s eLangdell Press, many other law faculty are self-publishing or opening up their casebooks for students to freely download. You should too.
The webinar is today at 2:00 p.m. EST. Registration is here.
July 17, 2019 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Education | Permalink
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Monday, June 10, 2019
The Future of Legal Scholarship, 50 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 327-413 (2018):
- Lawprofblawg (Anonymous Professor, Top 100 Law School) & Darren Bush (Houston), Law Reviews, Citation Counts, and Twitter (Oh My!): Behind the Curtains of the Law Professor's Search For Meaning, 50 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 327 (2018)
- Caprice L. Roberts (Florida), Unpopular Opinions on Legal Scholarship, 50 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 365 (2018)
- Eric J. Segall (Georgia State), The Law Review Follies, 50 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 385 (2018)
- Anthony Michael Kreis (Chicago-Kent), Picking Spinach, 50 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 395 (2018)
June 10, 2019 in Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
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