Posts Tagged ‘law schools’

Intellectual diversity at law schools

As I noted in my book Schools for Misrule a few years back, law faculties, especially at elite schools, tilt overwhelmingly leftward on the political spectrum. Last month the Association of American Law Schools turned down a request from conservative and libertarian legal scholars that a task force be set up to look into this issue and that data be released to help identify such patterns if indeed they exist. On Wednesday 28 dissident legal scholars went public with a letter urging a change of course. Here’s Josh Blackman’s post about the letter. Other signatories include Jonathan H. Adler, Randy Barnett, Gail Heriot, James Lindgren, John McGinnis, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Ilya Somin, Eugene Volokh, and Stephen Ware. More: Randy Barnett; Paul Caron/TaxProf with links.

More: AALS executive director Judith Areen responds.

January 11 roundup

  • Group letters by law professors opposing nominees should be treated with the respect due, normally zero [John McGinnis, Michael Krauss, Paul Caron/TaxProf with links to columns by Stephen Presser, Scott Douglas Gerber, and James Huffman]
  • USA, courthouse to the world for compensation claims, even 100+ years later [Guardian on suit in Manhattan federal court by descendants of atrocities committed by Germans in what is now Namibia in early 1900s]
  • Marvels of NYC tenant law: “Couple renting Chelsea pad hasn’t paid rent since 2010” [New York Post]
  • Election results could mean 11th-hour save for embattled cause of consumer arbitration [Liz Kramer/Stinson Leonard Street LLP]
  • Baltimore policing, family leave in Montgomery County, Uber/Lyft fingerprinting, getting money out of Howard County politics, and more in my latest Maryland policy roundup at Free State Notes;
  • Speaking of ridesharing and regulation: “Without Uber or Lyft, Austin Experiences Skyrocketing DUI Rates” [Brittany Hunter, FEE]

December 28 roundup

Tweet of the day: Laurence Tribe on IRS ideological targeting

Yesterday Harvard law professor Larry Tribe sent out a tweet brusquely dismissing the IRS targeting episode as a debunked non-scandal. I and others promptly took issue with him, and pointed him toward the August 5 D.C. Circuit opinion laying out the scandal’s genuineness. (I also referenced my Ricochet article summarizing the decision and citing the Inspector General report from Treasury.)

Within an hour or two Prof. Tribe sent this tweet very graciously conceding error, along with several similar.

I have on occasion had my differences with Prof. Tribe’s views, but what an honorable example he sets here. May all of us prove equally ready to re-examine our own views when challenged.

Schools roundup

  • Fear of regulators drives many campuses to restrict speech [Greg Lukianoff of FIRE interviewed by Caleb Brown, Cato podcast] New UCLA Title IX policy requires faculty to inform on “possible” sex harassment, and Prof. Bainbridge objects;
  • Tributes to my much admired colleague, the late Cato Institute education scholar Andrew Coulson [Neal McCluskey and Jason Bedrick, Adam Schaeffer, Nick Gillespie/Reason]
  • “Total Law School Enrollment at Lowest Point Since 1977; 1L Class Size Lowest Since 1973” [Derek Muller]
  • New Jersey: “Elizabeth Public Schools Spend More on Attorneys than Textbooks, Heat or Electricity” [WPIX (autoplays)]
  • “I began to see the social sciences as tribal moral communities, becoming ever more committed to social justice, and ever less hospitable to dissenting views.” Jonathan Haidt interviewed by John Leo [Minding the Campus]
  • Furor continues over U.S. Department of Education funding of “facilitated communication” with profoundly disabled persons [David Auerbach, Slate]
  • “Rhode Island: Children Under 10 Shall Not Be Left Home Alone, Even Briefly” [Lenore Skenazy]

ABA: lift ban on credit for paid externships

ABA Journal via Paul Caron/TaxProf:

A proposed change in the law school accreditation standards that would lift the ban on students receiving academic credit for paid externships has drawn a lot of comment—and much of the comment is in opposition to lifting the ban.

Under the current standards, law students are barred from receiving both credit and pay for an externship. But the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved for notice and comment a proposal that would eliminate the ban.

Comments on the proposal are here; for a student-eye recounting of the possible advantages of the proposal, scroll (h/t Ilya Somin) to the fifth letter in the series, by Peter Donohue, editor in chief of the George Mason Civil Rights Law Journal.

It is somewhat surprising (in a good way) to find the ABA inviting such a shakeup of the way things are done in legal academia, and less surprising to find many faculty resisting.

Just as other licensed professionals typically have an incentive to resist competition from alternative providers — lawyers to resist the incursions of paralegals, physicians those of RNs and pharmacists, and so forth — so professional educators have an incentive to resist competition from on-the-job training. That helps explain why the organized providers of government-licensed education are so keen to draw and enforce boundaries in this area: nothing for which the student gets paid should count toward obligatory time spent in education. And yet some employers would bid significant sums for the work efforts of lawyers in training, and that compensation in turn could make a dent in the typically high cost of obtaining a law degree. “Any proposed changes will come back to the council for final consideration in March.”