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November 06, 2014

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Former Editor

My earlier comment appears to have gotten stuck in the spam filter (probably because of the link) so I'll try again:

Anon, you are right that it whether many schools stay open or close will be in the hands of their parent universities. I'll refer you to Prof. David Barnhizer's post last week on his blog LawNext for persuasive (at least to me) arguments as to why at least some parent universities would be motivated to shutter their law schools rather than eat losses in the hope that the boom times will return.

anon

Just a point of reference:

"Anon" (with a cap) is a consistent voice in the FL, with a quite definite pov.

"anon" appears to be many different persons.

Just saying...

"In any case when you perpetuate the myth that it is law faculty who are keeping things going because they have nothing to fall back on you forget (or willfully ignore or are too inexperienced to understand) that trustees own the universities and therefore the law schools so it is up to them whether or not to keep the doors open."

Yikes!! Trustees do not "own" their universities. Trustees are appointed to serve as fiduciaries and guide a university. They are supposed to act in the best interests of the entire institution.

Barry

In addition, for the stand-alones, they've got that problem of shrinking sales volume combined with shrinking per-unit prices plus large fixed costs. As I've said, I expect them to run until they are closed by others.

There will be some where the people running them decide to cash in while there's still money to be pocketed, but I don't know how the bust-outs would work.

Anon

You don't think trustees own their universities? Here is what the California constitution says about the regents of UC:

The University of California shall constitute a public trust to be administered by the existing corporation known as "The Regents of the University of California," with full powers of organization and government, subject only to such legislative control as may be necessary to insure the security of its funds and compliance with the terms of the endowments of the university and such competitive bidding procedures as may be made applicable to the university by statute for the letting of construction contracts, sales of real property, and purchasing of materials, goods, and services.

I challenge you to find a clearer definition of ownership. Many private universities of course receive a charter granted to their trustees who then may delegate some of their authority to a President and faculty but do not answer to any higher outside authority at all (other than the accreditation groups which as already made clear in this thread are useless).

anon

Anon

Pleased that you agree that the ABA is useless as an accreditation agency.

Then, do you support open admission, with the consequent certainty that a large percentage of those enrolling will fail the bar and never practice?

If so, and if you are a believer in a completely free market, governed by caveat emptor, then will you not support law school "critics" who have so cogently demanded absolute transparency and honesty about bar pass and employment outcomes?

Will you not also support consequences in a free market for law schools that fail to attract students owing to poor performance on these measures of performance? Isn't that the necessary heart of the free market theory here?

And, finally, will you not applaud critics who have prodded the law school academy to compete more effectively by offering better product and greater value in the market?

PS You don't seem to understand trust law. The trustee doesn't "own" the res, even if title stands in the trustee's name. And, universities are not all owned by a trust. Further, most universities conduct regular reviews of the programs offered and have and will discontinue some: the criteria for such evaluations are freely and widely available. All this is not to say that universities will begin to close law schools, willy nilly, only to say that your dogmatism is misplaced here.

Anon

don't be pedantic...under either a public trust regime or one of formal property ownership (as in the case of many private chartered universities) faculty still have no ability to initiate the closure of a school or department.

and I hardly think the critics are in need of my affirmations.

twbb

"I challenge you to find a clearer definition of ownership."

Are you joking? By definition a trustee DOESN'T own the corpus of the trust. So, it's not a definition of ownership at all.

anon

The irony here is so delicious. Anon, I would tend to agree: law profs flatter themselves incessantly, and one of their most vain artifices is the notion of "governance." Law profs are, in the end, employees - self-interested, self-promoting and as self-serving as any others.

Tell us again, are not faculty "selfless"? Will they not support closure of poorly performing law schools? Many do indeed "need" your affirmation. Can't you answer a simple question?

Barry

"...faculty still have no ability to initiate the closure of a school or department."

How the heck did this strawman get here?

Anon

Whether they support closure or not is irrelevant as it is ultra vires.

Barry

"Whether they support closure or not is irrelevant as it is ultra vires."

Do you have an actual point?

ML

"The ABA is such a toothless tiger beholden to the law schools. There should be minimum bar passage requirements. Period. Set for each year. Miss them for any 3 years out of 5, and you lose accreditation. Period.

This is getting out of hand."

What is "out of hand" is the "teach to the test" mentality that has taken over American elementary and secondary education, and is now infecting law schools like Ebola, precisely because of the ABA's requirements.

If you have been through three years of law school, and have even a minimal ability to memorize useless gibberish (which is mostly what the Bar is, since real practice is not only far more specialized than the Bar but also is almost entirely open-book) cannot pass the bar, it is YOUR fault- not the school's, unless you are so dumb you lack the cognitive ability to pass the bar.

Now, having said that, it may be that there is some LSAT level where the overwhelming majority of people fail. If that's the case, the ABA should perhaps regulate LSATs directly rather than using bar passage as a proxy for LSATs. But for anyone above that level, your failure to pass the bar is your own fault.

Just saying...

"What is "out of hand" is the "teach to the test" mentality that has taken over American elementary and secondary education, and is now infecting law schools like Ebola, precisely because of the ABA's requirements."

WRONG. Unlike primary and secondary schools, law schools have always taught students that had to pass a test -- a bar exam -- to practice and thus make a living. This is not a new development, as you contend.

Thank goodness for the bar exam threshold. It is the only thing keeping many law schools for truly open admissions policies. Forget the students who willingly take on the debt. The bar is the last protection the public has to anyone -- truly anyone -- going to law school and then hanging up a shingle and practicing law.

ML

Just saying has a point- I do think that there is some value in some kind of bar exam, for the very reasons he states (though I think the bar exam as currently suited is in some ways a lousy way of doing it). And I agree that there was never a Golden Age where the bar was irrelevant to law school, except in the top schools.

But having said that, it also seems clear to me that the amount of law school resources devoted to the bar exam (whether measured by number of academic support personnel hired, extra bar prep course, etc) seems to have grown quite a bit over the past decade or so.

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