Category Archives: Law School

Should This Be Required Viewing Before Law School?

“Weird Al” Yankovic – Word Crimes:

Almost all great stuff. I disagree about the Oxford comma — I think it’s essential for legal writing. (I also have some other legal writing tips.) Catchy tune, though.

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Four Levels of Empowerment

  1. Someone will show me what to do.
  2. I can make the rules work for me.
  3. I can get an exception to the rules.
  4. I can change the rules.

Sometimes I want to ask my students, “Which are you?” or “Which do you want to be?” But the one time I tried something of the kind, it didn’t go over all that well.

Even so, they’re probably good questions in many situations.

Apologies for sounding like Seth Godin.

Incidentally, there’s arguably a fifth level of empowerment — “I can destroy the system” — but that’s either a special case of #4, or out of scope for the law-abiding. And I suppose there’s a zeroth level too, something on the order of “I’ll sit here alone and starve,”1 which could be clinical depression. OK, that was less Godin-like.


  1. Not to be confused with “I’ll just sit here alone in the dark,” which is the answer to the question “How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a lightbulb?” and is probably an example of level 2. []
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Law Students Invited to Publish

Friend and fellow lawprof Dan Hunter passes on this call for papers aimed at law students:

CALL FOR PAPERS Special Edition for emerging socio-legal scholars

QUT Law Review invites articles for its forthcoming Special Edition, highlighting emerging issues in Law and socio-legal disciplines.

For this special issue, we are seeking submissions from students undertaking higher degrees by research and from other early career researchers. We aim to highlight a broad range of emerging issues and provide an overview of research currently in progress.

This Special Edition is designed to provide an introduction to academic publishing for higher degree by research students. Articles will be subject to rigorous blind peer review, but we encourage submissions that present projects still in progress and do not yet have firm conclusions or results. Peer reviewers will focus on the ability of the article to present a novel methodological or conceptual approach to an existing problem or to identify a new socio-legal issue that has not been extensively studied. Submitted manuscripts will also be evaluated for technical competency and standard English expression.

Continue reading

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Every Law Student (and Many Lawyers) Should Read This

Statistics Done Wrong: The woefully complete guide.

(Found via Cory)

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Just in Time for Halloween

Lawprofs sue over ‘satanic’ raise. Yes, really.

The AAUP Chapter at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the State of Ohio alleging that the law school retaliated against certain faculty in the award of merit raises in 2013 and 2014 because of their union activities. Faculty were placed in four merit raise bands — $5,000, $3,000, $666, and $0 — based on scholarship and scholarly influence (40%), teaching as measured by student evaluations (40%), and service (20%). The complaint alleges that eight AAUP organizers received raises of $0 or $666, despite “exemplary scholarship and teaching scores.” The complaint charges that the $666 raise in effect calls “AAUP’s organizers and AAUP Satan.” In a memo distributed to the central administration and copied to the entire faculty, one of the eight AAUP organizers alleges that:

[The $666 figure] is a universally understood symbol of the Antichrist or Devil — one of our culture’s most violent religious images. Implicitly, but unmistakably and obviously intentionally, [the Dean] used his powers to set faculty salaries as an occasion to brand his perceived opponents as the Antichrist.

The mind boggles. Although a $5000 merit band doesn’t sound bad at all in this economy.

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Good Speech for 1Ls (and Others) to Hear

Anthony Casey Addresses Entering Students at University of Chicago Law School is a fine introduction to what matters in law school.

A sample:

If you believe the op-ed pieces in newspapers and the blogs spread across the Internet, you may think you are here just to learn how to read law and to prepare to take the bar exam in three years. That view is a surefire way to waste your time here. People quite ignorant of what a good lawyer does will tell you that law school should be shorter, that law school should teach students how to pass the bar, that law students learn too much theory.

I am going to let you in on a secret. The bar exam is a memory test. You had the skills to take the bar exam when you were a freshman in high school. You certainly don’t need three years to prepare for it. That is true. But passing the bar does not make someone a good lawyer. It just makes them a lawyer. And if you think that is enough, I can direct you to a thousand websites and jokes about things that went wrong when “just lawyers” were trusted with important problems.

What differentiates good lawyers – graduates from this law school – is the ability to advise clients about what those laws and documents actually mean in the real world, how they affect human interaction, and most importantly, how those effects can be changed.

To prepare you for this – and we do prepare you for this – we will teach you to explore how rules, policy, and human behavior interact. It is precisely for this reason that law school is (more than any other area of study) so interdisciplinary. You cannot understand the rights that a lender will exercise against a bankrupt corporation without understanding finance, economics, psychology, political theory, and philosophy, to name a few.

All of that is to say that the world, or at least those who are most noisy on the Internet, misunderstand both the practice and the study of law. They will tell you that lawyers create chaos and academics don’t care about the real world. Do not be taken in by this.

Spotted via Leiter.

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This Is Fun

Law and Law School in Six Words from the Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog.

My favorites so far are:

  • “It depends” worked most days
  • For sale: law degree, no promises.
  • No better preparation for serving humanity.

It’s not as easy as it looks.

(spotted via WSJ Blog, Describing Law School in Six Words) which also has some including, “‘But I’m tenured!’ the professor replied.” and “The former dean pleaded not guilty.” –which I think tells us something about the WSJ.

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