Paul L. Caron

Friday, April 16, 2021

Lawsky Presents Teaching Algorithms And Algorithms For Teaching Virtually At Utah

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern; Google Scholar) presented Teaching Algorithms and Algorithms for Teaching, 24 Fla. Tax. Rev. __ (2021), virtually at Utah yesterday as part of its Faculty Workshop Series hosted by Young Ran (Christine) Kim:

Graphic-LawskySarahB_v2016-08-04This article focuses on what it calls the “algorithm method,” a common method used to teach tax classes that presents students with unambiguous problems that guide students through complex statutes and regulations. The article describes a novel teaching tool created by the author: a website that randomly generates tax problems with objectively correct answers; multiple choice answers that reflect common errors that students make; and explanations for each answer that either respond to the underlying error or give a full explanation of the correct answer. 

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April 16, 2021 in Colloquia, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Report On ExamSoft’s ExamID Feature (And A Method To Bypass It)

Gabriel H. Teninbaum (Suffolk), Report on ExamSoft’s ExamID Feature (and a Method to Bypass It), 4 J. RAIL ___ (2021):

Exam SoftAs a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, many academic institutions have been forced to move their courses online. This has necessitated schools to implement new technologies to remotely administer examinations. One of the most prominent vendors offering software to allow for this is ExamSoft. Some institutions have implemented an additional authentication feature from ExamSoft called ExamID. To confirm students’ identities, ExamID uses a form of artificial intelligence — facial recognition technology — to match an image of a student in its database to an image the student takes immediately before an exam. In theory, ExamID then matches the stored image with a second image as a means to confirm that the correct person is taking the exam. Unfortunately, just as has been the case with other efforts to use facial recognition technology, ExamID has been alleged to be error-prone for students of color attempting to use it. ExamSoft contests these claims.

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

Thursday, April 15, 2021

 Building A Better Bar Exam: The Twelve Building Blocks Of Minimum Competence

Logan Cornett (Denver) & Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State; Google Scholar), Building a Better Bar: The Twelve Building Blocks of Minimum Competence:

The bar exam tries to distinguish minimally competent lawyers from incompetent ones: it exists to protect the public from the harms of incompetent legal representation. That protection is critical to maintaining the integrity of the profession, but the bar exam achieves that goal only if it effectively assesses minimum competence. Although the bar exam has existed for more than a century, there has never been an agreed-upon, evidence-based definition of minimum competence. Absent such a definition, it is impossible to know whether the bar exam is a valid measure of the minimum competence needed to practice law or an artificial barrier to entry. We designed this study to address these substantial gaps in our knowledge, build on the existing research, and develop an evidence-based definition of minimum competence. We conducted 50 focus groups using a protocol we developed to gather data about the knowledge and skills new lawyers need to practice competently. Of those focus groups, 41 were conducted with new lawyers, while the remaining nine were conducted with those who supervise new lawyers. The data from these focus groups suggest that minimum competence consists of 12 interlocking components — or “building blocks.”

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

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

'You Should Smile More,' Academic Catcalling, and Women-on-Women Crimes

Deborah L. Borman (Arkansas-Little Rock), 'You Should Smile More,' Academic Catcalling, and Women-on-Women Crimes, 65 Vill. L. Rev. 1065 (2020):

Within the legal academy women “catcall” other women in an attempt to control the emotions of colleagues. This aggression is played out as relational or “intrasexual competition between women and arises both covertly and overtly in the form of unwarranted professional criticism or competition, a failure to empathize, a failure to mentor, an effort to destroy or otherwise undermine another woman’s career, and by many other underhanded methods. I refer to the set of phenomena described above as “women-on-women crime.” These crimes act to enhance and protect the historic patriarchy in legal education; challenging patriarchy and successfully bringing a feminist perspective into the classroom is stymied when behind the classroom door female colleagues engage in the crimes of sabotaging, criticism, and undermining.

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

Monday, April 12, 2021

Loneliness In COVID-19, Life, And The Law

Olivia Ash (Indiana) & Peter H. Huang (Colorado), Loneliness in COVID-19, Life, and the Law (111 pages):

This Article analyzes loneliness in the COVID-19 pandemic, life, and the legal profession, especially in legal education. This Article examines: (1) loneliness: what it is, who is lonely, how loneliness affects an individual, and recent evidence about experiences of loneliness in the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) personal, organizational, and societal costs of loneliness; (3) current research about well-being and loneliness in the legal profession and legal education; (4) results from the first loneliness survey of law students; and (5) three evidence-based interventions to mitigate loneliness: mindfulness, talk therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy), and inclusion.

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April 12, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Paving The Way: The First American Women Law Professors

Herma Hill Kay, Paving the Way: The First American Women Law Professors (Patricia A. Cain (Santa Clara), ed. University of California Press 2021):

Paving the WayThe first wave of trailblazing female law professors and the stage they set for American democracy.

When it comes to breaking down barriers for women in the workplace, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s name speaks volumes for itself—but, as she clarifies in the foreword to this long-awaited book, there are too many trailblazing names we do not know. Herma Hill Kay, former Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law and Ginsburg’s closest professional colleague, wrote Paving the Way to tell the stories of the first fourteen female law professors at ABA- and AALS-accredited law schools in the United States. Kay, who became the fifteenth such professor, labored over the stories of these women in order to provide an essential history of their path for the more than 2,000 women working as law professors today and all of their feminist colleagues.

Because Herma Hill Kay, who died in 2017, was able to obtain so much first-hand information about the fourteen women who preceded her, Paving the Way is filled with details, quiet and loud, of each of their lives and careers from their own perspectives. Kay wraps each story in rich historical context, lest we forget the extraordinarily difficult times in which these women lived. Paving the Way is not just a collection of individual stories of remarkable women but also a well-crafted interweaving of law and society during a historical period when women’s voices were often not heard and sometimes actively muted. The final chapter connects these first fourteen women to the “second wave” of women law professors who achieved tenure-track appointments in the 1960s and 1970s, carrying on the torch and analogous challenges. This is a decidedly feminist project, one that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg advocated for tirelessly and admired publicly in the years before her death.

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April 12, 2021 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

The Multistate Bar Exam Is Not A Valid Measure Of Attorney Competence

Steven Foster (Oklahoma City), Does the Multistate Bar Exam Validly Measure Attorney Competence?, 82 Ohio St. L.J. ___ (2021):

2020 brought many challenges, which included administering the bar exam. States jumped through numerous obstacles to continue administering the current form of the exam. However, the current bar exam has never been proven to be a valid measure of attorney competence. This article offers evidence the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), is invalid. The exam, in other words, does not measure the knowledge and skills that lawyers use in practice. On the contrary, it is an artificial barrier to practice—one that harms the public by failing to screen for the knowledge and skills that clients need from their attorneys.

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April 12, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Hierarchies Of Elitism And Gender: The Bluebook And The ALWD Guide

Steven K. Homer (New Mexico), Hierarchies of Elitism and Gender: The Bluebook and The ALWD Guide, 41 Pace L. Rev. 1 (2020):

Hierarchies persist in legal academia. Some of these, while in plain view, are not so obvious because they manifest in seemingly small, mundane choices. Synecdoche is a rhetorical device used to show how one detail in a story tells the story of the whole.

This Article examines hierarchies of elitism and gender through a lens of synecdoche. The focus is on the choice of citation guide. Even something as seemingly benign and neutral as choosing a citation guide can reveal hierarchies of elitism and gender bias in legal education and the legal profession. Put another way, the choice of citation guide exists in—is inextricably embedded in—structural hierarchies of the legal profession. This Article examines the ways the choice of a citation guide reinforces elitism and gender bias by examining the use of two common citation guides, The Bluebook and the ALWD Guide. The Bluebook was developed by law students engaged in prestige activities at top-ranked law schools and retains the traits of its birth. This is in contrast to the ALWD Guide, which was written by experienced, professional legal writing professors who have dedicated their careers to teaching lawyers how to practice law. The Article describes the ALWD Guide’s focus on educating students to be practitioners, and the role of elitism and gender bias in keeping the ALWD Guide from displacing The Bluebook, despite The Bluebook’s well-documented deficiencies in training attorneys.

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

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Socioeconomic Roots Of Tenure-Track Faculty

Allison Morgan, Nicholas LaBerge, Daniel Larremore, Mirta Galesic & Aaron Clauset (Colorado), Socioeconomic Roots of Academic Faculty:

Tenure-track faculty play a special role in society: they train future researchers, and they produce much of the scholarship that drives scientifc, technological, and social innovation. However, the professoriate has never been demographically representative of the general population it serves. For example in the United States, Black and Hispanic scholars are underrepresented across the tenure-track, and while women's representation has increased over time, they remain a minority in many academic fields. Here we investigate the representativeness of faculty childhood socioeconomic status and whether it may implicitly limit efforts to diversify the professoriate in terms of race, gender, and geography. Using a survey of 7218 professors in PhD-granting departments in the United States across eight disciplines in STEM, social sciences, and the humanities, we find that the estimated median childhood household income among faculty is 23.7% higher than the general public, and faculty are 25 times more likely to have a parent with a PhD.

Socio 1

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

Monday, March 29, 2021

Frye: It's The End Of Legal Citation As We Know It

Brian L. Frye (Kentucky), It's The End Of Citation As We Know It & I Feel Fine:

ScholarSiftLegal scholarship sucks. It’s interminably long. It’s relentlessly boring. And it’s confusingly esoteric. But the worst thing about legal scholarship is the footnotes. Every sentence gets one1. Banal statement of historical fact? Footnote. Recitation of hornbook law? Footnote. General observation about scholarly consensus? Footnote. Original observation? Footnote as well, I guess. ...

There’s gotta be a better way. Thankfully, in 2020, Rob Anderson and Trent Wenzel created ScholarSift, a computer program that uses machine learning to analyze legal scholarship and identify the most relevant articles. Anderson is a law professor at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law and Wenzel is a software developer. They teamed up to produce a platform intended to make legal scholarship more efficient. Essentially, ScholarSift tells authors which articles they should be citing, and tells editors whether an article is novel.

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March 29, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Lawyer Brain: Transform Your Well-Being And Develop A Performance Edge

Debra S. Austin (Denver), The Lawyer Brain: Transform Your Well-being and Develop a Performance Edge:

This book addresses the lawyer well-being crisis by summarizing the studies that demonstrate that law students and lawyers suffer from high rates of anxiety, depression, burnout, substance misuse, and suicide risk; explaining relevant parts of the brain, and how stress impacts lawyer brain function; reviewing the neuroscience and psychology research that links brain health and mental strength to well-being; and providing an action plan for lawyers to enhance their well-being, optimize their performance, and improve their brain health and mental strength.

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March 25, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Chaos, Accomplishment, And Work: What A Duke Law Prof Learned On Paternity Leave

Ernest A. Young (Duke), Chaos, Accomplishment, and Work, or, What I Learned on Paternity Leave, 27 Duke J. Gender L. & Pol'y 269 (2020):

Late in life, minding my own business, I was blessed with a baby girl. My wife, Erin, was a federal employee and thus—somewhat surprisingly—not entitled to any maternity leave other than accumulated vacation and sick days. As a pampered law professor, on the other hand, I received a full semester off, so long as I was the primary caregiver to the child. Put that together with the usual summer vacation, and I had a full six months to spend with our little bundle of joy after Erin went back to work.

I found it a difficult experience. This was not because Caroline was a particularly difficult baby. There was, to be sure, the usual quantum of screaming and sleep deprivation. And as a scholar of the structural Constitution, I find the completely unaccountable power of an infant who can neither be reasoned with nor overruled difficult to accept.1 But I came to realize that the real reason for my discomfiture was that what I was doing in caring for my daughter did not fit comfortably with my accustomed notions of work and accomplishment. Working through why that was so can, I think, tell us something useful about how we think about work, the messages we send our students about what they should aspire to in their careers, and even—perhaps—a philosophy of social change and the good life. ...

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March 25, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

LoPucki: A Comprehensive Theory And Style For Using PowerPoint To Teach Law

Lynn M. LoPucki (UCLA), The PowerPoint Channel, 17 U. Mass. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

PowerPoint 1This Article is the first to present a comprehensive theory and style for using PowerPoint to teach law. The theory is that presentation software adds a channel of communication that enables the use of images in combination with words. Studies have shown that combination to substantially enhance learning. The style is based on an extensive literature regarding the use of PowerPoint in teaching law and other higher education subjects as well as the author’s experimentation with PowerPoint over two decades. The Article states fourteen principles for slide or slide sequence design, provides the arguments from the literature for and against them, and explains the techniques by which the author implements them. It argues that PowerPoint is effective for eight kinds of presentation:

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March 25, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Deo: The End of Affirmative Action

Meera E. Deo (Thomas Jefferson), The End of Affirmative Action, 100 N.C. L. Rev. ___ (2021):

We have arrived at the end of affirmative action. Now, more than ever, institutions of higher learning must move beyond a single-minded focus on educational diversity, which admits students of color primarily to enrich the classroom experiences of their white peers and then ignores what they may need to maximize both engagement and retention. Instead, affirmative action programs need an immediate update; they should take contemporary issues of race and racism into account, as well as the lived realities of students of color—by including multiracial students, recognizing diversity beneath the student of color umbrella, acknowledging intra-racial differences in pan-ethnic groups, and accepting that the resources and realities of Black immigrants differ from native-born Black Americans. Furthermore, to maximize the benefits of educational diversity, institutions must also prioritize equity and inclusion once students are enrolled.

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

The Academic Displaced: The Eviction Of The ‘Legal Educator’ From Pedagogy, Curriculum, And The Profession

Danushka Medawatte (Harvard; Google Scholar), The Academic Displaced: The Eviction of the ‘Legal Educator’ from Pedagogy, Curriculum, and the Profession:

The legal educator in Sri Lanka occupies a precarious space which is increasingly leading to academic displacement. This is exacerbated by poor pedagogic choices which have gained popularity amongst student masses for not requiring laborious student-centred education. ‘Narration sickness’ that pervades academia is viewed as a safe choice and it therefore hinders pedagogical innovations and renders the academic redundant. Externally, legal academics are perceived as not performing a socially relevant function. The author invites the reader to see how the increasing push for recognising the legal ‘professional’ as a ‘court-centric’ practitioner contributes to academic displacement within a university culture that dissuades ‘academics’ to engage in ‘practice’. Within this backdrop, changes effected to the existing curriculum are aligned with ‘bureaucratic rationalism’ that has infiltrated academia, and, is, at the least, indirectly sustained through student lethargy. The author focuses on three deep-rooted causes of academic displacement: namely, pedagogy and intellectual demise, curriculum traditionalism, and the narrow construction of the ‘legal practitioner’.

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

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Help Your Provost Help You During Promotion And Tenure Decisions

Nancy B. Rapoport (UNLV; Google Scholar), Help Your Provost Help You During Promotion and Tenure Decisions, 24 The Green Bag 83 (2020):

This short essay discusses how law school faculty members can help make the case for their tenure and promotion when it comes to university-level review.

In addition to not having a traditional peer-review process, and not having to place articles serially, law professors are generally among the highest-paid members of academia, and they generally teach fewer courses per year than their colleagues in other disciplines. If “know your judge” is the first commandment of litigators, then “know your colleagues” should be the first commandment of those preparing their promotion and tenure dossiers. No one on a university P&T committee intends to be biased against those of us in law schools who might have it easier, but you can imagine the dynamic that can occur when the law school member of the university P&T committee starts off explaining the students-pick-our-scholarship process to someone who has to publish entire books and who is teaching a 3-3 or 4-4 load while paying off educational debt with his or her much smaller salary. It’s better to anticipate objections to the way that law schools evaluate scholarship than it is to wing an explanation during the committee’s deliberations.

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

Improving The Signal Quality Of Law School Grades

Adam Chilton (Chicago), Peter A. Joy (Washington University), Kyle Rozema (Washington University) & James Thomas (Federal Trade Commission), Improving the Signal Quality of Grades:

We investigate how improving the signal quality of grades could enhance the matching of students to selective opportunities that are awarded early in academic programs. To do so, we develop methods to measure the signal quality of grades and to estimate the impact of changes to university policies on the identification of exceptional students for these opportunities. We focus on law schools, a setting where students are awarded important academic and professional opportunities after just one year of a three year program. Using transcript data from one top law school over a 40 year period, we document large gains in identifying exceptional students if selective opportunities were awarded with more grades and if law schools were to change certain personnel, course, and grading policies. Our findings provide motivation and a blueprint for how law schools and universities more generally could leverage their internal records to ensure that fewer exceptional students miss out on selective opportunities.

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

Building An Anti-Racist Law School At Penn State-Dickinson

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

Monday, March 22, 2021

U.S. News Denies Report That It Will Replace The 40% Reputation Component With HeinOnline Citations In Next Year's Law School Rankings

Following up on this morning's post, The New U.S. News Law School Rankings Methodology: Implications And Predictions:  Seth Barrett Tillman (National University of Ireland, Maynooth - Faculty of Law), The Future of U.S. News and World Report’s Law School Rankings: A Letter from A Friend:

Hein US News[T]he HeinOnline] ScholarRank score is about to become the single most important metric in American legal academia. Starting next year, 40% of each American law school’s U.S. News [and World Report] ranking will be based on HeinOnline’s cumulative ScholarRank of the school’s faculty (which apparently will consist of the combined faculty score divided by the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty). It’s going to have a huge impact on our field. Interestingly, however, most law school faculty (at least in my neck of the woods) seem unaware of ScholarRank.

I checked with Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News & World Report) and he provided this response:

U.S. News will not replace the peer assessment score and assessment score by lawyers and judges with HeinOnline citation metrics in the 2023 law school rankings. We don’t have any announcements for future editions of the rankings.


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March 22, 2021 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Institutional Service, Student Care-Work, And Misogyny: Naming The Problem And Mitigating The Harm

Mary A. Lynch (Albany) & Andrea Anne Curcio (Georgia State), Institutional Service, Student Care-Work, and Misogyny: Naming the Problem and Mitigating the Harm, 65 Vill. L. Rev. 1119 (2020):

Study after study finds that higher education female faculty, and particularly women faculty of color, carry a disproportionate share of student care and institutional service work, much of which remains invisible and uncredited. Asymmetrical reliance on women faculty to expend the time and emotional labor costs involved in these tasks often inhibits scholarly productivity, impedes career advancement, and makes it more difficult for women to achieve reputational status and monetary rewards equivalent to comparably situated male faculty.

In this article, we explore how victim-blaming myths such as “women just volunteer more often” or “women can do less if they just say no” have been dispelled by data-based studies. Yet these myths continue to be used to perpetuate patriarchal structures that embed service and care workload disparities into the academy. We explore how misogyny, as defined by Philosopher Kate Manne in her iconic book Down Girl, has been the policing force that institutionalizes victim-blaming myths and resulting disparities. We discuss how the intersection of victim-blaming myths and the policing force of misogyny exact a toll both on women who comply with, and those who seek to upend, care giving and service norms. We posit that identifying the problem as misogyny is particularly important given that misogyny, as played out on an institutional level, often takes the form of what has been called “soft misogyny” i.e., behaviors by those who espouse a belief in equity and yet make decisions, often subconsciously, that appear fair and driven by individual choice but in fact perpetuate patriarchal structures.

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

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Beyond ‘Valid And Reliable’: The LSAT, ABA Standard 503, And The Future Of Law School Admissions

Eremipagamo Amabebe (J.D. 2020, NYU), Note, Beyond ‘Valid and Reliable’: The LSAT, ABA Standard 503, and the Future of Law School Admissions, 95 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1860 (2020):

For nearly a century, the American Bar Association (ABA) has overseen the standards governing accredited law schools, which in turn constitute the primary pathway to the practice of law in the United States. ABA Standard 503 requires that all such schools use a “valid and reliable” examination to assess candidates for admission. Currently, the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is the only examination that the ABA has officially recognized as satisfying the standard. However, the LSAT—now approaching its eightieth year—has strayed far from the purposes it was originally designed to serve. Once a simple tool to aid in the assessment of diverse applicants, it has in recent decades become a significant barrier to entry with disparate negative impacts on women, racial minorities, individuals of low socio-economic status, and, perhaps most egregiously, those with disabilities. 

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March 20, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Stories Of Leadership, Good And Bad: Another Modest Proposal For Teaching Leadership In Law Schools

Doris Del Tosto Brogan (Villanova), Stories of Leadership, Good and Bad: Another Modest Proposal for Teaching Leadership in Law Schools:

Dangerous leaders. That’s how Anthony Thompson describes lawyers — leaders who are dangerously unprepared for the demands of that role. He argues, and in this article I agree, that law schools must take up the task of educating lawyers to take up the challenges they will face as leaders.

People instinctively turn to lawyers to lead. Despite all the lawyer jokes (and they are legion), lawyers hold what many describe as a disproportionate number of leadership positions–mayors, legislators, chairs, CEO’s, and presidents. There is a reason for this. It is true, as critics argue, that traditional legal education has devoted little conscious time or attention to educating future lawyers for leadership. But while law schools may not have focused consciously on leadership, in many ways, lawyers’ skills are what cause people to trust lawyers as leaders: the ability to make a clear-eyed assessment of the situation, to identify the material facts and the operative constraints, to consider options, to assess risks and opportunities, and to offer a rational plan forward. Law schools teach this; along with a good bit of legal doctrine, law schools teach critical analysis, analogic reasoning, and problem solving — colloquially called learning to think like a lawyer. These skills do serve a leader well. But are they enough? Probably not. Lawyers have been at the vortex of some of the most spectacular failures of leadership we have witnessed, including ENRON, the Flint Water crisis, and the General Motors ignition cartridge scandal. Do law schools leave graduates dangerously unprepared for the leadership positions they will assume, as Thompson argues?

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

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Professor Mom: The Pandemic's Disruption Of The Personal-Professional Divide In Legal Academia

Harmony Decosimo (Suffolk), Professor Mom: The Pandemic's Disruption of the Personal-Professional Divide in Legal Academia, 25 J. Legal Writing Inst. ___ (2021):

Lecturing on the art of oral advocacy while wedged onto my daughter’s bottom bunk, surrounded by her stuffed animals and proudly displayed soccer medals, pretty much epitomizes how the Coronavirus pandemic upended my professional life this spring. And while yes, I did consider using a virtual background to conceal my whereabouts, it seemed too blatant a lie at that point. I was barely holding the pieces of my life together, and I was fairly sure my students could tell. If you can’t relate to this story, you’re probably not a working mom.

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

Villanova Symposium: Gender Equality In Law Schools

Norman J. Shachoy Symposium, Gender Equality in Law Schools, 65 Vill. L. Rev. 933-1206 (2021):

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March 17, 2021 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Safeguard Or Barrier: An Empirical Examination Of Bar Exam Cut Scores

Michael Frisby (Michigan; Google Scholar), Sam Erman (USC) & Victor D. Quintanilla (Indiana; Google Scholar), Safeguard or Barrier: An Empirical Examination of Bar Exam Cut Scores:

In 2019 more than forty percent of aspiring law school graduates failed the bar exam. Nearly thirty thousand test-takers otherwise qualified to practice law were, given the score threshold required to pass the exam (the “cut score”), lost to the profession. Had the cut score been lower, many would now be lawyers. This exclusion disproportionately affects members of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups who stand to benefit most from entry into the legal profession. A common defense for retaining or raising cut scores is that doing so prevents lawyer malfeasance. But the bar exam is not designed for these purposes. This paper enters this scholarly and regulatory conversation by testing whether states’ bar exam scores predict lawyer misconduct.

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

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Better Than Our Biases: Using Psychological Research To Inform Our Approach To Effective, Inclusive Feedback

Anne Gordon (Duke), Better Than Our Biases: Using Psychological Research to Inform Our Approach to Effective, Inclusive Feedback, 27 Clinical L. Rev. ___ (2021):

As teaching faculty, we are obligated to create an inclusive learning environment for all students. When we fail to be thoughtful about our own bias, our teaching suffers — and students from under-represented backgrounds are left behind. This paper draws on legal, pedagogical, and psychological research to create a practical guide for clinical teaching faculty in understanding, examining, and mitigating our own biases, so that we may better teach and support our students.

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March 16, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Nonlegal Scholars Who Attack Originalism As Biblical Fundamentalism Fail To Understand That The Constitution Is Both Fallible And Authoritative

Following up on last Sunday's post, Originalism’s Original Sin: The Legal Philosophy Cloaks Its Theocratic Impulses In Secular Garb:  Chronicle of Higher Education:  Humanists, Want to Attack Originalism? Learn About Law, by Paul Gowder Northwestern) & Noah Feldman (Harvard):

Earlier this month, Adam Shapiro argued in the Review that constitutional originalism should be understood as a version of inerrantist biblical fundamentalism. The two essays here, by the constitutional-law professors Paul Gowder and Noah Feldman, respectively, sharply disagree with that view — and continue a debate playing out in our pages since October, when Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court [Scholars Who Attack ‘Originalism’ Should Know What It Means; Historians and Literature Profs Without Real Knowledge Are Weighing in on Legal Debates].

Paul Gowder (Northwestern), Originalism Has Many Problems. Its Imagined Religious Origin Is Not Among Them.:

Adam Shapiro’s unfortunate effort to argue against “the idea that only legal schools can competently critique originalism” actually serves as evidence for the opposite point. His critique of originalism is rooted in a misunderstanding of why lawyers operate with laws written down in texts. A critic with legal training would have been able to address the debate about originalism as a debate about textual interpretation and about the values our legal system seeks to serve, rather than making a facile effort to assimilate the interpretive method to some kind of theocracy. ...

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

Thursday, March 11, 2021

A Guide To Quantitative Legal Research

Shai Dothan (Copenhagen; Google Scholar), A Guide to Quantitative Legal Research:

This is a simple, non-technical introduction to conducting quantitative legal research. It discusses the main tools for measuring statistical significance, some problems that occur in empirical research and how to solve them, specific tools for investigating courts, and the challenges that courts raise for quantitative research. The chapter is designed to serve as a guide for law students who wish to write a thesis or an essay that includes quantitative research.

This chapter is but a short introduction to the use of quantitative methods in legal analysis. To all of you who want to learn more, I can recommend an excellent book-length guide – Lee Epstein (Washington University) & Andrew D. Martin (Washington University), An Introduction to Empirical Legal Research (Oxford University Press 2014).

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March 11, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Soft-Shoe And Shuffle Of Law School Hiring Committee Practices

Carliss Chatman (Washington & Lee; Google Scholar) & Najarian Peters (Kansas), The Soft-Shoe and Shuffle of Law School Hiring Committee Practices, 69 UCLA L. Rev. ___ (2021):

“We have too many Black and Brown faculty,” said no one ever in any law school. Each year we sit in appointments discussions and hear the same things. The classics—oldies but goodies from appointments committees are:

“We can’t find any qualified Black candidates.”

“There weren’t any in the Faculty Appointments Register (FAR), we scoured websites and emailed our Black friend yet found no one.”

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March 10, 2021 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Women And Non-White Professors Of Lower Rank Are More Likely To Teach In Riskier Classrooms During COVID-19 Than Men And White Professors Of Higher Rank

Chronicle of Higher Education, Lower Pay. Less Job Security. More Covid-19 Risk?:

Lower-ranked instructors bear a disproportionate share of the risk of Covid-19 exposure while teaching at Auburn University, where only about half of the classrooms have the capacity to achieve physical distancing in accordance with public-health guidelines, a preliminary study has found.

The unpublished paper, written by two Auburn economics professors and a graduate student, suggests that inequities in the academic labor force have been exacerbated by a hard push for in-person instruction that places contingent faculty members and graduate students in the riskiest teaching environments.

The Distribution of Occupational Risk During the COVID-19 Pandemic:

We study the distribution of the risk of COVID-19 infection across instructors following the resumption of on-campus instruction at Auburn University during the 2020-2021 academic year. Although Auburn University did not implement a social distancing policy in the classroom, it did enforce an enrollment limit of 50% of normal classroom capacity. Our risk measure is constructed by comparing the actual enrollment in classes to the maximum number of students a classroom can hold and still maintain (CDC recommended) six feet of social distance. We find that approximately half of the face-to-face classes have enrollments that exceed the CDC social distancing capacity. In about one in five face-to-face classes, there are more students than twice the CDC capacity. Women and non-white instructors are more likely to teach in risky classrooms compared to their male and white colleagues, respectively.

COVID Teaching

Instructors who hold higher ranks within the University hierarchy, such as the administrators, tenured and tenure-track professors, and staff, deliver their courses in safer classrooms relative to the contract instructors, graduate student instructors, and lecturers.

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March 10, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Monday, March 8, 2021

New Faculty-Edited Law Journal: American Journal Of Law and Equality (MIT Press)

Following up on my previous post, New Faculty-Edited Law Journal: The Journal Of Free Speech Law:  Harvard Law Today, Kennedy, Minow, Sunstein Found New American Journal of Law and Equality:

American Journal Of Law And EqualityThree Harvard Law School professors have teamed up with MIT Press to launch a new journal focused on issues of inequality. The American Journal of Law and Equality will be led and edited by its founders, Randall L. Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law; Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor; and Cass R. Sunstein ’78, the Robert Walmsley University Professor.

The new journal is expected to appear once per year and include a diversity of scholarship and views from experts and practitioners from in and outside the legal academy. The first issue, expected this summer, will include essays related to Harvard Professor Michael J. Sandel’s recent book, “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?”, which “challenges the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgement it imposes on those left behind.”

“I think that legal academic work at its best improves understanding and also improves practice,” said Sunstein, who is currently on leave from Harvard in the Biden administration, where he is working as senior counselor at the Department of Homeland Security. “So, my own aspiration [for the new journal] is that we will have a better understanding of the inequality questions that our country faces, and that better understanding will inform better practice.”

Citing the host of legal questions related to equality — from the Equal Protection Clause, civil rights laws and the criminal justice system to matters of economics, environmental justice, safety and health, and tax — Sunstein said: “There is no other journal that exclusively focuses on these issues in the United States from the standpoint of law. And whether you’re on the right, on the left, or on the center, you probably are keenly interested in these things. And it’s really the right time to have a focus journal exploring this.”

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

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Originalism’s Original Sin: The Legal Philosophy Cloaks Its Theocratic Impulses In Secular Garb

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Originalism’s Original Sin: The Legal Philosophy Cloaks Its Theocratic Impulses in Secular Garb, by Adam Shapiro (Ph.D. History & Philosophy of Science & Technology, University of Chicago):

Even though the Biden administration is unlikely to nominate a staunch originalist to the Supreme Court, the legal philosophy prominently associated with the late Antonin Scalia isn’t going anywhere. The court is already packed with jurists who have expressed support for this doctrine. Opinions from Trump appointees in particular will be combed for consistency — hypothetical hypocrisies hyped and anachronisms analyzed — by critics who will dwell on any deviation from what they see as originalist orthodoxy.

If the buffet of historicist hot takes that emerged during the hasty pre-election confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett is any indication, many of these commentaries will do worse than merely miss the point. Their caricatures of originalism reinforce the perception that liberal critics of the courts are not just opposed to a theory of judicial interpretation but act in (literal) bad faith. Despite the secular language that its advocates sometimes use, originalism is a religious theory — its origins are not just political but also theological. As such, to understand American jurisprudence, we must expand teaching and research in religious studies and integrate that work across other fields of academic inquiry. This would be especially salutary now, as departments of religious studies find themselves on the chopping block in the post-Covid-19 university.

While there was some interest in the influence of Barrett’s religious views on specific issues like capital punishment and abortion, it largely passed unremarked that the originalism she defends only makes sense in light of a particular American religious history. Originalism combines a Christian nationalist view of the United States’ founding as a prophetic and holy act with notions of the inerrant truth of divinely inspired texts that have evolved over the past century. To its practitioners and supporters, it encodes a religious vision of America that has come to the fore in other areas of politics and law. In short, originalism isn’t “dumb”; it’s theocratic.

Put another way, originalism is a kind of textual literalism, analogous to, and influenced by, biblical literalism. Its reading practices looks remarkably similar to the ways that biblical inerrantists discuss Scripture in light of moral objections or new scientific discoveries. The question for courts and legislators has always been whether there are extrinsic truths that can be used to judge the Constitution — a higher moral law or newly understood facts about social or natural science that can justify corrections or reinterpretations. The originalist position is unique in how it considers these questions, how it resolves apparent conflicts or contradictions within the text, and how it extends the text to circumstances not explicitly anticipated.

Is the Constitution more like Leviticus, or is it instead like Euclid’s Elements — a canonical but not infallible text that can be checked against other kinds of authority?

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

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


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