Brian Leiter

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…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ABA Does Something Right! Will U.S. News Follow And End One Perverse Incentive For Law Schools?”

‘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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Celebrity Law Prof Death Match: Paul Campos v. Brian Leiter”

* 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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Professor John C. Yoo

Some liberals view Professor John Yoo as a sadist. They cite Professor Yoo’s involvement in the so-called “torture memos” during his time as a lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

But I think Professor Yoo is a masochist. Only a masochist would try to develop a citation-based system for ranking the relevance of law professors.

Relevant law professors? Yes, they exist!

Let’s learn about Professor Yoo’s ranking system and see who comes out on top. An added bonus: he also has a list of the top 50 most efficient law professors. Yes, law professors are efficient too!

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* I’m not sure why Romney won’t just say that he lied to the SEC about when he left Bain. Lying to the SEC is just good business. Lying to the American people is something that politicians are only supposed to do for sex. [Wonkblog / Washington Post]

* Character and fitness can be a surprisingly tough hurdle, so I’ve been told. [The Toronto Star]

* Here are the top law faculties by scholarship. I’d bet this list and the list for top law faculties by salary are pretty similar. [Brian Leiter's Law School Reports]

* One of our favorite lawyers, renowned litigator Ed Hayes, gets another profile — a dandy profile this time. [The Dandy Portraits]

* This is a highlight reel of terrible lawyer ads. [Strategist via Findlaw]

* Man with the largest penis gets frisked by TSA. When asked to comment, Sam said, “This is how we keep motherf***in snakes off the motherf***in planes.” [Hufffington Post]

* Congratulations to Michael Fricklas, the general counsel of Viacom, on receiving this year’s Raising the Bar Award from the Hollywood Reporter. [Hollywood Reporter]

Last year, my colleague Elie Mystal opined as follows: “Any lawyer who calls himself ‘doctor,’ like a Ph.D., should get punched in the mouth.” Given the self-aggrandizing nature of a lawyer taking on the additional title of “doctor,” I can’t say I disagree with him (with all due respect to the efforts on Facebook to get lawyers referred to as doctors).

But what if lawyers — more specifically, aspiring law professors — actually got Ph.D. degrees in law? That’s what will soon be happening at Yale Law School. The school just announced a new “Ph.D. in Law” program, aimed at aspiring law professors.

How will this program work? And is it a good idea? I reached out to a number of prominent law professors, all graduates of YLS themselves, for thoughts on their alma mater’s plan to grant a new degree….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Calling Dr. Law: Yale Will Offer a Ph.D. in Law for Would-Be Legal Academics”

The newest U.S. News law school rankings are out. The timing is not ideal for us here at Above the Law, since we just launched our latest Law School March Madness contest with seeding based on last year’s now superseded rankings. But as law school deans well know, you don’t control U.S News; U.S. News controls you.

As previously announced by rankings guru Bob Morse over at his blog, Morse Code, the new law school rankings were scheduled to be published online tomorrow, Tuesday, March 13. But just like last year and the year before last, they arrived a few hours early. Oh joy!

There’s a surprising amount of movement among the top law schools. And there are some interesting tidbits from elsewhere within the rankings. Let’s take a look, shall we?

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