Paul L. Caron

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Law Teaching And Academic Perfectionism

Nancy Ehrenreich (Denver), When Professors Get in Their Own Way: Law Teaching and Academic Perfectionism, 68 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2019):

This article recounts how the author recovered from disillusionment and decreasing effectiveness as a law professor by diagnosing and overcoming her academic perfectionism. Perfectionism is the self-defeating tendency to have unrealistic goals and expectations of oneself. For many, it can cause loss of confidence, frustration with others, and, eventually, worsening performance. In short, perfectionism can lead a law professor to get in her own way, taking things students say personally and failing to recognize the pedagogical (and emotional) needs of the class. Focusing on the author’s experience teaching large, 1L courses, the article describes how letting go of the desire to impress or entertain students can lead to a more confident, comfortable, and effective approach to teaching.

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August 24, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Abstract 'Spin': Nearly Half Of All Scholars Exaggerate Their Papers' Findings

Inside Higher Ed, Abstract ‘Spin’:

We’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover. But we shouldn’t be judging academic studies by their abstracts, either, according to a new paper in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine [Evaluation of Spin in Abstracts of Papers in Psychiatry and Psychology Journals]. The study — which found exaggerated claims in more than half of paper abstracts analyzed — pertains to psychology and psychiatry research. It notes that “spin” is troublesome in those fields because it can impact clinical care decisions. But the authors say that this kind of exaggeration happens in other fields, too.

“Researchers are encouraged to conduct studies and report findings according to the highest ethical standards,” the paper says, meaning “reporting results completely, in accordance with a protocol that outlines primary and secondary endpoints and prespecified subgroups and statistical analyses.”

Yet authors are free to choose “how to report or interpret study results.” And in an abstract, in particular, they may include “only the results they want to highlight or the conclusions they wish to draw.” ...

How often did articles’ abstracts exaggerate the actual findings? More than half the time, or 56 percent. Spin happened in 2 percent of titles, 21 percent of abstract results sections and 49 percent of abstract conclusion sections. Fifteen percent of abstracts had spin in both their results and conclusion sections.

In a word: spin. ...

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August 22, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Women Are Less Likely To Get Tenure The More They Coauthor

Heather Sarsons (Chicago; "This paper is intentionally solo-authored."), Gender Differences in Recognition for Group Work:

How is credit for group work allocated when individual contributions are not perfectly observed? Do demographic traits like gender influence the allocation of credit? Using data from academic economists’ CVs, I test whether coauthored and solo-authored publications matter differently for tenure for men and women. Because coauthors are listed alphabetically in economics, coauthored papers do not provide specific information about each contributor’s skills or ability. Solo-authored papers, on the other hand, provide a relatively clear signal of ability. I find that men are tenured at roughly the same rate regardless of whether they coauthor or solo-author. Women, however, become less likely to receive tenure the more they coauthor. The result is most pronounced for women coauthoring with men and less pronounced among women who coauthor with other women. I contrast economics with sociology, a discipline in which coauthors are listed in order of contribution, and find that when contributions are made clear, men and women receive equal credit for coauthored papers.

Gender 1

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August 21, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A New Growth Vision For Legal Education, Part III: The Path Forward — Being Both Human And Digital

Following up on my previous posts:

Hilary G. Escajeda (Denver), Legal Education: A New Growth Vision. Part III — The Path Forward: Being Both Human And Digital, 97 Neb. L. Rev. 1020 (2019):

In the decades ahead, innovative and status quo-breaking law schools will leverage and combine multidisciplinary, multigenerational human expertise with digital platform and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to create vibrant legal education ecosystems. These combinations will deliver market-valued knowledge and skill transfer and development services that are high-quality, cost-effective, omnichannel, pedagogically sound, data-validated, personalized, on-demand or just-in-time, and multi-format (e.g., hybrid, HyFlex, digitalfirst, digital-live, etc.).

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August 20, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Student Evaluations Are Unreliable And Biased Against Female Professors

London School of Economics and Public Policy, Student Evaluations of Teaching Are Not Only Unreliable, They Are Significantly Biased Against Female Instructors:

A series of studies across countries and disciplines in higher education confirm that student evaluations of teaching (SET) are significantly correlated with instructor gender, with students regularly rating female instructors lower than male peers. Anne Boring, Kellie Ottoboni and Philip B. Stark [Student Evaluations of Teaching (Mostly) Do Not Measure Teaching Effectiveness] argue the findings warrant serious attention in light of increasing pressure on universities to measure teaching effectiveness. Given the unreliability of the metric and the harmful impact these evaluations can have, universities should think carefully on the role of such evaluations in decision-making.


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August 20, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Morals And Mentors: What The First American Law Schools Can Teach Us About Developing Law Students' Professional Identity

Benjamin V. Madison (Regent) & Larry O. Natt Gantt, II (Regent), Morals and Mentors: What the First American Law Schools Can Teach Us About Developing Law Students' Professional Identity, 31 Regent U. L. Rev. 161 (2019):

This article examines what the first American law schools can teach current legal educators about how best to develop law students’ professional identity. Drawing upon the seminal reports of Educating Lawyers and Best Practices for Legal Education, the article underscores legal educators’ responsibility to cultivate our students’ professional identity and instill in them the key normative values of the profession. Turning to the lessons we can learn from early American law schools, the article then discusses how legal educators in America, from colonial times through the late nineteenth century, sought to teach aspiring lawyers both legal analysis and the study of — and reflection on — ethical and moral principles underlying the law.

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August 18, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

How Popular Discontent Is Reshaping Higher Education Law

Ben Trachtenberg (Missouri), The People v. Their Universities: How Popular Discontent Is Reshaping Higher Education Law, 106 Ky. L.J. ___ (2020):

Surveys taken since 2015 reveal that Americans exhibit stark partisan divisions in their opinions about colleges and universities, with recent shifts in attitudes driving changes to higher education law. In recent years, Democrats have become slightly more positive about higher education. Concurrently, Republicans have become extremely more negative, and a majority of Republicans now tells pollsters that colleges and universities have an overall negative effect on the country.

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August 15, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Social Media And Professional Norms For Lawyers, Judges, And Law Professors

Agnieszka McPeak (Duquesne), The Internet Made Me Do It: Reconciling Social Media and Professional Norms for Lawyers, Judges, and Law Professors, 55 Idaho L. Rev. 205 (2019):

Social media platforms operate under their own social order. Design decisions and policies set by platforms steer user behavior. Additionally, members of online communities set informal expectations that form a unique set of norms. These social media norms—like oversharing, disinhibition, and anonymity—become common online, even though similar conduct might be shunned in the real world.

For lawyers, judges, and law professors, a different set of norms apply to both their online and offline conduct. Legal ethics rules, codes of judicial conduct, workplace policies, and general professionalism expectations dictate behavior for legal professionals. Collectively, these professional norms set a higher bar—one that fundamentally clashes with ever-evolving social media norms. This conflict between social media and professional norms must be reconciled in order for lawyers, judges, and law professors to avoid online missteps.

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August 15, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Fostering And Assessing Law Student Teamwork And Team Leadership Skills

Neil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas), Fostering and Assessing Law Student Teamwork and Team Leadership Skills, 47 Hofstra L. Rev. ___ (2019):

Skills of teamwork and team leadership are foundational for many types of law practice, but how much instruction, supervised experience, assessment, and guided reflection on these two skills did each reader as a law student receive? Law schools’ formal curricula, in the author’s experience, historically have not given much attention to the development of these skills. There also has been little legal scholarship on how most effectively to foster law students’ growth toward later stages of teamwork and team leadership. Legal education must do better.

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August 14, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sander: Are Law Schools Engines Of Inequality?

Richard H. Sander (UCLA), Are Law Schools Engines of Inequality?, 48 J.L. & Educ. 243 (2019):

In Robin Hood in Reverse, Professor Aaron Taylor examined an important problem: how the cycle of rising law school tuition and expanding merit scholarships damages the pipeline of opportunity for aspiring lawyers and reinforces the social "eliteness" of legal education. Taylor directs the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), which gathers data on the experiences of thousands of law students each year, and he is in a good position to shed light on the important problems he examines. He advanced some bold claims which deserve careful consideration. Professor Taylor has generously shared with me the LSSSE data he used in his analysis. Working with these and other data, I evaluate Taylor's arguments and analyze what we can reliably say about how law school scholarship programs have evolved and how they function today.

My main conclusions are these:

(1) Taylor views the powers that be in legal education as seeking to maintain the legal profession as a preserve for socially privileged whites; he sees the reliance on the LS AT as a central mechanism for replicating the social exclusiveness of the profession. In contrast, I see law schools as increasingly focused on the rankings arms race, which has produced a variety of specific behaviors unhealthy for the legal academy as a whole.

(2) Taylor treats "race" and "class" almost interchangeably; in his view, law school policies are unfair to racial minorities and low-SES students in very similar ways. As I show, however, law school policies break out in dramatically different ways depending on whether we use a "race" lens or a "class" lens. We cannot understand these policies without recognizing this distinction.

(3) Although Taylor's conclusions are sweeping, his LSSSE data cover only the past few years, and his quantitative analysis relies primarily on crosstabulations. I bring in historical data from the 1990s and use regression analysis to isolate how specific factors operate when we control for other relevant variables. Both of these steps greatly enhance our understanding of the underlying patterns.

(4) Many of Taylor's conclusions go beyond what his data actually show. And it is striking how many gaps exist in the LSSSE data, compared to other databases on legal education generated in the 1990s and early 2000s. I try to distinguish (a) what we can reasonably infer from contemporary data from (b) what we can only make guesses about, pending the development of better sources.

In the final section of the paper, I build on these insights to attempt a general diagnosis of what ails our current policies, and to suggest steps we might take to fix things.

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August 14, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Learning To Love Pro Bono: A Practical Recipe For Engaging Law Students

Alissa Gomez (Houston), Learning to Love Pro Bono: A Practical Recipe for Engaging Law Students:

In April 2019, our Lawyering Skills & Strategies Department at the University of Houston Law Center brought together law students, faculty, practitioners, and UH law librarians, to help low-income clients across Texas using the virtual legal advice platform provided by the ABA’s Free Legal Answers website. Launched in September 2016, Free Legal Answers allows members of the public who income-qualify to post civil legal questions to a secure website and have those questions answered by a licensed attorney in their state. Pairing law students with practitioners, faculty, and law librarians, we were able to answer several real-time client questions, in the span of less than three hours, on issues ranging from family law and landlord-tenant to consumer disputes. The experience brought legal research and writing to life for our law students, and helped remind everyone about the importance of pro bono service to our profession.

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August 14, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A Game Theory Model Of Law Faculties: Turnover Helps Curb Antisocial Faculty Behavior

Shi-Ling Hsu (Florida State), Cooperation and Turnover in Law Faculties: A Game-Theoretic Model and Empirical Study, 102 Marq. L. Rev. 1 (2018):

A standard account of group cooperation would predict that group stability would bring about greater cooperation, because repeat-play games would allow for sanctions and rewards. In an academic unit such as a department or a law faculty, one might thus expect that faculty stability would bring about greater cooperation.

However, academic units are not like most other groups. Tenured professors face only limited sanctions for failing to cooperate, for engaging in unproductive conflict, or for shirking. This article argues counter-intuitively that within limits, some level of faculty turnover may enhance cooperation. Certainly, excessive and persistent loss of faculty is demoralizing, and reduces the number of individuals among which administrative work can be spread. But for less dire losses, faculty turnover may play the disciplining role that academic units are deprived of by the tenure system.

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August 13, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Co-Authoring Legal Scholarship With Students

Richard A. Bales (Ohio Northern) & Stephen F. Befort (Minnesota), Running the Race Together: Co-Authoring Legal Scholarship with Students, 27 Persp. 4 (2019):

The two co-authors of this essay collectively have co-authored more than seventy law review articles or other scholarly publications with students. The vast majority of these are published in law reviews other than those at our home institutions. We’re not legal writing professors, but we are professors who work a lot with students to improve their writing. One of the ways we do that is by encouraging them to publish the papers they write for our courses and by working with them one-on-one to polish their drafts. We’ve learned some key lessons from that experience about improving student writing that we think might be helpful to any law school professors who work with students to improve their writing including LRW professors, law school writing specialists, and doctrinal professors.

This essay describes how we co-author with students; the myriad benefits such co-authoring offers to us, our students, the academy, and the bar generally; and a few speed bumps we have run into along the way.

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August 13, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Has College Gotten Too Easy?

The Atlantic, Has College Gotten Too Easy?:

AtlanticWhen Jeff Denning, an economist at Brigham Young University, started looking closely at the data on college-completion rates, he was a bit perplexed by what, exactly, was driving this uptick. He and some of his BYU colleagues noticed that a range of indicators from those two decades pointed in the direction of lower, not higher, graduation rates: More historically underrepresented groups of students (who tend to have lower graduation rates) were enrolling, students appeared to be studying less and spending more time working outside of school, and student-to-faculty ratios weren’t decreasing. “We started thinking, What could possibly explain this increase?” Denning told me. “Because we were stuck with not being able to explain anything.”

Stuck, that is, until they started looking at what was happening with students’ GPAs. Despite the aforementioned trends among the college-going population, students were, on average, earning higher grades in their first year of college. “[GPAs are] going up, and as best we can tell, there’s not a good reason that they’re going up, in terms of student behavior or preparation or anything like that,” Denning said.

If grades are improving but there’s no reason to think that students have become better students, an interesting possibility is raised: The unassuming, academic way Denning puts it in a recent paper (co-authored with his BYU colleague Eric Eide and Merrill Warnick, an incoming Stanford doctoral student) is that “standards for degree receipt” may have changed. A less measured way of saying what that implies: College may have gotten easier.

Jeffrey T. Denning, Eric R. Eide & Merrill Warnick (BYU), Why Have College Completion Rates Increased?:

College completion rates declined from the 1970s to the 1990s. We document that this trend has reversed—since the 1990s, college completion rates have increased.

Figure 2

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August 10, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, August 9, 2019

New Technology, The Death Of The BigLaw Monopoly, And The Evolution Of The Computer Professional

Michael Guihot (Queensland), New Technology, the Death of the BigLaw Monopoly, and the Evolution of the Computer Professional:

Much has been written recently about new technology disrupting the traditional law firm model of providing legal services. Susskind and Susskind predicted the failure of professions, including the legal profession, due in large part to the external pressure of disruptive technology. However, concentrating blame on the technology is misguided; it blames the tool used to disrupt rather than the root causes of the disruption. In short, computers do not kill lawyers.

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August 9, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Mindful Engagement And Relational Lawyering

Susan L. Brooks (Drexel), Mindful Engagement and Relational Lawyering, 48 Sw. L. Rev. ___ (2019):

Mindful engagement is a relational approach to mindfulness, and a mindful approach to being relational, in law and in life. It is about cultivating habits of mind and practices that can inform a wholehearted approach to lawyering, which means bringing our emotional and bodily awareness as well as our analytical minds fully into our work. Mindful engagement contemplates the interconnection and integration of engagement with oneself, with others interactively, and with communities and larger social institutions and systems.

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August 8, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School As A Consumer Product

Debra Moss Vollweiler (Nova), Law School as a Consumer Product: Beat 'em or Join 'em?:

With rising costs, pressure on performance metrics and competitive high-profile rankings, law schools are more than ever before being judged on a consumer satisfaction basis by both students and the public. While this perception has been growing over the past two decades, it has reached a crisis point in legal education. When students have their choice of educational institutions, they may act like consumers, and choose to spend their money based on metrics that satisfy them as buyers. This consumer mindset not only impacts admissions, but also can play out in the retention of students. The loss of students transferring out can take a serious toll on a law school, including potential detriments in bar passage, productive classrooms, the loss of future high performing alumni, and the cost of replacing the tuition generation. Schools are thus pressured to address the consumer issue.

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August 8, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Why Are Seemingly Satisfied Female Lawyers Running For The Exits?

Joni Hersch (Vanderbilt) & Erin E. Meyers (Vanderbilt), Why Are Seemingly Satisfied Female Lawyers Running for the Exits? Resolving the Paradox Using National Data, 102 Marq. L. Rev. 915 (2019):

Despite the fact that women are leaving the practice of law at alarmingly high rates, most previous research finds no evidence of gender differences in job satisfaction among lawyers. This Article uses nationally representative data from the 2015 National Survey of College Graduates to examine gender differences in lawyers' job satisfaction, and finds that any apparent similarity of job satisfaction between genders likely arises from dissatisfied female JDs sorting out of the legal profession at higher rates than their male counterparts, leaving behind the most satisfied women.

Lawyer Satisfaction

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August 6, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

Anderson: Citation Engagement v. One-Off Citations

Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), Citation Engagement Counts - The Case of Corporate Law Scholars:

Citation counts (and other types of citation-based metrics) are increasing in importance in the legal academy. Some people like the objectivity of these measures and others lament their failure to capture important non-quantifiable aspects of scholarly influence.

One of the most influential citation count rankings in the legal academy is the Sisk-Leiter approach that Greg Sisk updates every three years. Last fall when the new Sisk et al. citation count study came out I proposed a small change to the Sisk-Leiter method that would attempt to measure engagement, defined as citing a particular article more than once. This was designed to address the "throwaway" citation problem that critics of citation counts have raised — that some papers may receive a large number of perfunctory "one off" citations that are less meaningful as a measure of scholarly influence.

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August 6, 2019 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Kronman: The Downside of Diversity: Assault On American Excellence

Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘Elite Schools Are National Treasures. Their Elitism Is What Makes Them Such.’:

KronmanSince stepping down from his 10-year tenure as dean of Yale Law School, Anthony T. Kronman has been thinking a lot about the larger purposes of a humanities education. He’s addressed the topic in two books, Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life (Yale, 2007) and Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan (Yale, 2016), this last a 1,000-page exploration of his personal theology that draws on thinkers from antiquity to Freud to Rawls. (Kronman earned a Ph.D. in philosophy and spent some time undergoing psychoanalysis.) As Joshua Rothman put it in The New Yorker, Kronman "suspects that he might have found the meaning of life."

His most recent book, The Assault on American Excellence, will be published by Free Press in August. It’s a crisply argued jeremiad about what Kronman sees as the wrong turn taken by elite universities in recent years. Under the guise of concerns for inclusion and a misplaced egalitarianism, Kronman argues, universities have abandoned what should be their core commitments to reasoned argumentation and, more controversially, to the development of an "aristocratic ethos."

I met with Kronman in his office at the Yale Law School to talk about democracy and aristocracy, campus debates over free speech, affirmative action, and what he calls "the conversational ideal." ...

Much of your argument depends on the tension between democratic and aristocratic values. Colleges — and you’re really talking about elite colleges, here — ought to preserve, you say, "an aristocratic ethos in an otherwise democratic culture."

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August 5, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Characteristics Of Lawyers Who Are Subject To Complaints And Misconduct Findings: Older Males In Smaller Non-Urban Law Firms

Tara Sklar (Arizona), Yamna Taouk (Melbourne), David Studdert (Stanford), Matthew Spittal (Melbourne),  Ron Paterson (Health and Disability Commissioner) & Marie Bismark (Melbourne), Characteristics of Lawyers Who Are Subject to Complaints and Misconduct Findings, 16 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 318 (2019):

Regulators of the legal profession are charged with protecting the public by ensuring lawyers are fit to practice law. However, their approach tends to be reactive and case based, focusing on the resolution of individual complaints. Regulators generally do not seek to identify patterns and trends across their broader caseloads and the legal profession as a whole. Using administrative data routinely collected by the main regulator of the legal profession in Victoria, Australia, we characterized complaints lodged between 2005 and 2015 and the lawyers against whom they were made. We also analyzed risk factors for complaints and misconduct findings. We found the odds of being subject to a complaint were higher among lawyers who were male, older, had trust account authority and whose practices were smaller, in non-urban locations, and incorporated. A deeper understanding of these risk factors could support efforts to improve professional standards and reform regulatory practices.

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August 5, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Fall 2019 Law Review Article Submission Guide

SubmissionsNancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC) have updated their incredibly useful document, which contains two charts for the Fall 2019 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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August 4, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 2, 2019

Learning Theory And The Law: Spaced Retrieval And The Law School Curriculum

Brian Sites (Barry), Learning Theory and the Law: Spaced Retrieval and the Law School Curriculum, 43 Law & Psychol. Rev. 99 (2019):

Over one hundred years of learning theory endorse a core learning method and its component parts, and studies in a variety of disciplines and settings have repeatedly verified their supremacy as learning tools. Yet law schools largely make no use of them. One of the schools that does, however, reported a 19.2% increase in bar passage among students using it; and another law school cited it as a pivotal component of its multiple top bar scores in a state with a dozen law schools (many of which have similar or higher predictors).s Yet the typical law school curriculum ignores it, the traditional law classroom makes little use of it, and innumerable law students-who often do not know about or use the theory-are led instead down the opposite path by professors. This article advocates for changing these mistakes.

The learning tool at issue is spaced retrieval. Studies have shown that spaced retrieval and its component parts, spaced repetition and retrieval theory, lead to better, more durable learning. Their value has been established in a variety of educational settings ranging from middle school to medical school, and from the study of mathemtics to Monet. Further, reported improvements exceed a letter grade increase. What student wouldn't desire a letter grade improvement in learning mastery (even if the curve prevented an actual letter grade increase)? What law school wouldn't want to see something in the range of a ten percent increase in bar exam scores?

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August 2, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Implementing ABA Standard 314 by Incorporating Effective Formative Assessment Techniques Across The Law School Curriculum

Diana R. Donahoe (Georgetown) & Julie Ross (Georgetown), Lighting the Fires of Learning in Law School: Implementing ABA Standard 314 by Incorporating Effective Formative Assessment Techniques Across the Curriculum:

The American Bar Association now requires law schools to incorporate formative assessment into the law school curriculum by providing feedback to students relating to course-specific learning goals before the end-of-semester exam. Peer reviews and self-evaluations are two powerful formative assessment techniques that faculty can use to meet the new ABA standards to assess the students’ learning outcomes while courses are ongoing, creating more effective learning environments within the classroom.

This article argues that peer reviews and self-evaluations can be successfully used across the law school curriculum to deepen student understanding, encourage student cooperation, and develop students’ abilities to be self-regulated learners in law school.

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August 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Incorporating Mandatory Mentoring Programs For Junior Lawyers And Law Students Nationwide

Katerina P. Lewinbuk (South Texas), Kindling the Fire: The Call for Incorporating Mandatory Mentoring Programs for Junior Lawyers and Law Students Nationwide, 63 St. Louis U. L.J. 211 (2019):

With mentoring, the legal community can guide, mold, and aid those entering the legal field. Mentoring should begin in law school, just as 110 schools are currently doing, so that students can begin building important professional relationships. Mentoring will help students and attorneys avoid making rookie mistakes, give them the confidence and skills they need to grow, and teach them how to "practice law in accordance with the highest ideals of the profession."

As cases dealing with attorney discipline demonstrate, attorneys that have mentors will likely be more successful than those that never sought guidance in their profession. For instance, the case of Christman v. People demonstrated the negative outcomes attorneys face when they never had a chance to obtain mentorships. As the court indicated in that case, it is critical for newly admitted attorneys to have guidance early on in their professional careers. As such, many law schools now strongly encourage mentorships for students.

Currently, the implementation of mentorship programs is being determined by each individual state. Six states currently require mentorship programs for newly admitted attorneys, others are joining the movement by implementing voluntary programs.' A number of law schools are also encouraging and creating programs for students entering law school by connecting them with alumni, student organizations, and practicing attorneys. Not only are mentorship programs beneficial for learning purposes, but they also serve as a means for rehabilitation when attorneys have gone astray.

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August 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Masters Programs And The Public Educational Mission Of Law Schools

Mark Edwin Burge (Texas A&M), Access to Law or Access to Lawyers? Masters Programs in the Public Educational Mission of Law Schools, 74 U. Miami L. Rev. __ (2019):

The general decline in J.D. law school applicants and enrollment over the last decade has coincided with the rise of a new breed of law degree. Whether known as a master of jurisprudence, juris master, or master of legal studies, these graduate degrees all have a target audience in common: adult professionals who neither are nor seek to become practicing attorneys. Inside legal academia and among the practicing bar, these degrees have been accompanied by expressed concerns that they detract from the traditional core public mission of law schools — educating lawyers. This article argues that non-lawyer masters programs are not a distraction from the public mission of law schools, nor are they a necessary evil foisted upon legal education by economic trends. Rather, such degrees reflect a paradigm shift that law schools and attorneys should embrace rather than resist: a move away from law being largely accessed primarily through a licensed elite and toward a greater role for autonomy in public engagement with the legal system.

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July 31, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Burk, Organ & Rasiel: Law School Coping Strategies In The Changed Legal Education Market

Bernard A. Burk (formerly North Carolina), Jerome M. Organ (St. Thomas) & Emma Rasiel (Duke), Competitive Coping Strategies in the American Legal Academy: An Empirical Study, 19 Nev. L.J.  ___ (2019):

Many casual observers of the American legal academy are aware of the substantial falloff in both the number and the conventional qualifications of applicants to law school that began after 2010. But few appreciate how widespread and serious its effects have been. For the vast majority of law schools, those effects have been somewhere between significant and devastating.

From 2010-11 through 2016-17, the number of unique applicants to accredited law schools fell 36%, and the number of applications fell 44%, while students with the best conventional qualifications disproportionately stayed away. The effects on the academy have been profound, and sectors of the academy distinguished by their relative overall reputation for quality have reacted differently. Beyond the strongest law schools, many shrank by between a third and a half, and dropped 15 LSAT percentiles. We estimate that aggregate annual tuition revenue for all accredited American law schools fell over $1.5 billion from its inflation-adjusted peak in 2011-12. Generally we found, as might be expected, that the weaker a law school’s relative reputation for quality, the more difficulty it had attracting students with the credentials it sought, so that as reputation decreased, entering-class credentials (“Profile”), entering-class Size, and average tuition actually paid (“Net Tuition”) also decreased. But this general and unsurprising finding came with some surprising variations and exceptions. These results lead to four observations with important implications for the legal academy:

Table 1.1

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July 31, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Caron Presents A Dean's Perspective On Diversity, Socioeconomics, The LSAT, And The U.S. News Law School Rankings Today At SEALS

One of the Legal Ed panels today at the 2019 SEALS Annual Conference in Boca Raton, Florida:

SEALs Logo (2013)Building Bridges: Socioeconomics, the LSAT and U.S. News and World Report Rankings
This panel explores methodologies and programs that will help students from low income and diverse backgrounds have opportunities available to them to attend law school. AALS President Wendy Perdue of the University of Richmond has said: “As our society struggles with this problem of deep polarization, lawyers and law schools have an important role to play. Lawyers, are, after all, in the dispute resolution business. Resolving conflict is central to what we do. And today, perhaps more than ever before, the skills that we as lawyers have, and we as law professors teach, are of critical importance.” In order to resolve these conflicts, we need to make sure that all communities have access to engage in these important conversations. The Before the J.D. Study shows that African American and Hispanic students think about going to law school before going to high school and college. In addition, the study highlights that over 60% of students report the most important advice about going to graduate or professional school comes from a family member or relative. Many students from low-income backgrounds do not have family members who are lawyers and are at a disadvantage in getting advice about going to law school because they may not be encouraged by these close family members or friends. There is still a small percentage of African American and Latino/a attorneys Nationwide 5% of lawyers are African American and 5% are of Hispanic origin. These percentages have remained consistent for almost the past ten years. So many students from these racial and ethnic backgrounds also can’t readily turn to family members or friends for inspiration and advice about going to law school. The ABA reports that the entering class for 2017 has an aggregate African American enrollment of 8.6% and 13.2% for Hispanics. Meanwhile, African Americans consist of approximately 13% and Hispanics approximately 18% of the overall U.S. population. These two racial groups, along with Asian Americans, are on target to be a majority of the U.S. population in the next 30 years. Given the growth trends in these demographic groups, there will be an insufficient percent of lawyers from these groups to meet their (and society’s) legal needs in the next few years. Moreover, some scholars have argued that there is a strong tie between socioeconomics and law schools admissions. There has recently been a very passionate Twitter discussion of this issue on Lawprofblawg. Some believe that the LSAT and U.S. News privileges those from middle- and upper middle-class backgrounds. Others point out the LSAT’s strength in providing an accurate assessment of core skills required for success in law school and that an admission process that correctly uses the LSAT as one factor in a multi-factor holistic admission process is fairest to applicants. Recently, U.S. News attempted to reduce economic privilege in its rankings of undergraduate schools by injecting socio economic factors. The formula now includes indicators meant to measure "social mobility" and drops an acceptance rate measure that benefited schools that turned the most students away. A recent Politico article reported that U.S. News will change its methodology at the college level. This panel consists of experts who examine these issues in terms of the LSAT, U.S. News & World Report law school rankings, and socioeconomic and diversity issues.

  • Leonard Baynes (Dean, Houston), Pre-Law Pipeline Program: We’ve Got The Power
  • Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), A Dean's Perspective on Diversity, Socioeconomics, the LSAT, and the U.S. News Law School Rankings
  • Victor Quintanilla (Professor & Co-Director, Center for Law, Society & Culture, Indiana), Initial Results on Relationship Between the LSAT, USNWR, SES, and Demographics From the Productive Mindset Intervention Study
  • Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News), Building Bridges: Socioeconomics, the LSAT and U.S. News and World Report Rankings  
  • Kellye Testy (President & CEO, LSAC; former Dean, University of Washington), Adversity and Admission: Tackling “Opportunity to Learn”

July 31, 2019 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Participation In Undergraduate Mock Trial Programs And Law School GPA

Teresa Nesbitt Cosby (Furman University), To the Head of the Class? Quantifying the Relationship Between Participation in Undergraduate Mock Trial Programs and Student Performance in Law School, 92 St. John's L. Rev. 797 (2018):

This Article seeks to answer the question of whether students who engage in undergraduate mock trial competitions gain a competitive advantage in law school. The Article will examine the pedagogy of experiential learning methods by analyzing how student performance in undergraduate school compares to how these same students perform in law school, and, importantly, whether these students are gainfully employed in a law-related career after law school. This is accomplished by conducting four interviews with Furman alumni who participated in the undergraduate mock trial program during their tenures, and a survey targeting law school students and recent graduates who participated in mock trial and those who did not participate by comparing LSAT scores, law school class standing, job market success, and other related factors. As a result of this study, this Article qualitatively and quantitatively discusses the benefits and detriments of an undergraduate mock trial experience in relation to successful law school performance and subsequent legal careers.

Conclusion. Mock trial is a competitive intellectual activity engaged in by very smart people. The average undergraduate grade point average of participants is 3.51 and the average SAT scores are between 1200-1400 for critical reading and math, which places these students in the 751 percentile of all test takers nationally. Just as mock trial students perform at a higher academic level than the majority of students who sat for the SAT and ACT, so do all law students who participated in the survey. The data shows that very smart students participate in mock trial and very smart students go to law school. The LSAT scores of students also showed similar results where the scores of all law students and students who participated in mock trial were within the same ranges. Finally, law school class ranking and law review participation, which are indicators of how well a student performs when compared to other students in their law school class, show that there is no significant difference between the academic performance of non-mock trial law school students and students who did participate in mock trial. The data shows that the majority of students who participate in mock trial do so because they think it will help them with their academic performance in law school. However, this belief is not supported by the data. Rather, the data show that there is no significant academic advantage for mock trial participants over their nonmock trial colleagues. Therefore, students may want to evaluate whether this activity will help them to achieve their goals. This conclusion is supported by the observations of Audrey, who felt that mock trial was not a good tool to prepare a student for the pedagogical process of law school.

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July 30, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Maintaining Scholarly Integrity In The Age Of Bibliometrics

Andrew T. Hayashi (Virginia) & Gregory Mitchell (Virginia), Maintaining Scholarly Integrity in the Age of Bibliometrics, 68 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2019):

Journal of Legal Education (2018)As quantitative measures of scholarly impact gain prominence in the legal academy, we should expect institutions and scholars to engage in a variety of tactics designed to inflate the apparent influence of their scholarly output. We identify these tactics and identify countermeasures that should be taken to prevent this manipulation. The rise of bibliometrics poses a significant risk to the scholarly endeavor but, with foresight, we can maintain scholarly integrity in the age of bibliometrics.

July 30, 2019 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Classism In The Legal Academy Panel Today At SEALS

One of the Legal Ed panels today at the 2019 SEALS Annual Conference in Boca Raton, Florida:

SEALs Logo (2013)Discussion Group: Classism in Academia
Lawprofblawg, an anonymous blogger, has raised some compelling critiques about race, class and gender issues in academia. Specifically, he has called out the academy’s top cited list as being classist, pointing out that few of the faculty on that list ever graduated from a law school lower than top 10. Few on the list are women, and few on the list are people of color. Moreover, many of those on the list currently work and write at a top 10 law school. These critiques have garnered a great deal of publicity of late, including a rebuttal on Prawfsblawg. Topics would include the following questions: Why are 94 percent of all Faculty members at top 10 schools graduated from top 10 schools? Why are nearly all of the 2017 top 10 law review authors from those schools as well? Why are only 30 percent of those academics at top 10 law schools women? Why don’t we care about the most cited legal writing professors, clinical professors, or law librarians? Why can’t they seem to get published in top 10 law reviews?

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July 28, 2019 in Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Hyphens In Paper Titles Harm Citation Counts

IHE 2American Association for the Advancement of Science, Hyphens in Paper Titles Harm Citation Counts and Journal Impact Factors:

According to the latest research results, the presence of simple hyphens in the titles of academic papers adversely affects the citation statistics, regardless of the quality of the articles. The phenomenon applies to all major subject areas. Thus, citation counts and journal impact factors, commonly used for professorial evaluations in universities worldwide, are unreliable.

This breakthrough finding poses a fundamental challenge to the rule of the game in determining the contributions of papers, journals, and professors. It is unveiled in a paper titled Metamorphic Robustness Testing: Exposing Hidden Defects in Citation Statistics and Journal Impact Factors by Zhi Quan Zhou, T.H. Tse, and Matt Witheridge, recently published in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, the top journal in the field. ...

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July 26, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Millennials In The Legal Academy: 'Innovative Narcissists Lead The Way'

Ashley Krenelka Chase (Stetson), Upending the Double Life of Law Schools: Millennials in the Legal Academy, 44 U. Dayton L. Rev. 1 (2018):

This article discusses Holloway and Friedland’s vision of the law school of 2025 [The Double Life of Law Schools, 68 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 397 (2018)], with a focus on the need for technology education and a cultural shift in the legal Academy and the law school curriculum. It surveys the landscape of millennials as both students and employees, briefly describing their strengths and weaknesses in both arenas.

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July 25, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Double Life Of Law Schools

Ian Holloway (Dean, Calgary) & Steven Friedland (Elon), The Double Life of Law Schools, 68 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 397 (2018):

The law school of 2025 will soon appear around the corner. An increasingly asked question is what will legal education look like? Will it look like the Langdellian model of the past 120 years, centered on the coverage of appellate case reports, leavened by a modest degree of experiences and some tweaks? Or will its shape transmogrify, becoming a blend of technology, Carnegie, and a redesigned marketplace?

Our view is that by the year 2025, law school will indeed be dramatically different. But how different depends on who wins the war between the traditional education, tracing back to the days of Langdell in the 1870s, and the repositioned drivers influencing legal education today from inside and out. In a word, we are living in a time of struggle — struggle for control of the soul of legal education.

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July 25, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Innovation: A New Key Discipline For Lawyers And Legal Education

Michele Beardslee DeStefano (Miami), Innovation: A New Key Discipline for Lawyers and Legal Education:

Over the past two years, I have interviewed hundreds of in-house and law firm lawyers from around the globe to explore the changing legal marketplace, expectations of clients, and innovation in law. One of my main conclusions is that we are experiencing an Innovation Tournament in Law and almost everyone is playing in it. As I explain in more detail in my book, Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in Law, driven by a combination of technology, socio-economics, and globality, we are witnessing innovation on almost every legal dimension, including how legal services are priced, packaged, sourced, and delivered. Importantly, this innovation is not only coming from legal tech startups and new law companies. Law firms, the Big Four, and corporate legal departments are creating innovations of their own including new services, products, tools, and, importantly, new processes. Even those that aren't creating innovations are playing in the Innovation Tournament by utilizing the innovations (or exapting them) to become more efficient and deliver better service. Although we are not yet seeing disruption in the law marketplace in the Clayton Christensen sense, all lawyers should care about the Innovation Tournament regardless and here's why:

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July 25, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Law School Learning Outcomes

Debra Moss Vollweiler (Nova), Don’t Panic! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Learning Outcomes: Eight Ways to Make Them More Than (Mostly) Harmless, 44 U. Dayton L. Rev. 17 (2018):

HitchhikersLegal education, professors and administrators at law schools nationwide have finally been thrust fully into the world of educational and curriculum planning. Ever since ABA Standards started requiring law schools to “establish and publish learning outcomes” designed to achieve their objectives, and requiring how to assess them debuted, legal education has turned itself upside down in efforts to comply. However, in the initial stages of these requirements, many law schools viewed these requirements as “boxes to check” to meet the standard, rather than wholeheartedly embracing these reliable educational tools that have been around for decades. However, given that most faculty teaching in law schools have Juris Doctorate and not education degrees, the task of bringing thousands of law professors up to speed on the design, use and measurement of learning outcomes to improve education is a daunting one.

Unfortunately, as the motivation to adopt them for many schools was merely meeting the standards, many law schools have opted for technical compliance — naming a committee to manage learning outcomes and assessment planning to ensure the school gets through their accreditation process, rather than for the purpose of truly enhancing the educational experience for students. For those law schools reluctantly trailing along on the learning outcome and assessment train, the best advice to schools thrown into this world comes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series, in which the electronic guide of the same name tells those along for the ride “Don’t Panic!” (in large friendly letters) while describing our home planet as a whole, at least for part of the series, as “mostly harmless.” While schools should not be panicking at implementing and measuring learning outcomes, neither should they consign the tool to being a “mostly harmless” — one that misses out on the opportunity to improve their program of legal education through proper leveraging. Understanding that outcomes design and appropriate assessment design is itself a scholarly, intellectual function that requires judgment, knowledge and skill by faculty can dictate a path of adoption that is thoughtful and productive.

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July 23, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 22, 2019

Why And How Lawyers And Law Schools Should Embrace Artificial Intelligence

Melanie Reid (Lincoln Memorial), A Call to Arms: Why and How Lawyers and Law Schools Should Embrace Artificial Intelligence, 50 U. Tol. L. Rev. 477 (2019):

AIThis essay intends to provide a brief overview as to the advanced technology currently available to practitioners. Part I will evaluate the impact emerging Al technology has on the practice of law, in particular in the areas of legal research, "search and find" services, form automation and creation, and predictive analytics. Part II will discuss the impact emerging Al technology has had on legal education and what some law schools are doing to prepare students to be competitive and succeed in this rapidly evolving legal environment. Lastly, in Part III, I argue that legal education must attempt to bridge the law-tech divide and become ground zero for innovation and change. While I attempt to offer some advice to legal educators on how to incorporate technology in the classroom, it is clear further discussions are needed, and legal educators need to come together, evaluate current law school curriculum, and brainstorm as to how to improve upon current pedagogical practices.

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July 22, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A New Growth Vision For Legal Education, Part II: The Groundwork: Building A Customer Satisfying Innovation Ecosystem

Following up on Hilary G. Escajeda (Denver), Legal Education: A New Growth Vision Part I – The Issue: Sustainable Growth or Dead Cat Bounce? A Strategic Inflection Point Analysis, 97 Neb. L. Rev. 628 (2019):

Hilary G. Escajeda (Denver), Legal Education: A New Growth Vision Part II – The Groundwork: Building a Customer Satisfying Innovation Ecosystem, 97 Neb. L. Rev. 935 (2019):

Financial sustainability awaits agile, future-focused legal education programs that deliver law students with market-valued, cost-effective, and omni-channel knowledge and skills development solutions.

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July 20, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Summit On The Future Of Legal Education And Entry To The Profession


A Summit on the Future of Legal Education and Entry to the Profession, 13 FIU L. Rev. 313-511 (2019):

Teaching With Feminist Judgments: A Global Conversation

Bridget Crawford (Pace), Kathryn Stanchi (UNLV), Linda Berger (UNLV), Gabrielle Appleby (New South Wales), Susan Appleton (Washington University), Ross Astoria (Wisconsin), Sharon Cowan (Edinburgh), Rosalind Dixon (New South Wales), Troy Lavers (Leicester), Andrea McArdle (CUNY), Elisabeth McDonald (Canterbury), Teri McMurtry-Chubb (Mercer), Vanessa Munro & Pam Wilkins (Detroit Mercy), Teaching with Feminist Judgments: A Global Conversation, 38 Law & Ineq. ___ (2020):

Feminist JudgmentsThis conversational-style essay is an exchange among fourteen professors—representing thirteen universities across five countries—with experience teaching with feminist judgments. Feminist judgments are “shadow” court decisions rewritten from a feminist perspective, using only the precedent in effect and the facts known at the time of the original decision. Scholars in Canada, England, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, India and Mexico have published (or are currently producing) written collections of feminist judgments that demonstrate how feminist perspectives could have changed the legal reasoning or outcome (or both) in important legal cases.

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July 19, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Burk: The State Of The Entry-Level Law-Jobs Market And Its Implications For The Future Of Legal Education

Following up on my previous post, Bernard A. Burk (formerly North Carolina), The New Normal Ten Years In: The Job Market For New Lawyers Today And What It Means For The Legal Academy Tomorrow, 12 FIU L. Rev. 341 (2019):

Bernard A. Burk (formerly North Carolina), New Study on the State of the Entry-Level Law-Jobs Market and its Implications:

Part I: Where the Job Market for New Law Graduates is Today:

After a lengthy and precipitous drop that began after 2007, the number of strongly law-grounded entry-level jobs obtained by new law graduates within ten months of graduation finally appears to have levelled out. ... Why, then, you may well ask, is there persistent talk of the entry-level job market’s purported improvement, and even suggestions that it is “hot”?  (NALP, to its credit, has been more nuanced than the industry press.)  Well, the percentage of new graduates obtaining a Law Job has risen steadily since 2011.  And how can the portion of the graduating class getting a Law Job increase while the number of Law Jobs falls?  Easy:  The number of students graduating law school has been falling faster than the number of Law Jobs.  Here’s a picture:

Burke 1

Part II: What the Market is, and What the ABA is Not, Telling Us about “JD Advantage” Placements:

As Bar Passage Required jobs become more available (not because they increase in number, but because the number of graduates seeking them starts falling faster than the number of Law Jobs is falling), the number of JD Advantage placements begins to fall again. Here’s a picture:

Burk 2

Part III: The Future of the Entry-Level Law-Jobs Market:

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July 18, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

WSJ: Two Economists Fuel Democratic Debate Over How Far Left To Go

Wall Street Journal, Two Economists Fuel Democratic Debate Over How Far Left to Go:

DarityHamiltonFor decades, William Darity Jr. and Darrick Hamilton toiled in obscurity. They criticized mainstream economists and politicians for failing to address racial inequality, and touted more radical remedies of their own.

Now, with the 2020 presidential campaign under way and liberal Democrats ascendant the two economists are in the spotlight, thrust into the middle of an intraparty debate over how much to embrace big government and a race-oriented message.

Their signature ideas—guaranteed jobs for all adult Americans seeking them, government-backed trust funds for American babies and reparations for slave descendants—are being talked about on the campaign trail and, in the case of reparations, during a raucous congressional hearing in June.

WS 1The two African-American economists’ theories on “stratification economics,” which focuses on economic gaps between whites and blacks, have helped shape the rhetoric and platforms of several candidates. ...

Mr. Hamilton [is] an Ohio State University professor. ... Mr. Darity, a 66-year-old Duke University professor, and Mr. Hamilton, 48, have gained prominence as more Democrats decry the incrementalism they associate with Presidents Clinton and Obama. ...

They have teamed up to write more than 50 articles for academic and popular journals and books, and pioneered what they consider a new field of scholarship they branded stratification economics. They contend that mainstream economists tend to regard racial discrimination as a short-term market glitch that market forces will correct eventually. That logic, they say, leads to the conclusion that persistent African-American woes result mainly from their own failings, such as inadequate education or poor financial choices.

Policy makers, they contend, focus too much on employment, income and education and not enough on family wealth across generations. They say wealth is a better measure of household economic security—the ability to weather emergencies, pay for education, afford homes in good neighborhoods and take risks.

Their statistics show that black households headed by a college graduate have, on average, less wealth than those headed by white high-school dropouts, and that black households headed by someone working full time have less wealth than those headed by unemployed whites.

The racial wealth gap accumulated over years, they say, stoked not just by slavery but by 20th-century policies that helped whites and marginalized African-Americans. No matter how hard blacks work to improve their education or earn more, the two men say, they won’t catch up financially. Only significant government intervention can address the disparity, they argue.

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July 17, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, July 15, 2019

Journal Prestige And Journal Impact In Law

Ignacio Cofone (McGill) & Pierre-Jean G. Malé (Harvard), Journal Prestige and Journal Impact in Law:

While much has been said about the curiosity of the American law review submissions system, something even more curious has been overlooked: American legal scholars ignore the impact-factor of journals, and choose in which journal to publish based on publishing school’s ranking. To investigate whether ranking translates into impact, we collect and analyze historical data from American law journal’s impact-factor and the ranking of their publishing law schools. We first show that there is a correlation between prestige ranking and impact-factor over the years. However, the correlation is not perfect and it varies substantially over time. Second, journal impact-factor shows a larger inter-annual variation than school ranking. This means that impact-factor is a worse predictor of future journal impact than school ranking is of future school prestige. Third, we show that journals published by better law schools have higher inter-annual variation in impact-factor but lower variation in impact-factor based ranking. This result is surprising. We hypothesize that journals from high-ranked schools belong to a less homogeneous pool: few journals make most of the impact due to an exposure bias. We then move to consider authors’ utility from publishing in one journal or another. The optimal strategy for authors will depend on whether they prefer to maximize their prestige among their peers or their impact on the discipline, and how risk averse they are. Conditional on desiring impact, risk-averse scholars should look at school ranking and risk-neutral scholars should look at impact-factor.

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July 15, 2019 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Lawyers Serving Gods, Visible And Invisible

Jonathan R. Cohen (Florida), Lawyers Serving Gods, Visible and Invisible, 53 Gonz. L. Rev. 187 (2017):

Abstract. A critique of the American legal profession can be framed through the metaphor of idolatry, specifically the proclivity of lawyers to serve visible rather than invisible interests in their work. This proclivity has ramifications ranging from broad matters like lawyers' responses to deeply embedded social injustices to specific matters such as the excessive focus on pecuniary interests in ordinary legal representation and the high level of dissatisfaction that many lawyers experience in their careers. Using as a lens biblical teaching concerning idolatry, this article begins by describing "visible" as opposed to "invisible" interests in the context of legal practice. It then argues that lawyers, clients, and ultimately society could benefit from lawyers paying greater attention to invisible interests.

Introduction. Religious ideas can sometimes offer a distinctive lens or vantage point for gazing upon ordinary life. For example, seeing a person as created "in God's image" may lead one to ask a different set of questions (e.g., is that person being treated with dignity?) and assert a different set of values (e.g., that human life is precious) than one might ask or assert without that religious metaphor. One need not, of course, invoke religious language to discuss subjects like human dignity and worth, but religious teachings can lend insights into them. Here I suggest that another fundamental religious teaching, namely the biblical prohibition against idolatry, provides a useful lens for critiquing the American legal profession. Akin to worshiping a visible rather than invisible God, many lawyers have a proclivity to focus on visible rather than invisible interests in their work. This proclivity has ramifications ranging from the "small" issue of low job satisfaction among lawyers, to the broader issue of the tendency of many lawyers to focus excessively on their clients' pecuniary rather than nonpecuniary interests, to the even broader issue of the failure of many lawyers to undertake the prophetic work of confronting deeply embedded social injustices.

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July 14, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Women Score Higher Than Men In 17 Of 19 Leadership Skills

Harvard Business Review LogoHarvard Business Review:  Women Score Higher Than Men in Most Leadership Skills, by Jack Zenger (CEO, Zenger/Folkman) & Joseph Folkman (President, Zenger/Folkman):

In two articles from 2012 (Are Women Better Leaders than Men? and Gender Shouldn’t Matter, But Apparently It Still Does) we discussed findings from our analysis of 360-degree reviews that women in leadership positions were perceived as being every bit as effective as men. In fact, while the differences were not huge, women scored at a statistically significantly higher level than men on the vast majority of leadership competencies we measured.

We recently updated that research, again looking at our database of 360-degree reviews in which we ask individuals to rate each leaders’ effectiveness overall and to judge how strong they are on specific competencies, and had similar findings: that women in leadership positions are perceived just as — if not more — competent as their male counterparts. ...

Women are perceived by their managers — particularly their male managers — to be slightly more effective than men at every hierarchical level and in virtually every functional area of the organization. That includes the traditional male bastions of IT, operations, and legal.

As you can see in the chart below, women were rated as excelling in taking initiative, acting with resilience, practicing self-development, driving for results, and displaying high integrity and honesty. In fact, they were thought to be more effective in 84% of the competencies that we most frequently measure. According to our updated data, men were rated as being better on two capabilities —”develops strategic perspective” and “technical or professional expertise,” which were the same capabilities where they earned higher ratings in our original research as well. ...

Women Men Leadership

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July 9, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, July 8, 2019

Could The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Be Retroactively Curtailed?

Gregory S. Crespi (SMU), Could the Benefits of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Be Retroactively Curtailed?, 51 Conn. L. Rev. 1 (2019):

There is a sharp tension between the expectations that hundreds of thousands to millions of persons have or will have regarding their right to have their federal student loan debts forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (“PSLF”) program and the legitimate public concerns regarding the large costs and regressive incidence of the PSLF program’s benefits. In 2017, the Trump Administration proposed abolishing the PSLF program for future federal Direct Loans, but this proposal was not adopted. A similar proposal was made in 2019 as part of the Administration’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal, with little chance of adoption. But given the large costs of the program, which I estimate will eventually rise to $12 billion per year or more as an estimated 200,000 people per year who currently have outstanding federal Direct Loans will eventually seek debt forgiveness, and given the regressively skewed incidence of its benefits in favor of relatively affluent mid-career doctors and lawyers, I think that there will be further legislative curtailment efforts made in 2020 or later by the Trump Administration or by members of Congress, this time perhaps a more aggressive proposal for retroactive elimination of the program, or at least a push for a tax law amendment to include this forgiven debt as taxable income as is now done for debts forgiven under the other federal income-based loan forgiveness plans.

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July 8, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Anatomy Of Tenure And Academic Survival In Legal Education

Stephen J. Leacock (Barry), Tenure Matters: The Anatomy of Tenure and Academic Survival in Legal Education, 45 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 115 (2019):

This article is a modest journey into the universe of tenure in order to discover the components of its value to educational institutions and their faculty, and to effectively appraise this value. Very briefly, the article discusses the history and nature of tenure and then addresses factors implicated in its attainment and loss including litigation by applicants who were unsuccessful in the quest to acquire it in the first place. The criteria applied by educational institutions' evaluators in deciding whether to grant tenure, as well as matters pertinent to its retention, loss and legal measures attendant on these events are also discussed, analyzed and evaluated. After the introduction in Part I, Part II explores the origins of tenure, and Part III discusses the nature of tenure. Part IV analyzes its legal prerequisites and Part V discusses the procedures for earning an award of tenure as well as the concept of de facto tenure. Part VI concentrates on tenure's benefits to faculty members and Part VII acknowledges criticisms of tenure. Part VIII examines certain bases for termination of tenure.  Part IX is the conclusion. ...

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July 4, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Overhyped Rise Of Robot Lawyers

Milan Markovic (Texas A&M), Rise of the Robot Lawyers?, 61 Ariz. L. Rev. 325 (2019):

Robot Lawyer 2The advent of artificial intelligence has provoked considerable speculation about the future of the American workforce, including highly educated professionals such as lawyers and doctors. Although most commentators are alarmed by the prospect of intelligent machines displacing millions of workers, not so with respect to the legal sector. Media accounts and some legal scholars envision a future where intelligent machines perform the bulk of legal work, and legal services are less expensive and more accessible. This future is purportedly near at hand as lawyers struggle to compete with technologically-savvy alternative legal service providers.

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July 3, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 1, 2019

Building A Culture Of Assessment In Law Schools

Larry Cunningham (St. John's), Building a Culture of Assessment in Law Schools, 69 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 395 (2018):

A new era of legal education is upon us: Law schools are now required to assess learning outcomes across their degrees and programs, not just in individual courses. Programmatic assessment is new to legal education, but it has existed in higher education for decades. To be successful, assessment requires cooperation and buy-in from faculty. Yet establishing a culture of assessment in other disciplines has not been easy, and there is no reason to believe that it will be any different in legal education. A survey of provosts identified faculty buy-in as the single biggest challenge towards implementing assessment efforts. This article surveys the literature on culture of assessment, including conceptual papers and quantitative and qualitative studies. It then draws ten themes from the literature about how to build a culture of assessment:

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July 1, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Test-Only Admissions Would Help White, Affluent Students

Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, SAT-Only Admission: How Would It Change College Campuses?:

WSJA review of SAT and ACT standardized test scores among students in a recent class at the nation’s 200 most selective colleges finds that if all students were admitted solely on the basis of their test scores and no new seats were added, 53 percent of incoming students at the nation’s most selective colleges would no longer be attending. These students had median test scores that were 110 points below the median of all students at selective colleges (1140, compared to 1250). More than half of the students who would be ousted are affluent students—from families in the top quartile of socioeconomic status (SES).

A review of SAT and ACT standardized test scores among students in a recent class at the nation’s 200 most selective colleges finds that if all students were admitted solely on the basis of their test scores and no new seats were added, 53 percent of incoming students at the nation’s most selective colleges would no longer be attending (Figure 1). These students had median test scores that were 110 points below the median of all students at selective colleges (1140, compared to 1250). More than half of the students who would be ousted are affluent students—from families in the top quartile of socioeconomic status (SES).  ...

Currently, enrollment at the nation’s selective colleges is 66 percent White, 19 percent Black and Latino, 11 percent Asian, and 5 percent other races. But if we distribute seats to only students with the highest scores on the SAT and ACT, the White share of enrollment jumps to 75 percent, the Black and Latino share drops to 11 percent, the Asian share falls to 10 percent, and the share of other races and ethnicities remains 5 percent.

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June 25, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)