Paul L. Caron
Dean



Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Acknowledgments As A Window Into Legal Academia

Jonathan I. Tietz (Michigan) & W. Nicholson Price II (Michigan), Acknowledgments as a Window into Legal Academia, 98 Wash. U. L. Rev. 307 (2020):

Legal scholarship in the United States is an oddity—an institution built on student editorship, a lack of peer review, and a dramatically high proportion of solo authorship. It is often argued that this makes legal scholarship fundamentally different from scholarship in other fields, which is largely peer-reviewed by academics. We use acknowledgments in biographical footnotes from law-review articles to probe the nature of legal knowledge co-production and de facto peer review in legal literature. Using a survey of authors and editors and a textual analysis of approximately thirty thousand law-review articles from 2008 to 2017, we examined the nature of knowledge co-production and peer review in U.S. legal academia.

Our results are consistent with the idea that substantial peer-review-like vetting occurs in the field. We also found evidence that both authors and editors use the information in acknowledgment footnotes as a factor in article submission and selection. Further, the characteristics of acknowledgment footnotes in articles in high-ranking law reviews differ dramatically from those in low-ranking law reviews in ways that are not simply due to differences in article quality.

Michigan 2

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November 24, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Artificial Intelligence In Law Schools

Emily Janoski-Haehlen (Akron) & Sarah Starnes (Akron), The Ghost in the Machine: Artificial Intelligence in Law Schools, 58 Duq. L. Rev. 3 (2020):

ABA Standard 1.1, Comment 8 is vague but leaves the door wide open for attorneys and law schools to define what it really means to be technologically competent. Law schools have a great opportunity to take advantage of Comment 8, and the state's unique adoption and interpretation of Comment 8, to teach law students about being technologically competent before they graduate and begin to practice. Incorporating legal technology skills and knowledge into the curriculum of law schools is the first step to better prepare students for the future of law practice and legal services. It could also lead to more opportunities for access to justice initiatives including better access to legal services for the underrepresented and easier access to attorneys and the legal system using advancements in technology. In addition, the adoption of new technologies in the legal profession has and will continue to lead to the creation of new jobs for law graduates.

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November 19, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

An Empirical Study Of Law School Externships

Anahid Gharakhanian (Southwestern), Carolyn Young Larmore (Chapman) & Chelsea Parlett-Pelleriti (Chapman), Achieving Externship Success: An Empirical Study of the All-Important Law School Externship Experience, 45 S. Ill. U. L.J. ___ (2020):

With law school externships more popular than ever, the need for an empirical evaluation of externship success is timely and essential. The promise of getting closer to practice readiness propels many law students to enroll in an externship (also known as field placements). But no study has empirically measured whether and to what extent law students get close to first-year law practice readiness through their externship, and what factors lead to that success. Without such a study, the American Bar Association’s regulation of externships and law schools’ externship design decisions are made without the benefit of critical data. This Article describes the year-long, multi-school Externship Study conducted to concretely measure (1) whether and to what extent externships lead to practice-readiness and (2) which attributes of the law school, the externship placement, or the students themselves are the most important contributors to that success.

In this Article, the authors use statistical models, descriptive summary, and narrative summary to analyze data from hundreds of law students and the lawyers and judges who supervised them in externships. The results reveal a high level of externship success, measured in terms of practice readiness.

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November 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

How Time-Pressured Performance Tests In Law School Prepare Students For The Bar Exam And Legal Practice

Sabrina DeFabritiis (Suffolk) & Kathleen Elliott Vinson (Suffolk), Under Pressure: How Incorporating Time-Pressured Performance Tests Prepares Students for the Bar Exam and Practice, 122 W. Va. L. Rev. 107 (2019):

Law schools and students are under pressure to gain the competencies needed to gain licensure to practice law and be successful at it. Law schools have an ethical and professional responsibility to best prepare their law students for success on the bar and in practice. Incorporating performance tests into a law school curriculum gives law schools an opportunity to serve a dual role of providing students much-needed practice on bar exam skills and preparing students for practice, as the performance tests assess the lawyering skills required to successfully practice law. This Article offers examples of how law schools can do a better job of increasing students’ minimum competencies to pass the bar, gain employment, and practice law effectively while not requiring a major overhaul of law school curriculum or demanding the expenditure of a huge amount of time and effort by faculty.

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November 17, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Pedagogy Post-Pandemic: Harnessing The Benefits Of Online Teaching

Yvonne Dutton (Indiana-Indianapolis) & Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indianapolis), Law School Pedagogy Post-Pandemic: Harnessing the Benefits of Online Teaching, 69 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2021):

Since COVID-19 required a significant shift to increased online teaching and learning in institutions of higher learning in spring 2020, one narrative has been that students do not like online classes, and online classes are inferior to those delivered live and in person. This Article takes issue with this broad and overarching criticism of online course delivery. No doubt, some types of students may not learn as well online as they do in the classroom, and some online classes may not be designed to deliver a quality learning experience. Our experience teaching asynchronous online classes in law school, however, demonstrates that there are many benefits to a well-designed online course that can enhance student learning—benefits that can be incorporated into law school pedagogy even after the pandemic is no longer a threat to health and safety of students and faculty.

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November 17, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Washington University Law Review's Response To Michael McConnell's Use Of The N-Word In His Stanford Class

Statement by the Undersigned Editors of Volume 97, 97 Wash. U. L. Rev. i (2020):

Washington U. Law School Logo (2014)On May 27, 2020—two days after the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota—professor and former judge Michael McConnell, the author of one of the following Articles, used the n-word in a class at Stanford Law School while reading a quotation he attributed to Patrick Henry. As members of the first legal journal to publish Professor McConnell since May 27, the undersigned editors of Volume 97 of the Washington University Law Review condemn Professor McConnell’s use of the n-word in the classroom. We believe that the use of this word in the classroom is unacceptable and unnecessary, as it significantly disrupts the learning environment and places a burden on Black students that other students do not face.

Michael W. McConnell (Stanford), Statement By Michael McConnell to Stanford Law School Community (May 29, 2020), 97 Wash. U. L. Rev. v (2020):

On Wednesday, in connection with the debates over ratification of the Constitution in Virginia, I quoted an ugly racial epithet used by Patrick Henry. I make it a priority in my class to emphasize issues of racism and slavery in the formation of the Constitution, and directly quote many statements by supporters and opponents of slavery. This was a particularly ugly incident, where the speaker sought to build opposition to the Constitution by stoking the racism of his Virginia audience. I presented the quotation in its historical context, emphasized that they were not my words, and condemned their use. It is vitally important to teach the history of the American Founding warts and all, and not to bowdlerize or sugar-coat it.  ...

I conclude with two points. First, I hope everyone can understand that I made the pedagogical choice with good will – with the intention of teaching the history of our founding honestly. Second, in light of the pain and upset that this has caused many students, whom I care deeply about, I will not use the word again in the future.

John Inazu (Washington University), Scholarship, Teaching, and Protest, 97 Wash. U. L. Rev. vii (2020):

The preceding protest stems from Professor Michael McConnell’s use of an unredacted historical quote containing the N-word in one of his classes at Stanford Law School. Professor McConnell began the quote with a warning and followed it with a condemnation. He intended to show how this nation’s founders were not unblemished heroes but also embodied deeply racist attitudes that have been part of our country’s history since its inception. In other words, Professor McConnell was making an anti-racist teaching point. After talking with concerned students at Stanford, he has said that he will not use the N-word again.

Some members of this Law Review determined this should not be the end of the matter, and this protest ensued. Parts of the protest statement highlight a desire to address racial inequities at our law school and within the Law Review. I applaud that desire. ...

While I stand with the protesters in their desire to address racial injustice, as the faculty editor of the symposium that follows, I object to this protest for four reasons.

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November 17, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

AI Report: Humanity Is Doomed. Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money!

Ashley London (Duquesne) & James Schreiber (Duquesne), AI Report: Humanity Is Doomed. Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money!, 58 Duq. L. Rev. 97 (2020):

AI systems are powerful technologies being built and implemented by private corporations motivated by profit, not altruism. Change makers, such as attorneys and law students, must therefore be educated on the benefits, detriments, and pitfalls of the rapid spread, and often secret implementation of this technology. The implementation is secret because private corporations place proprietary AI systems inside of black boxes to conceal what is inside. If they did not, the popular myth that AI systems are unbiased machines crunching inherently objective data would be revealed as a falsehood. Algorithms created to run AI systems reflect the inherent human categorization process and can, in some respects, become a lazy way to interact with the world because the systems attempt to outsource the unparalleled cognitive skills of a human being into a machine.

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November 17, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Frye: A Legal Scholarship Jubilee

Brian L. Frye (Kentucky), A Legal Scholarship Jubilee:

I love plagiarism. Or rather, I love studying plagiarism norms and reflecting on how they illuminate concepts of literary ownership. I have argued that applying academic plagiarism norms to students is unjustified. I have argued that we should teach law students how to plagiarize efficiently. I have authorized people to plagiarize me. And I have commissioned a ghost-written article arguing that academic plagiarism norms are unjustified.

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November 12, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Information For Submitting Articles To Specialty & Non-Flagship Law Journals

Michael Goodyear (Michigan), Information for Submitting Articles to Specialty & Non-Flagship Law Journals:

This document contains charts with information about submitting articles to specialty (non-flagship) law journals at ABA-accredited law schools in the United States, including links to the journal's page, the accepted methods for submitting an article, special formatting or length requirements, whether the journal accepts outside student submissions, and whether the journal offers any non-traditional publishing options. It covers over 450 law journals.

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November 12, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 6, 2020

Utah Hosts Junior Scholar’s Conference Today On How To Improve The Impact Of Your Legal Scholarship

Utah hosts the Rocky Mountain Junior Scholar’s Conference virtually today on How to Improve the Impact of Your Legal Scholarship (2:00 PM ET):

Utah Logo (2016)Please join us on Zoom as our expert panelists talk about how to improve the impact of your legal scholarship. Learn from our panelists about the following important topics:

  • How to become one of the most cited in your field
  • How to improve SSRN downloads
  • How to improve law review placements
  • Whether and when to write books or articles
  • How to place quotes and op-eds in national publications

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November 6, 2020 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Women's Research Productivity Is Suffering Compared To Men's During COVID-19

Following up on my previous posts:

Inside Higher Ed, Women Are Falling Behind:

A new study of enormous scale supports what numerous smaller studies have demonstrated throughout the pandemic: female academics are taking extended lockdowns on the chin, in terms of their comparative scholarly productivity.

Yes, comparative productivity. While other studies using different metrics show that women are publishing much less now than they were before the pandemic, this new paper finds something different: at least in terms of submissions to academic journals from the mega-publisher Elsevier, both men and women’s productivity actually increased during the first few months of the pandemic, relative to the same period of time in 2018 and 2019. But women’s productivity didn’t increase as much as men’s, meaning that women are still trailing behind male peers as a result of pandemic-era increased caregiving responsibilities.

No Tickets for Women in the COVID-19 Race? A Study on Manuscript Submissions and Reviews in 2347 Elsevier Journals during the Pandemic:

Our complete data on all Elsevier journals indicate that the exceptional lock-down and social distancing measures imposed by the pandemic have penalised women academics and benefited men. ... Given the importance of publications and citations for academic career and prestige in the current hyper-competitive academic environment, these gender disparities could have important short- and longer-term effects, which need to be considered by academic institutions and funders. Indeed, those who have already benefited from this COVID19 research inflation may have higher chances in the near future to receive prestigious
grants and obtain tenures and promotion in prestigious institutions. ...

Our analysis shows that men submitted more manuscripts than women during the pandemic (Fig. 1A). The rate of accepted review invitations — i.e., the number of accepted invitations on the total number of invitations sent to potential referees — has been more constant around an average of ≈ 0.45 with only minimal differences between the acceptance rate of women and men (Fig. 1B).

Women 1

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November 5, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success In College (And Law School)

Peter Felten (Assistant Provost, Elon) & Leo M. Lambert (Former President, Elon), Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College (John Hopkins University Press 2020):

Relationships 2What single factor makes for an excellent college education? As it turns out, it's pretty simple: human relationships. Decades of research demonstrate the transformative potential and the lasting legacies of a relationship-rich college experience. Critics suggest that to build connections with peers, faculty, staff, and other mentors is expensive and only an option at elite institutions where instructors have the luxury of time with students. But in this revelatory book brimming with the voices of students, faculty, and staff from across the country, Peter Felten and Leo M. Lambert argue that relationship-rich environments can and should exist for all students at all types of institutions.

In Relationship-Rich Education, Felten and Lambert demonstrate that, for relationships to be central in undergraduate education, colleges and universities do not require immense resources, privileged students, or specially qualified faculty and staff. All students learn best in an environment characterized by high expectation and high support, and all faculty and staff can learn to teach and work in ways that enable relationship-based education. Emphasizing the centrality of the classroom experience to fostering quality relationships, Felten and Lambert focus on students' influence in shaping the learning environment for their peers, as well as the key difference a single, well-timed conversation can make in a student's life. They also stress that relationship-rich education is particularly important for first-generation college students, who bring significant capacities to college but often face long-standing inequities and barriers to attaining their educational aspirations.

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November 4, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Ryan: Analyzing Law School Choice

CJ Ryan (Roger Williams), Analyzing Law School Choice,  2020 U. Ill. L. Rev. 583:

The contemporary crisis in law school enrollments presents a timely opportunity to evaluate a subject that has received little academic attention: student choice in legal education. In order to address the present lack of understanding about what motivates post-Recession law students to enroll in law school, this article examines several of the factors that bear on the choice to attend law school from the results of an original survey distributed to current law students at a four law schools—a private elite law school, a public flagship law school, a public regional law school, and a private new law school—in the 2017–2018 academic year. This article analyzes the salience of location, information, opportunity cost, and cost sensitivity in the context of a law student’s decision to enroll in law school. The results from this survey indicate that legal education is a highly stratified market for consumers on the basis of their preferences. It is hoped that these results will shed greater light on and knowledge of the most understudied group in professional graduate education—law students.

Ryan 4

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November 3, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 30, 2020

Black Lawyers Matter: Strategies To Enhance Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion

Black Lawyers Matter 2I am honored to have the opportunity to update my remarks on A Dean's Perspective on Diversity, Socioeconomics, The LSAT, And The U.S. News Law School Rankings as part of a panel at today's virtual conference on Black Lawyers Matter: Strategies To Enhance Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion (more here):

Moderator: 
Leonard M. Baynes (Dean, Houston)

Panelists:
Robert B. Ahdieh (Dean, Texas A&M)
Paul L. Caron (Dean, Pepperdine)
Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News & World Report)
Victor Quintanilla (Indiana)
Kellye Testy (President & CEO, Law School Admission Council)

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Black Lawyers Matter: The Symposium:

The numbers tell the story of a legal profession divided by race. Less than 8% of first-year law students in 2019 were Black.

In California, 53% of Black bar examinees passed between 2009 and 2018. That figure was 80% for white examinees.

The percentage of 2019 Black law graduates who found jobs requiring a law degree within 10 months was 62%, compared to 80% for white law graduates. And in 2020, white shoe law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore had no Black partners.

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October 30, 2020 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Biggest Issues Facing College Presidents In Fall 2020 Due To COVID-19

American Council on Education, College and University Presidents Respond to COVID-19: 2020 Fall Term Survey:

In this first survey of the new fall term, which was developed in partnership with our colleagues at the TIAA Institute, nearly 300 presidents* identified their most pressing concerns, reported on their fall reopening plans, and offered an assessment of the impact the pandemic has had on their institution's fall enrollment and financial health. The following is a summary of our key findings.

Most Pressing Issues for Presidents
In our spring and summer surveys, presidents were asked to select up to five issues from a list of about 20 that they deemed to be most pressing. In the September survey, presidents were presented with a list of 19 issues and again asked to select up to five they view to be most pressing for them currently (see Figure 1). Mental health of students (53 percent) was the top concern selected by presidents.

ACE

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October 30, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Five-Year Retroactive Analysis Of Cut Score Impact: California’s Proposed Supervised Provisional License Program

Following up on last week's post, California's Bar Exam Cut Score: Minimum Competency, Public Protection, Disparate Impact, And National Standards:

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Study: Lower Bar Exam Cut Score Won't Solve California's Attorney Diversity Problem:

California Bar ExamCalifornia’s newly lowered bar exam cut score won’t do much to bolster pass rates among minority test-takers.

An extensive new study finds that the California Supreme Court’s July decision to lower the cut score from 1440 to 1390 will reduce the disparity in pass rates between white and minority bar takers a mere 2.7 percentage points. A reduction to 1350—which is the national average—would go much further in narrowing that achievement gap, reducing it by 19.4 percentage points. ... The study confirms long-held suspicions that California’s historically high cut score has had a disparate impact on minority law graduates and impeded the flow of diverse attorneys into the state’s bar. California’s population is 60% minority, yet 68% of the state’s licensed attorneys are white.

Mitchel Winick (Dean, Monterey), Victor D. Quintanilla (Indiana), Sam Erman (USC), Christina Chong-Nakatsuchi (Monterey) & Michael Frisby (Michigan), A Five-Year Retroactive Analysis of Cut Score Impact: California’s Proposed Supervised Provisional License Program:

A five-year cohort of 39,737 examinees who sat for the California Bar Exam (“CBX”) between 2014-18 was analyzed using a simulation model based on actual exam results to evaluate how the minimum passing scores (“cut score”) of 1440, 1390, 1350, 1330, and 1300, if used as qualifying scores for a provisional licensing program, would affect the number of previous examinees, by race and ethnicity, who would qualify to participate within retroactive groupings of five-year, four-year, three-year, two-year, and one-year examinee cohorts.

The result of the simulation models indicated that selecting a qualifying score lower than the current California cut score of 1390 will significantly increase both the overall number of eligible participants and the diversity of the group eligible to participate in the proposed alternate licensing program.

Chart 3

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October 22, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pounded In The Butt By My Self-Plagiarized Tingler Negging Legal Scholarship

Brian L. Frye (Kentucky), Pounded in the Butt by My Self-Plagiarized Tingler Negging Legal Scholarship:

This article is a legal scholarship that takes the form of a tingler reflecting on the meaning of legal scholarship.

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October 21, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

2021 U.S. News Global Universities Rankings

U.S. News & World Report, 2021 Best Global Universities Rankings:

U.S. News Global Universities Rankings 2These institutions from the U.S. and more than 80 other countries have been ranked based on 13 indicators that measure their academic research performance and their global and regional reputations. Students can use these rankings to explore the higher education options that exist beyond their own countries' borders and to compare key aspects of schools' research missions. These are the world's nearly 1,500 top universities.

1.   Harvard (100.0)
2.   MIT (97.9)
3.   Stanford (95.3)
4.   UC-Berkeley (89.8)
5.   Oxford (87.0)
6.   Columbia (86.7)
7.   Cal-Tech (86.3)
8.   U. Washington (86.0)
9.   Cambridge (85.8)
10. Johns Hopkins (85.1)
11.  Princeton (85.0)
11.  Yale (85.0)
13.  UCLA (84.3)
14.  Pennsylvania (84.2)
15.  UC-San Francisco (84.1)
15.  Chicago (84.1)
17.  Michigan (83.5)
17.  Toronto (83.5)
19.  University College London (83.4)
20.  Imperial College London (83.3)
21.  UC-San Diego (83.1)
22.  Cornell (81.9)
23.  Duke (81.6)
24.  Northwestern (80.4)
25.  Melbourne (79.7)

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October 21, 2020 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, October 19, 2020

A Reckoning Over Law Faculty Inequality

Melanie D. Wilson (Former Dean, Tennessee), A Reckoning Over Law Faculty Inequality, 90 Denver U. L. Rev. Online (2020):

UnequalIn this review, I examine Dr. Meera E. Deo’s book, Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia, published last year by Stanford University Press. In Unequal Profession, Deo, an expert on institutional diversity, presents findings from a first-of-its-kind empirical study, documenting many of the challenges women of color law faculty confront daily in legal academia. Deo uses memorable quotes and powerful stories from the study’s faculty participants to present her important work in 169 readable and revealing pages. Unequal Profession begins by outlining the barriers women of color face when entering law teaching and progresses through the life cycle of the law professor (including the treacherous tenure process). It covers leadership, before concluding with work-life balance.

Unequal Profession is especially timely and important. In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the national outrage it ignited, law schools denounced racism and vowed to take concrete, anti-racist steps to improve society, the legal profession, and law schools themselves. Many law faculties committed to hiring and retaining more underrepresented faculty colleagues and, correspondingly, to attracting a more diverse student body.

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October 19, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Black Lawyers Matter

Houston Chronicle op-ed:  Black Attorneys Matter. We Must Diversify Texas Law Firms., by Leonard M. Baynes (Dean, Houston) & Jennifer Collins (Dean, SMU):

Black Lawyers Matter ConferencePrior to 1950, if a Black Texas resident wanted to become a lawyer, they had to leave the state and study at a Northern law school or serve as an apprentice under a willing white Texas lawyer in order to become licensed. They had to do this because, at that time, none of the Texas law schools admitted Black students no matter their qualifications.

This year, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court opinion Sweatt v. Painter, the case that led to the desegregation of Texas law schools. We feel the best way to honor Heman Marion Sweatt is to continue to expand the number of students of color who are ready to be trained and join the ranks of practicing attorneys in Texas — a state that sorely needs to bolster that racial diversity. Co-hosting the Black Lawyers Matter Conference on Oct. 30, a Zoom-style webinar, will allow us to take stock of this challenge and share best practices to solve them. ...

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October 18, 2020 in Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Gender Pay Disparities In The Legal Academy

Following up on Monday's post, Multiple Equal Pay Lawsuits By Female Law Professors Shine Light On Faculty Compensation:

CJ Ryan (Roger Williams) & Meghan Dawe (American Bar Foundation), Mind the Gap: Gender Pay Disparities in the Legal Academy, 34 Geo. J. Legal Ethics ___ (2021):

Differences in pay between women and men in the same jobs have captured the public’s attention in recent years. However, public interest in and press coverage of salary differences on the basis of gender—or any other ascriptive class—in the learned professions are wanting. Moreover, few studies have spoken directly on the gender pay disparities in the legal academy, despite emerging evidence of it at multiple law schools. In this Article, we use a unique dataset, drawn from the only nationally representative survey to date of tenured law professors in the United States, to track how gender and race are tied to salary outcomes. But we look beyond the raw differences in salary, probing the mechanisms that undergird gendered pay inequities.

Table 14

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October 15, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

California's Bar Exam Cut Score: Minimum Competency, Public Protection, Disparate Impact, And National Standards

Following up on last week's post, Lowering Bar Exam Cut Scores Will Increase Diversity Without Harming Public:  Mitchel Winick (Dean, Monterey), Victor D. Quintanilla (Indiana), Sam Erman (USC), Christina Chong-Nakatsuchi (Monterey) & Michael Frisby (Michigan), Examining the California Cut Score: An Empirical Analysis of Minimum Competency, Public Protection, Disparate Impact, and National Standards:

The selection of a minimum bar exam passing score (“cut score”) shapes the representation of racial and ethnic minorities in the legal profession and the quality of access to justice in the state. This study provides an empirical analysis that shows how higher cut scores create disparities within the attorney licensing system and affects the diversity of new licensees. Analysis of disciplinary statistics from 48 jurisdictions also shows that establishing a high cut score does not result in greater public protection when measured by disciplinary statistics.

The study’s first data set included 85,727 examinees who sat for 21 administrations of the CBX from 2009-18 and the race and ethnicity of each examinee. Both historical actual and simulated cut scores were analyzed. The study’s second data set used the ABA discipline data from up to 48 U.S. jurisdictions from 2013-18 and the cut scores in each jurisdiction to examine the relationship between minimum cut scores and rates of attorney discipline.

A simulation analysis using actual examinee scores confirmed that selecting a lower cut score would have significantly narrowed the achievement gap between Whites and racial and ethnic minorities and would have increased the number of newly admitted minority attorneys in California.

Figure 11

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October 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A Blueprint For Using Assessments To Achieve Learning Outcomes And Improve Law Students’ Learning

Rogelio A. Lasso (UIC-John Marshall), A Blueprint for Using Assessments to Achieve Learning Outcomes and Improve Students’ Learning, 12 Elon L. Rev. 1 (2020):

For over a decade, there has been agreement among legal educators that assessments are a critical tool to improve students’ learning. We are beginning to understand that the types of assessments we use have the greatest influence on how and what students learn. As a result of recent ABA accreditation requirements, there is now a scramble in law schools to adopt assessments that improve students’ learning and bar passage rates as to satisfy these new requirements. Nevertheless, there remains no clear methodology to assist doctrinal faculty in creating an effective assessment program. After twenty-seven years of developing assessment programs that have improved students’ learning and bar passage rates, this article is an attempt to provide faculty and administrators a blueprint for incorporating an effective assessment program.

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October 13, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Courses On Leadership For Lawyers: Two Models For Teaching Leadership Responsibilities

George J. Siedel (Michigan), Courses on Leadership for Lawyers: Two Models for Teaching Leadership Responsibilities:

Law school courses and programs on leadership development have proliferated in recent years. Although concern has been expressed over whether leadership development teaching is “squishy,” and also about challenges in teaching soft skills to lawyers and law students, research indicates that these soft skills are important for effective leadership. This article addresses additional concerns. Should teaching soft skills be complemented by an introduction to leadership responsibilities? And what framework is appropriate for teaching these responsibilities?

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October 7, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lowering Bar Exam Cut Scores Will Increase Diversity Without Harming Public

Victor D. Quintanilla (Indiana) & Sam Erman (USC), An Empirical Study of Bar Exam Cut Scores and Their Impact on Disparities and Diversity in the Legal Profession, AccessLex Raising The Bar, Vol. 3, Iss. 4, 2020, at 10:

The choice of a bar exam passing score (“cut score”) is also a choice about the legal profession’s racial and ethnic makeup. That is the finding of our recent empirical study of all California bar exam takers across 11 years of exams, research we plan to publish in future articles and reports.

The analysis rests on our unique dataset: all attempts by all applicants across 21 consecutive administ rations of the California bar exam between 2009 and 2019 (n = 143,198 unique bar exams taken, including n = 85,727 unique examinees). We determined which examinees during the period passed (or would have passed with the scores they earned) at the actual 1440 cut score and at simulated cut scores of 1300, 1330, 1350, and 1390.

The actual cut score of 1440 produced stark racial and ethnic disparities. ... A lower cut score would have substantially reduced the racial and ethnic impacts of the bar exam, as revealed in the figures below.

AL1

Does the selection of a lower cut score harm the public? We next examined whether the selection of an exam cut score correlates with the number of 1) complaints brought by members of the public against attorneys, 2) attorneys formally charged after probable cause determinations, and/or 3) attorneys subjected to discipline in a jurisdiction, collecting this data from publicly available reports of the ABA Survey on Lawyer Discipline Systems. We gathered this data for all jurisdictions included within these reports and across the most recent six years available: 2013 – 2018. ... Ultimately, we found no significant relationship between the selection of an exam cut score and these three indicators. ...

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October 7, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, October 3, 2020

The Insufferable Hubris Of The Well-Credentialed

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Insufferable Hubris of the Well-Credentialed:

Tyranny 4The Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel’s 10th book, The Tyranny of Merit, out this month from FSG, covers a lot of ground for a short text — especially in its sweeping second chapter, “A Brief Moral History of Merit,” which, following Max Weber, describes the surprising emergence of the “fiercely meritocratic work ethic” out of the Protestant Reformation’s “war against merit.” From these origins, Sandel says, would eventually appear such diverse phenomena as mega-churches preaching the “prosperity gospel,” the weakening of the welfare state, and the increasing importance of the university system as a source of not just earning power but personal prestige. President Trump, for instance, likes to say that he went to Wharton, which he insists is “the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world … super genius stuff.”

The Tyranny of Merit hopes to explain the cultural background behind this bit of Trumpian braggadocio, and more broadly to argue that a just political future must recognize that even a perfect meritocracy would be fundamentally unfair. I talked with Sandel about resentment and hubris, the trauma of the elite-university admissions process, the problem with economists, and pull-ups.

Critiques of meritocracy are on everyone’s lips right now. Why?

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October 3, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Can A Christian Be A Corporate Lawyer?

R. Garrett Rice (Ross Aronstam & Moritz, Wilmington, DE), Can a Christian Be a Corporate Lawyer? Tracing Corporate Law's Religious Roots and Identifying How We Can Integrate Our Faith and Work, 43 J. Legal Prof. 143 (2019):

The ways in which members of certain professions (ministers, for example) can serve Christ in the workplace are self-evident. For the Christian corporate lawyer, integrating faith and work may require more conscious effort, but is no less possible. This article begins to explore the ways in which a Christian can serve Christ in the corporate law arena.

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September 27, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Vitruvian Lawyer: How To Thrive In An Era Of AI And Quantum Technologies

Hilary G. Escajeda (Denver), The Vitruvian Lawyer: How to Thrive in an Era of AI and Quantum Technologies, 29 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 421 (2020):

We live in an exciting and tumultuous time as artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum technologies unleash more transformations than the agrarian, industrial, and computer revolutions combined. This new age, popularly called “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” describes the convergence of increasingly powerful and capable digital and robotic technologies.

As human-machine teaming becomes the norm, new and mid-career lawyers should actively cultivate the uniquely human personal and professional skills that machines cannot supplant. A short list of these skills includes curiosity, cognitive range (depth and breadth), creativity, and emotional intelligence. In their work as knowledge entrepreneurs and inventive problem solvers, modern lawyers must also continuously augment and leverage their education, training, and insights to spot, imagine, generate, and deliver client value.

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September 25, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Madison: Legal Education's Waterloo — Urgency, The Fire Swamp, And The End Game

Following up on my previous post, Legal Education Faces Its Waterloo As Wile E. Coyote:

Mike Madison (Pittsburgh), Legal Education’s Waterloo: Urgency:

Just about every provost in the US, just about every law dean, just about every former law dean, just about every would-be law dean, and a growing number of “regular” law professors know that the financial jig is up. At most law schools, student tuition dollars total nowhere near the amount needed to pay the school’s operating expenses. At a few law schools, endowments and real estate portfolios help a lot. At many, parent universities cover some and even much of the budget. University piggy banks and patience may be running thin. Legal education is far from the only part of the university that struggles to pay its bills. It’s often a smallish part, and in research universities, it rarely brings in many research dollars. ...

Mike Madison (Pittsburgh), Legal Education’s Waterloo: The Fire Swamp:

TL/DR [Too Long/Didn't Read] version: Strap in. Change is going to be messy, maybe ugly, and no one has a game plan for it or for you – practitioners, judges, academics, students and new graduates, entrepreneurs. Least of all me. It’s like the fire swamp, from The Princess Bride. Survive it? You’re only skeptical because no one ever has. ...

The challenge now is that there are at least three stories competing for the future of law. Pick the right story, and you may do better. Pick the wrong story, and you may do worse. Which is which? Welcome to the awkward, messy, and ugly middle space.

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September 24, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Protecting Privacy And Security In Online Instruction: A Guide For Students And Faculty

Mary Anne Franks (Miami), Protecting Privacy and Security in Online Instruction: A Guide for Students and Faculty:

COVID-19 forced educational institutions all over the globe to shift abruptly to online instruction. Online instruction presents many challenges to both faculty and students accustomed to in-person learning. Among those challenges are serious equity concerns, including wide variation among students and faculty in terms of technological literacy, access to reliable Internet service and related “digital divide” issues, time zones, caretaking responsibilities, and personal situations that may make remote learning difficult or impossible (e.g. unsafe home conditions). Another serious category of concern are privacy and security issues, which are the subject of this memo.

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September 19, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Changing Law School Curriculum: More Courses, Less Rigor?

National Jurist, More Course Offerings, But Less Rigor?:

William Carney, a retired University of Emory School of Law professor who spent nearly 40 years in legal education, wanted to know just how law school curriculum has evolved over the decades. ...

The result was a recently published paper aptly called, “Curriculum Change in Legal Education,” which tracks changes from 1973 to 2018. Through his research, he noticed a shift from a number of bedrock law offerings to less traditional ones. ...

Why is this a big deal? Students are still taught core subjects, such as torts and Constitutional law, right? Why can’t they have a little spice?

Well, Carney argues that the changes he discovered may indeed be affecting student success. In 1973, the national average bar passage rate for first-time takers was 82%. By 2017 the passage rate had fallen to 72%. ... Many of these new courses are not covered on the bar exam, so students could jeopardize their chances if they are too reliant on them, he said. ...

He found some new courses that left him confounded. He wrote that they “defy my attempts to rationalize their existence, either because of my ignorance of their content or suspicions about their usefulness in the practice of the profession. In some cases, they appear to represent approaches that are more political and polemic than legal.”

Such courses include animal law and feminist legal theory, he wrote.

That did not sit well with professors who teach feminist legal theory.

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September 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Why Law Firms Collapse

John Morley (Yale), Why Law Firms Collapse, 75 Bus. Law. 1399 (2020):

Law firms don’t just go bankrupt—they collapse. Like Dewey & LeBoeuf, Heller Ehrman, and Bingham McCutchen, law firms often go from apparent health to liquidation in a matter of months or even days. Almost no large law firm has ever managed to reorganize its debts in bankruptcy and survive. This pattern is puzzling because it has no parallel among ordinary businesses. Many businesses go through long periods of financial distress and many even file for bankruptcy. But almost none collapse with the extraordinary force and finality of law firms. Why?

I argue that law firms are fragile in part because they are owned by their partners rather than by investors.

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September 18, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Requiring Security Of Position For All Skills Faculty Under ABA Accreditation Standard 405(c) (And Eliminating Standard 405(d))

J. Lyn Entrikin (Arkansas-Little Rock), Lucy Jewel (Tennessee), Susie Salmon (Arizona), Craig T. Smith (North Carolina), Kristen K. Tiscione (Georgetown) & Melissa H. Weresh (Drake), Treating Professionals Professionally: Requiring Security of Position for All Skills-Focused Faculty under ABA Accreditation Standard 405(c) and Eliminating 405(d), 98 Or. L. Rev. 1 (2020):

Standard 405 is imperfect at best. In theory, it began as a way to ensure competent law faculties by affording security of position and academic freedom. But its later permutations, Standards 405(c) and (d), create and perpetuate a hierarchy that favors mostly male, doctrine-focused faculty and discriminates against mostly female, skills-focused faculty, even though both groups teach the same students.

All law faculty should be eligible for tenure and the protections it affords. At this juncture, we recognize that advocating for tenure opportunities for all faculty likely represents too large a leap. Thus, this paper calls on the ABA to both (1) require that all professional skillsfocused faculty—both clinical and legal writing faculty—be afforded protection under Standard 405(c) at minimum, and (2) eliminate Standard 405(d).

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September 16, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Vischer: How Distinctive Should Catholic Law Schools Be?

Robert K. Vischer (University of St. Thomas), How Distinctive Should Catholic Law Schools Be?, 59 J. Cath. Legal Stud. ___ (2020):

Light UnseenIn what ways should a Catholic law school be distinctive? To what extent should Catholic and non-Catholic law schools share similar criteria for judging institutional success? Are there circumstances under which a preoccupation with distinctiveness might distract a Catholic law school from focusing on its mission? While Catholic law schools will approach these questions from a diversity of perspectives, we should be careful neither to ignore the importance of distinctiveness nor to equate worthy manifestations of Catholic identity with only those qualities that are not also exhibited by non-Catholic law schools. This essay was presented as part of a symposium convened to explore the themes of a new book by John Breen and Lee Strang, A Light Unseen: A History of Catholic Legal Education in the United States.

September 13, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 11, 2020

Law School Exams During A Pandemic: One Law School’s Experience

Beth Parker (Nova), Law School Exams During a Pandemic — One Law School’s Experience:

CoronavirusIn 2020, toward the end of the Winter semester, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted life across the globe. Institutions, including law schools, felt the widespread effects of this public health crisis. Law schools were forced to move entire curriculums online in record time and consider how they were going to administer final exams. There is no precedent or manual for how to do this successfully. The pressure of the high stakes law school final exam that the law student’s entire grade and ranking rest upon is stressful, to say the least. Law students are on edge during final exams during normal times, but as the United States became overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, universities sent students, faculty, and staff home to finish the semester online and were left with a myriad of issues to address. One issue that arose was how to deliver final exams in a completely online format while maintaining the integrity of the law school exam. This article discusses the pivot to flexibility that one law school had to make, under emergency conditions, and with limited resources.

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September 11, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Relationship Between Bar Passage Rates And Attorney Discipline

Following up on my previous posts:

William Patton (USC Law & UCLA Medicine), A Rebuttal to Kinsler's and to Anderson and Muller's Studies on the Purported Relationship between Bar Passage Rates and Attorney Discipline, 93 St. John's L. Rev. 43 (2019):

I applaud Professors Kinsler, Anderson, and Muller for investigating whether the bar examination is relevant to patterns of attorney discipline. However, their research failed to prove that: (1) students from low rated law schools engage in significantly more unethical behavior; (2) there is a causal relationship or correlation between students who attend low ranked schools, their bar exam scores, and their disciplinary patterns; or (3) students from low ranked schools who scored lower on the bar exam are either not minimally competent to practice law or are a significantly greater danger to the public than students who attended elite law schools.

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September 10, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Letterhead Bias And The Demographics Of Elite Law Review Publications

Harvard Law School Letterhead

Stephen Thomson (City University of Hong Kong), Letterhead Bias and the Demographics of Elite Journal Publications, 33 Harv. J. L. & Tech. 203 (2019):

This article is the result of the most extensive audit of U.S. law review articles ever undertaken. It presents and discusses the findings of an audit of articles published in the top fifty U.S. law reviews from 2014–2018 inclusive. Analyzing over 4,500 articles and the demographics of almost 6,000 authors, it demonstrates through hard data that: (i) letterhead bias is a real phenomenon; (ii) some journals have high rates of publishing their own faculty’s work, a phenomenon that tends to be worse in higher-ranked journals; (iii) overseas authors stand a very low probability of being published in a top fifty U.S. law review; (iv) there is no real correlation between a journal’s ranking and the extent to which it publishes practitioner-authored work; and (v) articles in more highly ranked journals have a greater tendency toward being co-authored.

These findings reveal some hard truths about the elite U.S. law review market, grounded in hard data, both for aspiring authors and editorial boards across the U.S.

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September 10, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Are Universities (And Law Schools) Legally Obligated To Exempt High-Risk Faculty From In-Person Teaching During COVID-19?

Mark L. Jones (Mercer), Cathren Koehlert-Page (Barry), Suzianne D. Painter-Thorne (Mercer) & Gary J. Simson (Mercer), It’s Alright, Ma, It’s Life and Life Only: Are Colleges and Universities Legally Obligated during the Coronavirus Pandemic to Exempt High-Risk Faculty from In-Person Teaching Requirements?:

CoronavirusAfter hurriedly transitioning to online learning when the coronavirus pandemic burst onto the scene during spring semester 2020, colleges and universities across the U.S. spent much of the spring and summer deciding how to proceed in the fall. Should all courses continue to be taught entirely online? Should all return to in person? Is the best answer instead some sort of hybrid curriculum? Because the pandemic has defied prediction at every turn, colleges and universities not going entirely online can’t help but know that at any point during the semester they may suddenly be forced to revisit and revise their decision. Furthermore, after a summer in which the virus continued to infect U.S. residents at an alarming rate, colleges and universities are surely on notice that the pandemic should figure front and center in their planning as they think about in-person vs. online instruction for spring semester 2021.

We believe that, for the duration of this pandemic, a college or university planning to offer any in-person classes has a moral obligation not to require any faculty members to teach in person who, out of concern for their own physical or emotional well-being or for that of another member of their household, ask to teach online instead. For now, however, we leave it to others to discuss more fully colleges’ and universities’ moral obligations. Our topic is colleges’ and universities’ legal obligations to allow faculty to opt for online, rather than in-person, teaching during this pandemic, and within that topic, we limit our focus to the group of faculty whom we believe colleges and universities have the clearest legal obligation to protect — those who, according to the criteria identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appear to be most vulnerable to getting seriously ill or even dying if they contract the coronavirus. In the language of the CDC, our focus is faculty members “at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19” — a group that we call “CDC high-risk faculty.” According to the CDC, anyone is high risk who has reached age 65 or who has one of various specific medical conditions, including cancer, chronic kidney disease, pregnancy, hypertension, and more.

We outline various arguments that colleges and universities are legally obligated during this pandemic to exempt CDC high-risk faculty from any in-person teaching requirement.

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September 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, September 7, 2020

Allowing Law School Graduates To Practice Law Without Taking A Bar Exam Through A Diploma Privilege Does Not Put The Public At Greater Risk Of Attorney Misconduct

William Patton (USC Law & UCLA Medicine), Admitting Law Graduates By Bar Examination Versus By a Diploma Privilege: A Comparison of Consumer Protection:

State bar associations for decades have justified increasing the rigorousness of their bar examinations as a necessary measure for assuring consumer protection. However, no state has provided data based empirical evidence that increasing the difficulty of a bar examination has a direct correlation with increasing consumer protection (decreasing attorney discipline based upon incompetency and/or ethical violations). This study of the Wisconsin State Bar disciplinary system demonstrates that there is little difference in the protection of the public between admitting law students to the practice of law by a diploma privilege versus requiring passage of a bar examination.

Patton

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September 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Ongoing Challenges In Researching Affirmative Action In Legal Education

Robert Steinbuch (Arkansas-Little Rock) & Richard J. Peltz-Steele (UMass), Ongoing Challenges in Researching Affirmative Action in Legal Education: Maximizing Public Welfare Through Transparency, 26 Tex. Hisp. J.L. & Pol'y 57 (2020):

The public good often depends on social science research that employs personal data. Volumes of scientific breakthroughs based on data accumulated through access to public information demonstrate the importance and feasibility of enabling research in the public interest while still respecting data privacy. For decades, reliable and routine technical methods have ensured protection for personal privacy by de-identifying personal data. Social science research into legal education and admission to the bar is presently a matter of urgent public interest and importance, requiring solid empirical analysis of anonymized personal data that government authorities possess. Social science research into the effects of affirmative action represents standard, indeed commonplace, research practice furthering the public interest, while employing established methods that minimize the risk to privacy. Yet, when seeking information regarding admissions standards and success metrics, researchers have faced remarkable headwinds from government officials. In this article, we continue to discuss a topic that we have devoted significant professional energy: the proper balance of privacy, transparency, and accountability in researching legal education.

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September 4, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Underdog Effect: Low Expectations Increase Performance

Samir Nurmohamed (University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School), The Underdog Effect: When Low Expectations Increase Performance:

UnderdogExisting theory and research has documented the benefits of facing high expectations and the perils of encountering low expectations. This paper examines the performance effects of underdog expectations, defined as individuals’ perceptions that others view them as unlikely to succeed. Integrating theory and research on self-enhancement with psychological reactance, I predict that underdog expectations have the potential to boost performance through the desire to prove others wrong when others’ credibility is in question.

Studies 1 and 2 provide support for the positive relationship between underdog expectations and performance. Study 3 reveals support for the positive effect of underdog expectations on performance through the desire to prove others wrong. Study 4 demonstrates that these effects depend on the perceived credibility of observers: when observers’ expectations are seen as more credible, underdog expectations undermine performance (consistent with the Golem effect and self-fulfilling prophecy), but when observers’ expectations are viewed as less credible, underdog expectations boost performance (demonstrating the underdog effect).

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September 2, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Emory Law Journal Call For Submissions: Systemic Racism In The Law & Anti-Racist Solutions

Emory Law Journal: Call for Submissions:

Emory Law JournalDear Scholars:
We write to you in troubling times, yet we are hopeful for a brighter future ahead. First, we hope that you are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones. Second, we want to announce that the Emory Law Journal is calling for essay submissions for our forthcoming Special Issue: Systemic Racism in the Law & Anti-Racist Solutions. The Issue will be published in May 2021, with an accompanying remote symposium in March 2021.

In the wake of numerous police shootings of unarmed Black men and women, the murder of protesters, and the lack of justice for many of the perpetrators, a statement from ELJ will no longer suffice; to be an anti-racist Journal, we must act. Therefore, this spring, we will use our platform to elevate scholarship that seeks to facilitate racial justice and dismantle white supremacy by publishing a Special Issue and holding a remote symposium.

ELJ is looking for essays from 7,500 to 15,000 words that expose systemic racism in the law or propose anti-racist solutions to make the law more just. Emory’s Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Dorothy A. Brown will be writing the introduction to the Special Issue. We will accept abstracts as submissions, and if your essay is selected, you are not required to participate in the Symposium, but you will have a standing invitation to do so. We will accept essay submissions on a rolling basis. The deadlines for submission and publication are below:

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September 1, 2020 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (9)

Monday, August 31, 2020

Bahadur: High 1L Attrition And 2L Transfer Rates Contribute To Florida International's Over Performance On The Bar Exam

Following up on my previous posts about Florida International Law School's over performance on the bar exam (links below):  Rory D. Bahadur (Washburn), Blinded by Science? A Reexamination of the Bar Ninja and Silver Bullet Bar Program Cryptids, 49 J.L. & Educ. ___ (2020):

FIU LogoClaims being made by Florida International University (FIU) Law School’s academic support program that the school’s radically improved bar exam passage rates are due solely to the implementation of a “Scientific Academic Support Program” are gaining ground. Such assertions however fail to account for several confounding variables that could have contributed to the improved scores.

A detailed review of the oft-overlooked but publicly available data provided by FIU in its annual ABA Standard Information Reports reveals two such variables: (1) significantly higher than average 1L attrition rates and (2) extensive incoming high GPA 2L transfer rates accounting for a substantial percentage of the class cohort. FIU’s geographic proximity to more expensive private law schools in combination with the State of Florida’s mere 1-year residency requirement for in-state tuition make transferring to FIU as a 2L uniquely appealing.

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August 31, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

McIntyre & Simkovic: The Value Of A Law Degree By College Major: $45,000 Humanities/$29,000 STEM Per Year For Life

Frank McIntyre (Rutgers) & Michael Simkovic (USC), Value of a Law Degree by College Major, 68 J. Legal Educ. 585 (2019):

We estimate the increase in earnings from a law degree relative to a bachelor’s degree for graduates who majored in different fields in college. Students with humanities and social sciences majors comprise approximately 47 percent of law degree holders compared to 23 percent of terminal bachelor’s. Law degree earnings premiums are highest for humanities and social sciences majors and lowest for STEM majors. On the other hand, among those with law degrees, overall earnings are highest for STEM and Business Majors. This effect is fairly small at the low end of the earnings distribution, but quite large at the top end. The median annual law degree earnings premium ranges from approximately $29,000 for STEM majors to $45,000 for humanities majors.

MS2

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August 26, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Laughter, Learning And Well-Being In The Law School Classroom

Diana Simon (Arizona), Laughing Your Way to Academic Success: Can Laughter Impact Learning and Well-Being in the Law School Classroom and are there Cross-Cultural Differences?:

Unfortunately, the truth is that law students are unhappy and can suffer from anxiety and depression at unusually high rates. Is there anything we, as professors, can do to help with that? While what transpires in the classroom is only a small piece of the puzzle that forms a student’s psychological well-being, the answer is we can do our part in the classroom to not only relieve student anxiety but improve learning in the process.

After briefly examining the findings about the mental health of law students, this article reviews: (1) research on whether humor in the classroom can improve learning; (2) research on whether humor in the classroom can decrease student anxiety; (3) research on whether there are gender differences associated with the use of humor; and (4) research on whether there are cross-cultural differences in the perception and effectiveness of humor with a special focus on China. ...

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August 25, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 24, 2020

Race, Class, Power, And Resistance Of Women In Academia

Carmen G. Gonzalez (Loyola-Chicago), Presumed Incompetent II: Race, Class, Power, and Resistance of Women in Academia (Utah State University Press 2020):

Presumed IncompetentThe courageous and inspiring personal narratives and empirical studies in Presumed Incompetent II: Race, Class, Power, and Resistance of Women in Academia name formidable obstacles and systemic biases that all women faculty—from diverse intersectional and transnational identities and from tenure track, terminal contract, and administrative positions—encounter in their higher education careers. They provide practical, specific, and insightful guidance to fight back, prevail, and thrive in challenging work environments. This new volume comes at a crucial historical moment as the United States grapples with a resurgence of white supremacy and misogyny at the forefront of our social and political dialogues that continue to permeate the academic world.

August 24, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Lawyers Are Not Uniquely Unhappy, But They Abuse Alcohol At Very High Rates

Yair Listokin (Yale) & Ray Noonan (J.D. 2021, Yale), Measuring Lawyer Well-Being Systematically: Evidence from the National Health Interview Survey, 18 J. Empirical Legal Stu. ___ (2020):

Conventional wisdom says that lawyers are uniquely unhappy. Unfortunately, this conventional wisdom rests on a weak empirical foundation. The “unhappy lawyers” narrative relies on nonrandom survey data collected from volunteer respondents. Instead of depending on such data, researchers should study lawyer mental health by relying on large microdata sets of public health data, such as the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The NHIS includes data from 100-200 lawyers per year. By aggregating years, an adequate sample size of lawyers can readily be obtained, with much greater confidence that the lawyers in the sample resemble the true population of U.S. lawyers. When we examine the NHIS data, we find that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, lawyers are not particularly unhappy. Indeed, they suffer rates of mental illness much lower than the general population. Lawyer mental health is not significantly different than the mental health of similarly-educated professionals, such as doctors and dentists. 

Yair 1

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August 19, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Boozang: A Vision Of A Distinctive Catholic Law School

Following up on my previous post, Saints, Sinners, and Scoundrels: A History Of Catholic Legal Education:  Kathleen Boozang (Dean, Seton Hall), A Light Unseen?, 94 St. John's L. Rev. ___ (2020):

Light UnseenThis essay responds to Professors Breen and Strang's forthcoming book, A Light Unseen: A History of Catholic Legal Education in the United States, in which they present their ideal vision of a Catholic law school. The Essay, A Light Unseen?, suggests that Breen and Strang's vision potentially interferes with academic freedom and does not present a sustainable business model in today's law school market. The Essay presents an alternative vision of how a Catholic law school can be distinctively Catholic, beyond these schools' commitment to social justice. ...

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August 16, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Why I Wrote Think Like A Lawyer

I have recently issued a new edition of my book How to Think Like A Lawyer: Legal Reasoning for Law Students and Business Professionals. In this post, I will present why I wrote this book, and how this book can help law students become better legal thinkers.

Think LIke a LawyerMy book helps law students and lawyers develop their cognitive legal-thinking skills in depth through self-correcting exercises. This book prepares law students for the practice of law by providing them with a firm foundation in legal reasoning, showing them how to apply legal reasoning skills to facts, and teaching them legal problem solving. It does this by focusing explicitly on the five types of legal reasoning (rule-based reasoning, analogical reasoning, distinguishing cases and arguments, synthesis, and policy-cased reasoning), the types of miniskills needed to develop the different types of legal reasoning, and how to use these miniskills in combination.

Why is this important? Becoming an expert in any field requires many hours of detailed practice. This applies to chess masters, musicians, athletes, and lawyers. A pianist spends hours a week practicing musical fundamentals, such as fingering, scales, arpeggios, and phrasing. Aspiring lawyers need the same thing, but they don’t get it from traditional legal education. Traditional law school pedagogy deals with exercising the mind of one student at a time, while the other students sit and listen. What students need are self-correcting exercises that give them the constant practice they need. This type of self-guided active learning is especially important now when so much of the fall semester will be taught online.

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August 13, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Integration Of UNC-Chapel Hill — Law School First

Donna L. Nixon (North Carolina), The Integration of UNC-Chapel Hill — Law School First, 97 N.C. L. Rev. 1741 (2019):

UNC Logo (2020)In June 1951, five African Americans, Harvey E. Beech, James L. Lassiter, J. Kenneth Lee, Floyd B. McKissick, and James R. Walker enrolled in classes at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill (“Carolina Law”). Their enrollment and attendance at Carolina Law was the result of years of effort to desegregate higher education in the United States. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”) litigated case after case, building precedent for United States Supreme Court challenges to racial segregation in education and in all areas of society. McKissick v. Carmichael, the 1951 case that removed the legal barrier to African American admission to Carolina Law, was one of those cases. The goal of this Essay is to fill a space in the scholarship by telling the story of how these men came to be the first, how their case fit into the context of a broader civil rights campaign, and how that experience impacted the young men’s lives and the lives of many others.

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August 13, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)