Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Theoretical Disagreements in Law: Another Look"

new paper forthcoming from OUP in Ethical Norms, Legal Norms:  New Essays in Meteaethics and Jurisprudence (edited by Plunkett, Shapiro & Toh); the abstract:

In "Explaining Theoretical Disagreement" (2009), I defended an answer to Dworkin's argument that legal positivists can not adequately explain disagreements among judges about what the criteria of legal validity are. I here respond to a variety of critics of my answer, in particular, Kevin Toh. I argue that Toh misrepresents Hart's own views, and misunderstands the role of "presupposition" in both Hart and Kelsen. I argue that a correct reading of Hart is compatible with the error-theoretic interpretation of theoretical disagreement I defended in 2009.

August 28, 2016 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Friday, August 26, 2016

Citations to faculty scholarship by federal and state courts

Courtesy of the good folks at St. Thomas.  The number of cites are remarkably few, even for those in "the top ten."  

UPDATE:  A colleage elsewhere writes with an explanation for why the numbers are artificially low:  "They only counted citations in the Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and state supreme courts. Also, they only counted citations to traditional law review articles: Citations to books, treatises, etc were not counted." 

August 26, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Law schools with the highest percentage of "most-cited" tenured faculty, 2010-2014 (CORRECTED 8/24)

Over the last several months, we've compiled "top ten" or "top twenty" lists of "most-cited" faculty (based on the Sisk data) in the following areas of scholarship:   Constitutional & Public Law; Administrative and/or Environmental Law; Criminal Law & Procedure; Commercial Law; Corporate Law/Securities Regulation; Torts; Property; Civil Procedure; Evidence; Tax; Antitrust; Legal Ethics/Legal Profession; International Law; Intellectual Property/Cyberlaw; Family Law; Law & Economics; Legal History; Law & Philosophy; Law & Social Science (excluding economics); and Critical Theories of Law.

Below, any school with at least three faculty on these lists are ranked by the percentage of tenured faculty (based on the Sisk count) who appeared in some "most cited" list (each faculty member is counted but once, even if they appeared on more than one list). 

 

Rank

School

Tenured Faculty in Sisk study

# of Highly-Cited

Faculty

% faculty highly-cited

1

University of Chicago

29

14

48%

 

Yale University

46

22

48%

3

Harvard University

82

30

37%

4

University of California, Berkeley

53

18

34%

5

New York University

82

26

32%

6

Columbia University

73

22

30%

7

Stanford University

49

14

29%

8

University of Pennsylvania

43

11

26%

9

Duke University

40

10

25%

 

University of California, Irvine

24

  6

25%

 

Vanderbilt University

32

  8

25%

12

University of California, Los Angeles

54

13

24%

13

Cornell University

35

  8

23%

14

Northwestern University

34

  6

18%

15

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

47

  8

17%

 

University of Minnesota

46

  8

17%

17

George Washington University

66

  9

14%

 

Georgetown University

81

11

14%

19

Case Western Reserve University

23

  3

13%

 

George Mason University

31

  4

13%

21

University of California, Hastings

38

  4

11%

 

University of Southern California

28

  3

11%

 

University of Texas, Austin

65

  7

11%

 

University of Virginia

66

  7

11%

 

Wake Forest University

28

  3

11%

26

Brooklyn Law School

33

  3

  9%

27

Boston University

36

  3

  8%

 

Fordham University

53

  4

  8%

 

Ohio State University

36

  3

  8%

 

University of San Diego

37

  3

  8%

Other schools with at least two tenured faculty on the most-cited lists were:   American University; University of Hawaii; University of California, Davis; Arizona State University; University of Arizona; Emory University; University of Illinois; Washington University, St. Louis; Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University; Indiana University/Bloomington; Temple University; University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill.

August 24, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

10 Most-Cited Family Law Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive) [CORRECTED; first posted 7/27]

MOVING TO FRONT:  Turns out family law has evolved quite a bit since the last time we looked at the field more than a decade ago, hence several wrongful omissions, now hopefully all fixed!

Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:    

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Martha Fineman

Emory University

  580

66

2

Naomi Cahn

George Washington University

  540

58

3

Elizabeth Scott

Columbia University

  520

71

4

Lynn Wardle

Brigham Young University

  380

69

5

Mark Strasser

Capital University

  360

61

6

June Carbone

University of Minnesota

  340

62

 

Nancy Polikoff

American University

  340

64

 

Robin Wilson

University of Illinois

  340

48

9

Joanna Grossman

Southern Methodist University

  310

48

 

Melissa Murray

University of California, Berkeley

  310

41

   

Runners-up:

   
 

Kerry Abrams

University of Virginia

  260

45

 

Susan Appleton

Washington University, St. Louis

  260

68

 

Jill Hasday

University of Minnesota

  250

44

 

Carol Sanger

Columbia University

  250

68

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Martha Minow

Harvard University

1160

62

 

Janet Halley

Harvard University

  420

64

 

Katharine Bartlett

Duke University

  380

69

 

Mary Anne Case

University of Chicago

  330

59

 

I Glenn Cohen

Harvard University

  320

38

 

 

 

August 24, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sandy Baum challenges media sensationalism and political hype about student loans

NPR:

"There's a new book out about the student loan crisis [Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education], or what author Sandy Baum suggests is a "bogus crisis." Baum, a financial aid expert and senior fellow at the Urban Institute, claims it has been [sensationalized and exaggerated] by the media in search of a spicy story and fueled by politicians pushing "debt free college" proposals. . . . "

Sandy Baum:

"People who earn bachelor's degrees, by and large, do fine.

The problem is that we have a lot of people actually borrowing small amounts of money, going to college, not completing [a degree] or completing credentials that don't have labor market value. They tend to be older. They tend to come from disadvantaged or middle-income families and they're struggling. [But] not because they owe a lot of money. . . .

Its not realistic to say we're going to pay people to go to college [for free]. Someone has to pay. We can have everyone pay much higher taxes. But short of that, it's not clear how we would pay. . . . 

There are some people who borrowed under fraudulent, deceptive situations and their debt should be forgiven. There are people for whom education did not work out through no fault of their own and their debt should be forgiven.  . . . We don't give people very much advice and guidance about where [and] when to go to college, how to pay for it, what to study. . . .

[[There are facts that]  get little or no attention because they don't fit the "crisis" narrative:

  • A third of college students who earn a four-year degree graduate with no debt at all. Zero.
  • A fourth graduate with debt of no more than $20,000.
  • Low-income households hold only 11 percent of all outstanding [student] debt.
  • Almost half of the $1.3 trillion in student loan debt is held by 25 percent of graduates who are actually making a pretty high income.]

This is an investment that pays off really well. The median earnings for young bachelor's degree recipients is about $20,000 a year higher than the median earnings for high school graduates.

Student debt is really creating a lot of opportunities for people. People wouldn't be able to go to college otherwise."

Baum notes that many graduates with high debt levels (>$100,000) have advanced degrees, high expected incomes, and low default rates.

"The highest debt levels are for those earning professional degrees . . .  Despite high debt levels, default rates among graduate borrowers are very low."  However, Baum expresses some concern about those pursuing expensive master's degrees in fields "that rarely lead to the kind of earnings that doctors, lawyers, and MBAs can expect."

Baum's findings are broadly consistent with recent research by Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos, reviewed by David Leonhardt for the New York Times.  Akers and Chingos have a new book coming out this fall.

August 19, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest, Science, Weblogs | Permalink

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Only 382 resumes in the first (and most important) FAR distribution...

...which is down at least fifty or more 28 from last year (I can't find the number, if someone has it, please shoot me an e-mail).  That's good news for the job seekers, as I think early indications are that, like last year, we will see at least 80 new tenure-track academic hires as we did last year (up from roughly 65 each of 2014-15 and 2013-14).

UPDATE:  Thanks to Roger Ford (New Hampshire) for flagging this useful chart courtesy of Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), which shows the drop off from 2015-16 is not as great as I remembered (I was probably confusing it with 2014-15).

ANOTHER:  58% of the candidates took their law degree from one of the sixteen law schools that produce the most law teachers (i.e., Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, Columbia, Michigan, NYU, Berkeley, Virginia, Penn, Northwestern, Cornell, Georgetown, Duke, Texas, UCLA); almost 20% earned a degree from the first four (Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford).

August 18, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News | Permalink

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Must be a slow news day

New York Times journalist Elizabeth Olson recently reported that the law school graduating class of 2015--which was very close to the size of the class of 1996--had about the same number of private sector jobs 9 months after graduation as the class of 1996.  That's a pretty good outcome considering that the economy-wide employment population ratio in February 2016 was 3.6 points lower than in February 1997.  Olson puts a negative spin on the non-story.

UPDATE:  Casey Sullivan at Bloomberg provides more balanced coverage, noting the smaller class size at the outset of his story and focusing on overall earnings rather than job counts in one segment of the market.

For previous coverage, see 

Smaller or Larger Law Class Sizes Don’t Predict Changes in Financial Benefits of Law School, Feb. 2, 2016

and

Timing Law School (forthcoming in JELS)

 

August 17, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Weblogs | Permalink

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Berkeley Chancellor Dirks to resign after just three years

I have no inside knowledge or informed opinion about whether this is a good development, but I do wonder whether it is not symptomatic of the political meddling of Napolitano.

(Thanks to Rick Hasen for the pointer.)

August 16, 2016 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Philosophy of law in the Encyclopaedia Britannica

This is the first new essay commissioned on the subject in more than fifty years (the last one was by Julius Stone, also a legal realist!).  I had the privilege of co-authoring the new essay with a former student, the legal philosopher Michael Sevel (not a legal realist, but like Stone, at the University of Sydney!).  Alas, you need to access it from an institution that subscribes to read this essay in full.

UPDATE:  After I posted a similar announcement at my philosophy blog, an editor at EB wrote:  "in fact anyone can read the entire article for free if he/she comes to it through a Google search. I believe we are fourth or fifth in the hit list returned by searching on 'philosophy of law'. Clicking on the link should provide access to the full article. (Obviously, searching on "philosophy of law Britannica" would make it even easier.) Likewise any other article in Britannica."  Useful information, I didn't realize that!

August 16, 2016 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Monday, August 15, 2016

“Glass Half Full” author concedes problems with estimates of solo practitioner incomes and headcounts (updated 8/18)

Professor Benjamin H. Barton recently responded to critiques of his estimates of solo practitioner incomes. Barton does not answer the specific questions that I posed about his use of IRS data, but he generally concedes that the IRS data is problematic. 

  1. Barton wrote:

“Is it possible that the IRS data undersells the earnings of solo practitioners?  Yes, for the reasons I state above and for some of the reasons that you and Professor Diamond point out.”  

I applaud Professor Barton’s honesty.  I encourage him to acknowledge the problems with the IRS data in future editions of “Glass Half Full” and to correct his CNN and Business Insider posts.

  1. Barton wrote:

“Do I think that the IRS data are off by a factor of 3.5 or even 2?  No.”  

I encourage Professor Barton to present a revised estimate that he thinks is more accurate. Several studies that he cites for support suggest that his solo income estimates are off by a factor of approximately 2 to 3 (see below for details).

  1. Barton defends his use of IRS data on three grounds, each of which is problematic:

a. “The IRS data on lawyer earnings is the longest running data I could find and thus the best dataset for a discussion of long term trends.”

Professor Barton overlooked the U.S. Census Bureau’s Decennial Census, which has data on Lawyer’s incomes since 1950 (which reports 1949 incomes).[i]  The IRS data presented by Barton starts 18 years later, in 1967.

When considering long term trends in occupational incomes, it’s important to consider changes in the race and sex of members of the occupation.  Across occupations, women and minorities generally earn less than white men.  Race and sex variables are available in Census Household data, but not public-use IRS data.

b. The IRS data “separates lawyer earnings into solo practitioners and law firm partners”

Professor Barton acknowledges that his data misses incorporated self-employed lawyers, and that this group likely has higher incomes than those that he captures.[ii]

This means that Professor Barton’s IRS data is much less useful for identifying small and solo practitioners in 2013 than it was in 1970.  This is because the proportion of solo and small attorneys who incorporated has likely increased dramatically.  In 1970, 5 percent of full-time self-employed lawyers were incorporated.  By 2014, the share increased to more than 50 percent.[iii].  Barton is missing many solo and small time practitioners.  If trends toward incorporation continue, his data will become less useful every passing year.  The IRS data has different biases at different points in time, making trends potentially unreliable. 

Continue reading

August 15, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Science, Weblogs | Permalink