« Does Having a Diverse Law School Faculty Affect Students? One Study | Main | Ph.D's and a cutting critique »

November 17, 2011

"Professor's plea: Say no to 'law school porn'"

The title of this post is the headline of this new piece appearing in The National Law Journal. Here are excerpts:

It's that time of year when law school faculties are inundated with so-called "law school porn" — slick mailings extolling the virtues of individual law schools meant to sway voting in the U.S. News & World Report's reputation survey, now underway.

Some legal educators believe the annual barrage of mail has gotten out of control, and proves that rankings are driving administrative decisions.  They say it's time to stop paying for glossy brochures and invest that money in students.

"Some of the stuff I get is gorgeous," said University of New Hampshire law professor Sarah Redfield. "It's almost a book. Some people are spending a bunch of money on this."

A study released in 2009 that was partially funded by the Law School Admission Council, "Fear of Failing: The Effect of U.S. News & World Report Rankings on U.S. Law Schools," reached the same conclusion: that administrators are spending significant amounts of money on brochures and marketing materials in hopes of getting better results on the reputation survey.  The survey is based on voting by legal educators, lawyers and judges, and accounts for 40 percent of a school's ranking score.

In a recent blog post, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law professor Stephen Bainbridge estimated that this material — commonly referred to in legal academic circles as "law school porn" — comprises 67 percent of his work mail. He added that never reads it. He noted that he has started to receive law school promotional materials via e-mail, which he dismissed as spam.

This material does serve a few purposes, according to University of Alabama School of Law professor Paul Horwitz, who defended them on the PrawfsBlawg blog. They can provide useful information about as recent faculty hires, scholarly publications and other innovations, he wrote.

"On the whole, unlike many, I would rather receive these materials than not receive them," Horwitz wrote. "That's true even if, as is generally the case, they're ridiculously fulsome, as long as they're also informative. As long as a school wants to tell me more about who it's hired and what its folks are writing, I'll be happy to read its mailers."...

Redfield brought a thick stack of the material to a law school admissions conference at St. John's University School of Law on Nov. 11.  It represented about one quarter of what she had received this fall, she said. She theatrically dropped the stack into a recycling bin, producing a loud thud, and issued a challenge to the law deans in the audience and to U.S. News Director of Data Research Bob Morse, who sat on a panel with her.  Law schools should do away with law school porn and put the money toward diversity scholarships, Redfield said.

Morse did not sign on to the challenge, nor did his dismiss it out of hand.  Redfield's idea was met with skepticism by St. John's Dean Michael Simons.  He did not specify what the school spends on its mailings, but stipulated that it would not be enough to fund even a half-scholarship. The National Law Journal contacted a number of law schools to ask what they spend; none responded.

November 17, 2011 in Impact on law school decision-making, Rankings, The mission of law schools | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c8ccf53ef0162fc8463dc970d

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Professor's plea: Say no to 'law school porn'":

Comments

This may give a new meaning to Justice Potter Stewart threshold test for pornography "I know it when I see it."

It is interesting to note that a charitable entity (CaliforniaALL) created by Prof. Redfield chose to host a lavish dinner to honor Gwen Moore, rather than allocate the money for diversity scholarships.

See
http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/02/21/californiaall-part-2-concerns-mount-over-interim-executive-director-sarah-e-redfield-gwen-moore-10652852/

And

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/02/27/californiaall-part-3-the-money-chase-10703770/

And

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/03/15/californiaall-part-8-unh-law-professor-sarah-e-redfield-in-the-make-belief-launching-of-sal-10828936/

Posted by: TLR | Nov 17, 2011 4:27:13 PM

that administrators are spending significant amounts of money on brochures and marketing materials in hopes of getting better results on the reputation survey.

Posted by: best scratch cards sites | Aug 21, 2012 2:40:12 AM

We strongly encourage you to purchase general insurance to cover personal possessions, accident and liability either before or immediately after arriving in Denmark

Posted by: Best Bingo Bonuses | Aug 21, 2012 7:25:25 AM

News Director of Data Research Bob Morse, who sat on a panel with her. Law schools should do away with law school porn and put the money toward diversity scholarships, Redfield said.

Posted by: truck driver jobs | Aug 24, 2012 10:15:44 AM

This is definitely a stat that is not good at all. I think all Americans need some type of savings for retirement. We have to make this happen in the future.

Posted by: teeth whitening strips | Sep 4, 2012 5:46:50 AM

I appreciate that you have gone off the beaten path with your points and I agree with most. You got here a returning visitor

Posted by: click here | Sep 23, 2012 4:42:26 AM

Sounds a lot like the swag movies studios and video game companies give out to people in order to solicit positive reviews. I guess law schools are no different - bribery will get you everywhere, it seems.

Posted by: best movies 2012 | Sep 29, 2012 4:17:35 PM

that administrators are spending significant amounts of money on brochures and marketing materials in hopes of getting better results on the reputation survey.

Posted by: Anastasie | Nov 3, 2012 7:15:28 PM

The timing of Petraeus' resignation "was what it was," an official told ABC News, adding that the time had come to tie up any loose ends in the investigation and confront the general.

Posted by: ninja hattori games | Nov 12, 2012 12:40:15 PM

We strongly encourage you to purchase general insurance to cover personal possessions, accident and liability either before or immediately after arriving in Denmark

Posted by: Excalibur food dehydrators | Nov 21, 2012 7:28:07 AM

This is definitely a stat that is not good at all. I think all Americans need some type of savings for retirement. We have to make this happen in the future.

Posted by: face skin problems | Jan 10, 2014 9:02:07 AM

Sounds a lot like the swag movies studios and video game companies give out to people in order to solicit positive reviews. I guess law schools are no different - bribery will get you everywhere, it seems.

Posted by: istock promo code | Jan 20, 2014 7:57:20 AM

The timing of Perpetrates' resignation "was what it was," an official told ABC News, adding that the time had come to tie up any loose ends in the investigation and confront the general.

Posted by: Hard to buy for | Mar 27, 2014 8:14:11 AM

Research Bob Morse, who sat on a panel with her. Law schools should do away with law school porn and put the money toward diversity scholarships, Redfield said.

Posted by: SEO competition | May 20, 2014 10:43:57 AM

Written, Thank you for this article

Posted by: Beet Juice | Dec 4, 2016 1:05:40 AM

Post a comment