Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A People’s (with apologies to Zinn) Ranking of Law Schools


Actually I cannot give you the rankings other than to say it would look nothing like the elitist, manipulation-prone ranking of US News. These are, however, the factors that would go into a true ranking of  law schools.

1. Percentage of class with less than 160 LSAT score. Why? Dolts can and do teach students with over  160 scores. That does not take any real teaching ability. Those students will get it. Teaching them is like teaching native German speakers how to speak German. 

2. Percentage of students with below 160 who pass the bar. This is the real measure of teaching effectiveness because those students may actually need teaching expertise.

3. Number of citations by courts of scholarly works per faculty member. In a prior study a colleague and I demonstrated that citations by other law professors are irrelevant. They generally do not rely on anything but factual assertions and rarely engage the thoughts of the works they cite. Let's face it. If courts do not cite your work, you are wasting your time and writing for a very small and irrelevant audience.

4. Percentage of students who are first in family college graduates. These people are likely to have a different perspective on virtually everything than the entitled ones, Want to have lively class discussion? Admit these people.

5. Percentage of faculty who did not graduate from top 15 law schools. Quite honestly, in 42 years of law teaching, the most poorly educated and laziest people I have met came from elite undergraduate and law schools. I could name names but that would take 5 blogs. They are the grade grubbers who focused on one thing -- what is on the test. Want some diversity away from the same old name dropping dolts, expand your hiring horizons. 

6. Number of African-American faculty. I know there are all kinds of minorities these days but none come close to this group in terms of having been kicked around, discriminated against, and pushed aside. Want you students to be more well rounded, better able to interact with diverse clients, then hire these people.

7. Percentage of financial aid distributed on the basis of need. Yes, this is different from the School were I taught which engaged in a bidding war for high LSATs.

8. Percentage of graduates who opt for public interest employment. Hopefully, 3 years of exposure to law school and the way law is consistently applied to favor the haves would encourage some students to, at least for some period of time, do the right thing. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Bill Barr School of Law School Deaning


BOOO Bill Barr, you unprincipled Trump sycophant. You rascal. All of us, (well  not all, there are a couple of numbskulls who admire you ) principled law professors and administrators think you are an awful example of the profession.

But wait Billy Boy! There is a job for you. It's even better than Trump University. You open a school for wannabe Law school administrations. You know, Bill, the number one goal  of any law school dean on the make is to climb the USnews ranking.

So that's what you teach. Some Units of the course would be:

1. Hire your own graduates to do something, anything, so you can report high post graduate employment rates.

2, Lower first year admissions but increase the number of transfers because the transfer LSAT and GPAs will not count against you.

3. Oh, what the hell. Just do what UF Law has perfected, However qualified a student, do not admit him or her unless he or she improves your ranking.

4, If a student is admitted and it looks like he or she, in hindsight, might lower your scores, pay them not to come.

5. Make sure all law school employees are called faculty. This will raise your teacher to student ratio.

6. Throw every cent you can get your grubby hands on to pay high scoring students to come to your school whether they need the money or not. 

7, And Bill, here is what you can bring to the course your specialty.  Just lie. What the fuck, you are not hurting anyone so it's not like a real lie.

But Bill, there is one catch,  All of these things have already been done. Yes by the same people who say that  you are the crook, not them.

So you will have to be imaginative. Your primary mission is to stay one scam ahead of what USnews is onto and cares about. This should be easy, They don't really care if they get it right as long as it sells,  

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Law School Stimulus (Reparation) Checks to Come with Rejection Letter

 I've beefed about an obvious misuse of funds to fuel the egos of the privileged so I will try to provide a short version. UF law has the physical plant and faculty to admit 600 qualified students a year. By qualified, I mean those with high enough GPAs and LSAT scores to indicate they can do the work and become attorneys. Currently half that number are admitted each year. The reason is by rejecting highly qualified applicants the school can raise the average LSAT and GPAs of admitted students and rise in the US News Rankings. 

This quest for rankings does nothing for the public but gives something for administrators to crow about. Who pays for this crowing? Rejected students who must go to more expensive schools, less prestigious schools, or farther away schools. And they may have fewer employment opportunities and lower life time incomes which may have implications for their families. Screw them is the attitude of UF and its Law School administration. After all, screwing them is a small price to pay to go from 49th to 25th. No one puts an asterisk by the ranking to note those school who did the equivalent of cheating on a test and then bragging about getting a higher score. 

The qualified rejected students are like the residents close to a polluting factory, They suffer so the fat cats can get fatter. The solution? Stimulus checks equal to  the damage done and it should come with the rejection letter.

Something like this:

Dear Mr. Zinn:

Unfortunately we cannot admit you to the UF College of Law. This not because you would not be  a successful student and lawyer, It it because if we admit people like you our average LSAT would slip to 159 and our USNews ranking would go from 25  to 31. So you see it is simply not possible.

We  know this means attending a lower ranked school, a possibly more expensive school, or one farther from home. Tough Luck! Maybe you should have spent a few thousand dollars like other applicants on preparing for the LSAT or not worked while an undergraduate  so you would have had more time to raise your GPA. 

Rankings mean more to us than anything and we owe our ranking to  your extraordinary (albeit unwilling) contribution to UF LAW. We have, thus, enclosed a check to show our appreciate, to offset the damage done to you, and to atone for our hypocrisy by pretending not to be putting our obsession with rankings ahead your career.