Thursday, June 14, 2018

Kozinski on Reinhardt...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Most legal employers (who responded so far) deny imposing mandatory arbitration agreements on summer associates/interns

The data so far.

June 12, 2018 in Legal Profession, Student Advice | Permalink

Monday, June 11, 2018

Have education advocates sold out students' and educators' privacy for money from technology firms? (Michael Simkovic)

The Department of Education's failures to safeguard student data against leaks have led to repeated Congressional hearings over the last few years. (see here, here, and here).  Even some of the best state education agencies have also suffered data breaches.

Privacy advocates, student and parent groups, and educators are therefore understandably concerned about sharing even more detailed and personal student information with government agencies that cannot adequately safeguard the information they already have.

A network of think tanks, advocacy groups, and media organizations with links to technology firms have been pushing for extremely intrusive and detailed collection of information about individual students.  Disclosures would no longer be limited to aggregated, anonymized data, but rather would include information about individual students.  Extant disclosures have already undermined student privacy far more than was anticipated.  Student contact lists are commercially available for purchase on the basis of ethnicity, affluence, religion, lifestyle, awkwardness, and even a perceived or predicted need for family planning services.  Disclosure of disciplinary records -- which occurs in spite of legal assurances that such data will remain confidential -- can put students at a disadvantage in the job market for a lifetime. (See also here).1

As one expert on technology explained:

"The bill proposes a new system to collect student-level data . . . . And that's where we all should feel a little queasy. Despite the obvious benefits of having access to data . . . the inherent security and privacy concerns of such a system are significant.

The definition of "data in scope" might change over time. And once the data is collected, there it sits, ready to be leaked, breached or worse. Without getting too deep into Big Brother conspiracy theory, there are so many ways for the system to go wrong."

Tech-backed groups want even more data collection mandated by the federal government.  Many of these groups are funded by the Gates Foundation and related groups with links to technology firms. 

Technology firms have a tendency to have faith in data-driven solutions to problems.  But technology firms would also benefit financially from more onerous reporting obligations because technology firms provide compliance and reporting services to education institutions.  Rising technology and compliance costs are among important reasons that higher education has become more expensive.  

The American Council on Education (ACE) has stopped defending student privacy against these demands after ACE received grants from the Gates Foundation (including one to promote online education) and after ACE was viciously attackedby Gates-funded journalists3 for opposing Gates-backed policies. 

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities also received a substantial grant from the Gates Foundation around the time it ceased defending student privacy (see also here).  So did the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (see also here, here, here, here, here) and the American Association of Community Colleges (here, here, here, here, here).  (While there may be innocent explanations, the optics are not great).

One of the few remaining defenders of student privacy is the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which represents private non-for-profit universities.  However, even NAICU appears increasingly likely to compromise and give the Gates-backed group much of what it wants. 

Technology firms might obtain access to extremely sensitive data through a revolving door between the Gates Foundation, the Department of Education, and Edu-Tech firms.  Such data could be advantageous when technology firms negotiate the price of technology servicing contracts or compete with education institutions through online offerings. 

One wonders if higher education "lobby groups", rather than educating policymakers about the needs of students and universities, have found it more advantageous to lobby higher education institutions on behalf of technology firms.  

Continue reading

June 11, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Congratulations to the University of Chicago Law School Class of 2018!

It's been a pleasure and a privilege to teach such talented young men and women, and I am sure I speak for all of my colleagues in wishing you much professional success and personal happiness in the years ahead!  You will be missed!

June 9, 2018 | Permalink

Friday, June 8, 2018

Apprenticeships and online education are not viable alternatives to ABA-approved law schools (Michael Simkovic)

Over the last several decades, both the cost and the quality of ABA approved law schools have increased. Faculty student ratios have fallen.  Completion rates have increased, even as diverse groups with historically lower completion rates have become a larger share of the student body.  Earnings premiums have increased, and racial disparities have narrowed.

Nevertheless, some critics of law school, concerned by the high cost, have suggested going back to the "good old days" of legal apprenticeships, or using technology to bring down costs.  The data does not support apprenticeships or less highly regulated (and less expensive) online or correspondence versions of law school as viable alternatives to ABA-approved law schools.

Several major legal markets (including New York and California) permit prospective lawyers to sit for the bar exam after 4 years of apprenticeship under a licensed lawyer (or 4 years combined law school and apprenticeship).  Very few people still try this approach. But for those who do, the bar passage rates are abysmal.


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June 8, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Science, Student Advice, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Law firms increase starting salary for associates to $190K

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Should law schools pressure their students to go into low paid, thankless public service jobs? (Michael Simkovic)

A recent report by a Harvard law school alumnus, Pete Davis, points out that law schools like Harvard serve the interests of wealthy elites by training primarily future corporate lawyers. (See also here). This is consistent with the available evidence on graduates’ employment, notwithstanding widely publicized—and dubious—claims of law schools being liberal or left-leaning.  

Whether or not this is a problem, and whether schools like Harvard should try to do a better job of training future business lawyers or try to steer their students away from business law, is a matter for debate. Davis appears to believe that business lawyers are incapable of serving important collective interests of society—or at least do not do as good of a job as public sector lawyers. According to Davis, law schools therefore have an obligation to discourage students from pursuing careers in business law.

My view is that the path toward resuscitating the public sector will entail convincing the American people to collectively share the burdens of civilization by voting for higher taxes and higher pay for public servants. Until public servants are paid fairly, no one but the very wealthy should feel any obligation to work in the public sector or encourage their students to do so.

I would argue that business lawyers facilitate incredibly important functions in the service of society. Business lawyers help businesses raise the capital they need so that they can serve the basic needs of hundreds of millions or even billions of people. Lawyers also help firms mitigate risks, comply with government regulations and organize tens or even hundreds of thousands employees and suppliers to work together toward a common goal. That is remarkable, and the economic progress that has resulted clearly is in the public interest.

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June 5, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice | Permalink

Monday, June 4, 2018

Congratulations to the Chicago Alumni and Fellows on the teaching market who accepted tenure-track jobs


It was a good year to be looking for a tenure-track teaching job, and almost all our candidates had multiple tenure-track offers this year.  Here are the two JD alums and the various  Fellows we were working with this year, all of whom got tenure-track positions; they are: 

Deepa Das Acevedo ’16 who will join the faculty at the University of Alabama.   She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2013 and her J.D. cum laude, also from Chicago, in 2016, where she was Articles Editor of the University of Chicago Legal Forum. Most recently, she was a Sharswood Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.   Her teaching and research interests include labor and employment law, ERISA, torts, and comparative law (especially Indian).


LaToya Baldwin Clark who will join the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles.  She is presently the Dickerson Fellow at the Law School.   She received her M.A. in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008, her Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University in 2014, and her J.D., also from Stanford, that same year.  She clerked for Judge Claudia Wilken on the Northern District of California and for Justice Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court, before coming to Chicago in 2016.  Her teaching and research interests include civil rights, family law, employment discrimination, criminal law, and property.


Sheldon A. Evans ’12 who will join the faculty at St. John's University.  At the Law School, he was a member of the University of Chicago Legal Forum and joined Gibson Dunn as a litigation associate in Los Angeles upon graduation.  He subsequently clerked for Judge Lavenski Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit before returning to Gibson Dunn.   His teaching and research interests include criminal law & procedure, immigration law, professional responsibility, contracts, and civil procedure. 


Brian D. Feinstein who will join the faculty of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  He received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2009 and his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2012, where he was Articles Editor of the Harvard Law & Policy Review.  He clerked for Judge John Tinder on the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and was an associate for three years with Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, where he served as outside counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, among other matters. His teaching and research interests include administrative law, legislation, financial regulation, property, civil procedure, and empirical legal studies.


Hiba Hafiz who will join the faculty at Boston College.  She is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  She received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2007 and a J.D. from Columbia University in 2010, where she was the Notes & Submissions Editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.  She clerked for Judge José Linares on the U.S. District Court for New Jersey and then for Judge Juan Torruella on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.  She was a litigation associate, focusing on antitrust, with Cohen Milstein in Washington DC for three years before coming to Chicago.  Her teaching and research interests include labor and employment law, antitrust, business associations, contracts, and administrative law. 


Dorothy Shapiro Lund who will join the faculty at the University of Southern California. She is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  She received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard in 2013.  She practiced with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, and then clerked for Judge Leo Strine on the Delaware Supreme Court and Judge Joel Flaum on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh  Circuit before coming to the Law School.  Her teaching and research interests include corporate law, securities regulation, contracts, financial regulation, and corporate finance.


Diego A. Zambrano who will join the faculty at Stanford University.  He is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  He received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2013, and then joined Clearly Gottlieb in New York as a litigation associate, where he had extensive experience in complex commercial litigation, especially transnational.   His teaching and research interests include civil procedure, complex litigation, international business transactions, business associations, conflicts and alternative dispute resolution.   

June 4, 2018 in Faculty News | Permalink

Stanford's Michele Dauber's assault on the rule of law

I have followed this case only slightly until recently.  Briefly:   Brock Turner, a Stanford undergraduate, was convicted of digital rape of a woman after a fraternity party; the judge in the case, Judge Persky, gave him a relatively lenient sentence (i.e., little jail time, but a lifetime scartlet letter as a "sex offender") given that he was a first offender, that he was young, and intoxicated (as was the victim).  The sentence imposed had actually been recommended by the probation officer who evaluated the case. 

Michele Dauber, a law professor at Stanford, whose own child was friends with the victim, took a strong interest in the case, and has since launched a disgraceful jihad against the judge, well beyond Donald Trump's racist insults at a judge in California overseeing the "Trump University" fraud case.  Professor Dauber launched a recall petition against a judge whose sentencing decision she disliked, and whose record she then misrepresented.  A lengthy story has now appeared about her jihad.  One of the most important facts is that Judge Persky is a liberal, who tries to find ways to avoid jail time for criminal offenders.   If I believed in gods, I would say, "God bless him."

Academic freedom protects Professor Dauber's right to undermine the rule of law.   It does not protect her from the opinion of others members of her profession. 

Fortunately, and as I would have expected, the vast majority of the Stanford Law faculty opposes her recall effort.  I quote the letter in part, since it makes clear how outrageous Professor Dauber's behavior is: 

We the undersigned are part of a broad diversity of law professors from California universities; among our relevant fields of specialization are criminal law, gender and law, and constitutional law. We write in strong opposition to the campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. We do so because this recall campaign, which just now is beginning the formal process of gathering signatures, threatens the fundamental principles of judicial independence and fairness that we all embed in the education of our students.


The mechanism of recall was designed for and must be limited to cases where judges are corrupt or incompetent or exhibit bias that leads to systematic injustice in their courtrooms. None of these criteria applies to Judge Persky. The recall campaign was instigated in response to a sentencing decision in the case of Brock Turner, where the judge followed a probation report recommendation and exercised discretion towards a lenient sentence, in accordance with the California Penal Code. We appreciate that some people (indeed including some of the signers of this letter) might have chosen a different result, but the core values of judicial independence and integrity require the judge to make a decision based on the record (including, in this case, the recommendation of a skilled professional, a probation officer) -- not on public outcry about a controversial case. Judge Persky's decision was controversial, but it was a lawful decision. Other sentencing decisions by Judge Persky that have been challenged by the recall movement have followed the equally common and legitimate practice of accepting a recommendation agreed on by the prosecution and defense.


Continue reading

June 4, 2018 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Which schools stopped hiring 2011-2018?

An interesting chart from Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), though it was misleading to treat t14 and t20 as separate categories here--resource-rich schools like Texas, UCLA, Vanderbilt and  USC, which were in the t20 category, did fairly regular hiring during this period, just like the t14 category.  But it's clear, and not surprising, that lower ranked schools, which no doubt faced more financial pressures due to the decline in applications, accounted for most of the hiring drop.  Many of those schools are now coming back into the market for new law teachers.

May 29, 2018 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink