Brian Leiter

You get used to it. I don’t even see the code. All I see are SCOTUS sightings, Bonus Rumors, and Law Schools Ripping Off Students.

So last Friday, while I was sipping chugging Jack Daniels and curating the weekly GIF roundup in the airport lounge, Professor Brian Leiter went on his blog to assert — without a lick of evidentiary support — that Above the Law was in some kind of financial trouble. Since the reality is that Above the Law is coming off its best year ever by every metric available, we responded.

Well, it takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong.

In related news, Professor Leiter did not admit he was wrong. In fact, he updated his post with a retort so drenched in weak sauce that we figured we’d reply again.

How weak was it? Well, let’s school the prof on some basic math about his own site….

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Some of you are working feverishly right now. But most of you are clock-watching until the dictates of face time allow you to get out of the office. With Christmas and New Year’s falling awkwardly on Wednesdays, very little work is getting done next week or the week after. For some lucky lawyers, this is your last day of work for a week or even two.

To help you waste what’s left of the day, especially for those of you not on Eastern Standard Time, here’s a collection of funny tidbits from around the legal world.

Oh, and Professor Brian Leiter decided to rip Above the Law, so we’re going to talk about that…

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You’ve given a lot to your law school. There was that dumpload of tuition, of course. There was the immediate boost you gave their U.S. News Ranking when they got to count you as employed within nine months of graduation. And there’s the fact that you don’t reach through the phone and strangle them when they call asking for even more money every week.

Isn’t it time the law school gave something back? In addition to that J.D. that’s rapidly diminishing in value, I mean.

It’s the holiday season and one law school decided to get into the Christmas spirit and sent its alums an email with the subject line, “A Gift from the Law School.”

No more waiting, let’s tear off the wrapping paper and see what some law school generously gave its alums…

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Being a legal academic is probably a lot of fun. You can act like a complete jerk with zero repercussions. Your job is pretty safe so long as you don’t work at a sinking law school. And you can write the most ridiculous tripe and pass it off as research.

Have you ever wondered which law school has the most cited academics?

No? Well, here you go anyway.

Using Brian Leiter’s patented “Scholarly Impact Score,” here are the top 10 law schools in terms of cited academics….

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Does the amount of money a law school spends necessarily have an effect on the quality of its legal education?

Here at Above the Law, we say no. Our Law School Rankings take a look at the outcomes law schools provide for their graduates, not the inputs law schools cast into the pot.

But U.S. News still looks at many input factors in evaluating law schools. One of the most notorious factors U.S. News cares about is faculty resources. U.S. News rewards schools for spending a lot of money on the faculty per admitted student. You can kind of see the thought process there: good schools hire good professors and good professors command higher salaries.

Unfortunately, this U.S. News factor creates perverse incentives. Schools with unreasonably high tuition are rewarded for overpaying faculty, at the expense of the debt burden loaded upon their students and recent graduates. Ranking one school better than another because it engages in profligate spending is a cruel joke in this economy.

We don’t know if U.S. News will stop this madness, but yesterday the American Bar Association decided to stop asking schools to report the figure…

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‘Why won’t anyone hire me?’

Everything is down because three-quarters of law schools are uncertain about their enrollment and therefore they are less likely to invest in professors. Schools are spending huge amounts more on financial aid to get the student body they want. That’s money that can’t be spent to hire permanent faculty.

Brian Leiter, a law professor at the University of Chicago, commenting on the “unbelievable lack of movement” in the hiring of law professors, particularly in the much neglected areas of labor and employment law.

* Happy Pi Day from Sasha Volokh! [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Tiffany’s sued Costco for trademark violations because Tiffany’s is afraid someone walked into Costco and thought, “$20 Tiffany’s engagement ring? AWESOME!” [Law of Fashion]

* Pro se litigants have finally killed Virginia’s sodomy statute. [The CockleBur]

* UChilawgo provides a visual representation of what happens when you criticize Brian Leiter on the Internet. [UChilawgo]

* Kelly Mathis, a Jacksonville attorney, got arrested for allegedly running a $300 million illegal gambling operation. And yet Nova Southeastern is able to make bank gambling that their students will find jobs with their degree. [Tampa Bay Times]

* If you’re looking for someone else to foot the tab for law school, the folks at Best Criminal Justice have a helpful list. [Best Criminal Justice]

* Law and the Multiverse knows the way to my heart: an analysis of the Futurama “Future Stock,” featuring my all-time favorite Futurama character, “80s Guy.” Click through to see “80s Guy” doing the The Safety Dance on a loop. [Law and the Multiverse]

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In this corner, fighting for truth and transparency in legal education, we have University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos. In that corner, fighting for the glory of legal academia, we have University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter. LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!

Those of you who don’t regularly follow law professors’ blogs might be surprised to know that they can get catty sometimes. But usually in a subtle way, like: “Hence we can clearly see that the FRCP does allow for the conduct described supra, infra, inter alia, and in FN-3,756. The seminal treatise on this point is not only mistaken, it was written by a colleague who I think we all know has two testicles, but no penis.”

But the fight between Paul Campos and Brian Leiter seems altogether different. Both claim that the other one has “completely lost it.” Campos writes that Leiter is “an obsessive, vindictive cyber-stalker.” Leiter counters that Campos is “a pathological liar.”

Most everybody else is just running through the hallways screaming, “fight, fight, fight, fight,” because it’s the internet, and that’s what we do….

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* In the E.D.N.Y., Pitbull prevailed over lovable, legal loser Lindsay Lohan. Lohan’s knack for the epic legal fail carried over to her attorney, Stephanie Ovadia, who was fined $750 for plagiarism by Judge Denis Hurley. [Billboard]

* Charles Fried is pretty sure Senator Ted Cruz is crazy for saying there was only one Republican on the Harvard Law faculty. But the joke’s on Fried… no one considers a Reagan appointee a Republican anymore, you silly goose! [New Yorker]

* Here are some outtakes from Michelle Olsen’s coverage of the D.C. Circuit (the main event, if you will, was published here). Sadly, unlike some outtake reels, the D.C. panel did not address the problem of snow blindness in cats. [Appellate Daily]

* Brian Leiter and Paul Campos had a little dispute. This article sums it up and has some interesting thoughts on just how little law professors care now about their own teaching methods. Don’t read this if you’re averse to honesty. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Fisticuffs erupt over messing with the thermostat. This is an official warning to the other ATL editors if that office is too hot next week… [LegalJuice]

* The whole “publish or perish” racket is rough. Bill Araiza needs a hug. [PrawfsBlawg]

* The ideological center of the U.S. House of Representatives is Staten Island. Woe to the Republic. [New York Daily News]

Say what you will about the Cooley Law School Rankings, but at least they are internally consistent and objectively applied.

We’ve written before about the ridiculous National Jurist Best Law School Rankings. Many law bloggers have written about this list that looks like it was put together by getting the Sorting Hat drunk on goblets of fire water and forcing it to name law schools until it passed out.

We’ve all tried to reason with the National Jurist, but it turns out that effort was not unlike trying to convince an infant not to poop while you’re eating. We’d have been better off just ignoring it and cleaning it up later.

The publication came out with an “edit” yesterday, and while its revisions did a good job of highlighting how stupid these rankings were in the first place, I’m compelled to write about them just so nobody is fooled into thinking their “updates” have actually fixed anything….

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