Paul L. Caron
Dean


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Facilitating Meaningful Change Within U.S. Law Schools (Part 2)

Following up on my previous post, Facilitating Meaningful Change Within U.S. Law Schools:  Patrick H. Gaughan (Akron) & Samantha J. Prince (Penn State), Facilitating Distinctive and Meaningful Change Within U.S. Law Schools (Part 2): Pursuing Successful Plan Implementation Through Better Resource Management, 18 U.N.H. L. Rev. 173 (2020):

In Part 1 of this series, one of the current authors used institutional theory, behavioral economics, and psychology to explain why U.S. law schools have had difficulty evolving faster and better. The author then used institutional entrepreneurship to propose a seven-step, faculty-led, operational change process designed to overcome institutional isomorphism and to enable each law school to formulate a distinctive, meaningful, strategic plan.

Process for Meaningful Change

In Part 2, the current article addresses the typical implementation challenges to be expected within the context of existing law school governance.

The article begins by discussing the Resource Based View of the firm and the role of resource management in achieving competitive advantages. These considerations lay the foundation for the critical role of faculty engagement and law school leadership in successful strategic plan implementation. Next, within this context, the article discusses four questions whose answers may foreshadow implementation problems. Lastly, the article discusses the results of several Monte Carlo Simulations. The simulations provide insight into the likely performance problems caused by faculty misaligned with, or disengaged from, their law school’s strategic goals. The results suggest that even minimal faculty misalignment can have a significant deleterious effect on the ability of a given law school to achieve any distinctive position.

All told, the article concludes that U.S. law schools can successfully implement distinctive and meaningful strategic plans within existing shared governance structures. However, success will be difficult to achieve. It requires the full engagement and leadership by both the faculty and the Dean, sustained operational support for strategic change, and the active management of law school resources.

April 8, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Call For Papers: St. Louis Law Journal Symposium On Teaching Law Online

The Saint Louis University Law Journal is proud to announce the twenty-second installment of the Journal’s Teaching series, Teaching Law Online.

St. Louis (2016)The Journal created the Teaching series in 2000 as a forum for scholars, judges, and practitioners to discuss key topics and methods of teaching legal subjects.  Since then, the Journal has published a teaching issue annually, such as Teaching Civil Procedure (47:1), Teaching Constitutional Law (49:3), Teaching Federal Courts (53:3), and our forthcoming issue, Teaching Property (64:3). 

Our Teaching Law Online issue, in line with our past issues, will include articles by prominent scholars and practitioners, sharing their thoughts on teaching legal subjects remotely, a topic that is especially relevant in the rapid transition to remote learning that has occurred this semester in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We hope to represent teachers with all levels of experience teaching legal subjects online, and we welcome submissions on any subject matter within the context of remote and online learning.

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April 7, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

How Faculty Can Cure Law Student And Lawyer Distress

Susan Wawrose (Dayton), A More Human Place: Using Core Counseling Skills to Transform Law School Relationships, 55 Willamette L. Rev. 133 (2018):

The problem of law student and lawyer distress is longstanding, severe, and remarkably resilient in the face of efforts to address it.

In this article, I propose increased attention by law faculty to relationship building during law school as a way to begin to reverse the downward spiral that draws in so many of our students and holds them captive, sometimes until long after they graduate from law school. Research shows that supportive social connections are the single most important factor in protecting against stress, increasing resilience, and contributing to greater feelings of happiness. Moreover, if the goal of improving student wellbeing is not, in itself, sufficient motivation for addressing law student distress, there is the strong likelihood that taking steps to improve students’ wellbeing will also improve their academic performance. Numerous studies show that happier people are more successful and resilient than their distressed and unhappy counterparts.

Faculty

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April 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Brooks Presents Redesigning Education Finance: How Student Loans Outgrew the 'Debt' Paradigm Online Today At Georgetown

John Brooks (Georgetown) presents Redesigning Education Finance: How Student Loans Outgrew the "Debt" Paradigm, 109 Geo. L.J. ___ (2019) (with Adam J. Levitin (Georgetown)), online at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series:

Brooks (John)Federal student loans are fundamentally different from any other type of credit product: they do not require the full repayment of all principal and accrued interest. Instead, borrowers have the contractual right to satisfy their obligations by paying only a percentage of their income for a fixed period of time. In other words, debt forgiveness is contractually baked into the student loan product.

This and other unusual features of federal student loans reveal that the economic structure of student loans has evolved to resemble a federal grant program coupled with a progressive income-based tax on recipients, rather than a true debt product. The education finance system, however, still relies on the legal, financial, and institutional apparatus of “debt” that developed under the pre-2010 structure of the education finance system, which was based on private loans backed by federal government guarantees, rather than today’s direct federal lending program. These legal, financial, and institutional structures are a mismatch with the current program’s economic realities and policy goals.

This Article argues that nearly all of the problems in education finance, including high levels of default, abusive servicing, and even the very idea of a student debt crisis arise from the frictions between the legal and institutional apparatus of “debt” and the economic reality of subsidized finance and progressive, income-based repayment and debt forgiveness.

Accordingly, this Article argues for calling federal student loans what they really are—a tuition grant plus an income surtax on students.

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March 24, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Bar Exam And The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need For Immediate Action

Claudia Angelos (NYU), Sara Berman (AccessLex), Mary Lu Bilek (CUNY), Carol Chomsky (Minnesota), Andrea Anne Curcio (Georgia State), Marsha Griggs (Washburn), Joan Howarth (UNLV; Michigan State), Eileen Kaufman (Touro), Deborah Merritt (Ohio State), Patricia Salkin (Touro) & Judith Wegner (North Carolina), The Bar Exam and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need for Immediate Action:

CoronavirusThe novel coronavirus COVID-19 has profoundly disrupted life in the United States. Among other challenges, jurisdictions are unlikely to be able to administer the July 2020 bar exam in the usual manner. It is essential, however, to continue licensing new lawyers. Those lawyers are necessary to meet current needs in the legal system. Equally important, the demand for legal services will skyrocket during and after this pandemic. We cannot close doors to the profession at a time when client demand will reach an all-time high.

In this brief policy paper, we outline six licensing options for jurisdictions to consider for the Class of 2020. Circumstances will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but we hope that these options will help courts and regulators make this complex decision. These are unprecedented times: We must work together to ensure we do not leave the talented members of Class of 2020 on the sidelines when we need every qualified professional on the field to keep our justice system moving.

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March 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 16, 2020

NCBE: Testing Task Force Phase 2 Report (2019 Practice Analysis)

National Conference of Bar Examiners, Testing Task Force Phase 2 Report: 2019 Practice Analysis (March 2020):

NCBEIn 2018, the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) created a Testing Task Force (TTF) to undertake a comprehensive three-year study to ensure that the bar examination continues to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for competent entry-level legal practice in a changing profession. The TTF’s study consists of three phases. Phase 1 was a series of listening sessions with stakeholders to solicit their impressions about the current bar examination and ideas for the next generation of the bar examination. Phase 2 consisted of a national practice analysis to provide empirical data on the job activities of newly licensed lawyers (NLLs), which are defined in the practice analysis survey as lawyers who have been licensed for three years or less. Phase 3, which will be completed in 2020, will translate the results from Phase 1 and Phase 2 into a recommended test blueprint and design for the next generation of the bar examination. This Executive Summary provides a high-level synthesis of the 2019 Practice Analysis Report.

Knowledge Areas
The 77 knowledge areas were rated in terms of their importance to the practice of all NLLs. The overall means for all knowledge areas as rated by NLLs and non-NLLs were nearly identical, and the correlation between the two sets of ratings was very high; thus, data for the two groups were combined for the analyses in this report.

The knowledge areas with the highest mean importance ratings included the following: Rules of Professional Responsibility and Ethical Obligations, Civil Procedure, Contract Law, Rules of Evidence, and Legal Research Methodology. Among the lowest-rated knowledge areas were topics such as Transportation Law, Bioethics, Public Utility Law, Sports and Entertainment Law, and Admiralty Law.

NCBE Chart

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

Schwartz: Towards A Modality-Less Model For Excellence In Law School Teaching

Michael Hunter Schwartz (Dean, McGeorge), Towards a Modality-Less Model for Excellence in Law School Teaching:

SchwartzIntroduction
Online legal education is really in its infancy. Even as undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs increasingly innovate and enjoy success with online teaching that rivals and even exceeds brick and mortar results, legal education remains stuck in an outdated image of online teaching while continuing to champion a rose-colored image of what happens when students and their professors are in the same rooms.

Our image of online teaching is pretty grim. We tend to imagine online professors recording lengthy, mind-numbingly unstimulating lectures via video or voice over slides with instructional goals no more ambitious than the hope that the lectures magically pour knowledge into the brains of students. We imagine the students isolated in their homes, dressed in their pajamas, lacking connection or inspiration. And we assume that hordes of online students are hiring experts to take their exams for them.

Likewise, we continue to elevate in-person teaching as if the elegantly constructed, carefully sequenced, engaging, crystal clear Socratic questioning, characteristic of each of our best law professors (as we remember them), is the overwhelming majority rule. We envision each student deeply prepared for class, actively engaged during class, and, by the end of the class, joyfully inspired to study more so they can better understand. And we assume they come to the final exam feeling well prepared for a great intellectual challenge.

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March 16, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Law Teaching In The Age Of Coronavirus

CoronavirusSeth Oranburg (Duquesne), Josh Blackman (South Texas), Howard Wasserman (Florida International), and Diane Klein (La Verne) offer their thoughts on online law school teaching:

Seth Oranburg (Duquesne), Distance Education in the Time of Coronavirus: Quick and Easy Strategies for Professors:

A worldwide pandemic is forcing schools to close their doors. Yet the need to teach students remains. How can faculty — especially those who are not trained in technology-mediated teaching — maintain educational continuity? This Essay provides some suggestions and relatively quick and easy strategies for distance education in this time of coronavirus. While it is written from the perspective of teaching law school, it can be applied to teaching other humanities such as philosophy, literature, religion, political theory, and other subjects that do not easily lend themselves to charts, graphs, figures, and diagrams. This Essay includes an introductory technology section for those techno-phobic faculty who are now being required to teach online, and it concludes with five straightforward steps to start teaching online quickly.

Table of Contents
I.   Introduction ........................................................ 3
II.  Prepping: Tools for Distance Educators ............. 5
     A. Computer ....................................................... 5
     B. Microphone..................................................... 7
     C. Webcam ........................................................ 8
     D. Software......................................................... 9
         1. Widows....................................................... 9
         2. MacOS ....................................................... 9
         3. Other Software...........................................10
III. Creating Audio-Video Content .......................... 11
     A. Creating a Voice-Over-PowerPoint Video..... 12
          1. Creating the Slides....................................14
          2. Scripting the Voice Over............................14
          3. Recording/Exporting the Presentation.......14
     B. Creating a “Talking Head” Video................... 16
     C. Repurposing Existing Video ......................... 18
     D. Synchronous “Zoom” Meetings..................... 19
IV. Deploying Online Content ................................. 20
     A. Organizing Content........................................ 20
     B. Uploading versus Linking Videos .................. 21
     C. Juxtaposing Learning Activities ..................... 22
         1. Tests ...........................................................22
         2. Essays.........................................................23
         3. Journal Entries ............................................23
         4. Discussion Boards.......................................25
V. Conclusions: 5 Steps to Online Teaching ........... 26

Seth Oranburg (Duquesne), More on Online Teaching:

Law school is going online, suddenly and quickly. Are you ready? Most of us are not – but here are some suggestions that will make teaching online simpler.

First you need to understand your options. There are two main ways to go online: synchronously and asynchronously. What’s the difference and which should you pick? ...

What Is It ...
Pro ...
Con ...
Tips and Tricks ...
Bottom Line ...
Summary
Whether you go with a synchronous or an asynchronous format depends in large part on your goals: are you trying to get by in a crisis, or is this an opportunity to step up your teaching skills and create valuable new content for the future?

In general, the synchronous approach is lower risk and lower reward. It’s essentially an inferior substitute for meeting in person, but it will get the job done, and it’s not that hard to do well enough. If your goal is to get through this coronavirus kerfuffle, you should probably just set up a virtual classroom and keep going through the term’s material.

The asynchronous approach, on the other hand, is a chance to turn lemons into lemonade, in the sense that the really good online learning environment can substantially improve student learning. If you want to look at this pandemic as an opportunity to step up your teaching skills, go for it! Be cautioned, however, that it’s a lot of work to do it right, and distance education is ineffective when done wrong.

I hope this short post helps you decide how to move forward with distance education in this time of coronavirus. If you would like to take a deeper dive into these concepts, please check out my article on SSRN.

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Thoughts and Tips on Teaching with Zoom:

Wednesday evening, the South Texas College of Law Houston announced that it would immediately halt all in-person classes. We had less than 24-hours to prepare for distance learning. This afternoon, I taught my first class using Zoom. This post will offer some thoughts and tips on the process.

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March 15, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

#TwitterLaw Symposium

#TwitterLaw Symposium, 55 Idaho L. Rev. 195-261 (2019):

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

Why Legal Writing Is 'Doctrinal' And Profound

Harold Anthony Lloyd (Wake Forest), Why Legal Writing is 'Doctrinal' and More Importantly Profound, 19 Nev. L.J. 729 (2019):

So long as we must use the questionable term “doctrinal” when referring to law school courses, this article challenges everyone (including law professors who teach legal writing) to stop directly and indirectly referring to legal writing as a “non-doctrinal” course. Use of “non-doctrinal” can be code for “lesser” thereby suggesting that legal writing has lesser import than other law school courses. Erroneously so marking legal writing as “lesser” damages legal education across the board. It damages students and law professors not teaching legal writing by suggesting that legal writing and the theory, skills and insights taught by legal writing merit less of their time which in turn increases the odds that both students and other faculty will remain ignorant of the critical knowledge and skills that legal writing teaches. It also damages law professors teaching legal writing because it invites disparate treatment such as lack of tenure, lower pay, lack of equal voting rights, and lack of equal respect. As a result, law professors teaching legal writing encounter greater difficulties in publishing scholarship, difficulties which deprive us all of the scholarship so silenced or deterred.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

An Analysis Of The Efficacy Of The Bar Passage Program At Florida International

Following up on my previous posts:

Raul Ruiz (Florida International), Leveraging Noncognitive Skills to Foster Bar Exam Success: An Analysis of the Efficacy of the Bar Passage Program at FIU Law:

With falling bar exam passage rates, many law schools have implemented bar exam preparation programs but are still struggling to improve bar exam passage rates. The increase in law school matriculants with LSAT scores below 150 had a statistically significant negative correlation with national mean MBE scores, and with the new ABA standard 316 mandating a 75% bar passage rate, law schools are facing mounting pressure to ensure that their graduates are ready and able to pass their bar examination expeditiously or risk losing ABA accreditation.

Law schools have been frustrated by the lack of results with their internal bar exam preparation programs. They often struggle to identify why their students continue to fail the bar exam. Not much has been written about the theory, design, implementation, and evaluation of an effective law school bar exam preparation program. This paper will discuss each of those areas with the goal of helping law schools achieve an important milestone: increasing bar passage rates for their students and maintaining ABA accreditation.

This paper will discuss what has caused a decrease in bar exam scores nationwide and how the bar preparation program at the FIU College of Law has counteracted declining pass rates. The focus of the bar prep program at FIU will be discussed in detail, so other law schools may utilize those same concepts.

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A 'Game-Changer' New Study: Even ‘Valid’ Student Evaluations Are ‘Unfair’

Justin Esarey (Wake Forest) & Natalie Valdes (Wake Forest), Unbiased, Reliable, and Valid Student Evaluations Can Still Be Unfair:

Scholarly debate about student evaluations of teaching (SETs) often focuses on whether SETs are valid, reliable and unbiased. In this article, we assume the most optimistic conditions for SETs that are supported by the empirical literature. Specifically, we assume that SETs are moderately correlated with teaching quality (student learning and instructional best practices), highly reliable, and do not systematically discriminate on any instructionally irrelevant basis. We use computational simulation to show that, under ideal circumstances, even careful and judicious use of SETs to assess faculty can produce an unacceptably high error rate: (a) a large difference in SET scores fails to reliably identify the best teacher in a pairwise comparison, and (b) more than a quarter of faculty with evaluations at or below the 20th percentile are above the median in instructional quality. These problems are attributable to imprecision in the relationship between SETs and instructor quality that exists even when they are moderately correlated. Our simulation indicates that evaluating instruction using multiple imperfect measures, including but not limited to SETs, can produce a fairer and more useful result compared to using SETs alone.

Inside Higher Ed, Even ‘Valid’ Student Evaluations Are ‘Unfair':

Student evaluations of teaching reflect students’ biases and are otherwise unreliable. So goes much of criticism of these evaluations, or SETs. Increasingly, research backs up both of those concerns.

On the other side of the debate, SET proponents acknowledge that these evaluations are imperfect indicators of teaching quality. Still, proponents argue that well-designed SETs inevitably tell us something valuable about students’ learning experiences with a given professor.

A new study — which one expert called a possible “game-changer” — seeks to cut through the noise by assuming the best of SETs — at least, that which is supported by the existing literature. Its analysis assumes that the scores students give instructors are moderately correlated with student learning and the use of pedagogical best practices. It assumes that SETs are highly reliable, or that professors consistently get the same ratings. And it assumes that SETs do not systematically discriminate against instructors on the basis of irrelevant criteria such as their gender, class size and type of course being taught.

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March 4, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Guthrie: U.S. News Should Replace Its Current Law School Rankings With A Mission-Driven Ranking

Chris Guthrie (Vanderbilt), Toward A Mission-Based Ranking?, 60 Jurimetrics J. 75 (2019):

2020 US News Law SchoolLaw schools exist to generate knowledge about law and the legal system and to prepare students for entry into the profession. Law school rankings, in turn, should evaluate schools on their success in carrying out this two-part mission. ... I propose that U.S. News replace its current ranking with a mission-based ranking. U.S. News could do this in any number of ways, but I propose below three steps U.S. News could take toward that end: 

  1. Replace Subjective Surveys with Objective Measures of Scholarly Impact ...
  2. Retain, But Tweak, the “Placement” Category ...
  3. Eliminate Remaining Criteria as Irrelevant or Harmful ...

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March 3, 2020 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

St. Louis Symposium On Law School Teaching Methods

Symposium on Law School Teaching Methods, 63 St. Louis U. L.J. 373-504 (2019):

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

Sunday, March 1, 2020

More On The Supreme Court's Denial Of Accreditation Of Canada's First Christian Law School

Trinity Western 2Greg Walsh (University of Notre Dame Australia), Trinity Western University and the Future of Conservative Religious Education:

The extent to which minority religious communities should be protected when their convictions differ from mainstream society is one of the more challenging aspects faced by our law makers. A central area where this challenge arises is in education where the beliefs and practices of religious schools and universities violate deeply held beliefs about justice held by others in society. The extent to which such religious organizations should be allowed to operate was addressed by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2018 when it upheld the lawfulness of a decision to deny accreditation to Trinity Western University’s proposed law school that would have required students to sign an agreement that included an obligation for all students to refrain from sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage. The Court substantially relied upon the concepts of equality, dignity and diversity in justifying its decision. This article argues that the Court adopted a superficial approach that failed to engage with a range of complexities concerning these concepts especially how they could be used to support a decision in favour of approving the proposed law school.

Richard Moon (University of Windsor), The Law Society of BC v. Trinity Western University: Complicated Answers to a Simple Question:

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March 1, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 29, 2020

High School GPAs Are Much More Predictive Of College Graduation Than SAT/ACT Scores

Research Finds that High School GPAs Are Stronger Predictors of College Graduation than ACT Scores:

Students’ high school grade point averages are five times stronger than their ACT scores at predicting college graduation, according to a new study published today in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association [High School GPAs and ACT Scores as Predictors of College Completion: Examining Assumptions About Consistency Across High Schools].

The authors of the new study, Elaine M. Allensworth and Kallie Clark, both of the University of Chicago, also found that the predictive power of GPAs is consistent across high schools. The relationship between ACT scores and college graduation depends on which high school a student attends; at many high schools there is no connection between students’ ACT scores and eventual college graduation.

“It was surprising not only to see that there was no relationship between ACT scores and college graduation at some high schools, but also to see that at many high schools the relationship was negative among students with the highest test scores,” said Allensworth, who is the director of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.

Across all high schools in the study, each incremental increase in GPA is associated with an increase in the odds of graduating college. The chance of graduating from college ranges from 20 percent for students with high school GPAs under 1.5 to about 80 percent for those with GPAs of 3.75 or higher, after controlling for student backgrounds and college characteristics.

Table 2

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February 29, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 24, 2020

Do The Religious Beliefs Of Law Professors Matter?

Following up on my previous posts:

Michael Simkovic USC), Law Professors Are More Religious Than Scientists, but It Probably Doesn’t Matter Much:

At Taxprof blog, Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine) covers a study by James Lindgren (Northwestern) about the religious beliefs and practices of law professors.  Lindgren compares law professors to the overall U.S. population and finds that law professors are more likely to express doubts about the existence of God.

This study is part of a line of research from Lindgren and others which compares law professors to the general population or the median member of congress on dimensions like religious or political views.  In my view, these comparison groups are uninformative and inappropriate for some of the uses to which they have been put.  For example, some argue for hiring preferences for faculty members with certain supposedly under-represented ideological views.

Law professors should not be judged by their ideological beliefs, but by their academic rigor. Law professors should not be compared to the general U.S. population or members of congress, but rather to scientists. Like scientists, law professors are much more highly educated than the general population, have higher incomes, and have opted into a career where they are expected to advance knowledge, often by relying on data collection and analysis based on scientific principles of causal inference.  Even non-empiricists are taught and teach that legal adjudication depends on application of legal rules and standards to facts and evidence, not on faith. (Brian Leiter notes that law professors are also more religious than philosophers).

Karen Sloan (Law.com), Whither The Religious Law Professor?:

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February 24, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, February 21, 2020

Law Journals And Scholarly Integrity In The Digital Age

Janet Sinder (Brooklyn), Correcting the Record: Law Journals and Scholarly Integrity in the Digital Age,:

In the age of electronic publications, post-publication correction of errors in law journal articles may seem like a simple, technical matter. Unfortunately, a lack of standardized practices or policies related to errors discovered after publication has allowed multiple versions of articles to co-exist and retracted or plagiarizing articles to remain unnoted. An examination of a sampling of articles with publication errors highlights the need for a uniform system to allow readers to know which version of an article is the most current and correct, what changes have been made to corrected articles, and whether other, even more serious, problems were discovered.

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February 21, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Enron Meets Academia: Altered Grades, Manufactured Transcripts, And Store-Bought Diplomas

Harvey Gilmore (Monroe College), Enron Meets Academia ... Altered Grades, Manufactured Transcripts, and Store-Bought Diplomas, 19 Fla. Coastal L. Rev. 567 (2019):

As Enron and Bernie Madoff once showed us the depths that people will go to hide who they really are, there are many others out there who have created entire academic profiles... and even careers... under false pretenses. This is the story of only a few of them.

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February 20, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Merritt: Ranking Academic Impact

Deborah J. Merritt (Ohio State), Ranking Academic Impact:

OOPaul Heald and Ted Sichelman have published a new ranking of the top U.S. law schools by academic impact. Five distinguished scholars comment on their ranking in the same issue of Jurimetrics Journal in which the ranking appears. But neither the authors of this ranking nor their distinguished commentators notice a singular result: The Heald/Sichelman rankings include a law school that does not exist.

According to Heald and Sichelman, Oregon State ranks 53d among U.S. law schools for its SSRN downloads; 35th for its citations in the Hein database; and 46th in a combined metric. Oregon State, however, does not have a law school. The University of Oregon has a law school, but it appears separately in the Heald/Sichelman rankings. So Heald and Sichelman have not simply fumbled the name of Oregon’s only public law school.

Instead, it appears that my own law school (Ohio State) has been renamed Oregon State. I can’t be sure without seeing Heald and Sichelman’s underlying data; even the “open” database posted in Dropbox refers to the nonexistent Oregon State. But Ohio State, currently tied for 34th in the US News survey, seems conspicuously absent from the Heald/Sichelman ranking.

I’m sure that my deans will contact Heald and Sichelman to request a correction–assuming that Oregon State actually is Ohio State. Oregon State Law School’s administrators probably will not complain. They can’t celebrate either, of course, because they don’t exist. But apart from that correction, let’s ruminate on this error. What does it have to say about rankings? ...

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

Friday, February 14, 2020

Mandel: The Risks Of Incorporating Citations Data Into The U.S. News Law School Rankings

Gregory N. Mandel (Temple), Measure for Measure: The Risks of Incorporating Citations Data into U.S. News Rankings, 60 Jurimetrics J. 69 (2019):

This short essay responds to Paul Heald and Ted Sichelman’s article, Ranking the Academic Impact of 100 American Law Schools, 60 Jurimetrics J. 1 (2019). Heald and Sichelman's work provides a rigorous analysis of law school faculties’ citation and download statistics. Their recommendation to incorporate these statistics into U.S. News & World Report’s annual law school rankings, however, appears misguided.

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February 14, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Survey Of Law School Faculty: Evaluation Of The Law Library

Primary Research Group, Survey of Law School Faculty: Evaluation of the Law Library (2020):

This 113-page study presents data from a survey of 107 law faculty and administration from more than 60 law schools in the United States and Canada about how they feel about their law school libraries.  The report updates our earlier report on the same subject, published in 2016.

Table 3

The study presents detailed data on overall satisfaction with the law library and with many distinct facets and features of the library and library staff.  Unique data sets are available on satisfaction with interlibrary loan, group study rooms, database range and availability, information technology, information literacy training, eBook collections, journal collections, and much more.  In addition, the report presents answers to open ended questions about what faculty would like to see more – or less of – in their libraries.

The report also gives distinct data on the percentage of faculty who approach law librarians by phone, email, text, social media, in-person and through other means.

The study also looks closely at information using habits of law faculty, pinpointing the frequency of use of West, LexisNexis, Google Scholar, HeinOnline and Bloomberg Law and furnishing highly useful benchmarks for law librarians to use with their own statistics and internal surveys.

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Survey Of Law School Faculty & Staff: Assessment Of Law School Leadership

Primary Research Group, Survey of Law School Faculty & Staff: Assessment of Law School Leadership (2020):

Approximately 60.42% of law school faculty and staff are satisfied or very satisfied with the fairness and transparency of promotion and tenure decisions at their law schools, according to the Survey of Law School Faculty & Staff: Assessment of Law School Leadership.

Table 1.2.1

Table 1.2.2

The study presents findings from a survey of 96 faculty members and staff from 72 law schools in North America.  The report presents highly detailed data on satisfaction levels with a broad range of law school efforts and characteristics including but not limited to: the law school marketing and student recruitment efforts, recent graduate job placement assistance, policies on sexual harassment and discrimination, cost control and budgeting, law school information technology, provision of help in attracting grants for faculty research, attracting quality students, maintenance of buildings and other physical infrastructure, the quality of legal education, the quality of law school publications, and the overall success of the school’s strategic vision and positioning.

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February 12, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Former Law School Dean Lisa Kloppenberg Named Provost Of Santa Clara University

Lisa Kloppenberg Named Provost of Santa Clara University:

KloppenbergLisa Kloppenberg, who served as dean of Santa Clara University School of Law and has been interim University provost since June 2019, was named provost and vice president for academic affairs at the 169-year-old institution.

Kloppenberg, who was previously dean of the University of Dayton School of Law, will assume the new post March 1. As the chief academic officer in the University, the provost has executive responsibilities for overseeing all undergraduate and graduate educational programs and academic support functions.

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February 11, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Lindgren: Christians Denied Law Faculty Jobs May Have A Case Against Law Schools

Following up on my previous posts:

The College Fix, ‘Disparate Impact’? Christians Denied Law Faculty Positions May Have a Legal Case, Professor Argues:

Christian applicants for positions as law professors may have grounds to sue for “systematic discrimination,” given their “stark” underrepresentation in law schools, according to a study making waves in legal academia.

Northwestern University Law Prof. James Lindgren characterized his study as the first to probe “law professors’ belief in God and attendance at religious services.” It finds that Jews and nonreligious professors are overrepresented in law schools and Catholics and Protestants, underrepresented.

The St. Thomas Law Journal study floats the possibility of a “disparate-impact” case on behalf of religious candidates for law faculty positions, meaning that they face discrimination in practice under facially neutral policies. Lindgren cautions that further research is needed if “intentional discrimination” is to be discovered. ...

Lindgren’s findings “are certainly accurate,” George Dent, who taught law for nearly three decades at Case Western Reserve, told The College Fix in an email. Dent led an effort in 2017 to increase the political diversity in law academia in order to combat the “echo chamber.”

Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago Law School, meanwhile, disputed the import of Lindgren’s conclusions, writing on his blog that more law professors believe in God or a “higher power” than similarly educated academics.

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February 9, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Impact Of Divestment From Fossil Fuels On University Endowments

CJ Ryan (Roger Williams) & Christopher Marsicano (Davidson), Examining the Impact of Divestment from Fossil Fuels on University Endowments:

Between 2011 and 2018, 35 American universities and colleges divested, either partially or completely, their endowments from fossil-fuel holdings, marking a shift toward sustainability in university endowment investment. However, the decision by these universities to divest was often marred by controversy, owing to conflicts between student- and faculty-led coalitions and the university board. Principally, endowment fiduciaries are averse to divestment decisions because they think that it will hurt the endowment's value, but this concern, motivated by a narrow interpretation of fiduciary law, can be empirically examined.

To date, the academic study of the effect of divestment on endowment values has focused on the top university endowments and has produced mixed results. Our study is different from the extant but limited literature in this area in that we examine holistically the impact of total or partial divestment on endowment values for all universities as well as a select group of institutions that are illustrative of their peers by endowment size. More importantly, we evaluate the assumption that divestment does injury endowment values through legal and empirical lenses.

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

Academic Feeder Judges

Howard Wasserman (Florida Int'l), Academic Feeder Judges:

This paper identifies “academic feeder judges”—the federal judges (especially from courts of appeals) for whom law professors clerked at the beginning of their careers and the judges who “produce” law professors from the ranks of their former clerks. The study is based on a summer 2019 review of publicly available biographies and c.v.’s of full-time faculty at ABA-accredited law schools, identifying more than 3000 “academic former clerks” and the judges for whom each clerked. From this, the paper identifies:

  • 101 lower federal judges with the most academic former clerks,
  • 52 federal trial judges,
  • 53 federal judges appointed since 1995,
  • top state-court judges, and
  • SCOTUS justices, current and past.

Circuit

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February 5, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Call For Symposium Proposals: Columbia And California Law Reviews

Columbia Law ReviewColumbia Law Review Call for Symposium & Timeline:
We are currently accepting symposium proposals for an event in November 2020. Please send all proposals to symposium@columbialawreview.org. We will be making a determination in April 2020 regarding which, if any, proposals will be accepted for an event next fall. If your proposal is selected, there will be an accompanying issue of the Columbia Law Review dedicated to publication of the work generated by the symposium.

Proposal Requirements:
Proposals should include a detailed 2-3 page explanation of:

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

Fostering Law Student Learning Through Office Hours

DeShun Harris (Memphis), Office Hours Are Not Obsolete: Fostering Learning Through One-on-One Student Meetings, 57 Duq. L. Rev. 43 (2019):

Office hours, whether it is the traditional notion of an office hour whereby the professor has designated times for students to visit, office hours by appointment, or an open-door policy, are a great learning opportunity for students. In the law school context, the American Bar Association (ABA) requires full-time faculty members to “[be] available for student consultation about those classes” they teach. In addition to office hours, students meet one-on-one with faculty in a variety of ways: mentoring, advocacy coaching, answering substantive questions, legal writing conferences, law review note advising, career/academic support counseling, and for so many other purposes. Indeed, law students reported on the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), that most students have worked with faculty on activities other than coursework.

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February 4, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 3, 2020

Ryan: Law Student Debt And Career Choices

CJ Ryan (Roger Williams), Paying for Law School: Law Student Loan Indebtedness and Career Choices:

Student loan debt has reached crisis levels, topping $1.64 trillion dollars this year and surpassing credit card debt to become the second largest source of debt held by Americans. When discussing student loan debt, it is easy to fixate on the aggregate impact of the burdens this debt places on taxpayers, the economy, and borrowers alike, such as the depressive effects that student loan debt has on marriage, homeownership, and entrepreneurship. Yet, a discussion of which graduates are saddled with the largest student loans and how their debt obligations impacts their career choices is often absent from conversations about student debt and has been understudied to date. This Article contributes to the discourse about student loan debt and its potentially negative externalities by investigating responses from an original survey administered at four law schools, revealing novel findings about law students’ expected debt loads, career choices, and intentions to participate in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

In Part I of this Article, the student loan crisis is more closely examined with particular emphasis on its salience for law school graduates. In addition, the first part of this Article provides credible descriptive evidence that rates and amounts of borrowing to attend law school impact law students differentially on the basis of their endowed characteristics, such as race and parental education.

Ryan 0

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February 3, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, January 31, 2020

Florida International Law School: An Unexpected Bar Passage Leader

Following up on my previous posts:

An Unexpected Leader, Nat'l Jurist, Vol. 29, No. 3, Winter 2020, at 6:

Florida International University is once again ranked No. 1 in the state for bar passage. What’s its secret? One hint: cognitive schema theory.

OK, this is getting ridiculous.

Florida International University College of Law once again topped all Florida law schools when it came to bar passage. Results from the July 2019 bar exam show that 95.7% of FIU Law grads taking the test for the first time passed, a rate nearly 22% above the state average. The Miami school has led all Florida law schools in bar passage for five consecutive July exams.

It makes no sense. It defies logical outcomes if you go by traditional measurements. The median Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score for students entering FIU Law is 157. The national median, in comparison, is 152.

On paper, University of Florida Levin College of Law has better students. Its median LSAT score for its entering class is 164. That’s top in the state.

Meanwhile, University of Florida’s July 2019 bar passage rate was 87.9%. That’s good, but not FIU Law good.

As we said, FIU’s showing is ridiculous. Preposterous. Absurd.

Or not.

“No, I was not surprised,” said Raul Ruiz, the school’s director of bar preparation, when asked about the most recent results. “Our students work very hard. And it’s the continuing evolution of our (bar prep) program. We’re constantly identifying what works and what works better.”

The American Bar Association (ABA) used to give schools five years to have 75% of students from a graduating class pass the bar. Now they get two. That recent change has sent some schools scrambling to improve bar prep and bring up their two-year tallies, which are known as their “ultimate” bar passage rates.

FIU Law’s ultimate bar passage rate for the Class of 2016 — at more than 95% — is among the top 15 in the nation.

There is no secret to this success, mind you. The brains behind it are Ruiz and Louis Schulze Jr., associate dean and professor of academic support. Schulze wrote an academic paper about their method two years ago [The Science of Learning Law: Academic Support Measures at Florida International University College of Law], so it’s out there for everyone to see and duplicate if they wish.

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January 31, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Academic Independent Directors Increase Firm Value

Bibo Liu, Wei Wei & Zhen Zhou (Tsinghua University), The Value of Academic Independent Directors:

This paper investigates the value of academic independent directors’ (ADs’) services by exploring an unexpected policy shock that forces ADs to resign from Chinese listed firms. Empirical results show that around the announcement of this policy, the stock prices of firms with ADs drop by 2.2%, which can be translated to a 135M RMB loss. These results suggest a likely causal relation between AD presence and firm value. ADs with academic backgrounds related to the firms’ primary line of business, with connections to an industry association, and holding top positions in a prestigious university are more valuable to firms. For ADs with business backgrounds, their services are more valuable when sitting on some specific board subcommittees. Moreover, ADs are more hardworking as they miss fewer meetings.

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January 30, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Women Undersell Their Scholarly Work

New York Times op-ed, Men Call Their Own Research ‘Excellent’, by Anupam Jena (Harvard), Marc Lerchenmueller (Yale) & Olav Sorenson (Yale):

Women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the highest levels. Only one out of four full professors at American research institutions is a woman, despite the fact that equal numbers of men and women earn doctoral degrees in science each year. In the life sciences, women are less likely either to receive major grant funding or to be promoted to full professor — and they are paid less even when they produce the same amount of scholarly output as men.

We’ve identified another, much less discussed component of gender disparity in science: Men are much more likely than women to heap praise on their own research and emphasize its importance.

In a study published in The British Medical Journal [Gender Differences in How Scientists Present the Importance of Their Research], we analyzed the titles and abstracts of more than six million life science articles. We suspected that scientific teams led by men might frame their research findings in more flattering light, by using terms like “novel,” “excellent” and “unique” to describe their results.

Indeed, they do. In the most highly cited scientific journals, male-led scientific teams were up to 21 percent more likely than women-led teams publishing comparable studies to use positive adjectives to frame their research findings.

Gender

That matters. Scientists use titles and abstracts to screen articles, to decide what to read. Positive presentation of research findings by male scientists may then draw more attention from others in the scientific community. Sure enough, we found that the greater use of positive spin by male-led teams was linked to more citations. Since citations to scientific research often serve as a key metric in hiring, promotion, pay and funding decisions, these differences in self-promotion may also translate into gender disparities on many levels.

Wall Street Journal, In Published Work, Male Scientists Sing Their Own Praises More:

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January 29, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Spring 2020 Law Review Article Submission Guide

SubmissionsNancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC) have updated their incredibly useful document, which contains two charts for the Spring 2020 submission season covering 203 law reviews.

The first chart (pp. 1-52) contains information gathered from the journals’ websites on:

  • Methods for submitting an article (such as by e-mail, ExpressO, regular mail, Scholastica, or Twitter)
  • Any special formatting requirements
  • How to request an expedited review
  • How to withdraw an article after it has been accepted for publication elsewhere

The second chart (pp. 53-59) contains the ranking of the law reviews and their schools under six measures:

  • U.S. News: Overall Rank
  • U.S. News: Peer Reputation Rating
  • U.S. News: Judge/Lawyer Reputation Rating
  • Washington & Lee Citation Ranking
  • Washington & Lee Impact Factor
  • Washington & Lee Combined Rating

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January 28, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Online Learning And The Future Of Legal Education

David I. C. Thomson (Denver), Online Learning and the Future of Legal Education, 70 Syracuse L. Rev. ___ (2019):

The debate about whether we should teach law online is over. Indeed, it has been over for some time, we just may not have noticed. Today the tools, disciplines, and practices of online learning pervade law school courses, whether nominally taught online or not. Whether through a site that offers quizzes on legal subjects, or through a full-featured learning management system which hosts links to myriad supplemental materials for the course, law professors are consistently using interactive and engaging online learning tools to enhance their courses. With new technology in all spheres we tend to think in binary terms. Yes or no. On or off. All or none. But history teaches us that is this is not how technology is adopted, and as a result, it is rarely the most productive way to think of it, and it does little to help us prepare for the new paradigm. This is because, quite simply, we live in a hybrid world, and have for at least two decades. We are somewhat late to the party, but the future of legal education will be even more hybrid of a learning experience than it already is. Thus, the question of whether we should or should not teach law online is no longer the interesting question (if it ever was). The interesting question, or questions, is which courses ought to be taught online and in what ways and to what degree should we deliver small or large parts of our courses online?

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January 27, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Banzhaf: Godless Liberal Law Professors Are Training Future Lawyers

John F. Banzhaf, III (George Washington), Godless Liberal Law Professors Are Training Future Lawyers:

Law professors — those teaching students who will soon become precedent-setting litigators, judges, and frequently legislators and regulators or their staffs — are not only overwhelmingly liberal, but are also many times more likely to be godless than the general public, according to a recently published study [James Lindgren (Northwestern), The Religious Beliefs, Practices, and Experiences of Law Professors, 15 U. St. Thomas L.J. 342 (2019)]. ...

The study concludes that "law professors today are far less likely to believe in God than the general population, even compared to that segment of the population with graduate and professional degrees. Indeed, even compared to other professors, law professors are much less religious." ...

While the study did not address the effect of having a law faculty which is much more liberal and much less religious than the general population on what and how such law professors teach prospective lawyers, it's hard to see how a relative paucity of conservative and/or strong religious views would not have a significant impact, and for the same reason that African Americans and Hispanics are so actively sought out by law schools as part of their affirmative actions programs for both students and faculty. ...

[I]f it's appropriate to favor certain groups (e.g., Blacks and Latinos) in hiring and admission at law schools, it's not clear why such a policy should not apply as well to other underrepresented groups such as conservatives, Christians, and others with underrepresented religious backgrounds, etc.

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January 26, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Lindgren: The Religious Beliefs, Practices, And Experiences Of Law Professors

James Lindgren (Northwestern), The Religious Beliefs, Practices, and Experiences of Law Professors, 15 U. St. Thomas L.J. 342 (2019):

Very little is known about the religious beliefs and practices of American law professors. In the drive for diversity, religion usually takes a back seat at university campuses. About two decades ago, I surveyed law faculties at the top one hundred law schools, asking professors about their religious affiliations [Measuring Diversity: Law Faculties in 1997 and 2013, 39 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 89 (2016).]. I found that Christians were represented at only about half their percentages in the larger population, while Jewish and nonreligious law professors were substantially overrepresented. This article begins with an update of that study, but unlike the 1990s survey, this one probes much deeper, presenting data on belief in God, church attendance, and religiously motivated discrimination.

While the pattern of underrepresentation in Christian religious sects today is similar to that of the 1990s, the differences in actually believing in God are much larger than for mere religious affiliation.

Lindgren 1

Law professors today are far less likely to believe in God than the general population, even compared to that segment of the population with graduate and professional degrees. Indeed, even compared to other professors, law professors are much less religious.

Lindgren 3

Additionally, law professors are substantially less likely to attend religious services than their non-professorial counterparts.

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January 26, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

An Empirical Investigation Of Legal Scholarship On Religion

James C. Phillips (Stanford), Is U.S. Legal Scholarship “Losing [Its] Religion” Or Just Playing Favorites?: An Empirical Investigation, 1998–2012, 2018 Pepp. L. Rev. 139 (2019):

The place of religion in America is changing. This paper seeks to understand that change in a narrow but influential context: legal scholarship. Focusing on the time period after the Supreme Court struck down RFRA as applied to the states and a flurry of state-level RFRA’s in the mid 2010’s, the study examines nearly 1300 law review articles to present a quantitative intellectual history. The study finds that religion is portrayed increasingly less positively over the period, based on a five-point positivity scale created for the study. The paper also finds that some faiths are portrayed more positively (Native American religions, Islam, Judaism, and other non-Christian faiths) than others (general Christianity, Catholicism, and other specific Christian faiths).

Cleff 1
Cleff 2

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January 26, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Academy Overweights Co-Authored Articles, To The Detriment Of Women, Faculty Of Color, And Faculty With Surnames That Fall Later In The Alphabet

Inside Higher Ed op-ed:  Bias in the Academy: Counting Co-Authors, by Linus Yamane (Pitzer College; "If your last name begins with the letter Z, he would like to co-author a paper with you"):

In light of the frequent campus climate issues of recent years, many of us in higher education have been thinking about inherent biases in our institutions’ appointment, promotion and tenure systems. How might faculty of color and women be systematically thwarted when they try to move up the academic labor market? One fundamental way such biases manifest themselves is how academe gives credit for single-author and multiple-author journal article publications.

In my field of economics, the number of authors per paper has increased monotonically over time. ...  [I]f departments do not distinguish between single-authored and co-authored journal articles, it is easier to increase the number of publications with co-authors.

When I talk with faculty members of color, they express a concern about this practice of co-authoring papers. They tell me that it is harder for faculty of color to find co-authors. In many ways, finding a co-author is like finding a spouse. We tend to marry people who look like ourselves. Tall people tend to marry other tall people. Educated people tend to marry other educated people. White people tend to marry other white people. There are similar patterns with co-authors. They tend to have ties to the same graduate schools. They have interests in the same subfields. And faculty members of color tend to write with other faculty of color. But with fewer faculty of color in academe, it is harder for those scholars to find appropriate co-authors.

Unfortunately, while the practice of co-authoring articles creates a bias against faculty of color, we can do little to change the situation immediately. If we can increase the number of faculty members of color in higher education, that will help, but it will take some time.

For today, we must focus on being careful about properly crediting the work in co-authored journal articles when we evaluate faculty members. While single-author papers send a clear signal about skills and abilities of the author, co-authored papers do not provide specific information about each author’s skills and abilities. That ambiguity can result in systematic biases. We must make sure that we recognize the work of co-authors in a fair and consistent way. ...

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January 21, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Ben Barton Discusses Fixing Law Schools

Inside Higher Ed, Author Discusses Fixing Law Schools:

Fixing Law SchoolsThe decade after 2008 was not a good one for law schools. Applications and enrollment fell. Some closed. This is the subject of Fixing Law Schools: From Collapse to the Trump Bump and Beyond (NYU Press). But the author -- Benjamin H. Barton is professor of law at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville -- also has a path forward for law schools.

He discussed the book via email.

Q: What happened in 2008? Why was the decade that followed so hard for law schools?
A: 2008 is actually the wrong date. For the first few years of the Great Recession, law schools actually saw a rise in applications, as college graduates who worried about a weak job market opted for graduate schools of all types, including law schools. In 2011 the overall economy had started to improve, but job placement for law schools stayed very poor. Suddenly there was a flood of terrible press featuring how bad the job market was, how expensive law school had become and the doubling of student debt during the 2000s. Law schools entered into a tailspin: fewer applicants, fewer enrollees and much more discounting for the students who did come. Revenue and enrollment fell precipitously overall, by around 33 percent. Several law schools closed, and many, many more faced challenging times. ...

Q: How should law schools change?

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January 16, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Harvard Recruits African-American Applicants Who Have 'No Chance Of Being Admitted'

New York Times, That Recruitment Letter From Harvard Probably Doesn’t Mean Much:

The message, emailed to more than 100,000 high school students, was seductive and flattering: “Your strong grades and standardized test scores indicate to us that Harvard and other selective institutions may be possibilities for you.”

Harvard encouraged them to apply. But many of the recipients had little chance of getting in, especially if they were black, according to a new analysis of the university’s admissions data by three economists.

Peter Arcidiacono (Duke), Josh Kinsler (Georgia) & Tyler Ransom (Oklahoma), Recruit to Reject? Harvard and African American Applicants:

Over the past 20 years, elite colleges in the US have seen dramatic increases in applications. We provide context for part of this trend using detailed data on Harvard University that was unsealed as part of the SFFA v. Harvard lawsuit. We show that Harvard encourages applications from many students who effectively have no chance of being admitted, and that this is particularly true for African Americans. African American applications soared beginning with the Class of 2009, with the increase driven by those with lower SAT scores. Yet there was little change in the share of admits who were African American. We show that this change in applicant behavior resulted in substantial convergence in the overall admissions rates across races yet no change in the large cross-race differences in admissions rates for high-SAT applicants.

Harvard 1

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January 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Legal Writing Faculty Bear A Disproportionate Share Of 'Office Housework'

Mary Bowman (Arizona State), Legal Writing as Office Housework?, 68 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2020):

This essay examines persistent status issues that legal writing faculty face through the lens of Joan Williams’s “office housework” paradigm [Harvard Business Review, “Office Housework” Gets in Women’s Way]. Office housework includes tasks that are not valuable for career advancement, even when they are necessary for an organization’s success. Williams’s research shows significant gender and racial disparities across industries in who carries disproportionate burdens of office housework. These disparities mirror the disparities seen when comparing the composition of legal writing faculties to the composition of law school faculties generally, as well as the salary and security of position disparities between the two groups.

Applying this paradigm, the essay argues that legal writing faculty disproportionately bear the burden of three types of office housework:

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January 14, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Scholarship As Fun

Thomas Schultz (King's College London), Scholarship as Fun:

This paper — which is part of a symposium for Pierre Schlag — argues that the pursuit of fun is possibly better than most of our usual pursuits in legal scholarship. This has three likely implications, which are reflected in the structure of the paper: a recognition of the coexistence of mutually exclusive legal realities entertaining dialectic relationships; the abandonment of oneness of the legal academy; and the need to situate ourselves within tangled socio-professional hierarchies.

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January 14, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 13, 2020

Scholarly Refereeing Is Not Productive

Aboozar Hadavand (Johns Hopkins), Daniel S. Hamermesh (Barnard) & Wesley W. Wilson (Oregon), Is Scholarly Refereeing Productive (at the Margin)?:

In economics many articles are subjected to multiple rounds of refereeing at the same journal, which generates time costs of referees alone of at least $50 million. This process leads to remarkably longer publication lags than in other social sciences. We examine whether repeated refereeing produces any benefits, using an experiment at one journal that allows authors to submit under an accept/reject (fast-track or not) or the usual regime. We evaluate the scholarly impacts of articles by their subsequent citation histories, holding constant their sub-fields, authors’ demographics and prior citations, and other characteristics. There is no payoff to refereeing beyond the first round and no difference between accept/reject articles and others. This result holds accounting for authors’ selectivity into the two regimes, which we model formally to generate an empirical selection equation. This latter is used to provide instrumental estimates of the effect of each regime on scholarly impact.

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

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Shaping The Next Generation Of Lawyers: A Call To The Christian Legal Community

Jeffrey A. Brauch (Former Dean, Regent), Shaping the Next Generation of Lawyers: A Call to the Christian Legal Community:

In 2007, the Carnegie Foundation published Educating Lawyers, its influential and comprehensive assessment on how well law schools law schools train our students. One of the most important recommendations made by Carnegie that law schools should provide an apprenticeship in professional identity. Professional identity “draws to the foreground the purposes of the profession and the formation of the identity of lawyers guided by those purposes.”  To Carnegie, an apprenticeship in professional identity means training students both in professional ethics and professionalism, what it called “the wider matters of morality and character.”

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January 12, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Kuehn: Refuting The False Trope On Clinical Courses And Bar Passage

Kuehn (2019)TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Refuting the False Trope on Clinical Courses and Bar Passage, by Robert Kuehn (Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Washington University):

It has been observed that “the fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.” Until recently, this could be said about the possible influence of enrollment in clinical courses on a student’s likelihood of passing the bar examination. While there was a shortage of empirical studies on any possible relationship, there have been plenty of opinions on how taking those courses might be harmful, opinions often reflected in graduation restrictions on clinical courses and requirements for bar subject-matter courses.

But, there are now significantly more facts to refute those opinions. Two recent, large-scale studies have both found no relationship between the number of law clinic or externship courses or credits a law graduate took and her likelihood of passing the bar exam.

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January 9, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Forgiveness And Mercy: Our Most God-Like Power

Following up on my recent post, Forgiveness: Law, Faith, Christmas, And Hamilton:  Wall Street Journal:  David Skeel (Pennsylvania), Our Most God-Like Power (reviewing Martha Minow (Harvard), When Should Law Forgive? (W. W. Norton & Company 2019), and Malcolm Bull (Oxford), On Mercy (Princeton University Press 2019)):

Forgive MercyAmerican public life is full of disputes about justice and forgiveness. Take the Dreamers—the nearly 700,000 young adults who came from Mexico and elsewhere as children, did not obtain citizenship or permanent resident status, and have been in legal limbo since President Obama signed an executive order giving them temporary legal status in 2012. Depending on whom you talk to, these immigrants should either be deported immediately or given full citizenship.

When the brother of Botham Jean, the unarmed black man shot in his Dallas apartment by Amber Guyger, a white off-dudy police officer, asked the judge if he could hug Guyger and offer forgiveness at the end of her trial, reactions were similarly divided. Many found the brother’s gesture of mercy profoundly moving; for others, it was only a distraction from justice.

Two types of forgiveness are intertwined in these instances.

The first is legal forgiveness. Our legal system is committed to justice, and to honoring the rule of law. But sometimes we make exceptions, declining to punish a defendant who has violated the law or providing partial amnesty for tax evaders. This is legal forgiveness.

The second type of forgiveness, interpersonal, is often described as a “release of resentments.” When Brandt Jean offered to forgive Amber Guyger, he was letting go of his anger against his brother’s killer and so extending interpersonal forgiveness.

How can legal forgiveness be reconciled with the rule of law? What do legal and interpersonal forgiveness have to do with one another? These questions are implicit in the current controversies about justice and mercy or forgiveness, and they are the focus of two thoughtful but idiosyncratic new books.

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January 5, 2020 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Cognitive Biases: Urine Tests, Legal Education Neuromyths, And Lawyers

Edwin S. Fruehwald, Cognitive Biases: Urine Tests, Legal Education Neuromyths, and Lawyers:

Over the past few years, I have been studying cognitive biases, and now I see them everywhere. They are pervasive in both our public and private lives. They affect how we see politics, do our jobs, and relate to others. Understanding cognitive biases is especially important for legal educators and lawyers.

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December 18, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Bader: How To Cope With Your Law Prof’s Left Wing Bias

Hans Bader (Competitive Enterprise Institute), How to Cope With Your Prof’s Left-wing Bias:

To get the best possible grade, students may need to pander to their professors’ left-wing ideology.

Professors are much more likely to be progressives than they are to be moderate or conservative. Law professors are no exception. Progressive professors view progressive views as a sign of intelligence, and conservatism as a sign of stupidity. For example, Prof. Robert Brandon, head of Duke University’s philosophy department, argued that conservatives are rare in academia because they are stupid.

So to get a good grade, moderate or conservative law students should pretend to be progressives when taking their final exam. That will make them seem more intelligent to their left-wing professors. They should echo their professor’s left-wing ideology in answering exam questions — such as questions about what a vague provision of the Constitution means, or about who should win a lawsuit where both sides have a plausible legal argument.

Parroting my professors’ left-wing ideology worked for me at Harvard Law School. For example, I got a good grade in my tort law class, because I parroted the professor’s male-bashing and left-wing extremism. I got a high grade even though I did not understand tort law as well as most of my classmates. When I failed to pander to my left-wing professors’ ideology, I got lower grades. I received only a B- in property law, which I understood better than many classmates. Why? Perhaps because I did not echo the anti-property-rights mindset of the left-wing professor.

Moderate and conservative law professors themselves have advised students to parrot their progressive professors’ views to get a good grade on their final exam. Law professor Robert Anderson advises,

Law students: Remember to echo your professor’s ideology on your final exams! If you haven’t noticed this on Twitter, many profs are incapable of separating “is” from “ought,” acknowledging trade-offs, or recognizing the validity of counterarguments.

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December 10, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Forgiveness: Law, Faith, Christmas, And Hamilton

Martha Minow (Harvard), When Should Law Forgive? (2019):

When Should Law ForgiveThe potential power of forgiveness in an age of resentment.

Crimes and violations of the law require punishment, and our legal system is set up to punish, but what if the system was recalibrated to also weigh grounds for forgiveness? What if something like bankruptcy―a fresh start for debtors―were available to people convicted of crimes? Martha Minow explores the complicated intersection of the law, justice, and forgiveness, asking whether the law should encourage people to forgive, and when courts, public officials, and specific laws should forgive.

Who has the right to forgive? Who should be forgiven? And under what terms? Minow tackles these foundational issues by exploring three questions:

What does the international response to child soldiers teach us about the legal treatment of juvenile offenders in the United States?

  • Why are the laws surrounding corporate debt more forgiving than those governing American student and consumer debt, and sovereign debt in the developing world?
  • When do law’s tools of forgiveness, amnesties, and pardons strengthen justice, peace, and democracy (think South Africa), and when do they undermine law’s promise of fairness (think Joe Arpaio)?

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December 8, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)