March 19, 2012
Four provocative suggestions for law school reform from Brian Leiter
I am not sure what prompted this new post at Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, titled "Four Changes to the Status Quo in Legal Education That Might Be Worth Something," but I think it is a post that is surely worth reading. Here are highlights of Leiter's proposals:
1. Higher education in America includes research universities and teaching colleges (the latter placing less emphasis on research); law schools need the same division of labor, so that we have some law schools that are Harvard and Chicago, and some law schools that are Oberlin and Reed. How to bring it about is the really hard part, but changes to ABA accreditation rules could surely help....
2. Judge Posner suggested some time ago that law school be shortened to two years, with a third year optional depending on a student's career goals. Those who want to be tax lawyers could do what is, in effect, the LLM in tax in the third year; those who want to be legal scholars could devote the third year either to cultivating scholarly skills or teaching skills, depending on their academic goals (per #1); those who haven't secured permanent employment after two years could use the third (at some appropriately reduced cost) in externships designed to enhance marketability, with some supervision from academic or clinical faculty; and so on....
3. Cut the number of law reviews by 75%, and turn the remaining ones over to faculty supervision, with students still working on them, but no longer vested with editorial control....
4. Finally, and no doubt most controversially, law schools need real tenure standards and real post-tenure review. Real tenure standards means law schools should deny tenure two or three times as often as they presently do, and on the basis of a genuine qualitative review of scholarship. Post-tenure review -- say, once every ten years -- should operate within the current tenure framework, which means termination only for good cause....
Thoughts on this list? Other suggestions or modifications of justified law school reforms?
Posted by DAB
November 15, 2011
Does Having a Diverse Law School Faculty Affect Students? One Study
A fascinating study, summarized here by National Jurist.
Faculty diversity impacts law review membership, study finds
Law schools with a diverse faculty are more likely to have law review members and leaders who are minorities or women, a new study suggests. The report, completed by The New York Law School Law Review, looks at female and minority representation among law review membership and leadership at ABA-accredited law schools. Membership on a school's law review is an indicator of future career success.
“Getting into law school is only half the battle — for better or worse, grades matter a lot and law review membership is one of the most prominent indicators of academic achievement,” said Dana Brodsky, one of four 3L editors who conducted the research. “Our survey shows a possible connection between the overall environment a school provides and the achievement of its women and minority students.”
More empirical research here would seem to be in order to understand the effects, if any, of faculty diversity on student outcomes.