(Found via Cory)
Category Archives: Law School
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.
Anthony Casey Addresses Entering Students at University of Chicago Law School is a fine introduction to what matters in law school.
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.
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.
Robert Condlin, ‘Practice Ready Graduates’: A Millennialist Fantasy”. Abstract:
The sky is falling on legal education say the pundits, and preparing “practice ready” graduates is the best strategy for surviving the fallout. This is a millennialist version of the argument for clinical legal education that dominated discussion in the law schools in the 1960s and 1970s. The circumstances are different now, as are the people calling for reform, but the two movements are alike in one respect: both view skills instruction as legal education’s primary purpose. Everything else is a frolic and detour, and a fatal frolic and detour in hard times such as the present.
No one would dispute that the United States legal system has a labor market problem, but law schools cannot revive the labor market, or improve the employment prospects of their graduates, by providing a different type of instruction. Placing students in jobs is a function of a school’s academic reputation, not its curriculum, and the legal labor market will rebound only after the market as a whole has rebounded (and perhaps not then). The cause of the present troubles is a lack of jobs, not a lack of graduates (of any kind), and producing more “practice ready” graduates will have no effect on the supply of jobs. The proposal is a spectacular non sequitur to the present troubles.
The concept of “practice ready” also is unintelligible and would be impossible to implement if it were not. There are as many different types of practice, for example, as there are levels of readiness for it and proponents of the proposal do not say which of these various possibilities (and combinations of possibilities), they have in mind. If the expression had a clear meaning, law schools still could not implement it because proficiency at practice depends upon dispositions (i.e., habits informed by reflection), and dispositions take longer than a law school course to develop. Like a lot of blog commentary, the “practice ready” proposal is more slogan than idea. Perhaps that is why it is so popular.
Not pulling any punches here, are we? Lest you think Prof. Condlin (whom I don’t know) is an Ivory tower guy or anti-clinic, here’s his official bio:
From 1969 to 1972, Professor Condlin was an assistant attorney general for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He represented the Commonwealth in several major lawsuits in state and federal court, including Massachusetts v. Laird, an original action in the United States Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Vietnam War, Sturgis v. Quinn, the state court precursor to the Supreme Court decision in Baird v. Bellotti, upholding a woman’s right to birth control, and Board of Appeals of Concord v. Housing Appeals Committee of the Department of Community Affairs, the first defense of an anti-snob zoning statute in the United States. He left the Attorney General’s office in 1972 to establish the Urban Legal Laboratory, a full-semester clinical program for students of Boston College Law School, run jointly with the Boston Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. In 1974 he became a teaching fellow at Harvard Law School, where he taught and did graduate study in the field of clinical law. He left Harvard in 1976 to become associate professor of law at the University of Virginia, where he created that school’s clinical law program. He moved to Maryland in 1980. He has served as a consultant to the AALS Law Teachers Clinic and Clinical Teachers Training Conferences and to the Canadian Law Teachers Clinic and has taught at Indiana University Law School at Bloomington as a visiting professor
OK, a little ivory tower, maybe. But the paper sounds like it might be a useful corrective to certain over-enthusiasms.
Apologies, but this announcement is for UM Law students only:
I have three open jobs for research assistants, all starting when classes begin, or as soon thereafter as is practical. These jobs are for the entire academic year, although I don’t expect you to work during exams or vacations.
Job #1: Academic Research
This job requires 10-15 hours per week. The RA’s job is to help me with my research, which is likely to be focused on privacy, and internet law more generally, but may also include some robotics or torts. It requires someone who can write clearly, is well-organized, and who is really good at finding things in libraries and on the Internet. If you happen to have some web or programming skills (some or all of HTML, WordPress, MySQL, Perl, Debian), that would be a very big plus but it is not in any way a requirement.
Job #2: Jotwell Student Editor
This job requires 7-10 hours per week, although it likely involves a bit more in the first week or two as you learn the ropes. This job involves helping me manage and edit JOTWELL, an online law journal (see jotwell.com). You are a combination of managing editor and substantive editor so the job requires excellent organizational skill plus editing skills; some talent for diplomacy in dealing with authors would also be of use. Jotwell uses WordPress to publish, but it is easy to learn, so no experience needed.
Job #3: ‘We Robot’ Conference Organizer/Researcher
I need to hire one or more law students to help manage a major conference on legal and policy issues relating to robotics, to be held at the law school on April 4 & 5, 2014. There is intellectual work to be done to set up the event, notably writing online summaries of all the accepted papers. There are also some administrative duties, although the law school staff will shoulder the bulk of those.
The job involves a smaller amount of work now, and a larger amount of work in the weeks leading up to the event. You would also be asked to attend and assist with the conference, for example, liaising with speakers, and summarizing events online, on Twitter, and other media.
In all three cases the hourly pay of $ 13 is set by the university, and is not as high as you deserve, but the work is sometimes interesting.
If you are interested, please e-mail the following to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words RESEARCH ASSISTANT (in all caps) followed by your name in the subject line:
1. A copy of your resume (c.v.),
2. A short writing sample (non-legal is preferred — in any case, please don’t send your LCOMM memo),
3. A transcript (need not be an official copy),
4. A cover note telling me
– which job or jobs you are applying for (if more than one, please state preferences if you have any)
– your phone number and email address.
– anything else about you that you would like me to know.
– if you are interested in the Robots job, whether in addition to variable duties before then you would be prepared to work up to 15-20 hours per week in March 2014 if necessary.
Saying you saw the notice here couldn’t hurt.