Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jerry Organ Analyzes the Law School Transfer Market

Very interesting look at the data.  This year, about 2000 law students transferred.  As a thought experiment, how much lower do you think that number would be if transfer students were counted in U.S. News data?

December 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

NY Times Article on Two Year JD

The NYT has an article noting the lack of success of the 2-year JD movement. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/26/business/dealbook/the-2-year-law-education-fails-to-take-off.html

December 27, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

New Experiential Training Requirement for Admission to NY Bar

The press release is here and the new rules are here.  As a general matter, I do not like the proliferation of state-by-state requirement beyond the ABA Standards for admission to the bar.  I particularly don't like NY's pro bono requirement, which I think is unfair to law students.  I would first impose a pro bono requirement on admitted lawyers.  I do have some sympathy for skills requirements like these new rules because they are closely linked to one's ability to practice law competently and the ABA has been slow to evolve in this area.    I wonder, though, if Pathway 1 in NY will swallow up the rest of the rule.  What law school will not certify that its graduates are ready to practice?

December 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Crisis in Chicago

If you interested in what has been going on in Chicago since the release of the video of the shooting of Laquan MacDonald, I did a BloggingheadsTV discussion with Glenn Loury. 

December 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

On College Presidents and Closing Law Schools

Sale[by Rick Bales]

I wanted to riff on a couple of David Yellen's recent posts, one noting the relative paucity of law school closures given recent application/enrollment declines, and the other noting the increase in the hiring of non-academic university presidents.

Regarding law school closures, I think the real question is not why more law schools haven't closed, but why more law schools haven't moved or been sold. Texas A&M's acquisition of the former Texas Wesleyan law school, discussed extensively in the most recent Journal of legal Education, shows this can be done, and at great profit to the selling institution. Among other things, I suspect that a sale would allow the selling institution to monetize the present value of much of the sold law school's endowment. More importantly, it would move law schools to parts of the country that are underserved legal education markets (and where a law school would be a valuable acquisition for a university) from parts of the country that have too many law schools relative to population and demographic trends, where the current value of a law school to a university is financially negative. Yes, there are regulatory/accreditation hurdles to overcome, and alumni will have to be assuaged, but neither are by any stretch insurmountable obstacles. 

Regarding college presidents, in my very limited experience, the most obvious academic stepping-stone to a college presidency is being a college provost. But at least at the institutions with which I am most familiar, the skill set required of a successful provost (accreditation, curriculum, acute attention to detail)  is radically different from the skill set required of the modern college president (external/alumni relations, fundraising, budgeting, big-picture vision, ability to balance the university as a business with the university as an institution of public service). Except for the last of these, all of these skills seem to align better with someone who has leadership experience in the business world -- or leadership of a relatively autonomous professional school like a law school -- than with someone who has experience as a provost. Maybe universities are looking for presidents in all the wrong places.



December 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Why Are Fewer College Presidents Academics?

Interesting article in The Atlantic.  Of course, we have seen a similar trend in the hiring of law school deans.  My completely unscientific observation is that law school deans who have come from outside of the academic world have a "success rate" roughly the same as that of deans from within the academic world.  I wonder if that is really true, and whether there is a difference in the success rate of outsiders for Presidents and Deans.

December 10, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Approves William Mitchell/Hamline Merger

Here.  Will there be other similar moves, or school closures?  It is pretty remarkable that no law school has closed during this crisis.  Compare that with dental schools, which experienced a dramatic decline in applications and enrollment from the late 1970's to 1980's.  During that time, 6 of the 60 dental schools closed.  In recent years, though, applications have been increasing (almost back to the level of the late 1970's) and some new schools have opened.  Are Universities just more committed to "waiting it out" with law schools?

December 10, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Student Demands at Harvard Law School

In case you missed it, here are the demands that a group of students and staff presented to Harvard Law School on Friday.  The "deadline" for the school to agree to the demands passed yesterday.  It is hard to imagine that Harvard will be the last law school to face this type of challenge.

December 8, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Loyola Chicago's New Part Time JD Program: Alternate Weekends Blended With Distance Learning

I am pleased to announce, that we (Loyola Chicago) are transitioning our part-time program from an evening based model to a flexible weekend, blended learning model.  The main features are these:

*students will attend classes on campus seven weekends per semester;

*1/3 of the work for each course will be done through distance learning.  This will include lectures, chats, assessment activities, etc.;

*a broad curriculum, taught by full-time faculty and including a range of experiential learning opportunities, will be offered

We have been offering online Masters of Jurisprudence and LL.M degrees for five years.  We have learned that online teaching, when done properly, can be as effective as in-class instruction.  We believe that this flexible format will appeal to modern, busy adults interested in pursuing a law degree part-time.  As structured, the program is in compliance with all current ABA Standards.

More information is available here.  Stay tuned!

December 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Law School Transparency Responds to LSAC

Their longer response is here.

December 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Law School Admissions Council Rebuts Law School Transparency's Claims

Dan Bernstine, the President of the Law School Admissions Council has issued a release arguing that the recent report by Law School Transparency misuses LSAT scores in labeling students as being at "high risk" for failing the bar exam and in making gradations based on difference of a point or two in LSAT scores.  

Kyle McEntee of LST recently relied on his LSAT research to urge the ABA Section of Legal Education to strictly enforce Standard 501(b) ("A law school shall not admit an applicant who does not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.").  Bernstine's letter illustrates the danger in simply relying on LSAT scores in making this judgment.  Standard 501 is also internally inconsistent and problematic on other levels.  Law school outcomes, rather than inputs, should be more important in the accreditation process.  As McEntee points out, though, the current bar pass standard is not very useful either in determining whether any schools should be at risk for losing their accreditation.


UPDATE:  Kyle McEntee has asked that I post his initial response to Dan Bernstine's release.  Here it is:


"The assertion that LSAT scores alone measure comparability is patently wrong."

The report does not make this assertion. Indeed, the report says:

According to the Law School Admissions Council's (LSAC) National Longitudinal Bar Passage Study, the LSAT is the best predictor before law school as to whether a student will pass or fail the bar exam.


Declining LSAT scores of admitted students is the first indicator of a potential bar passage disaster that won't be evident for three years to the students who are affected, and four years to the ABA. We cannot be afraid to use the best tool we have.


The framework represents only a starting point for assessing the risk of bar failure. A student with a low LSAT score but very high undergraduate GPA, for example, has less risk of failing the bar than a student with the same LSAT score and a very low UGPA. Some law schools have also been more successful than others in helping students with low LSAT scores succeed on the bar exam. Where the student takes the bar exam matters as well.

On average, however, students with LSAT test scores in each band are more likely to experience academic attrition and/or bar exam failure than students in the next higher band. If a school dips into lower LSAT bands to fill its class, the risk of bar failure at that school increases. This framework, therefore, offers a useful tool for analyzing which schools are enrolling a significant number of students who face genuine risk of not finishing school or passing the bar. Importantly, this framework shows when relative change in incoming student credentials matters.


If any schools do figure out how to improve bar outcomes for students with low predictors, they have a duty to share that information with other schools and at-risk students — with an emphasis on empirical data rather than hopeful conjecture.

"LSAC has long cautioned against drawing such fine distinctions in LSAT scores."

The LSAT is one tool we have. It is a great one; it is a starting point. There is a statistically significant correlation, and correlations do not require that the tool was designed for that purpose.

If LSAC has any reason to show that the study -- which our report did not depend on -- is invalid today, it should show why instead of baldly claiming it. LSAC certainly should not assert that it is not valid for bar exam conclusions, and in the very next sentence assert that the eventual bar passage rate of the students in the study is 90 percent.

Will any law school dean or academic support administrator or faculty member come out and say that their school's falling bar exam rates are due to a lower quality legal education at the school compared to prior years? If not, what else explains the uniform fall in rates than the students? We're listening. An honest assessment is essential to stop the falling bar pass rates.

LSAC's decision to speak out is an obvious attempt by a minority of law schools taking unjust risks to change the conversation through the appearance of an impartial entity. LSAC is anything but impartial. LSAC is an agent of law schools.

The best these schools can do is make strawman arguments through a mouthpiece. LSAC's voice comes from all law schools. It trades on your reputation to justify unprofessional and immoral choices in the face of financial pressure. I hope the majority of law schools refuse to stand for this. It's terrible for the legal profession in the short and long term.

December 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)