Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yale Tries to Lock Up Law Professor Market With Yet Another Brand

It has long been known that one way to buy your way into law teaching, other than receiving a JD from a elite school,  is to buy a  LLM or a SJD from a comparable school. In fact, the highly ranked law schools offering those programs aggressively promote their graduates as potential law teachers. But now Yale is prepared to go one better. Yes, a Ph.D. for those who want to be law professors. OK, so what happened to the LLM and the SJD?  My guess is that this is just a move to differentiate the product and the substance will not be that much different.

On the other hand, it could be very different. There are some things a law professor might be able to learn in a program specifically designed to prepare him or her for law teaching that might be left out of another program. Here are some courses that are likely to be offered:

LAW 200: Conserving and Promoting the Brand

At the end of this process, you will possess the Yale brand. Protect your investment. This course concentrates on preserving the Yale image. For example, should you have a vanity license tag? How about a sweat shirt?  How can you mention you went to Yale and make it seem natural? How to ensure your children are admitted to Yale. How to make sure Yale grads are at the top of the list of people your future school will hire.

LAW: 300 Networking

The successful law professor networks. This means forming connections to people you do not know but who may be of use to you. Topics include: how to only network with those who can help you, how not to network with people who would like help,  compliments to offer when approaching a potential network partner, remember what people look like, remembering names, name dropping, etc.

LAW 400 Confercating

A successful law professor never pays for a vacation. Instead they go to conferences. This course stresses how to create a conference, how to get invited to a conference, how to classify expenses to ensure reimbursement. A significant part of the course is field work in which conference venues around the world will be visited.

LAW 500 Ingratiating Behavior

This is cross listed as Butt-Kissing. Whose butt should you kiss? And when? This is a skills course. You must learn to stroke the egos of those who can help you but not in a manner that is obvious. In addition to class there is a 2 hour lab.

LAW 600 Planning Your Teaching Schedule

Your research demands long stretches of time unencumbered by pesky students. All classes should meet from 11-12 AM on Wednesday.  Teaching on Friday interferes with Confercationing. Monday classes are not held at all at any reputable law school but if they are held you are entitled to  claim it was a plot to impede your productivity.

LAW 700 Testing and Grading

One word here:  Don't worry. In this course you will learn about delegating the entire process to others. Key areas are: How to download multiple choice exams from other sources, how to give the exam to your secretary to grade, and how to avoid students who have questions about the exam.

LAW 800 Getting What You Want

It is always better to get what you want in any manner other than by asking. Subject matter includes: Waiting to see if you can free ride on the requests of others, making pleas based  in what is fair, claiming that not doing it your way is punishment, volunteering to do what you want to do instead of asking. For example, "I volunteer to travel to Rome."


Anonymous said...

Don't see what the problem is with this. They will take in 5 students per year, fully fund them, pay them a stipend and give them health benefits. Why the hate?

Jeffrey Harrison said...

Don't even know where to begin but here are some thoughts. There is a glut of lawyers, law schools, law students and, therefore, law professors. Just what we need even more. The program is not free. Every penny could be spent on something else and almost anything else would be more useful than 5 more law professors or even no more law professors but 5 more who are better at writing articles. Approximately 7000 law review type articles are written and published a year. Why would someone start a program to teach people to write even more. There will be something in this for the elitists who operate Yale. We know that, right?

Anonymous said...

We are talking five people per year. This isn't a factory. What this will really do, and I think that's their point, is to replace five non-Yale people on the market with Yale people. That's not going to add to the "glut" of lawyers, law students, and law professors. The five folks who commit to this would likely have been on the market at some point anyway. And won't there be at least five law profs who retire by 2015?

Yes, every penny could be spent on something else if you could convince the alum who donated the money to do that. That's an all purpose argument against everything and can be used in any situation. "You could have given your money to do the things I want you to do, instead you gave it to spend on something I don't want you do to."

Jeffrey Harrison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffrey Harrison said...

You have asked a legitimate question so I will not be so snippy. You are right. There will still be a fixed or even lower number of law professors. The question is who gets those spots. For years those spots have been claimed by the privileged who go to so-called elite school. They are hired by people who went to the same schools on the basis of institutional authority. There is no indication that graduates of those schools are better law teacher. So Yale must be feeling some pressure to create yet another form of branding -- a Ph.D. in law. It is but another round in the battle among elite schools to have greater institutional authority. It has nothing to do with substance but is yet another little skirmish among members of the privileged class.

To me it irrelevant to being better teachers. It may serve the function of allowing some already privileged people to have a year to write an article so they will be more competitive in the job market. But if we assess success by prior productivity then someone who has written an article while hanging out on Yale's dime is not really any more productive than someone slaving away in a law practice. It seems like a bone head idea if the idea is to improve legal education. In the other hand, if it is to improve Yale's image in a non substantive way, it may work but only in the world of make believe,

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that law schools should recruit from a wider pool of schools than they do now. But, I cannot fault Yale for doing what it thinks best for its students. They spend a lot of time and energy on this-- for students who want to clerk, or to be in public interest jobs or traditional law firms--and they have the resources to do that. The more typical complaint from law graduates is that their schools do not do enough to insure their success once they leave school.

I don't see being angry at Yale for taking one more step in that direction. It is within the power of other schools to resist this (don't hire the Yale PhDs), if they think it's not in the best interest of their students.

Jeffrey Harrison said...

I guess we disagree although I appreciate your faith in the market. If we were taking about Nike, Apple or Ford, I agree. Here though there is no consumer protection. In this market Yale is selling to customers (law professors) who supposedly represent the best interest of students (the ultimate consumers). But they do not. Instead they are blinded by branding in part because have invested in the brand. Here is a good analogy -- a physician invests in a pharmaceutical house and only prescribes medicine from that manufacturer. Or to put it in different terms, Yale knows it is selling to people who have had too much of the Kool-aid.

Anonymous said...

Law School faculties as victims. They are powerless to stop the flood of Yalies.

Jeffrey Harrison said...

It's not Yale only, it's the flood of privileged people and the victims are the students.

Booktup said...

funny that you would mention social networking and finding people you don't know but will be useful to you. social networking is a lot of things but i have never heard it being used in such a way though I'm sure it happens.