“Survivor” champ and YLS grad Yul Kwon made a triumphant return to his law school alma mater last week. In a speech entitled “How I Survived Survivor and Other Professional Challenges,” Kwon, who was introduced by YLS Dean Harold Koh, spoke about breaking down negative stereotypes about Asian Americans.
At this point in his speech, Kwon suddenly went off-script and tried to bestow his wisdom on the crowd of predominantly law students.
“Make the best of it,’ he said. “Think outside the box.”
Profound. We can only hope that when he worked for McKinsey, his paying clients got a little more than that kind of “wisdom.”
Speaking of stereotypes, someone did research on how much money men of various races need to make if they’re trying to attract a woman of a different race:
For equal success with a white woman [relative to a white man], an African-American needs to earn an additional $154,000; a Hispanic man needs $77,000; an Asian needs $247,000.
For equal success with an Asian woman [relative to an Asian man], an African-American needs no additional income; a white man needs $24,000 less than average; a Hispanic man needs $28,000 more than average.
As reflected in the comments to our recent post, people can’t see eye to eye about Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh. To some, he’s an American hero; to others, he’s a liberal political hack.
But here are two things we believe to be non-controversial:
1. Dean Koh doesn’t look as good without his shirt as Dean Hiram Chodosh, of the S.J. Quinney Law School (University of Utah). A shirtless photo of Dean Chodosh, a nominee in our Law School Dean Hotties contest, is available here.
2. Dean Koh can’t dance as well as Dean Chodosh. Proving that NYU law students aren’t the only ones who can do fun stuff with the Michael Jackson song “Beat It,” Dean Chodosh recently strutted his stuff to that famous eighties classic:
That’s the prospect repeatedly pushed in a two-partprofile of Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh, from the Yale Daily News. The profile has been discussed extensively in the legal blogsophere (see links below).
Oh goodness. We could say something snarky and dismissive (e.g., “Hell to the N-O”). But we will comport ourselves with the dignity you expect from a leading gossip blogger.
We will merely refer you to what others have already said on the subject. E.g., Professor Stephen Bainbridge (“Koh’s appointment to the SCOTUS would be an unmitigated disaster.”); Professor David Bernstein (Koh is “a highly partisan liberal Democrat under whose tenure as dean conservative and libertarian students have felt increasingly uncomfortable”); and commenters at the WSJ Law Blog (“a severe narcissist,” “a political zealot,” and “[Harvard Dean] Elena Kagan would be a better choice”).
(Our favorite comment, from a WSJ Law Blog reader: “Other than that he’d be a sure vote for declaring Gitmo detainees have a constitutional right to Social Security benefits, I do not see the appeal.”)
So we’re holding our tongue. We do not want to have our YLS degree revoked after the fact.
A few more thoughts, after the jump.
Last Friday night, we attended a Yale Law School alumni dinner here in Washington, at Acadiana restaurant. It was timed to coincide with the big AALS conference of law professors in DC, since so many YLS alums are in legal academia.
The keynote speaker at the dinner was Professor Heather Gerken, who was snatched up from Harvard by Yale last year. She gave an interesting talk about her proposal for a “Democracy Index,” a national system for ranking the election-law practices of the different states. (We won’t repeat her remarks here, since Professor Gerken’s proposal is laid out in detail in her Legal Times commentary.)
Before Professor Gerken spoke, the audience was addressed by Dean Harold Hongju Koh. He updated us about recent developments at the law school, and gave the standard spiel about the brilliance and diversity of Yale’s first-year class.
(In case you’re wondering, the Yale 1Ls have a median GPA of 3.91. Their ranks include oodles of Rhodes Scholars, Marshall Scholars… and a massage therapist. You can have the Rhodies, the whole lot of ‘em; just give us the massage therapist.)
Dean Koh also delivered remarks that could be viewed as part of his new charm offensive: an attempt to reach out to YLS conservatives, in the wake of some criticism onthatfront.
Some random photos — plus very surprising news about Justice Clarence Thomas and Yale Law School, the alma mater he’s had a rocky relationship with — after the jump.
We received an interesting tip last week from a Yale Law School source:
I thought you might be interested in this email, which just went out to the Yale Federalist Society email list. It seems you may have struck some fear into Harold Koh with yourrecentcoverage of his ideological tendencies.
Here’s the email (which we were asked not to publish until after the meeting in question had taken place):
From: Eugene Nardelli, Jr. Date: Dec 13, 2006 4:52 PM Subject: Fed Soc: Lunch With Dean Koh To: [Yale Federalist Society mailing list]
This Tuesday, the 19th, Dean Koh will be hosting lunch with some of our members. Lunch will take place from 12:30 to 1:30 or so in the Dean’s office. Dean Koh has called this meeting for the the specific purpose of giving an opportunity for students to voice their concerns, if any, about the way the school and the Dean treat conservative voices of students, guests, and alumni.
We welcome you to join us and share your thoughts with the Dean, however, the office is small and can only seat a limited number of students. Please email me if you would like to attend.
Eugene [President of the Yale Federalist Society*]
Our tipster added:
I imagine most people will have left New Haven for break by lunchtime next Tuesday… It makes one wonder about Koh’s sincerity (if there wasn’t already enough reason to wonder).
Fair enough. But we’re willing to give Dean Koh the benefit of the doubt. His hosting of a luncheon with the Yale Fed Soc is welcome news. If you were at the meeting and can give us a report on what transpired, we’d love to hear from you.
And here’s a postscript from New Haven:
Hadley Arkes** came to YLS last week to give a lecture sponsored by the newly-formed Yale Law Students for Life group. Koh stopped by the reception beforehand — something he has never in the past done for a conservative speaker invited by FedSoc or similar — and chatted with Prof. Arkes. So apparently he’s making more of an effort to reach out to conservatives these days.
We’re delighted that our scoop about Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh pushing Linda Greenhouse over Justice Samuel Alito for the YLS Award of Merit has been picked up so widely. It even made the pages of the Holy Trinity of the Right-of-Center Blawgosphere: Instapundit, Volokh Conspiracy (Jonathan Adler), and Althouse.
As noted, our transcript of the deliberations was fictionalized and satirical. But it is based upon what we’ve learned about the process by which Greenhouse was selected.
If you disbelieve our account in its entirety, allow us to share with you some supporting information. This isn’t the first time that Dean Koh has been accused of showing favoritism towards Linda Greenhouse. Consider the case of the Harry Blackmun papers.
Koh, a former law clerk to Justice Blackmun and advisor to his daughter Sally, played a major role in giving Linda Greenhouse exclusive, early access to Blackmun’s papers — much to the chagrin of other news organizations. As reported at the time by Tony Mauro:
Blackmun’s daughter Sally, the executor for the papers, said in an interview last week that Linda Greenhouse, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times, and Nina Totenberg, longtime Court correspondent for National Public Radio, have been given exclusive pre-release access to the papers for their respective media of print and broadcast journalism….
The Washington Post asked for early access before the exclusive arrangement was made, but was denied. Editors at the Post were described by one knowledgeable source outside the newspaper as “livid” over the favored treatment granted to the Times.
Executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. and Post attorney David Kendall of Williams & Connolly repeatedly sought reconsideration of the exclusive deal, without success, according to sources at the Post. The Post petitioned Sally Blackmun and Yale Law School professor Harold Koh, a former clerk to the justice and now an adviser to Blackmun.
A Post source says that Koh invited the newspaper to make a proposal for early access last July, but did not mention a deadline. According to the source, by the time the Post replied in September with a plan for non-exclusive early access, the decision had already been made to give the Times exclusive access.
Say it ain’t so! Dean Koh had already made up his mind, in favor of La Greenhouse? Quelle surprise!
For her part, Greenhouse says she began talking with Koh last July, but did not seek exclusivity. The offer to give the Times the only print media preview “fell in my lap,” she says….
Koh declined to comment on why Greenhouse and Totenberg were selected.
So what is the origin of Linda Greenhouse’s Svengali-like power over Harold Koh?
We have a theory. Check it out, along with a bunch of interesting links, after the jump.
Christmas is less than three weeks away. Are you stumped about what to get for your liberal lawyer friends?
Assuming they’re okay with Christmas gifts — maybe they object to even personal celebration of the holiday — have we got an idea for you: Harold Hongju Koh Bobblehead Dolls!!!
Harold Koh is the dean of Yale Law School. And he’s an unapologetic liberal, regarded by some YLS students and alumni as allowing his personal political beliefs to affect his work as dean (not for the better). It’s only natural for the Yale chapter of the ACS, a leading liberal organization, to honor him with a bobblehead doll.
Above the Law has just learned of another manifestation of Dean Koh’s alleged political hackery. One of his deanly duties is to preside over the committee that selects a recipient for the Yale Law School Award of Merit. This prestigious and prominent honor is presented each year to an outstanding graduate or longtime faculty member of YLS.
We’ve heard that Dean Koh, short-circuiting any real discussion, essentially ordered that the 2007 Award of Merit would go to Linda Greenhouse — the left-leaning Supreme Court correspondent of the New York Times. Other committee members proposed Justice Samuel Alito ’75, confirmed earlier this year to the U.S. Supreme Court, as the most natural and appropriate choice. But Dean Koh squelched their support for the conservative jurist. He cut short the deliberations, declaring by fiat that Greenhouse — who did a one-year master’s program at Yale — would receive the award.
Does this strike you as outrageous? It gets worse. The reasoning employed by Dean Koh — to the extent that he employed reasoning, as opposed to simply forcing his pick upon the committee — was pretty dubious.
Based on what we’ve heard, we’ve created a fictionalized transcript of the committee meeting. Check it out, after the jump.
Over at Bench Memos, Ed Whelan — one of our favorite commentators on matters judicial — provides a great account of Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent visit to his alma mater, Harvard Law School. Here’s an excerpt:
The dinner that Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan hosted on Wednesday evening to honor the 20th anniversary of Justice Scalia’s appointment to the Supreme Court was a delightful event, far exceeding my hopeful expectations.
In her own remarks honoring Justice Scalia, Dean Kagan was eloquent, warm-spirited, insightful, and very amusing. She presented Justice Scalia with a letter from Chief Justice Roberts congratulating him on reaching the “midpoint” (or some similar term) of his service on the Court. With wonderfully apt remarks, she also gave him, as a memento of the dinner (which featured salmon as the main course), the framed original of a humorous letter from the great Justice Joseph Story offering thanks for a gift of salmon. The celebratory remarks of professors Charles Fried, Laurence Tribe, and John Manning were likewise excellent.
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In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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