: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Upcoming Conference: The Free Market Mindset: History, Psychology, and Consequences

Harvard Law is hosting their Third Conference on Law and Mind Sciences on March 7, 2009, with a very interesting topic: “The Free Market Mindset: History, Psychology, and Consequences.” It’s hard not to feel that Milton Friedman has done his work well and in some significant way we are free marketers in the same way that ‘we are all textualists now’.

At this year’s conference, leading social scientists and legal scholars will present and discuss their research regarding the historical origins, psychological antecedents, and policy consequences of the free market ideology that has dominated legal discourse and lawmaking the last few decades.

My only qualm is that it refers to “THE free market ideology” rather than the many variations of free market thought that should be accounted for such a discussion. Strawmen beware.

Some of the 2009 Conference Materials may provide a glimpse of what to expect.

Video from past conferences are available on the ever-stimulating Situationist Blog

Law School Briefs…

The Shark asks is law school a more formative experience than undergrad? – kegs vs. more kegs. I disagree; law school is far more formative.

Patrick at Nuts and Boalts accused of a smartphone faux-pas, defends his Crackberry agaisnt the iPhone-igentsia

Prof. Orin Kerr interprets the tea leaves in Thoughts on First-Year Law School Grades at Volokh Conspiracy.

Recent grad Peanut Butter Burrito had her first trial (an asylum hearing) and won.

Red Shoe Ramblings posts Law School Lessons. Looks about right.

Luis Villa’s hypothetical grandchild asks him “grandpa, where were you when Obama was sworn in?” – jury duty, it turns out; I’m oddly jealous. They never pick me.

The War of All Against All remarks on the Doe Eyed Enthusiasm of 1Ls.

No. 634 is excited about a fifth-year associate in the D.C. office of Jenner & Block, who just had her very first oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court; I would be more excited if I had my first oral argument (in any court) before my fifth year as an associate.

Ed Felten, Freedom to Tinker, Predicts Challenges to Discriminatory Algorithms in Admissions

Ed Felten has 39 predictions for 2009 up on the Freedom to Tinker blog. This one in particular caught my eye.

(12) An affirmative action lawsuit will be filed against a university, challenging the use of a software algorithm used in evaluating applicants.

Computer algorithms would seem to be the purest form of meritocracy. Of course computers don’t discriminate, people discriminate. Where there’s a program, there’s a programmer. It’s an astute observation I think. Time will tell.

Freedom to Tinker: Predictions for 2009

Managing partner of K and L Gates derides U.S. News and World Report Rankings

Peter Kalis, the chairman and global managing partner of K and L Gates challenges the efficacy of the U.S. News and World Report Rankings in Gripes About Law School Rankings From a Law School ‘Customer’ in the National Law Journal.

I’d like to take up the cause of “nondesigner” law schools. I’ll focus on the University of Pittsburgh School of Law but there are many “Pitt Laws” in our markets — law schools with dedicated teachers and researchers, fine student bodies and solid market reputations that, alas, do not rank them with Yale or Harvard.

The real Pitt Law was hammered this year in the U.S. News ranking and dropped 16 places, from 57 to 73. Other law schools experienced abrupt movements up and down this year’s ranking as compared with last. Such sudden changes among stable institutions reveal more about the ranking than the law schools themselves. If change comes slowly to law firms, it comes even more slowly within academia.

I am a graduate of Yale Law School. It was and is a great place — but it’s no Pitt Law. Yale Law is the same tiny size it was 50 years ago — about 165 students per class. The 50 largest law firms in the country now employ about 65,000 lawyers. Yale Law today, sad to say, is quantitatively beside the point to most of the country’s leading law firms. And, of course, “Yale Law” is merely a metaphor that embraces Harvard, Stanford, Chicago and the other “designer” law schools whose entering class sizes are frozen in time like the fetching smile of a prom date you haven’t seen in 40 years.

Consider the impact of the real Pitt Law on my firm. We have 29 partners and 60 lawyers overall who are graduates of Pitt Law. It has supplied us with a global development partner, a global general counsel, a global head of litigation and the managing partner of one of our largest offices. It trains great leaders as well as great lawyers not only because ideas matter there, but also because emotional intelligence and analytical intelligence go hand in hand. It doesn’t sit well with me when Pitt Law is unfairly maligned.

It’s fairly easy to see from the numbers: 33 lawyers from Yale Law School and 61 from University of Pittsburgh Law School (not to mention 7 from the University of Houston Law Center despite not having a Houston office). Some of this is obviously choice, see Law Professor Hiring: Statistics on JD Placement, but of course the beauty and the disease of rankings is that they sell simplicity rather than explanation.

Baylor Law Goes to the Dogs

Here’s a great story from Waco.

When Amy Jones received her law degree from Baylor University, her playful service dog, Skeeter, got the same honor. As Jones got her juris doctor on Saturday, Skeeter received an honorary law degree. “Amy has busted through brick walls, and Skeeter has been faithfully by her side every step of the way,” law school Dean Brad Toben said. “Skeeter has become a part of our community and part of our family here at the law school.”

Though I feel sorry for Skeeter if he has to sit through the bar as well.

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