What are we talking about? The Blog Emperor is comparing the differential in the US News law school overall and academic reputation rankings. In this blog post, he listed 53 law schools that are over-performing and underperforming their overall rankings because, well, academic reputation is very, very important.

How about the US News judges-attorneys reputational rankings? No, that’s not important. Only peer assessment scores are. Considering the low sample sizes and, in some years, response rates for both US News reputational surveys, the annual reputational findings are absurd (unless one might be fishing to increase human and robot traffic because law prof blog traffic dips during Winter Break; see today’s earlier post about web communications traffic stats).

For reaction to the nonsense, see the comment trail for Staci Zaretsky’s ATL post. My favorite, so far, is

I’m sorry, but who gives a shit what law professors and law deans think of the school? IF they count as part of the legal community (which I don’t really think they do), it is a small, insular, largely irrelevant portion.

Tell me what real lawyers think about the schools.

Joe

According to Incapsula, bots went from 51% of web traffic in 2012 to 61% of web traffic this year for a 21% year-over-year increase. The cloud computing firm found that most of the increase in bot traffic was due to increased activity by “good bots” like search engines. Spam bots, comparatively, are on the decline. However, the fact remains that any self-congratulatory remarks about a blog reaching a visit and/or page view milestone or blog rankings based on those metrics are wild inflations of this form of “social media.” If the bot traffic trend continues at this pace, pretty soon one will have divide web traffic stats by four to come up with a reasonable estimate of human mouse clicks and eyeballs. — Joe

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Wolters Kluwer L&R will be releasing its Cheetah research platform soon. The Company, once a dominate player in the legal specialist market, offered Jean O’Grady a sneak peak. “Will Cheetah be just another hyped up launch of a marginally new product? Will it be a “head scratcher” like IntelliConnect?  Can Cheetah find a home in the wild world of legal research? Can Cheetah outrun the competition? Read on” at Can Wolters Kluwer Legal Get its Grove Back? Can Cheetah Outrun the Market? Jean’s concludes her quick review, highly recommended, with the following:

Can Wolters Kluwer position Cheetah’s high performance platform to actually steal the market share that had been in BloombergBNA’s crosshairs? Can Cheetah lure users from Lexis and Westlaw with a promise of high functionality and relatively low annual cost which can be supported without charging clients for cost recovery? It looks like Cheetah is positioned to give them a  “run for their money.”

— Joe

Just a snip from Dan Filler’s Faculty Lounge post:

The [greater Philladelphia] market has five schools successfully fighting for roughly the same cohort of students: Rutgers- Camden, Temple, Villanova, Penn State, and Drexel.  (Yes, Penn State is hours away, but it competes for the same students as the other three schools and scholarship decisions affect the others.)  Notwithstanding differences in US News rankings, many students are willing to select a lower ranked school among the four depending on the bottom line cost of an education.  This is evident from the fact that the LSAT range of each school is pretty wide and that each school’s 25th percentile LSAT is within 4 points of every other’s.  Or, to put it another way, students admitted to the highest US News ranked school of the four – Temple – are routinely lured away to each of the other four schools by virtue of aggressive tuition discounts.

For more, see Philadelphia, The Capital Of Low-Cost Law School Education. — Joe

Perhaps but only if the principle of respect for all persons is actually accepted as being legitimate in civil society instead of merely being politically correct public chatter. Therein lies the problem. Here’s the abstract for Common Good and Respect for Persons [SSRN] by Wojciech Sadurski (University of Sydney – Faculty of Law):

We need a “working” conception of the common good, i.e. a conception that does not rely on where one stands in various current political controversies about specific aims, purposes and measures of achieving them, including controversies reflected in debates about and within constitutional law. Such a “working conception” can be supplied by the idea of public reason as a characteristically liberal device of legitimacy in a pluralistic society: attempts to equate “common good” with a set of common actual first-order interests must fail. Public reason is justified by a principle of respect for persons who may or may not agree with the specific laws but who will likely feel they are “second class” citizens, thus deeply disrespected, if the law is based on grounds which are not endorsable by them. Hence, this paper explores a triangle of concepts: common good, public reason (as a working conception of common good), and respect for persons (as a justificatory argument for public reason). In the first part of this paper I discuss the concept of common good, and its relationship with public reason, and in the second part I discuss respect for persons as a justification for public reason. It is argued, in particular, that respect (as a justificatory value of public reason) should be seen as part of a constellation of values, of which freedom (understood through a presumptive evil of coercion) and political equality (understood in an outcome-based, agency-related sense), are of particular importance.

While not achieving “Download of the Week” status by Larry Solum, hat tip to Legal Theory Blog: “All the theory that fits!”. — Joe

“A previously moribund proposal to require 15 hours of clinical work has now come back to life, thanks to advocacy by (guess who?) clinical faculty,” wrote Brian Leiter. “Students who want to do 15 or 30 hours of clinical work should be able to do it; but why in God’s name would one require it of everyone, without any regard for that student’s ambitions or plans?” For largely negative reaction to the ABA proposal from law school faculty members, see his More Mischief Afoot at the ABA post. See also Scott Fruehwald’s Brian Leiter Misrepresents Proposal by ABA Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar on Legal Skills Prof Blog. — Joe

That’s the title of a recent Fastcase Blog post by Joshua Auriemma. Here’s his open salvo:

I often wonder whether the Googleification of legal research isn’t a terrible thing for the profession (at least in this stage of the technology’s development). In law school, I was a master of Boolean searching. I thought about my research question, figured out which words probably appeared closest to other words, and crafted a narrow and specific search.

Somehow, when I became an appellate attorney and had access to WestlawNext through my firm, all of that training went out the window.

If interested, continue reading the post here. — Joe

From the announcement:

Do you have a great lesson plan or assignment that you’d be willing to share?  How about handouts or PowerPoint slides?  If so, then we need your help!

The RIPS Teach-In Kit Committee is currently accepting submissions for the 2014 Teach-In Kit.  The Teach-In Kit is a resource where law librarians can share materials and ideas to help improve legal research instruction.  We hope you’ll consider helping out your colleagues by submitting your materials to this year’s Kit.  We invite you to send contributions as email attachments to Shawn Nevers at neverss@law.byu.edu.

Prior contributions have included course syllabi, lesson plans, research guides, assignments, lecture notes, handouts, examinations, quizzes, PowerPoint slides, tutorials and games.  Examples of past submissions can be found in kits from previous years.

The deadline for contributions is Friday, January 24, 2014. Thanks in advance for your contributions!

— Joe

If approved by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, ABAJ’s Mark Hansen reports that the Protocol for Reviewing Law Graduate Employment Data, and Statement of Procedures for Collecting, Maintaining and Reporting Law Graduate Employment Data—DRAFT (dated Nov. 8, 2013) could take effect with the class of 2014, whose employment data must be reported to the ABA by April 7, 2015. In addition to random audits of law school employment data, “[the ABA] section would also conduct annual ‘red flag’ reviews of all schools then under sanction for misreporting employment information, as well as all schools it ‘has reason to believe’ are reporting false or inaccurate information.”

According to the draft proposal approved by the governing council of the ABA section, “while this Protocol and Statement are designed to uncover inaccurate, incomplete or misleading reporting where it exists, a principal goal is to mandate that schools maintain supporting documentation that will substantiate their reported data.” However, Hansen reports

Council member Edward Tucker, a Cleveland CPA, said he thinks the effort is “doomed” because graduates have no obligation to disclose their employment status to the schools they graduated from.

“What we’ve done is construct a dike to hold back the ocean with a great big hole in the middle,” he said of the proposal.

— Joe

With admissions plummeting since the end of the recession, S&P observes that credit quality of stand-alone law schools and law schools associated with smaller regional and non-flagship public universities has been deteriorating. Only component law school credit ratings for national and large public universities remain high. “[T]he strong [are] becoming stronger or remaining stable while the weak are becoming weaker.” For details, see S&P’s As Law School Demand Drops, Credit Quality Among U.S. Schools Diverges (Dec. 5, 2013). See also Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports post. — Joe

Quoting from the December 5, 2013 press release republished in full on No Shelf Required:

Through OverDrive, K-12 school libraries and public libraries will be able to offer 24/7 access to McGraw-Hill Professional digital titles in four broad categories: Business/Consumer, Science/Technical, Test Prep/Education, and Medical.

The eBook collection for schools and public libraries includes more than 700 recently released titles for researchers, business, medical, and technical professionals, and students preparing for ACT, SAT, MCAT or LSAT exams. These titles and more are available now for libraries and schools to lend for virtually any device with a modern browser… .

I think this would not have happened, at least not this soon, if not for ALA robust consumer advocacy campaign. Isn’t it time for AALL to get its act together? — Joe

Don’t know but ASU Law’s plans might point the way toward a new beginning in the public sector of the legal academy if this ambitious project is successful because —

  • The new law school complex will be located in downtown Phoenix (instead of Tempe);
  • It will include a public law library and a civic outreach center; and
  • It will be the home for a non-profit law firm called the ASU Alumni Law Group which will be staffed with up to 30 recent ASU Law grads under the supervision of five experienced attorneys.

If the Arizona Board of Regents approves the plan, construction could begin as early as summer 2014 and the center may be open in fall 2016. For details, including links to press coverage, see this press release. — Joe

On Dewey B Strategic, Jean O’Grady identifies what’s hot and what’s not based on the findings of this year’s AmLaw 200 Law Firm Leadership Survey. My personal favorite is “Succession planning:  Hot (making a succession plan) Not ( executing a succession plan).” Jean reports that “[a]lthough the majority of firms have a succession plan – 90% of firm leaders have been in place for more than 10 years, so succession is not happening.” For more, see AmLaw 200 Law Firm Leaders Survey: What’s Hot and What’s Not. — Joe

It’s free and it will be streamed live today starting at 2:00 pm Eastern. Panel members include Gwen Evans, Executive Director of OhioLINK, Courtney Greene, Head, Discovery & Research Services, Indiana University and Edward Smith, Executive Director, Abilene Library Consortium. Pre-registration for this 60-minute discussion is not required. Details here. — Joe

From yesterday’s ABA press release:

The committee found that Rutgers-Camden violated Standard 503, which requires law schools to use a valid and reliable admissions test, and Interpretation 503-1, which requires law schools that use an admissions test other than the Law School Admission Test to establish the test’s validity and reliability in determining an applicant’s ability to complete the J.D. program.

Rutgers-Camden operated an admissions program, without obtaining a variance from the ABA, that allowed some applicants to use a standardized graduate admissions test score instead of an LSAT score to gain admission to the law school. The school subsequently qualified for a variance but elected to suspend the program.

The accreditation committee imposed a public censure on the law school, which must post the censure document prominently on its website home page for one year. The censure is also posted on the website of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

The committee also imposed a $25,000 monetary penalty based on the benefit the school received from operating the program.

Hat tip to Mark Hansen’s ABAJ post. — Joe

 

Congratulations and good luck to this year’s crop of elected officers.

Vice President/President-Elect (July 2014 – July 2015)

  • Keith Ann Stiverson, Director of the Law Library and Senior Lecturer, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

Secretary (July 2014 – July 2017)

  • Katherine K. Coolidge, Law Librarian, Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP

Executive Board (July 2014 – July 2017)

  • John W. Adkins, Director of Libraries, San Diego Law Library
  • Donna Nixon, Electronic Resources Librarian & Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This year’s election generated about as much rank-and-file interest as previous years. AALL reported that only 29.96% of dues paying members voted. — Joe