Paul L. Caron
Dean





Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Crespi: Teaching A Class On Income And Wealth Inequality

Gregory S. Crespi (SMU), Teaching a Class on Income and Wealth Inequality:

I am offering a course on “Income and Wealth Inequality” for the first time during this spring, 2021 semester at the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, and the course is going well. I am here discussing my choice of materials and providing my course syllabus and my weekly reading assignment list for use by anyone else who is considering offering such a course at the college or graduate or law school level.

March 3, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Inoculating Law Schools Against Bad Metrics

Kimberlee G. Weatherall (University of Sydney Law School; Google Scholar) & Rebecca Giblin (University of Melbourne Law School; Google Scholar), Inoculating Law Schools Against Bad Metrics:

Law schools and legal scholars are not immune to the expanding use of quantitative metrics to assess the research of universities and of scholars working within universities. Metrics include grant and research income, the number of articles produced in journals on ranked lists, and citations (by scholars, and perhaps courts). The use of metrics also threatens to expand to measure other kinds of desired activity, with various metrics suggested to measure the impact of research beyond scholarly circles, and even more amorphous qualities such as leadership and mentoring.

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March 2, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, March 1, 2021

'Old Codgers' Mark Tushnet & Louis Seidman Reflect On Their 50 Years In Legal Education

Paul Horwitz (Alabama) flagged this "charming, useful, and insightful" dialogue between Mark Tushnet (Harvard) & Louis Michael Seidman (Georgetown), On Being Old Codgers: A Conversation about a Half Century in Legal Education

The conversation that follows, conducted over three evenings, captures some of our thoughts about the last half century of legal education as both of us near retirement. We have edited the conversations so as to eliminate verbal stumbles and present our ideas more coherently, slightly reorganized a small part of the conversation, and added a few explanatory footnotes. However, we have attempted to keep the informal tone of our discussions. ...

Seidman: ... I reject the idea that only students at elite institutions would benefit from this tension — the unique tension — stemming from the fact that law schools are situated between practice and theory, between academic institutions and the real world. That is what makes law schools on the one hand different from philosophy departments and on the other hand different from vocational training. It is a unique and important role. As you say, the boom years demonstrated that nonelite institutions could serve their students in that way also.

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March 1, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Seven Deadly Sins And Lawyer Misconduct

Tory L. Lucas (Liberty), Greed and the Seven Deadly Sins: Treacherous for the Soul and Legal Ethics, 34 Regent U. L. Rev. 113 (2020):

As religious, philosophical, and cultural ideas, the Seven Deadly Sins occupy a common understanding of the worst behaviors that plague human relationships. Pride. Greed. Lust. Envy. Gluttony. Wrath. Sloth. Not exactly the traits that you seek in mutually beneficial relationships! Striving for universal appeal, this novel Article presents the Seven Deadly Sins as a useful construct to explain why lawyers commit major ethical violations. The underlying premise is that one or more of the Seven Deadly Sins lies behind every major ethical violation.

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February 28, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Free Webinar Today On #BlackEconomistsMatter: Economic Justice Recommendations For The Biden Administration

#BlackEconomicrsMatter

Following up on my previous posts:

The ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice hosts a free webinar today at 3:00 PM ET on #BlackEconomistsMatter: Economic Justice Recommendations for the Biden Administration:

For over 100 years, Black economists have been erased by the profession and media. Occupational segregation in economics not only results in loss of opportunities and wage gaps for qualifying women, candidates of color, and others who are discriminated against, but undermines and narrows access to innovative solutions, diverse strategies, broad-based data collection, targeted recommendations, and practical remedies for societal inequities.

In 2017, seven Black women received a Ph.D. in economics in the U.S. In 2018, the number dropped to four out of over 1,000 economic doctoral degree graduates. A 2018 AEA report found that Black, Latinx, and Native American students were less likely to complete degrees in economics compared to any other subject. In 2017, only 16% of all economics degrees were awarded to these students of color.

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February 25, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Law School As A Consumer Product

Debra Moss Vollweiler (Nova), Law School as a Consumer Product: Beat 'em or Join 'em?, 40 Pace L. Rev. 1 (2019):

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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February 24, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Writing White And Teaching Legal Writing

Patrick Barry (Michigan), Elephant in the Room:

Over the past several decades, the student population at law schools across the country has become more and more racially diverse. In 1987, for example, only about 1 in every 10 law students identified as a person of color; by 2019, that percentage shot up to almost 1 out of 3.

Yet take a look at virtually any collection of recommended manuals on writing. You are unlikely to find even one that is authored by a person of color. The composition of law schools may be dramatically changing, but the materials that students are given to help them figure out how to put together documents that are proper, persuasive, and professional are designed pretty much exclusively by white people. “To write right,” we seem to be saying, “you need to write white.”

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February 23, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

What Do Constitutional Law Professors Do?

David Fontana (George Washington), What Do Constitutional Law Professors Do?, 2020 Wis. L. Rev. 317 (2020):

This Essay—written for a symposium hosted by the Wisconsin Law Review on Andrew Coan’s splendid new book [Rationing the Constitution: How Judicial Capacity Shapes Supreme Court Decision-Making (Harvard University Press 2019)]—examines the social space that nonclinical, tenure-track American constitutional law professors occupy, and whether that social space is a desirable one.

Constitutional law professors are relatively unique among faculty in the current American research university for the degree to which they speak to those inside and outside of the university. Constitutional law professors are socialized by and participate in the research community of the university but also the elite legal profession. They aspire to speak truth to power, but they are also part of the power that they seek to evaluate. It is good for a society to have scholarly insights brought to bear on important decisions by powerful people, and law professors are increasingly the ones doing that. It is also good to have a scholarly discipline generated by combining its own original insights with the insights of other disciplines. As the humanities and social sciences produce more technical scholarship, more removed from the comprehension and concerns of daily life, this engaged and interdisciplinary role for constitutional law professors becomes more important because it is more uncommon. However, being such a part of the system that one aspires to evaluate also encourages law professors to be more deferential and defensive of existing power structures.

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February 23, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Pepperdine Law Review Tribute To Professor Jim McGoldrick

Pepperdine Law Review (2021)

Following up on my previous posts (links below) on the tragic death of Jim McGoldrick, who died from COVID-19 in May 2020 after serving nearly fifty years on the Pepperdine Caruso Law faculty:  the Pepperdine Law Review dedicated its most recent issue, Vol. 48, No. 1 (Jan. 2021), to Jim with these tributes:

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February 23, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, February 22, 2021

New Faculty-Edited Law Journal: The Journal Of Free Speech Law

Journal of Free Speech Law

Eugene Volokh (UCLA) has announced the launch of a new faculty-edited law journal, the Journal of Free Speech Law. Eugene is the Editor-in-Chief. The 29-person Board of Editors is a who's who of academics and judges.

The inaugural symposium issue, Regulating Social Media Removal Decisions?, is scheduled to be published in July 2021. The journal is accepting submissions for volume 1, issue 2 (exclusive submissions only).

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February 22, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Symposium: Catholic Legal Education In The United States

Symposium, A Light Unseen: A History of Catholic Legal Education in the United States, 58 J. Cath. Leg. Stud. 1-124 (2019):

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February 21, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, February 19, 2021

Santa Clara Hosts Virtual Conference Today On Defunding Casebooks

Santa Clara hosts a virtual conference on Defunding Casebooks today from 12:00 - 1:30 PM PT:

Santa Clara Law (2021)The conference will kick off efforts to broaden the movement to replace the for-profit casebook model with one that engenders collaboration amongst law professors, broadens the scope of those whose stories and issues are included in the legal curriculum, and saves students significant financial resources. To RSVP to the conference, CLICK HERE. For more background on Santa Clara Law’s development of an open-source criminal law casebook, CLICK HERE.

This will be a working meeting, with brief plenary sessions leading into subject-specific breakout sessions/working groups.

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February 19, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Cass Sunstein And Adrian Vermeule’s Technocratic Despotism

Chronicle of Higher Education Review:  Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule’s Technocratic Despotism, by Jason Blakely (Pepperdine):

Law & LeviathanAt first glance there is perhaps no odder couple in American higher education today than the Harvard law professors Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, whose intellectual partnership straddles the country’s widest political gulf.

Sunstein, who was a high-ranking official in the Obama administration, is among the most cited legal scholars of his generation. He is the co-author (with Richard Thaler) of the wildly popular Nudge, which outlines a generally progressive, if eccentric, ideological project called “libertarian paternalism.”

By contrast, Vermeule is a longtime conservative intellectual who clerked for Antonin Scalia, spent the post-9/11 years devising legal apologetics for the expansion of executive power (including torture and ethnic profiling), and was recently appointed by Donald Trump to the Administrative Conference, the federal agency devoted to administration. After converting to Catholicism a few years ago, Vermeule became the most visible defender of an emergent ideology known as Catholic Integralism, which teaches that modern states must be subordinated to the spiritual authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

Sunstein’s and Vermeule’s diametrically opposed political commitments might appear to render their partnership not only implausible but unintelligible. And yet, for over a decade, the two have co-authored long works of legal analysis, most recently Law and Leviathan: Redeeming the Administrative State (Harvard University Press, 2020), in which, not unreasonably, they defend the modern administrative state’s value in securing certain societal goods.

Yet there is also a sinister side to Sunstein and Vermeule’s redemption of administrative power — one that goes well beyond rejecting the libertarian anti-statism so common in American discourse. Law and Leviathan ends up embracing an extreme form of technocracy: rule by social-scientific elites. ...

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February 18, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Women In Economics, Interrupted

Inside Higher Ed, Women in Economics, Interrupted:

Female economists probably didn’t need a quantitative study to know that they get asked more questions when presenting than their male counterparts. Indeed, many female academics are familiar with manterruptions, an offshoot of the mansplaining phenomenon. Female economists probably didn’t need a formal analysis of the kinds of questions they get asked to know that they face more patronizing or hostile queries than their male peers, either.

But numbers are a good thing — especially to economists — and now there exists such a study, courtesy of a group of prominent economists. These researchers plan to publish the new working paper with the National Bureau of Economic Research and otherwise use it to promote change in a field that has historically been unwelcoming to women.

Gender and the Dynamics of Economics Seminars:

Econ 2This paper reports the results of the first systematic attempt at quantitatively measuring the seminar culture within economics and testing whether it is gender neutral. We collected data on every interaction between presenters and their audience in hundreds of research seminars and job market talks across most leading economics departments, as well as during summer conferences. We find that women presenters are treated differently than their male counterparts. Women are asked more questions during a seminar and the questions asked of women presenters are more likely to be patronizing or hostile. These effects are not due to women presenting in different fields, different seminar series, or different topics, as our analysis controls for the institution, seminar series, and JEL codes associated with each presentation. Moreover, it appears that there are important differences by field and that these differences are not uniformly mitigated by more rigid seminar formats. Our findings add to an emerging literature documenting ways in which women economists are treated differently than men, and suggest yet another potential explanation for their under-representation at senior levels within the economics profession. 

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February 17, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Shedding Legal Education's Vestigial Trade School Anxiety

Jason Dykstra (Idaho), Keeping up with a Kardashian: Shedding Legal Educations’ Vestigial Trade School Anxiety and Replacing the Dated Casebook Method with Modern Case-Based Learning, 48 Hofstra L. Rev. 81 (2019):

Kim Kardashian West’s choice to pursue her legal studies via a modernized version of apprenticeship rather than by attending law school represents an alarming vote of no-confidence in the efficacy of current legal education. Simply, legal education remains surprisingly and needlessly static despite decades of harsh criticism and the heightened velocity of change that has enveloped the legal industry. From big law to rural practitioners, the traditional law firm model proved ripe for disruption. This disruption is fueled by several discrete changes in how legal services are provided that cumulatively generated a substantial disruption across the board. They include technological advances that allow for the automation of many routine tasks and the dis-aggregation of legal services; enhanced client sophistication and cost-consciousness; global competition from offshoring routine legal services; the rise of the domestic gig economy, creating a new wave of home-shoring legal services; and competition from non-traditional legal services providers. This rapid-fire disruption curtailed both revenue growth in the legal sector and job opportunities for new attorneys. A large demographic bubble of baby boom attorneys further inhibited job opportunities and career growth for younger attorneys.

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February 17, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Kerr: Line-Drawing And Legal Education

Orin S. Kerr (UC-Berkeley), Line-drawing and Legal Education:

Law professors love to ask: “Where do you draw the line?” This essay offers a guide to what is in play when professors ask their favorite question. It identifies the assumptions about legal education and the legal system that lead professors to see line-drawing as important. It explores why students may see line-drawing as superficial and small-minded. And it concludes with practical tips for students on how to respond when professors ask them where they would draw the line.

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February 17, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Journal Delays Print Publication Of Harvard Law Prof Mark Ramseyer’s Controversial ‘Comfort Women’ Article Amid Outcry

Harvard Crimson, Journal Delays Print Publication of Harvard Law Professor’s Controversial ‘Comfort Women’ Article Amid Outcry:

RamseyerThe International Review of Law and Economics will temporarily delay print publication of Harvard Law professor J. Mark Ramseyer’s controversial paper claiming sex slaves in Imperial Japan, known as “comfort women,” were voluntarily employed, the journal told The Crimson Friday.

The journal initially issued an “Expression of Concern” earlier this week in response to mounting backlash, announcing that concerns over the article’s “historical evidence” are currently under investigation.

“Comfort women” is a term used to refer to women and girls from Japan’s occupied territories, including Korea, who were forced into sex slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II.

Against the historical consensus, Ramseyer claims in his paper, entitled “Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War," that comfort women were not coerced and instead voluntarily entered into contracts with Japanese brothels. His article stoked public outcry across South Korea after his abstract was re-printed in late January in the nationalist Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun.

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February 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Law School Faculties, Not University Presidents, Have The Ultimate Authority To Decide Methods Of Instructions Even (Especially) During A Pandemic

Richard K. Neumann (Hofstra), Violations During the Pandemic of Law School Faculties’ Authority to Decide Methods of Instruction:

During the pandemic, some universities have required as much “in person” teaching as possible everywhere on campus — including a university’s law school. Universities and their administrators who did this were wrong for three reasons.

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February 16, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, February 15, 2021

Academic Attrition And Transfers, Not Pedagogy, Drive A Law School's Bar Exam Performance

Rory D. Bahadur (Washburn), Kevin Ruth (PhD Mathematics, Miami) & Katie Tolliver Jones (Lincoln Memorial), Reexamining Relative Bar Performance as a Function of Non-Linearity, Heteroscedasticity, and a New Independent Variable:

One might think that if a law school’s graduates do better on the bar exam than their credentials on entering law school would have predicted, the law school’s faculty must have done a good job. Indeed, some scholarship makes that claim. But it is empirically untrue. What actually yields such superficially impressive results is not pedagogy but rather prestidigitation. When law schools manipulate their matriculant pools via academic attrition and transfer, that sleight of hand improves their bar performance rates. This article reveals the math behind the magic.

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February 15, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Data On The Fall And Spring Law Review Article Submission Seasons

Scholastica, Annual Scholastica Law Review Submissions Insights: A Data-Driven Look at the Latest Legal Scholarship Cycle:

The graph below details when articles are submitted to law reviews looking at a period of 12 months (from 1-1-2020 through 12-31-2020).

The graph shows the bi-modal waves of article submissions that define the two busy submission seasons. The majority of articles, around 80% in total, are sent to law reviews in the six weeks following February 1 and the six weeks following August 1.

Scholastica 1

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February 9, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, February 8, 2021

The Degradation Of Academic Law Library Director Status Since 2006

Elizabeth Adelman (SUNY-Buffalo; Google Scholar), Karen Shephard (Pittsburgh), Richard Patti (SUNY-Buffalo) & Robert Adelman (SUNY-Buffalo; Google Scholar), Academic Law Library Director Status Since the Great Recession: Strengthened, Maintained, or Degraded?, 112 Law Libr. J. 117 (2020):

The status of the academic law library director is central to the educational mission of the law library. We collected data from 2006 to 2016 showing a 25 percent decrease in tenure-track directorships.

Library 1

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February 8, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, February 6, 2021

AccessLex: Pathways To The J.D.

AccessLex Cover

Tiffane Cochran & Lauren Walker (AccessLex), Analyzing Pathways to the J.D. with National Student Clearinghouse Data:

The lack of diversity in legal education and the profession is a well-established fact. Data and rich commentary from law school scholars clearly illustrate barriers to entry for historically underrepresented groups. Yet, we continue to see persistent gaps in law school and bar admission among ethnic minorities—particularly, Black and Latinx students. And although information on first-generation and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups is harder to obtain, we also find inequitable access for these students where data are available.

Although discussions of law school diversity necessitate examination of students’ racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, they also require an analysis of the pathways students must navigate to obtain law school admission. Conceptually, the law school admission process is depicted as a single, linear and uniform path for all students; in reality, it is a series of paths that can lead to disparate outcomes depending on the student and the route taken.

Observing these pathways and where they lead can help us better understand how students of all backgrounds come to access legal education, and how we might improve these paths to advance diversity and equity in law school admission and enrollment.

AccessLex 1

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February 6, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, February 5, 2021

Duke Law Journal Hosts Virtual Symposium Today On The Future of Chevron Deference

The Duke Law Journal hosts its annual Administrative Law Symposium today on The Future of Chevron Deference:

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February 5, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Study: Men Speak 1.6 Times More Than Women In College Classrooms

Jennifer J. Lee (Indiana) & Janice McCabe (Dartmouth), Who Speaks and Who Listens: Revisiting the Chilly Climate in College Classrooms (Dec. 9, 2020):

Almost 40 years ago, scholars identified a “chilly climate” for women in college classrooms. To examine whether contemporary college classrooms remain “chilly,” we conducted quantitative and qualitative observations in nine classrooms across multiple disciplines at one elite institution. Based on these 95 hours of observation, we discuss three gendered classroom participation patterns. First, on average, men students occupy classroom sonic space 1.6 times as often as women. Men also speak out without raising hands, interrupt, and engage in prolonged conversations during class more than women students. Second, style and tone also differ. Men’s language is assertive, whereas women’s is hesitant and apologetic. Third, professors’ interventions and different structures of classrooms can alter existing gender status hierarchies. Extending Ridgeway’s gender system framework to college classrooms, we discuss how these gendered classroom participation patterns perpetuate gender status hierarchies. We thus argue that the chilly climate is an underexplored mechanism for the stalled gender revolution.

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February 2, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Is Law A Discipline? Forays Into Academic Culture

Gene R. Shreve (Indiana), Is Law a Discipline? Forays into Academic Culture, 68 Clev. St. L. Rev. 217 (2020):

This Article explores academic culture. It addresses the reluctance in academic circles to accord law the full stature of a discipline. It forms doubts that have been raised into a series of four criticisms. Each attacks an academic feature of law, inviting the question: Is law different from the rest of the university in a way damaging its stature as an academic discipline? The Article concludes that, upon careful examination of each criticism, none establishes a difference between law and other disciplines capable of damaging law’s stature.

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February 2, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Spring 2021 Article Submission Guides For 199 Main, 450 Specialty, And 60 Online Law Reviews — And Angsting Forum

SubmissionsNancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC), Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals (Feb. 1, 2021):

This document contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration. It covers 199 law reviews.

Michael Goodyear (Michigan), Information for Submitting Articles to Specialty & Non-Flagship Law Journals (Jan. 12, 2021):

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

Bridget J. Crawford (Pace), Information for Submitting to Online Law Review Companions (Nov. 30, 2020):

This document contains information about submitting essays, commentaries, reviews, responses, and other writings to online companions to the main law reviews and journals at selected law schools. The document includes word-count limitations, subject matter specifications, preferred submission methods, whether articles from the online journal are included in HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library and other information of possible interest to authors. It covers 60 online companions to main law reviews.

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), Submission Angsting Spring 2021:

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February 2, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Cultivating Humility In Law Students

Phil Lord (McGill), Cultivating Humility:

This article focusses on the role of humility in the law school. It argues in favor of a culture where humility is consciously cultivated in law students. Section I considers on the grading curve, a quintessentially North American attribute of almost all law schools. It analyses and theories the curve and its effect in cultivating humility. It suggests that, while the curve can have a humbling effect, this effect is felt irregularly among law students and comes with significant and often discounted consequences. This article argues that a model where humility is more consciously cultivated could minimize these consequences.

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February 2, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, February 1, 2021

Teaching Law In The Time Of The COVID-19 Vaccine

Tim Duane (San Diego), Teaching in the Time of the COVID-19 Vaccine:

The development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus has generated new hope and optimism that schools, colleges, and universities can return to in-person classroom instruction and teaching sometime in 2021. This paper summarizes the key factors affecting the personal health risks that teaching faculty face from returning to in-person classroom instruction and the steps that schools should take to prepare for fall 2021 re-opening. The rate of vaccination deployment and the rate of viral mutation are the key variables that will determine whether the USA will reach herd immunity before the fall 2021 term begins. Because those variables are beyond the control of schools, investments in testing capacity and updated HVAC systems (to improve both ventilation and filtration) should be made before fall 2021.

Tim Duane (San Diego), Teaching Law in the Time of COVID-19:

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February 1, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Assessing The Experiential (R)evolution

Allison Korn (UCLA) & Laila Hlass (Tulane), Assessing the Experiential (R)evolution, 65 Vill. L. Rev. 713 (2020):

For more than a century, law schools have resisted substantial reforms relating to experiential education. Yet, in 2014, the ABA mandated a six-credit experiential course graduation requirement for law schools, alongside a packet of experiential curriculum amendments. Proponents of experiential education had hoped for a fifteen-credit mandate, aligning law schools with other professional schools that require one-quarter to one-third skills training. Still, six credits is significant, potentially marking a striking shift in the direction of legal education. To date, no one—including the ABA—has broadly evaluated the post-mandate legal education experiential landscape. It is particularly urgent to consider recent shifts in legal education as law schools grapple with new paths forward in the backdrop of a global pandemic and calls to meaningfully address systemic racism in legal education.

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February 1, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Kinsler: The Best Law Schools For Passing The Bar Exam

TaxProf Blog op-ed:  The Best Law Schools For Passing the Bar Exam, by Jeffrey S. Kinsler (Belmont):

KinslerAccording to the American Bar Association, bar passage rates are “the single best outcome measure . . . in assessing whether a law school is maintaining a ‘rigorous program of legal education.’”[1]  Bar passage rates are better measures of the quality of legal education than graduation rates or employment results, for these outcomes “are not as directly relevant . . . to determining whether a law school is offering an educational program that is comprehensive and sufficiently rigorous. . . .”[2]  Bar passage rates are—and should be—important to all law students and potential law students.  Students “are entitled . . . to an education that provides them with a reasonable chance of passing the bar and entering the profession. . . . [L]aw students often incur substantial debt to earn a law degree.  Whether students pass the bar influences their future livelihood and quality of life immensely, including their abilities to pay back their loans while maintaining an acceptable quality of life.”[3] 

Undergraduate GPAs (UGPAs) and LSAT scores are the two primary factors considered by law school admissions offices.[4]  Statistically, students with higher UGPAs and LSAT scores are more likely to pass the bar exam than students with lower UGPAs and LSAT scores.[5]  As a consequence, a predicted bar passage rate may be calculated for each law school based upon its UGPA and LSAT scores.  Once a predicted bar passage rate is calculated, it is possible to determine which law schools are over-performing or under-performing in terms of preparing their students to pass the bar exam.  In other words, it is possible to show which law schools are adding the most bar-passage value to (or subtracting the most from) their students. 

Utilizing linear regression models, the performance of 187 ABA-approved law schools was assessed using four metrics (reported by the ABA) for each calendar year for the five-year period of 2015-2019: [6] (1) Median LSAT and Composite Average First-Time Bar Pass Rate;[7] (2) Median UGPA and Composite Average First-Time Bar Pass Rate; (3) Median LSAT and Composite Average First-Time Bar Pass Rate Differential;[8] and (4) Median UGPA and Composite Average First-Time Bar Pass Rate Differential.  An annual rank was then calculated for each law school based on its over-performance (or under-performance) of predicted expectations for bar passage.  An average annual rank was then calculated based on each law school’s performance over the period of 2015-2019.

Best Law Schools.  Based upon this analysis, the top 15 law schools in terms of over-performing predicted expectations for bar passage based upon UGPA and LSAT scores of incoming students are as follows [the spreadsheet with 5-year bar passage ranking data for 187 law schools is here]:

Rank

Top 15 Law Schools for Bar Passage

1

BELMONT UNIVERSITY

2

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY

3

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

4

CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY

5

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

6

DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY

7

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY

8

GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY

9

TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY

10

UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

11

REGENT UNIVERSITY

12

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA

13

SETON HALL UNIVERSITY

14

CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY

15

UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA

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February 1, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Faculty Satisfaction Data Reveal Big Gaps Between How White And Nonwhite Professors Experience Campus Diversity And Inclusion

Inside Higher Ed, Faculty Satisfaction Data Reveal Big Gaps Between How White and Nonwhite Professors Experience Campus Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

White professors and their nonwhite counterparts have very different perceptions of what constitutes diversity and inclusion, according to a recent analysis from the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education [Measuring Faculty Perceptions of Diversity].

IHE 2White faculty members are much more likely to agree (73 percent) that there is visible leadership support and promotion of diversity on their campus than are Black professors (55 percent). Thirty-one percent of Black professors disagree with the statement entirely, based on data from COACHE's ongoing surveys of faculty job satisfaction across many colleges and universities.

An even bigger perception gap exists as to how department colleagues support and promote diversity and inclusion within programs. While 78 percent of white professors agree that their departments are committed, just 58 percent of Black faculty members feel that way. Twenty-eight percent of Black professors disagree that their departmental colleagues are committed to these goals.

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January 28, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Law School For Helicoptered Millennials

Katerina Lewinbuk (South Texas), Taci Villarreal (J.D. 2020, South Texas) & Elena Bolonina (J.D. 2020, South Texas), The Voice of the Gods Is Crippling: Law School for Helicoptered Millennials, 10 St. Mary's J. on Legal Malpractice & Ethics 30 (2019):

As millennials dominate law school classrooms, many professors are recognizing the importance of altering the traditional methods of teaching law. Millennials act, think, and learn differently. Numerous factors are linked to why this new generation of law students is distinctively different than previous generations. This article examines these factors and how they influence millennials’ learning styles. Alternative methods of teaching millennial law students are also discussed and proposed, along with a specific example of a tailored professional responsibility textbook and course to the modern law student.

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January 27, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

What Harry Potter Can Teach Legal Education

Mark Edwin Burge (Texas A&M), Repealing the Statute of Wizarding Secrecy in Legal Education, 50 Cumb. L. Rev. 117 (2020):

Harry PttterIn the fictional Harry Potter universe, J.K. Rowling has fashioned a parallel world based on our own, but with the fundamental difference of a separate magical society grafted onto it. In Rowling’s fictional version, the magical population lives among the non-magical Muggle population, but we Muggles are largely unaware of them. This secrecy is by elaborate design and was brought about by centuries-long hostility toward wizards by the non-magical majority. But what if secrecy is precisely the wrong approach? What if widespread wizard-Muggle collaboration were precisely the thing needed to address the enormous and pressing problems of the day?

The secrecy and exclusivity of the wizarding world, when combined with the similarities between Harry Potter-style magic and American law, make Rowling’s world a useful cautionary tale for legal education.

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January 27, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Fostering And Teaching Creativity In The Law School Curriculum

Jason Dykstra (Idaho), Teasing the Arc of Electric Spark: Fostering and Teaching Creativity in the Law School Curriculum, 20 Wyo. L. Rev. 1 (2020):

Amidst an era of tumultuous disruption, the legal profession remains needlessly static, reflecting an ingrained tendency to preserve the status quo. Rather than turning to creative non-lawyers for help upending a business model largely unchanged since the days of Charles Dickens, lawyers can initiate innovative solutions that allow the legal profession to grow and strategically change. This Article explores the nature of creativity, crafting a broad working definition of creativity and addressing why the demographic bubble of baby boom era attorneys may prove an unlikely creative catalyst for law firm innovation. For law firms faced with an era of ongoing, tumultuous disruption, this seems acutely problematic given that eighty-five percent of the managing partners at the top 100 law firms hail from the baby boom generation. Compounded by the ingrained law firm culture that tends to quash creativity and resist innovation, the demographic bubble of baby boom partners appear unlikely to be the creative catalysts needed for law firm innovation. Thus, newly minted attorneys need creativity to both address the on-going disruption of the legal services industry and for the everyday creative expression and problem-solving skills needed for effective lawyering.

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January 23, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Are Colleges Superspreaders?

Inside Higher Ed, Are Colleges Superspreaders?:

Since colleges and universities announced last summer that they would be opening their doors to students, critics have argued that doing so was irresponsible and would lead to infections and deaths in nearby communities.

New peer-reviewed analysis released today in Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering [Are College Campuses Superspreaders? A Data-Driven Modeling Study] suggests that, for some colleges, the link was indeed present.

Superspreader

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January 21, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Political Ideology And The U.S. News Law School Rankings: Measuring The Conservative Penalty And Liberal Bonus

Michael Conklin (Angelo State University), Political Ideology and Law School Rankings: Measuring the Conservative Penalty and Liberal Bonus:

US News Logo 2U.S. News & World Report conducts overall rankings and peer rankings of law schools. This Article reports the findings of a first-of-its-kind study designed to measure whether peer rankings are affected by a law school’s ideological reputation. The extreme disparity uncovered — combined with consistent findings in studies that measure other forms of ideological bias in legal academia — make a strong case for the existence of a conservative penalty and liberal bonus in law school rankings. This Article concludes by proposing a simple solution to circumvent this particular manifestation of ideological bias.

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January 20, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, January 18, 2021

How Not To Lie About Law School Affirmative Action

Sherod Thaxton (UCLA), How Not to Lie About Affirmative Action, 67 UCLA L. Rev. 834 (2020):

As challenges to race-conscious admissions policies are, once again, advancing through the federal courts, research proclaiming to identify the wide ranging effects of affirmative action across a variety of educational settings is influencing this litigation through amici and expert testimony. It is crucial, then, that empirical research used to support claims by parties on either side of the affirmative action debate adhere to the fundamental precepts of causal inference. Yet the literature on causal inference is both vast and dense, and as a result, many judges, lawyers, legislators, and laypersons interested in understanding both the intended and unintended consequences of affirmative action are ill-equipped to understand the debate—especially when quantitative social scientists on both sides of the issue appear to draw conflicting (though not necessarily equally credible) inferences from the same data. The purpose of this Article is to lay bare the core requirements of credible causal inference to the uninitiated, highlighting how inattention to (and sometimes outright disregard for) these rules has muddied the debate over the effect of affirmative action in law schools and in college admissions more generally.

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January 18, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Organizing A Business Law Department Within A Law School

William J. Carney (Emory), Organizing a Business Law Department Within a Law School:

This article argues that legal education needs to get its act together by getting organized. Unlike the rest of the university, law schools are over a century behind in recognizing the need for the greater organization that departments can provide. Specialization, which did not exist many years ago, has become so universal that some members of any faculty either cannot understand or care about, much less govern wisely, what goes on around them. Ignorance is compounded by non-professional agendas driven by ideologies and interdisciplinary interests. One probable result of disorganization in legal education has been a decline in bar passage rates and enrollments. This article provides a road map to a cure.

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January 16, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Ten Questions For Unconventional Dean Candidates

Neil Fulton (Dean, South Dakota), Ten Questions for Unconventional Dean Candidates, 46 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 71 (2020):

Thinking back on my experience as an unconventional decanal candidate, there are questions that I believe candidates must ask before tossing their hat into the decanal search ring. Conveniently, those questions fit into a top ten list.

  1. Are You Sure? ...
  2. Why? ...
  3. Do You Know Who We Are? ...

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January 14, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Making Public Interest Lawyers In A Time Of Crisis

Catherine Albiston (UC-Berkeley), Scott L. Cummings (UCLA) & Richard L. Abel (UCLA), Making Public Interest Lawyers In A Time Of Crisis: An Evidence-Based Approach, 34 Geo. J. Legal Ethics ___ (2021):

Now is a critical time to consider the role that lawyers—and the law schools that produce them—can play in movements for social transformation. Over the past half-century, public interest lawyers who represent subordinated communities in the pursuit of equal justice have contributed significantly to such movements: mobilizing law to fight discrimination, expand access to social benefits, promote the inclusion of immigrants and others branded outsiders, and protect the rights of low-wage workers and the unhoused. While some law schools have invested resources to train students seeking public interest careers, most continue to focus on placing students in lucrative law firms: elevating a neoliberal conception of legal education that seeks to maximize return on investment, rather than promoting the professional role of lawyers in democratic society. Even those law schools dedicated to helping students enter public interest careers lack basic information about which interventions are most likely to work. This Article fills that critical information gap by providing the first systematic empirical evidence about what law schools can do to help students build long-term public interest careers.

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Exposing The Pervasiveness Of Implicit Bias And White Privilege In Legal Pedagogy

Rory D. Bahadur (Washburn) & Liyun Zhang (South Carolina), Of Socratic Teaching and Learning Styles: Exposing the Pervasiveness of Implicit Bias and White Privilege in Legal Pedagogy, 18 Hastings J. Race & L. ___ (2020):

Legal educators who deny the efficacy of utilizing learning style theory inaccurately support their dismissal through misunderstanding and misrepresenting the science supporting such techniques. These erroneous conclusions are often the result of implicit bias and dysconscious racism favoring dominant white male norms and privileges. Such denial is not only disingenuous and inaccurate, but also highly detrimental to legal education, perpetuating a system that discourages and devalues the contributions and efforts of minority students.

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January 7, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Symposium: Disrupting Hierarchies In Legal Education

Temple Symposium, Disrupting Hierarchies In Legal Education: The Abraham L. Freedman Fellowship Program, 92 Temple L. Rev. 707-835 (2020): 

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January 5, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Kuehn: The Disparate Treatment Of Clinical Law Faculty

Kuehn (2019)TaxProf Blog op-ed:  The Disparate Treatment of Clinical Law Faculty, by Robert Kuehn (Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Washington University):

In her recent presidential message, Abolish the Academic Caste System, the president of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) called on law schools to address the caste system within law faculties by providing parity in security of positon and salary to non-tenure/tenure track faculty, such as the overwhelming majority of law clinic and externship instructors.[1] Data from the just completed Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE) 2019-20 Survey of Applied Legal Education of  95% of law schools and 1,300 law clinic and externship instructors show widespread disparate treatment of clinical instructors (i.e., law clinic and externship instructors) and a lack of progress in providing parity between those who teach in law clinics and externships and those teaching doctrinal courses.[2]

In 1998, 46% of clinical teachers were in tenure or tenure-track positions.[3] Yet as the chart below indicates, the percentage of clinical faculty in tenure/tenure track positions, even when including lesser status clinical/programmatic tenure positions, has declined to just 29%, and decreased by more than 30% over just the last 12 years (temporary appointment clinical fellows excluded from all tables).

Kuehn 1

Though there have been notable exceptions at a few schools, law clinic and externship hiring has disproportionately been for contract positions since the 2010 downturn in law school applications and accompanying financial challenges.

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January 5, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Paradox Of Faculty-Student Interactions

Meera E. Deo (Thomas Jefferson), The Paradox of Faculty-Student Interactions, 68 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2020):

Journal of Legal Education (2020)Women of color in legal academia have a complicated relationship with students, as evidenced by empirical data. Most of these professors have strong positive relationships with students from all backgrounds. In fact, this accessibility can result in service overload with constant student meetings and events that are rarely acknowledged or rewarded by colleagues or administrators. Furthermore, the few students who push back in the classroom and on course evaluations not only drain the energy and effort of their women of color professors but also shroud the learning environment in tension and negativity.

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December 20, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 18, 2020

Syracuse Symposium: Online Learning And The Future of Legal Education

Symposium, Online Learning And The Future of Legal Education, 70 Syracuse L. Rev. 1- 203 (2020):

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December 18, 2020 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Longer They Are, The More Citations They Receive: How Impact Factor Punishes Concise Legal Scholarship

Michael Conklin (Angelo State University), The Longer They Are, the More Citations They Receive: How Impact Factor Punishes Concise Scholarship:

One does not need to be a highly cited legal scholar to conclude that — since impact factor is measured per article and longer articles are more likely to garner citations — impact factor incentivizes the publication of longer articles. And for anyone unable to make the connection, none other than the Washington & Lee Law Journal Rankings (W&LLJR) website explicitly spells this out. The second sentence of the impact factor methodology page explains, “Impact Factor rankings should be considered with caution, as they are biased against journals that publish a larger number of concise articles, such as book reviews.” The relationship between article length and impact factor — despite being significant and salient — receives no coverage in the literature on citation-count criticism. This Article first explains the significance of impact factor not only to law journal rankings but also to law school rankings. It then chronicles existing criticism of citation-count metrics.

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Towards A More Ethical LL.M. Degree: Let's Give International Lawyers The Value They Deserve

Carrie W. Teitcher (Brooklyn) & Kathleen Darvil (Brooklyn), Towards a More Ethical LL.M. Degree: Let's Give International Lawyers the Value They Deserve, 31 Fla. J. Int'l L. 55 (2019):

Created for international lawyers seeking American credentials, LL.M. programs have proliferated, filling a need in an increasingly global market. Yet the American Bar Association offers no guidance as to how programs specifically designed for international lawyers should be structured. The road to a more ethical LL.M degree necessarily begins with the American Bar Association and the need for it to establish guidelines for such programs, at least for those programs which qualify international lawyers to sit for the bar exam.

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December 16, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

How Law Schools Can Counteract Racial Bias Of LSAT Scores In The Admissions Process

LaTasha Hill, Less Talk, More Action: How Law Schools Can Counteract Racial Bias of LSAT Scores in the Admissions Process, 19 U. Md. L.J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class 313 (2019):

Racial bias exists within the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and can be viewed through racial and ethnic score gaps. The racial score gap was initially discovered five decades ago and continues to be true today. White test-takers consistently and overwhelmingly score higher than minority test-takers. This article is a call to action for the law school community to officially acknowledge the racial bias of the LSAT — a standardized test for law school acceptance — against minority applicants. This article encourages law school admission committees to deemphasize reliance on LSAT scores and develop new methods to justly assess the skills of every law school applicant. Consequently, by decreasing the weight of LSAT scores in the admissions process, entities such as U.S. News and World Report will need to restructure their methodology for ranking best law schools. By making procedural adjustments, law schools can bring equity to the admissions process, which would lead to a more diverse legal profession.

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

Friday, December 11, 2020

Menstruation And The Bar Exam

Bridget J. Crawford (Pace), Menstruation and the Bar Exam: Unconstitutional Tampon Bans, 40 Colum. J. Gender & L. ___ (2020):

Some states have policies that prevent bar exam candidates from bringing their own menstrual products to the test. Via social media, awareness of these policies achieved new heights in the weeks leading up to the July 2020 bar exam. While states adopted different approaches to administering the bar exam during the COVID-19 pandemic, a small number of jurisdictions responded to public criticism by permitting test-takers to bring menstrual products with them to exams. Not all states have adopted permissive policies, however. This essay explains why outright bans on menstrual products at the bar exam likely are unconstitutional. So-called alternate policies, such as making menstrual products available in women’s restrooms, are inadequate. Only a “free-carry” policy for menstrual products is consistent with welcoming all qualified candidates to the legal profession, without regard to biology.

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December 11, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Spring 2021 Online Law Review Submission Guide

Bridget J. Crawford (Pace), Information for Submitting to Online Law Review Companions:

SubmissionsThis document contains information about submitting essays, commentaries, reviews, responses, and other writings to online companions to the main law reviews and journals at selected law schools. The document includes word-count limitations, subject matter specifications, preferred submission methods, whether articles from the online journal are included in HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library and other information of possible interest to authors. It covers 60 online companions to main law reviews.

December 10, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)