If liberals are to be true to our professed values, we must critically examine our own conduct, however painful and embarrassing it might be. We cannot speak truth to power yet not to ourselves. [P]rogressive law professors, I charge, have profited from a system of legal education with harmful consequences to individuals and society — while claiming (and believing) that they were fighting the system.
Sock-Puppets are a scourge of our time. How annoying does a person have to be create a fake, online persona specifically for the purpose of touting their own real life views?
We usually think of the most annoying commenter creating a fake persona, or “sock puppet,” to promote their “real” online persona. Occasionally, oversensitive journalists or bloggers will create an internet identity for the express purpose of pimping their articles on social media.
But today we’ve got a law professor who just got busted for creating a fake online handle to promote his scholarship. That the law professor is also a rabbi who got busted by “The Jewish Channel” just heightens the embarrassment….
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….
Are there no volunteers on the Columbia Law faculty?
Yesterday, we told you about a sticky situation at Columbia Law School. Professor Christina Duffy Ponsa, a constitutional law scholar, is going through divorce proceedings that have caused her to miss a number of classes. The school responded by dumping all of Professor Ponsa’s students into Professor Trevor Morrison’s Con Law class, creating a huge 200-person Con Law experience that bothered many students.
The Columbia Student Senate formally requested that Columbia replace Ponsa with another qualified professor instead of merging sections.
It seems that no Columbia Law professor was willing to step up and alleviate the overcrowded situation, but after our story went up, the administration did make some concessions to student concerns. And while it seems to me that the administration is fumbling the ball here by not finding one faculty member (or Justice Ginsburg) willing to step in and help out a colleague with some personal issues, students and tipsters have heaped a whole lot of blame on Professor Ponsa’s allegedly wild personal life for putting herself (and her students) in this situation in the first place….
This is what a Con Law class at Columbia Law looks like.
In our Above the Law Career Center, Columbia Law School boasts a 9.2:1 student faculty ratio. That’s a bit high, but fairly average, but there’s no denying that Columbia is a big school in a big city. It still manages to sport a 94 percent employment rate, according to Law School Transparency. In general, the school does well by its students.
But the administration is not doing a great job right now. One of the school’s Constitutional Law professors cannot perform her duties three weeks into the semester. The school’s solution has been to create one behemoth Con Law class that seems to help no one.
It’s kind of amazing that a school that is widely thought to be one of the top five law schools in the nation doesn’t have one spare Constitutional Law professor on hand who can step up in a pinch….
My friends, today we have reached a singular height of self-serving hypocrisy. We’ve got a law professor out with the helpful suggestion that the way to deal with the vast oversupply of law school graduates who don’t have jobs is for law firms to collusively decide to pay the people they do hire less money.
According to this professor, law firms will magically hire more people if they just didn’t have to pay as much as $160,000 for new associates. Of course, the argument completely ignores the fact that Biglaw firms could find associates on the street willing to work for nine bucks an hour and a Metro card if they really wanted more people. It overlooks the reality that firms are more interested in hiring as many people as they need, not enough people to make sure law schools are happy. But what does this guy care? He’s a law professor, and as long as he’s shifting the blame away from law schools to somebody else, it’s a deflection mechanism worth putting on the internet.
So yeah, let’s all take a look at the latest bit of horrible logic coming from somebody who is happily profiteering off of the oversupply of young attorneys but is eager to blame somebody else for the crisis that pays his salary. It’ll be good fun…
As we reported yesterday, Dean Paul Schiff Berman is leaving the deanship at the George Washington University Law School to assume a university-wide position as GW’s “Vice Provost for Online Education and Academic Innovation.” He’s switching jobs effective January 16, 2013.
Since the news of Dean Berman’s resignation became public, we’ve heard all sorts of rumors about why he’s departing as dean of GW Law. What are the rumors — and is there any truth to them?
I think that law schools should focus more on making sure their students are able to get jobs after graduation. But emphasizing career services doesn’t help anybody if students can’t pass the bar. Making sure that students can pass the bar is perhaps the first goal of a competent law school.
Unlike Thomas Jefferson Law, where apparently they think an atrocious bar passage rate doesn’t have anything to do with the faculty, most law schools try to make sure that their students can pass the bar. Except perhaps for elite schools. At top schools, the faculty assumes the strong academic record of their entering students will result in dutiful bar preparation with a test prep company. The elite law school curriculum instead focuses on theory.
But if you don’t attract the very best students, then your law school needs to focus a little more on the nuts and bolts of passing a state bar exam. A law professor at a lower ranked school made that point to the rest of the faculty and students during a debate about a change to the school’s curriculum. But some of the students are getting a little butthurt after being called “average”….
The faculty at NYU Law are our poster children for law professors who lazily reuse old exams, instead of ripping themselves away from their largely unread law review articles long enough to write a new issue spotter.
Apparently, the school really likes being on that poster. Despite the fact that we’ve been highlighting this issue at the school since at least 2009, the faculty continues to use old exams. Students who find them enjoy an unfair advantage over students who are not skilled in the art of internet sleuthing. In fact, it seems NYU Law doesn’t even have a fully thought-out policy regarding exam reuse.
It must be a great life. Every time an NYU Law prof reuses an old exam (to the outrage of students), I have to write an entirely new post — even though the underlying issues of laziness and disregard for student concerns are the same. But if I were employed by NYU, I wouldn’t even have to go through the motions, I could just take the most recent post I wrote decrying the NYU Law faculty doing this, change the dates, and go back to watching the Australian Open on television. Does anybody know if NYU is hiring?
Actually, the latest example really is deserving of its own post. Because this time an NYU Law Vice Dean got into the mix and exposed a disturbing lack of understanding about the problem…
(Yes, at the law school. If this snitching took place at the college, people would be dropping bodies instead of emails to Above the Law.)
As we first heard the story, somebody allegedly ratted out a popular law professor to the administration for his unorthodox teaching techniques. While many students wanted to find the “snitch,” a person who sympathized with the snitch wrote a sarcastic email making fun of those who were outraged by the tattletale:
TO THE PERSON WHO BETRAYED THE SANCTITY OF OUR CLASSROOM: HAVE YOU NO SHAME? I HONESTLY HOPE THAT YOU ARE CAPTURED BY TERRORISTS AND THAT THE RANSOM VIDEO IS LOST IN THE MAIL! AND NOBODY EVER FINDS YOU! I HOPE THAT WHEN YOU GO ON YOUR NEXT JOB INTERVIEW, AN AIDS-INFESTED BABOON TAKES A S**T ON YOUR CHEST!
And he was just warming up. Read on for updates, amusement, and enlightenment….
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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