Sunday, April 27, 2008
I guess by now most have seen or read the empirical study by
Royce de Rohan Barondes showing that the higher the percentage of Yale grad clerks a judge has the higher the likelihood that a decision by the judge will run into trouble on appeal. The correlation between other elite clerks and appellate problems is equivocal. In fact, the expected negative relationship between other elites and appellate difficulty only occurs if some classes of cases are ommitted. (I guess for the Yale grads you can get there by excluding all cases.)
What does this mean for the law firms that hire Yale grads, more importantly their clients and even more more importantly the law students who are taught by these graduates. I mean to the go straight from giving bad advice to their judges to teaching “not law” to their students. Do they give As based on how wrong the students are? Maybe they are just above the law – although the actual explanation may be an overdose on theory.
And, finally, what is up with the judges and appointments committees that continue to hire them. Talk about market failure!