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May 23, 2013

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MacK

I meant to ask,

is it your contention that applications = matriculations?

Anon

Colm MacKernan really ought to have better things to do with his time then pretend his wish that law faculty lose their jobs constitutes a "prediction" in any meaningful sense.

John Thompson

Let's assume that your hypothesis is correct, and these 58,000 rational maximizers are applying because they are attracted by lower effective tuition and a wide selection of schools.

What happens next year if law schools can't afford to offer the same or greater discounted tuition to students in their selected GPA/LSAT stratum, or the year afterwards? My understanding of this phenomenon suggests that law schools spend every dollar they take in from students, and so a minority will live off their endowments or state support while a majority is forced to accept students previously beneath their cutoffs to pay full freight (or closer to it, anyway) for the "good" applicants. Awareness of real effective tuition is something that is unlikely to change in the near future; the same can be said of awareness that the closer one pays to sticker price, the more one subsidizes someone else's tuition. Even if we have reached a floor for applicant numbers for the next five years, why would that matter to law schools unless it also sets a floor from which law school incomes may stabilize or rise?

Curious

How many central administrations care if their law school makes money? It used to be that law schools were set up as money-making divisions. Now they don't seem to care. The answer to this question will have a lot to do with how many schools shut down.

Albert Ross

Brian Leiter really ought to have better things to do with his time than trawling about on the net trying to identify commenters whose opinions he doesn't like. But he doesn't. Because he's a law professor.

CHS

Of course no one can predict the future. I recall on some other site people confidently predicting that dozens of law schools were going to close by the fall of 2011 or 2012. Others talked about about a smaller number. Predicting how many and what laws schools will close is the least productive part of this important discussion. But it seems to satisfy some need.

MacK

With respect to the above posting. A few months ago I received an e-mail from Brian Leiter, that was an implied threat to disclose my name if I continued posting on legal fora. Triangulation with others that received similar e-mails at the same time led to a clear conclusion that name data had been obtained from this blog - the Faculty Lounge. Many here will recall the controversy at that time. Initially Dan Filler "blew off" questions as to whether he had given names to Brian Leiter, or made them available to him in any other way. Very belatedly he denied it.

When this posting was made yesterday I contacted Dan Filler, informed him of it, and asked him to take it down. His response was flippant and indeed dishonest "I have not taken down all the unproven claims about Leiter from the earlier fray." In a Leiteresque manner this is of course true - he did not take down ALL the claims - just many of them. Now people can choose to believe Dan Filler's denials, but his willingness to abet Brian Leiter's activities (I notice that Leiter lacked the guts to use his own name in the post above), would tend to lead any reasonable person to regard his denials as false. To put it simply, he agrees with Leiter's conduct, he allows it, who thinks he does not assist it.

I also contacted the Dean of Drexel Law School. His response was along the lines of the internet is a wild and crazy place. He also said for the record that Drexel University hosts the faculty lounge on his servers, but at the same time seemed quite happy with the controversial conduct at issue. Of course since as the "Founding Dean and CEO" of a recently established law school, he too may not like criticism and certainly could be expected to endorse Dan Filler's post starting this thread.

In any event, for the future, everyone ought to associate this and other episodes with Dan Filler.

Alfred Brophy

With respect to MacK's comment at 4:57,

I try to stay out of these kind of disputes and I think it probably a poor use of everyone's time to revisit the alleged leak of ISP and email addresses of anonymous commentors last March. But I do not want to let this most recent comment pass without some kind of response because there are a lot of assertions in MacK's comment that he passes off as established facts.

I said "alleged leak" because there were other possible sources of the information. MacK posts comments all over the place. His identity could have come from a number of blogs -- or indeed from a diligent search of the internet -- I should imagine. Until there is proof -- not the assertions by an anonymous commentator -- that Dan leaked information, it is a mistake "to associate this and other episodes with Filler."

I hope and expect that our readers are discerning enough to resist the mob mentality. Sometime soon I may post a little on what that episode last March says about law and norms on the internet. I think it's a really telling episode of how communities on the net -- even legally trained communities that should be more discerning -- decide "facts" without a whole lot of investigation.

Paul Campos

I would have hoped that Dan Filler possessed the good judgment not to allow a post he put up on the The Faculty Lounge to be employed by Brian Leiter to out a formerly pseudonymous commenter, in the pursuit of one of Leiter's many obsessive and sordid little cyber-grudges.

Filler's refusal to put any limits on the increasingly disturbing behavior of his mentor can't give observers much confidence in his denials that he didn't out MacK to Leiter.

MacK

Dan had his chance to show that he did not intend to facilitate Leiter's activities. It was given to him. He chose to do nothing. That may not be proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but it establishes for me and for many other that Dan supports, abets and allows this activity. Why Alfred do you think he does not also assist.

In any event, Dan Filler has done nothing to clear this up, Leiter has boasted of receiving leaks - someone did it and it was someone at this forum - a fact established by the triangulating the other leaked names. It is disingenuous to pretend that you do not know of the other people who this was done to.

Dan can live with the widely accepted view that he was the leaker. I certainly have no sympathy for him, nor do numerous others.

BLRT

I was one of the people who received emails from Brian Leiter in March, at an email address that was only known to 3 blogs: Faculty Lounge, Volokh, and Lawyers, Guns, and Money. The responsible blog would have remained a mystery if not for the stories of MacK and dybbuk, who experienced something similar at the same time. The connection between all three incidents was this blog.

The standard of evidence for "proving" that Brian Leiter and The Faculty Lounge conspired to do this is whatever you want it to be. This isn't a criminal trial. Genuine proof beyond all doubt is obviously impossible to acquire, so it makes sense for certain people to present that as the relevant standard. Ultimately it comes down to whether you find the word of Paul Campos or Brian Leiter more credible. Filler may or may not have played a role, but somebody at this website did and Brian Leiter knows who that is.

Paul Horwitz

I think BLRT says something absolutely correct above, and one thing that's incorrect. It is quite right that there is no specific standard of proof involved here, and thus that absent general agreement on such a standard, it is likely to become "whatever you want it to be." I think it's inaccurate, however, to say that "ultimately it comes down to whether you find the word of Paul Campos or Brian Leiter more credible." One might reasonably doubt the word of both. Moreover, and this was my objection earlier, treating this dispute as one between those two parties alone does not give adequate agency to Dan Filler, ultimately treats his own reputation as little more than collateral damage, and discounts the possibility that one might find Dan himself more credible than either of the other two parties.

Both those reasons, Dan, lead me to suggest that you either close comments on this thread or require that they actually be germane to the post. If the only alternative were total silence on an issue some people, perhaps understandably, want to continue pursuing, I'd encourage you to let it go on. But it's not the only alternative; there are many other places people can have this discussion, or indeed they could start their own websites.

You all have done some good, if contestable, posts on law school issues here recently; you seem to have done a good job of keeping people on point and civil without forbidding strong disagreement; and clearly even some people who worried about the disclosure of their identities before the Faculty Lounge clarified its policies felt that those discussions were valuable enough to keep commenting here. I know it's a holiday weekend, but I encourage you to exercise a stronger hand in keeping the discussion on the rails.

Paul Campos

This thread was used by Brian Leiter to out a pseudonymous commenter. Discussion of that act, and more precisely of Dan Filler's decision to allow the thread to be used for that purpose, is very much "germane to the post."

The following facts are not in question:

(1) Several weeks ago, Brian Leiter sent threatening emails to MacK, Dybbuk, and BLRT.

(2) The only blog from which Leiter could have gotten the email addresses of all three of these posters was The Faculty Lounge.

(3) Leiter's co-blogger Dan Filler had access to the three email addresses someone gave to Leiter -- an act which made Leiter's subsequent cyber-harassment possible.

(4) Filler allowed Leiter to out MacK in the comment thread to this post, and continued to do so after being asked by MacK to remove Leiter's comment.

If Dan Filler is now suffering further "collateral damage" to his professional reputation, he has only himself to blame.

Fact Check

"The following facts are not in question." LOL! All the "facts" are in question, and were questioned and denied by posters here and elsewhere.

MacK

Paul,

As far as I can tell the clarified policies regarding disclosure of identities has not in fact been published - promised, but not published.

As for Dan Filler - he made the choice to expose his reputation, when he decided not to delete a post transparently made by Leiter - and took it. Dan Filler is a grownup, he has to live with that choice and the impact on his reputation, for good or ill. He has transparently at least allowed and facilitated Leiter's campaign - and I am convinced he leaked.

I provided Dan Filler and indeed his dean with the evidence of Leiter's threat - so Dan Filler could easily see that the posting at issue was a fulfilment of that effort at blackmail. Dan Filler chose to allow it - and indeed made a flippant and disingenuous reply.

As for Alfred's comments, they too are somewhat disingenuous. Leiter launched an outing campaign over a few days, contacting multiple previously anonymous people over e-mail addresses that were private. It was evident that after years of bugging people at various blogs for identity information, someone had, in a single act, made available to him the e-mails and identities - and when challenged Leiter bragged that he had been provided the information. SImple triangulation led to a single blog of 3 candidates that could be the source - this Blog - not Prawfsblog, not Volokh (where Leiter would be pretty unwelcome (as perhaps both myself and Campos), but the Faculty Lounge. Thus it was one of those with access at this Blog that gave Leiter the information. Dan Filler by his conduct, his relationship with Leiter, the manner in which he has allowed Leiter to conduct himself at this blog had put himself firmly in the frame. Unless someone else with the requisite access admits to being the leaker, Dan Filler looks very very guilty.

MacK

Paul,

On further considering your post. How is Dan Filler supposed to reconcile taking you suggestion of closing their thread to off-topic posts, in order to protect himself, with his decision to leave Leiter's Anon post up.

I really think you need to address the intellectual and ethical inconsistency of this proposal?

Alfred Brophy

With respect to Paul Campos' comment at 7:49,

Thank you for the concise comment, because I think you have gone to the crux of the issue.

Without re-litigating the entire March dispute again -- everyone can go back and read the comments there -- I want to make clear that we're dealing with unsupported allegations here. This is now a guess based on an inference from Dan's support of a free speech principle. And from his refusal to be bullied into responding to the demands of a self-appointed investigator a while back. Dan allows more latitude on comments to his posts than I typically do on mine. To take one related example, Dan left up two of MacK’s comments that named every permanent blogger and every guest blogger at this blog as potential leakers. Dan left those posts *by MacK* up. Having a robust free speech regime is different, however, from giving information on ISP and email addresses of commentors to anyone else.

As to the repeated references to disclosure of email addresses by the faculty lounge. (Such as Paul Campos’ point 2 on his 11:24 am comment.) Where did we supposedly get these email addresses? Certainly MacK did not give us his email address, did he? Where did he do that?

I ask readers to keep in mind the difference between a guess based on association and more direct evidence. I'm not going to be responding point-by-point on this. The burden is on the people making allegations to come forward with substantial evidence demonstrating that the "leak," if one even occurred, came from Dan or from this blog. Are we really going to take the assertions of someone whose moniker “BLRT” is short for “Brian Leiter’s Rotting Teeth”? Are you guys being serious here?

We should see the emails, then they should demonstrate that the email addresses and ISP addresses they used were posted here and never posted on other blogs. Such evidence – not assertions based on anger towards Brian Leiter -- has never been produced, to my knowledge.

Anon

If everyone would pull their heads out of the rabbit hole (or elsewhere) for a moment, you might realize how inconsequential this Campos v. Leiter v. MacK v. Filler stuff is to anyone not immersed in your internecine Internet warfare.

Albert Ross

Actually, it's by far the most interesting thing on this site.

Paul Campos

Alfred,

Your blog requires commenters to leave their email addresses. The three commenters Leiter harassed used email addresses when commenting here that they collectively used on just one blog: this one. Furthermore your blog collects the ISP addresses of anyone who comments. One of Leiter's harassing emails included the ISP address of one of the TFL commenters.

I've seen the emails Leiter sent to these three commenters (as well as several from other targets of his harassment). All three of these people contacted me independently. A simple process of elimination makes it certain that Leiter received the emails they used to post here (two of the email addresses were throwaways which the commenters had used almost nowhere else) from someone at this blog.

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