This traditional tune has had many sets of lyrics and has been used for various purpose, from humorous to political. Here is (more or less) the original version, which dates to the 1830s, as performed by The Dubliners:
Today, I’ll discuss the central argument in our paper: the medical risks to a professional career in football, boxing, and other violent sports are much greater both in the near and long term than the risks of donating a kidney. Injuries in such sports are common, and retired players are very often disabled by the long-term effects of these injuries as well the cumulative effect of thousands of blows to the body.
One challenge in making a meaningful comparison between the risks entailed in kidney donation and the risks entailed in participation in contact sports is that the latter may stretch out for many years and involve not one choice (donate or not) but rather a series of choices regarding participation. While it is difficult to quantify these effects in a way that provides a natural comparison with kidney donation, we provide some statistics that suggest that, for example, a man who signs a contract to play in the NFL for a year is consenting to be exposed to far greater medical risks than someone who volunteers to donate a kidney.
We focus our analysis on football, because the epidemiology of injury and disability is better developed than for fighting sports. It is worth noting, however, that there has always been concern about the risk posed by fighting sports, and that concern has accelerated in recent years, due to a better understanding of the long-term effects of head trauma. As a result of these risks, medical associations around the world, including the American Medical Association and various state medical associations, have called for limitations or bans on boxing and MMA.
As to kidney donation, we analyze both the post-operative risk from surgery and the post-recovery chance of death or disability resulting from loss of function of the remaining kidney. Both risks – while greater than zero -- are quite low, both in an absolute sense and in comparison to the typical risks of participation in violent sport. For example, post-operative complications (most of them minor, such as bleeding or wound infection) are present in 7.3% of cases, and donors face a higher cumulative incidence of end stage renal disease than nondonors – 0.31% versus 0.04%. While that risk is thus significantly elevated for donors, it remains very low in an absolute sense, representing an increased chance of about 1 in 400.
With respect to football, we discuss injury rates at the youth, high school, collegiate, and professional level. While that data is far too extensive to fully discuss here, I’ll provide a few highlights:
In 2016, the 2,274 active players in the NFL experienced 2066 injuries during the preseason and regular season, 244 of which were concussions. That’s .073 concussions per player-season – about equal to the rate of surgical complications (most commonly, minor complications, such as bleeding or wound infection) in kidney donation.
Official injury reports and survey information suggest that for a substantial majority of former players, injuries ended their career or contributed to the decision to end their career. Nine of 10 former players have nagging aches and pains from football when they wake up, and for most the pain lasts all day. For those age 30-49, the ability to work is impaired by injury.
A recent postmortem study of a sample of donated brains of former NFL players found that 110 of 111 indicated either mild or (more commonly) severe CTE.
This last point requires some explanation, because the findings do not imply that 99% of former NFL players will have CTE. The brains in the study were voluntarily submitted for examination by family members who were often motivated by a desire to know the cause of their loved ones dementia or other neurological problems. But the 111 brains do represent 8.5% of the 1300 former NFL players who died during the period that these brains were donated. That places something of a logical lower bound on the prevalence of CTE. Presumably the true prevalence is much higher than 8.5%.
While it is not possible to do a precise “apples to apples” comparison of the medical risks associated with kidney donation` and the risks associated with a professional football career, it seems clear that the acute risk of injury and of long-term disability are far higher for the football player. As discussed above, most NFL veterans live out their lives following retirement with serious physical and mental disabilities. The vast majority of kidney donors lead entirely normal lives following recovery from the initial operation.
University of Missouri-Kansas City – Dean of the School of Law
University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of the four University of Missouri campuses, is a doctoral research-intensive public university offering traditional and interdisciplinary programs and serving approximately 14,500 students. The University is well positioned to address the demands of the times in a dynamic and diverse city that deserves and requires the benefits that accrue from a strong public university.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City has a broad and inclusive educational mission with specific emphasis in three areas: health and life sciences, visual and performing arts, and urban affairs. UMKC’s unique profile includes the College of Arts and Sciences, University College, Honors College, Schools of Education, Nursing and Health Studies, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, Medicine, Law, Computing and Engineering, Biological Sciences, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and the Conservatory of Music and Dance.
The University has an institution-wide commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and strives to create a welcoming environment where students, faculty and staff feel valued in their contributions. The successful candidate will have a genuine enthusiasm for students, the University and the Greater Kansas City region. UMKC is proud to be one of this region’s premier institutions of higher education. Our people are our most valuable asset in our quest to become a model public urban research university with signature graduate and professional programs and active engagement in our city and throughout the region.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City seeks a dynamic and visionary leader for the position of Dean of the School of Law. UMKC School of Law is committed to educational excellence, outstanding scholarship, diversity, inclusiveness, and respect for people, ideas, and justice. It is dedicated to educating students to become outstanding lawyers who will serve their communities and the nation in the highest traditions of the legal profession. UMKC’s juris doctor degree program is designed to prepare students for the challenges faced by 21st century lawyers, public officials, and executives. The law school offers emphases in Business and Entrepreneurship; Advocacy; Child and Family Law; Intellectual Property Law; Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law; and International, Comparative, and Foreign Law; as well as LL.M. degrees in Taxation and Lawyering. Law students are encouraged to engage in interdisciplinary work across multiple UMKC academic units.
This position offers an opportunity for a talented, multi-skilled and committed individual to lead a vital unit of the University. The Dean is responsible for providing academic, strategic and administrative leadership for the school, articulating a vision for 21st century legal education, fundraising, and enhancing the strong relationship that exists between the School, its alumni and the various sectors of the legal, business, and government communities. The Dean serves as a senior academic leader of the University, reports to the Provost, and will work collaboratively with fellow Deans.
The Dean is expected to have: (1) a thorough understanding of both the challenges and the opportunities facing legal education today, along with creative/innovative ideas for tackling those issues; (2) the ability to recruit and support excellent and diverse faculty, students and staff; (3) strong operational and financial skills; (4) outstanding administrative and management skills, including team building; (5) the ability to effectively communicate with a wide range of stakeholders; and (6) the ability to achieve success in both external outreach and fundraising. The successful candidate will have leadership experience that provides a foundation for success in an academic setting.
The Dean will ideally possess a commitment to innovation in legal education and a broad knowledge of the legal profession. A juris doctorate is required. Candidates must have a demonstrated record of successful executive leadership and comparable credentials and/or experience sufficient to warrant the respect and confidence of the academic community. The ideal candidate will be experienced in partnering with the legal community as well as the business and civic communities at large. We expect strong experience in the critical areas of administration, fundraising, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
UMKC offers a competitive salary, affordable medical and dental plans (no waiting periods), 403(b) savings plan, and University-paid long-term disability and life insurance benefits.
HOW TO APPLY
Nominations and inquiries, which will be treated in confidence, are welcomed and should be sent to:email@example.com. Applicants who wish to apply should submit a letter expressing interest in and perspectives on the position, curriculum vitae, and other materials supporting candidacy, including names and contact information for at least four references to www.umkc.edu/jobs. References will not be contacted until advanced stages of screening, and candidates will receive prior notification. Applications will be reviewed until position is filled. Applications should be submitted by January 30, 2018 for fullest consideration.
The University of California Irvine law school has announced that Song Richardson will be its new permanent dean, replacing Erwin Chemerinsky. She previously served as interim dean. Richardson, who holds a JD from Yale, joined the faculty in 2014 having previously taught at DePaul, American, and Iowa. I'm particularly excited to see another former public defender and capital defense lawyer join the ranks of dean - congratulations!
Having concluded that simply advocating for compensated kidney donation was not sufficiently controversial, Phil Cook and I are now turning our sights on professional sports – specifically, professional football and boxing. In a piece just posted to SSRN, we contrast the compensation ban on organ donation with the legal treatment of football, boxing, and other violent sports in which both acute and chronic injuries to participants are common. While there is some debate about how best to regulate these sports in order to reduce the risks, there appears to be no serious debate about whether participants should be paid. Indeed, for the best adult football players, college scholarships and perhaps a professional contract worth multiple millions are possible.
Phil and I will likely spend part of the winter break as television viewers contributing to the NFL teams’ collective $56 billion valuation. But our position on paying kidney donors saves us from hypocrisy. If, however, you are one of the many, many people who believe it is unethical to compensate kidney donors, then you should be out protesting the NFL. And don’t even think about watching the latest boxing or MMA matches.
Over the next couple of posts, I’ll outline the gist of our argument and evidence. We focus on the core argument for a ban on compensation for kidney donation, namely the paternalistic concern that even well-informed adults will sometimes be enticed by a financial reward to donate a kidney when in fact that is not in their “true” self-interest. In this view, the allure of money, especially for those who are in debt and struggling to make ends meet, will overcome good sense, leading to “exploitation” and even “coercion” to which people with less income and education are particularly vulnerable. But the same concerns apply with still greater force to participation in violent sports. Whatever one concludes about the ethics of regulating risky choices, and the problematic aspects of choices involving money and risk, the current circumstance – ban compensation for kidney donors, permit compensation for participation in violent sports – appears difficult to defend.
Over the next few days, I’ll touch on these key points: the medical risk to participants, the consent process, social justice concerns, and social welfare considerations. The medical risks to a professional career in football, boxing, and other violent sports are much greater both in the near and long term than the risks of donating a kidney. On the other hand, the consent and screening process in professional sports is not as developed as in kidney donation. The social justice concerns stem from the fact that most players are black and some come from impoverished backgrounds. Finally, the net social benefit from compensating kidney donors – namely, saving thousands of lives each year and reducing the suffering of 100,000 more receiving dialysis – far exceeds the net social benefit of entertaining the public through professional sports.
Download the piece here. And check back in over the next few days for subsequent posts.
I recently received the following note from my colleague Jeffrey Urdangen, of Northwestern's Bluhm Legal Clinic Center for Criminal Defense:
Some months ago, Josh Tepfer, of the University of Chicago Exoneration Project, asked me if I’d team up with him on a fascinating case where his client had a bona fide claim of having been screwed by the cops in a manner that violated due process. I was happy to co-counsel with Josh, who, as far as I can tell, leads the league, if not the world, in achieving exonerations for his clients. Not surprisingly, that was the outcome in this instance.
Robert Hill was charged with murder and armed robbery for allegedly being the getaway driver following the stick-up of a liquor store in 2005. He was arrested and questioned by police a few days after the incident, and then let go. Two years later he was re-arrested for further interrogation, and as he always had, Robert denied any involvement in the crime. A Sheriff’s officer then made an offer to Robert: if he took and passed a polygraph, police would take him home and he’d be free to live his life. Robert accepted the offer and passed the polygraph. He was released that night, only to be arrested a month later for the third time. This time he was indicted.
Three years later, a hearing was held on defense counsel’s motion to dismiss the indictment. The grounds were that the State violated a non-prosecution agreement when, notwithstanding the police promise, Robert was charged with murder. The motion was denied, the Court agreeing with the State’s argument that, as a matter of law, an assurance like this is not binding unless made by a prosecutor. Four more years later the case proceeded to a bench trial in the Markham courthouse before the same decidedly pro-prosecution judge, Frank Zelezinski. Robert was convicted and sentenced to a term of 70 years imprisonment.
After the opening brief on appeal was filed, the Illinois Supreme Court decided People v. Stapinski, which held that a promise by police, even if unauthorized by prosecutors, is enforceable. That additional authority was provided to the appellate court, which remanded for a hearing on whether “the defendant has established an enforceable cooperation agreement not to arrest or prosecute him …” The circuit judge at this hearing was directed to apply contract law. Lucky for our client, Judge Zelezinski had recently retired and his replacement was Judge Carl B. Boyd.
We were also fortunate that both the interrogation with the lie detector offer and the polygraph session were videotaped. At the hearing, one of Josh’s U of C clinic students, Huiyi Chen (now at Jenner and Block), masterfully cross examined the polygrapher. And my student, Grace Hotz, gave a sparkling summation, deftly interspersing video excerpts. Josh then dismantled the State’s closing argument in his rebuttal.
Several weeks later, reading his careful ruling from the bench, Judge Boyd gave a seminar on the law of contracts, finding the defense had established offer and acceptance. Ruling that we met our burden, the indictment was dismissed and Robert was freed that day after ten years of incarceration.
Congratulations to Jeff and Josh, and their students, in a great victory for collaborative clinical legal education.
Boston University invites applications for the Law School Deanship. The Dean provides academic, intellectual, and administrative leadership of the School of Law. The successful candidate will be nationally recognized, with demonstrated leadership and administrative skills, strong scholarly visibility, and will understand and value the culture of integrity, inclusion, innovation, intellectual life, and student services that characterizes BU Law. The Dean will share the law school’s strong commitments to excellence in research, teaching, and practice, and will lead the School in its ongoing mission to prepare a diverse body of students for the ethical practice of law around the globe, to serve the public interest, and to provide the profession, the academy, and the public with ideas, perspectives, and analyses that enrich a comprehensive understanding of the law, adapted to the needs of a changing world.
Boston University School of Law routinely ranks at or near #20 in U.S. News and World Report’s law school rankings, as well as in the Leiter Law Report’s ranking for law school scholarly excellence. Without sacrificing scholarly excellence and engagement, the faculty of BU Law has long enjoyed a strong reputation for teaching effectiveness that sets us apart from most highly-ranked law schools. Historically, BU Law has ranked first or near the very top of the Princeton Review’s rankings of law teaching faculties. BU Law enrolled 236 J.D. students in the class of 2020, with a median undergraduate GPA of 3.73 and a median LSAT of 165. Since its founding in 1872, BU Law has been open to all students of ability, without regard to religious affiliation, gender, or race. We strive to honor our early commitment to diversity and inclusion through concrete and visible measures that evolve with understandings of cultural competency in an increasingly diverse legal profession. The law school’s culture is also characterized by commitments to integrity, teaching excellence, curricular innovation, public service, and a rich intellectual life marked by influential scholarship and the collegial exchange of ideas.
The full-time faculty includes 43 tenured and tenure-track professors, 13 full-time faculty primarily focused on experiential teaching, the Law Librarian, and several full-time lecturers. Among the primarily classroom tenured and tenure-track faculty, eleven hold Ph.D.’s in the fields of Anthropology, Economics, History, Law, Philosophy, and Political Science. The faculty is highly productive and influential, including leading scholars in fields such as administrative law, antitrust law, constitutional law, corporate law, criminal procedure, critical race theory, feminism and law, health law, intellectual property, law and economics, and legal history. The faculty produce books, articles, casebooks, and other scholarly works at an impressive volume. The publication of ambitious scholarly books—a hallmark of an outstanding law faculty—has become a signature strength of our faculty in recent years.
The law school has benefitted greatly from the exceptional 14-year leadership of Dean Maureen O’Rourke. O’Rourke leaves the school with very well-functioning administrative leadership across a range of areas from admissions and financial aid to career development and student affairs. The law school is housed in a new state-of-the-art complex, including the Sumner M. Redstone Building, a nearly 100,000-square-foot, five-story classroom facility that opened in 2014, and the 17-story Law Tower, which re-opened in 2015 after a complete renovation. A capital campaign launched in 2012 with a goal of raising $80 million by 2017 was recently extended to raise $100 million by 2019. There is no remaining financial obligation on the building, and when the campaign is completed, an additional $55 million over and above the building expense will remain for enhancement to financial aid, faculty scholarship, and programmatic support. Simply put, the law school is in a moment of enviable strength on which the next dean will build.
Additional information about this search is available at:
Nominations and expressions of interest should be sent to: Professor David I. Walker (Chair), firstname.lastname@example.org, or Law Dean Search Advisory Committee, c/o Office of the University Provost, Boston University, One Silber Way, 8th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02215.
Prospective candidates should include a letter expressing interest and a current curriculum vitae. Candidates will be asked to provide references after preliminary review and screening. Confidentiality will be maintained in the search process; references will be contacted only with the explicit consent of the applicant. While nominations and applications will be accepted until a new Dean is selected, interested parties are encouraged to submit their materials before January 31, 2018, to ensure full consideration.
Boston University is committed to fostering a diverse University community within a supportive and respectful environment. We believe that the diversity of our faculty, students, and staff is essential to our success as a leading research university with a global reach, and that diversity is an integral component of institutional excellence. Boston University is an equal opportunity employer and gives consideration for employment to qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, military service, or because of marital, parental, or veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has posted an article about Interrogating Ethnography. It is a news story, not a book review, that summarizes the book and includes interviews with sociologists both favorable and critical. Unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall, but here are the first few paragraphs:
Law Professor’s New Book Puts Ethnography on Trial
By Marc Parry December 15, 2017 Premium
Replication controversies have plagued the social sciences in recent years. But one research method is uniquely difficult to verify: ethnography. Ethnographers, who often work in sociology and anthropology, immerse themselves in the daily lives of people they study. Their written narratives tend to cloak both subjects and field sites behind a curtain of anonymity. Only rarely does one ethnographer go back to another’s site to reexamine the original researcher’s findings.
Steven Lubet, a law professor at Northwestern University, thinks that’s unfortunate. He got interested in ethnography after writing a scathing review of Alice Goffman’s controversial 2014 study of young black men caught up in the criminal-justice system, On the Run (University of Chicago Press), a work of urban ethnography that he viewed as littered with ethical and factual problems. That made him wonder: Did the whole field suffer from similar issues?
Mr. Lubet, who has dedicated much of his academic career to the study of legal and historical evidence, tried to find out by plunging into the literature. He read more than 50 ethnographic monographs and an equivalent number of articles. Focusing on sociologists’ studies of American cities, he hunted for facts that could be documented — or not. He verified details by consulting experts and pulling public records.
The result of his investigation is a new book, Interrogating Ethnography: Why Evidence Matters (Oxford University Press). Its conclusion: Ethnography suffers from an accuracy problem, one that scholars in the field have largely overlooked.