Saturday, August 20, 2011

An apology

In the two weeks since I started this blog, I've gotten many emails from practicing and former attorneys, unemployed law school graduates, current law students, and even several law professors, praising the project the blog is pursuing. I've found this response very encouraging, although of course not every correspondent has agreed with all my substantive arguments, or with what it would be fair to describe as the blog's less than deeply respectful tone towards the current state of the legal academic enterprise.

And it's good to see that in just the last day a couple of law professors whose work regarding problems in contemporary legal education I was already familiar with, and admire, have engaged substantively with issues I'm discussing (I will have more to say about the relationship between student loans and law school tuition shortly).  The whole point of this blog is to help continue a conversation that should have started much sooner than it did about the financial viability, educational and professional value, and ethical status of contemporary legal education.  This is a conversation that requires contributions from all parts of the legal profession in general, and the legal academy in particular, and again, it is heartening to note that, despite the substantive disagreements which exist on these subjects -- which are of course considerable -- and whatever reservations people may have about matters of tone and professional etiquette, that conversation is starting to take place in a sustained and serious way.  (I chose initial anonymity in an effort to keep the argument focused on the substance of the debate, rather than on the hierarchical status and personal qualities of those participating in it.)

It is thus with a certain sadness that I note one of the leading lights of contemporary legal academia,
Professor Brian Leiter, the Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director, Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Value, at the University of Chicago Law School, has, I have been told, chosen to point out to the world that, in comparison to himself, I am a poor scholar and have reprehensible work habits, rather than responding to any of my arguments about the state of the contemporary law school.  This is unfortunate, as who could doubt that someone with Professor Leiter's extensive training in the analytic philosophical tradition would not have many valuable contributions to make regarding such questions as precisely why law school costs have increased exponentially, even as the job prospects of law school graduates have declined? (When I was doing background research for this piece I was reminded that the law faculty on which Professor Leiter currently serves includes several legal academics whose own professional work is in every sense admirable. I can only imagine how pleased they are to have acquired someone with Professor Leiter's unique set of talents).

Nor  can anyone doubt that Professor Leiter would add a valuable voice to the debate regarding how much contemporary legal academic scholarship is actually worth the remarkably high price students are required to pay for it.  One must admit that it would be unrealistic to expect someone as busy as Professor Leiter to take time away from the rest of his many professional obligations to note the substance of this blog, let alone that he should be expected to put in the effort necessary to evaluate the academic talents and personal character of its author. Professor Leiter already makes a significant sacrifice of his time and talents by maintaining a blog that catalogs in exquisite detail the professional comings and goings of legal academics and professors of philosophy.  He also devotes his remarkably wide-ranging abilities to constructing and maintaining a set of law school rankings (as well as another one for philosophy faculties), that does a far more rigorous job of determining the precise academic quality -- or at least prestige -- of the publications of law school faculty than the rightly-reviled set published by U.S. News & World Report.

Without Professor Leiter's exemplary work on the subject, legal academics and the world at large would both find it much more difficult to determine whether, for example, the faculties of the NYU and Columbia law schools have had the fifth and sixth greatest scholarly impact on their fields over the past five years, or vice versa.  (Professor Leiter's deans and faculty colleagues must find it especially gratifying that his rankings consistently discover that whatever school currently employs him deserves a a higher spot in the legal academic hierarchy than is assigned to it in the USNWR rankings).

 Nor can anyone blame Professor Leiter for refusing to bring his expertise and experience to bear on such matters as the extent to which law schools actually train students to engage in some aspect of the practice of law, given that he has never held any professional position for which a law degree (let alone bar admission) is a requirement.  On this subject, his silence reflects a becoming and characteristic modesty.

I am hardly in a position to dispute Professor Leiter's evaluation of the quality of my scholarship, both because I haven't seen it, and because, as I believe Freidrich Nietzsche observed (or perhaps it was Lord Coke), no man should be a judge in his own case.  That Professor Leiter's scholarship, touching on such complex and important subjects as those explored in "Rorty and the Philosophical Tradition: Comment on Professor Szubka." 25 Diametros 159 (2010),"  and in "Explaining Theoretical Disagreement." 76 University of Chicago Law Review 1215 (2009) (also published in Spanish in Analisis y Derecho), neither of which I have read, but which I plan to give my full attention as soon as time permits, is of both the highest quality and the deepest relevance to the mission of the contemporary law school is a proposition that surely no one qualified to evaluate the question would bother to dispute.  As for a comparison of our work habits and moral character, I have never met, let alone worked with, Professor Leiter, so I must regretfully leave such comparisons to the tools employed by others.

All of which is to say that I welcome substantive discussion and disagreement about the issues raised on this blog, but have no interest in pursuing evaluations of personal character and the like.  No reasonable person can deny that, in the course of what to all outward appearances is a brilliant career, Professor Leiter has played the legal academic game superbly well, and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors (assuming, of course, that those endeavors do not involve any actionable statements regarding the targets of his ire).  For the moment, it is enough to note that the kind of work he does has its rewards, and that which I do has others.

"And now it really is time to depart, I to be executed and you to
continue living. But which of us goes to a better life is unclear to everyone except to the god."

114 comments:

  1. Is it really necessary to use latin expressions to show off how smart you are? We know you're a law professor and all, but it's really elitist of you to do so.

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  2. Well, since most of the members of SCOTUS have read the book . . .

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  3. I said it before, I'll say it again. Your work on this blog is more important than all of Leiter's cumulative work, and it has had a greater impact on academia than all of Leiter's work. I am certai that if you took your posts here, and instead of putting them on a blog, put them in a book, it would be a best seller. You have taken your intelligence and writing ability, both of which are obviously outstanding (excuse my flattery), and applied it to a real world problem. Meanwhile, Leiter sits in his ivory tower cocoon writing about things that nobody cares about outside of academia.

    Mr. Leiter, it is self evident that there is a problem with legal academia. I hope you do not dare to challenge this assertion. (By the way, are you challenging this basic premise Mr. Leiter? Do you not see a problem with legal academia?) Any way, there is obviously a problem. If you don't like Mr. LawProf's solutions (honest disclosure of employment placement, asking professors to work harder, more practical teaching . . .) then please enter the free market of ideas and post your own solutions. But please do not respond by trying to snuff out LawProf by threatening his livelihood. That is not a free debate. That is what they do in fascist dictatorships.

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  4. It should be interesting to see how things proceed from here. You've earned a spot in history with this blog and you'll be judged accordingly. You were the only one willing to speak out. That makes you a hero to many of us.

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  5. Well said. Guys like Brian are so used to having their assess kissed by terrified students that they don't really understand that nobody outside of the academy really cares about their credentials.

    Professor, I hope at some point you will talk about textbooks. I would like to hear a professor discuss why these books are so damned expensive, and why there is a new edition every four or five years.

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  6. Leiter just updated his blog with another (anonymous, but I won't get into that irony) comment from a professor who makes the "LawProf steals from his students, but I don't steal from mine" argument.

    Law professors think that they get to decide for themselves whether they are doing their job! No no no, let's not ask our students if we served them well, no we get to decide that for ourselves. How convenient, pompous and self absorbed, which coincidentally are also three words that come to mind when thinking of a cush academic job.

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  7. lol now Leiter is criticizing you for "censoring" comments. He doesn't even allow comments on his blog!

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  8. I'm sympathetic to your project pretty broadly, but the philosophy-bashing reeked of anti-intellectualism. The importance of philosophy of language to understanding textual interpretation alone should make clear the value of interdisciplinary philosophical/legal work. That a lawyer/philosopher should publish on purely philosophical topics makes sense - staying up with the field, as you should know, is important.

    So: don't marginalize an entire field you clearly know nothing about to score cheap rhetorical points against someone you're angry at for, er, trying to score cheap rhetorical points at your expense.

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  9. I'm just a little surprised that you're, well, who you are. Against the Law's one of my favorite books on the law, but this blog has been rather lazy. Indeed, the first thing I thought when I read it is that many of your criticisms of law school seemed like a fourth-rate rehash of things in Against the Law.

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  10. The importance of philosophy of language to understanding textual interpretation alone should make clear the value of interdisciplinary philosophical/legal work.

    --------------

    Ummm, no. The philosophy of language is in no way necessary to interpret statute, nor is it sufficient training to interpret statute.

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  11. "this blog has been rather lazy."

    -----------------

    Huh?! LawProf has been incredibly prolific on this blog.

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  12. Certainly no philosopy-bashing was intended. The philosophy of law in general, and in particular the intersection between the philosophy of language and jurisprudence, are undoubtedly very important academic topics. Whether it makes sense to pay law professors two and three times as much as humanities professors to study them is a quite different question however.

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  13. As seems to be common, Leiter reports that "several readers" have told him of something that: 1) he would almost certainly found out directly, and 2) no one would be likely to email him about. For some reason, he's embarrassed about his obsession with various topics, and therefore pretends that he finds out about things in which he obviously takes an intense interest only because some random person just happened to email him a propos of nothing.

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  14. Why is it clear that no one would "likely" email him about this? He's been very critical of the blog. Who better to write to if one tried to post negative comments and was rebuffed?

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  15. "As seems to be common, Leiter reports that "several readers" have told him of something that: 1) he would almost certainly found out directly, and 2) no one would be likely to email him about. For some reason, he's embarrassed about his obsession with various topics, and therefore pretends that he finds out about things in which he obviously takes an intense interest only because some random person just happened to email him a propos of nothing."

    For an amusing example of this, check out this thread following the article in Inside Higher Ed about this blog. Almost immediately, someone named "Brian L" shows up sounding very much like Brian Leiter. A couple of hours later, Leiter posts under his full name about how there are only four Brian L's in the legal academy, so "Brian L" isn't doing a very good job of disguising his identity, although (of course) "Brian L" isn't him.

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/08/09/tenured_law_professor_aims_to_expose_the_excesses_of_his_profession

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  16. Thanks for your reply to my post about philosophy, LawProf (I assume you don't want us commenters using your real name here?). I would say briefly in reply that law schools benefit greatly from paying extra for law and philosophy faculty members with JD/PhD because the law background allows them to do legal philosophy in a way much more relevant to the law.

    A philosopher without legal training trying to do the philosophy of language/jurisprudence will have a much weaker grasp on how to do their work in a way that contributes to the discussion among legal experts. To take a specific example in a different area, Ronald Dworkin's work on the morality of anti-pornography would have been substantially weakened by not knowing the relevant law in the way that someone with his legal background does. Since this type has a JD, they can go on the private legal market like anyone else, which means the usual reasons for giving them the law professor premium apply. So long as I'm right that philosophizing about the law is worse when uninformed by actual legal training, we ought to give philosopher/lawyers the same status at law schools as any other sort of lawyer.

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  17. LOLOLOLOL

    180^180

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  18. You're doing God's work Mr. Campos. Pay no attention to the ankle-biting apologists like Leiter.

    Signed,

    an unemployed, deeply indebted graduate of Top10 law school

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  19. "Why is it clear that no one would "likely" email him about this? He's been very critical of the blog. Who better to write to if one tried to post negative comments and was rebuffed?"

    Well, it's possible that readers did email him about this; there are instances previously where Leiter pretended someone emailed him about something that seemed incredibly unlikely, so perhaps that is skewing my view. But in any event, Leiter is far more likely to know about the comments policy here (if there is one at all . . . my comments sail right through with no moderation) through his own efforts than because "several" people supposedly emailed him. Leiter is notoriously obsessed with tracking down every mention of himself on the Internet and commenting about it, after all.

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  20. 412 sorry to hear. I know that more and more, the t10 are experiencing what were thought to be tier 2 problems.

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  21. Below are two must read things written by Brian Leiter.

    http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/perspective.asp

    http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/jobplace.asp

    Oh the irony!

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  22. LawProf, here is a hypothesis that I propound based on Brian Leiter's statements in the two links above. In those links Mr. Leiter makes it clear that he is passionate about philosophy, but that it is very difficult to get a job out of a philosophy PhD program. He warns students to demand and carefully review the school's placement information before attending a program.

    From that, I infer that perhaps Mr. Leiter, after being faced with a bleak philosophy professor job market, marketed himself as a "philosophy and the law" academic and he did so at least in part by the desire to get a job. The idea being that he would have a much easier time getting a job as a law professor than he would in getting a job as a philosophy professor.

    From that, could we infer that the entire and curious "Law and X" field is yet another way where unprofitable humanities academic programs are subsidized by legal academia? We've already heard of one way this happens, for example how law schools have to pay 25% of their tuition income to the parent university to support other programs. But could this be another way? Could brilliant people who graduated from other PhD programs, but who can't get jobs as professors in those hypercompetitive fields, be adding a relatively easy law degree to their resume so that they can get jobs as “Law and X” professors in law schools?

    This is all speculation of course, but I will personally investigate it the next time I see a Law and X professor.

    So maybe Mr. Leiter and us unemployed law grads are not so dissimilar after all. Both of us just wanted a job.

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  23. I took four philosophy of law classes, and they were easily among the most intellectually engaging classes I had, and also rather useful practically, at least so far as they went towards developing critical thinking skills.

    I took them in undergrad, from a philosophy department.

    The problem with much of "Law and..." is that it's more And than Law. My feminist jurisprudence class at NYU was just feminism, but taught in the law school.

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  24. Similarly, I had a professor who taught a practical law course and feminist jurisprudence. In the former course she was notoriously awful and derided by (no exaggeration) about 50-75% of her students. In the latter she was a genius and thought to be one of the best professors in the school. Her reviews on public "rate your professor" websites also confirms this. She had terrible reviews in the former and outstanding reviews in the latter.

    Maybe these Law and X types are really X professors doing a little bit of law teaching to pay the bills.

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  25. LawProf:

    Keep going. Don't worry about Brian Leiter or others.
    We all know how this party is going to end; and when the music stops, you will be in the right side of history.

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  26. LawProf, I think that you just became my personal hero. I'm a rising 3L well into the top 1/3 of my class at a top 6 law school (think NYU, Columbia, or Chicago), and the overwhelming majority of employers won't even look at me because I struck out at 2L OCI. I have a lot of friends from college who went to T1/T2 law schools, got significantly above average grades, and have by this point been effectively shut out of the legal profession after forking over 100-200K in tuition. Things need to change. Not soon. Now. Although I have no doubt that you will take a lot of flack from some of your colleagues for authoring this blog, I think that history will remember you kindly.

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  27. "Huh?! LawProf has been incredibly prolific on this blog."

    Lazily written and conceived. Certainly his word count is moderately impressive. I agree with 'LawProf' that law school costs are a problem, though very little that he's said here about that is new or particularly thoughtful. And I suppose I see some injustices in the way law school classes are composed, though my solution would simply be to close a lot of tier 3 law schools and stop admitting students with sub-160 LSATs. But as for the pedagogical content of law school, I guess I'm of the view that, given what American law is, a series of normatively vacuous, infinitely manipulable doctrines, I'm not sure that law should be taught any differently than it is. It strikes me of no moment whatsoever that professors barely prepare to teach a class. How much work do you suppose physicists put into teaching the introductory physics courses they're forced to teach; how much thought do English professors put into teaching classes on Shakespeare? Law professors teach very elemental, simple stuff, and necessarily so. There's no point in attempting to make a bunch of first-year law students First Amendment experts, nor is there any time to do so. Instead, what law schools have sensibly done since the days of Langdell is teach students little thumbnail sketches of various core areas of the law, in barely more detail than what one could glean from Wikipedia, the hope being that the exercise teaches students to read a case, distinguish fact patterns, argue by analogy, learn how to make superficially convincing circular arguments, etc. And in the process, you learn just a little about the law, just enough so that if a client comes to your door with a problem you know whether to think in terms of negligence or fraud or mutual mistake or probable cause or First Amendment rights or what have you. And for many students this works just fine, and for others, usually those who lack the peculiar set of skills it takes to be a lawyer, it doesn't. It's a less than ideal system, but I think that the students who cheat themselves out of what a law school education can offer - learning to think like a lawyer, for what little that's worth - by disengaging from the material and learning everything out of commercial outlines and supplements are far more culpable than the professors.

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  28. One thing I hope you'll clarify in a future post, Leiter and some others have accused you of admitting you don't do your job, and of accusing others of not doing theirs, largely because of how you describe the tiny amount of time professors spend on classes, and how useless those classes are.

    That wasn't my reading at all. It looks like professors are teaching exactly what they have been hired to teach, and what's been taught for years. And, you're not saying that spending little time on it is failing to do it, but that it's a task that does not demand much time, especially once one has been teaching it for several years and if it's a class that's mostly settled law.

    For all the people saying that your opinion doesn't at all reflect the work ethic of professors at large, just ask students how many of their professors have turned in their grades late. I had one professor have to cancel a class to get more time to grade exams from the previous semester. Doesn't sound like a great work ethic to me (her grades were then rejected for not conforming to the curve).

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  29. Asher, that is your opinion. Good for you but apparently many victims of the scam disagree.

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  30. Speaking of junior high school, some of the funniest stuff ever written about Leiter was on the Iraq War Was Wrong blog, a spoof blog with a kind of reverse Colbert Report thing going on. He claims to have known Leiter in high school:

    http://iraqwarwrong.blogspot.com/2005/05/old-chum-resurfaces.html

    The original Leiter Reports: http://iraqwarwrong.blogspot.com/2005/06/original-leiter-reports.html

    And then an actual version of "Brian's Picks: Who's Hot, Who's Not," from high school days (again, a spoof, but oh how accurate): http://iraqwarwrong.blogspot.com/2005/09/brians-picks.html ("What blow's me away is the precociousness of it because afterall EVEN BACK IN HIGHSCHOOL he was engaging in a activity (basicelly exact same activitiy!) for which (now) he is world renown and totally respected.").




    Everything else he wrote about Leiter is funny as well:

    http://iraqwarwrong.blogspot.com/2005/07/leiter-doing-are-leg-work-for-us.html

    http://iraqwarwrong.blogspot.com/2005/07/no-lifes.html

    http://iraqwarwrong.blogspot.com/2005/08/beautifully-wrought.html

    http://iraqwarwrong.blogspot.com/2007/06/make-good-link-to-brian-leiter-effort.html

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  31. Three points:

    (1) @asher - The issue has always been the COST - the PRICE of law school. Teaching is a secondary issue related to the first issue. If law school were $8.00 a semester, they could teach me whatever they wanted, however they wanted. But when there is a massive debt burden associated with the education, more preparedness for actual practice is warranted. COST $$ MONEY $$$ PRICE. Don't miss the damn issue. Does it help if I write this in capital letters: THIS IS AN ISSUE ABOUT MONEY.

    (2) Brian Leiter _is_ an academic thug. Way to prove it. How anyone can respect this guy is a mystery to me. Threats of defamation lawsuits, and then this kind of outing? What kind of person is this?

    (3) LawProf: whatever you need - ask for it. Letter of support to the Dean? I'll write one. Letters to the editor? I'll write one. Links to your blog? I'll link. You have deservedly built up some fans with this blog. If you need to leverage your "juice" let us know what we can do to help you.

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  32. It's kind of weird you approve juvenile shit like the above about Leiter, but don't approve comments critical of you.

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  33. Just to clarify: the only comments I've ever deleted from this blog were a couple that discussed my identity when I was still remaining anonymous.

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  34. So you're just like Autoadmit, eh?

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  35. Supposedly quoting and talking about things Leiter said, did and had done to him in high school:

    =============
    "Last year Tamika was more popular then Sharon but this year I think Sharon has passed her by". "Kim lost her boyfriend and ever since- popularity down the tube's". "Two year's ago I'd of never thought Russell would be popular but ever since he went out for water polo".

    Unfortunately. The popular kids didn't relly like Brian be so observeant like this. (I think they just self conscious). He use to get put in garbage cans. Once duct taped to a pole(the flagpole no less-add insult to injury). There was the time he was tied up(tape over mouth/hands behind back/legs) and put in the girls lockerrom shower. It was something bad(I use to fell sorry for him- thats why I would listen to his ranking's). But he used his BRAIN to overcome because this is why he joined the football team. He explained to me that by his calculation's it was the most optimal way to improve his Popularity.

    But so Brian perservered. "This is information people need" he use to say.
    -------------

    http://iraqwarwrong.blogspot.com/2005/06/original-leiter-reports.html

    The dood doesn't seem like a terrible guy or anything, and I'm better for hearing these amusing stories about his past. Any way Brian, thank you for your personality as I don't like everyone to be the same and I think unique people like you are what make our world interesting. Also, if you were against the Iraq war then you were right.

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  36. I don't understand though, if Brian was against the Iraq war, and that blogger was also against the Iraq war, then why were they fighting?

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  37. By the way, I can't help but to notice the following: Leiter is just a philosopher/law professor who wants to earn a living studying and writing about his passion. We grads just poor kids who wanted a job but wound up with debt. LawProf is just a guy sympathetic to us. All of us are essentially proletariat yet we are fighting each other. Meanwhile the rich burn Mr. Leiter's and LawProf's combined salary on frivolity that we will never experience in our lives.

    Welcome to modern day America.

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  38. I intend to post in more detail later but I would hope that Leiter bashing would stop here. Leiter is very good at what he does. But what he does is a very narrow aspect of legal education. Attacking him or responding to his debating tricks does not advance this important discussion. As I am sure Asher and others would agree, not every tier one law school needs a Leiter or a Dworkin or a Hart. To my mind, most of the law faculty should be highly skilled teachers who write or otherwise engage in public service and are at least interested in what lawyers do. One of my colleagues opined some years ago that membership in the American Bar Association should be a disqualification for membership in our group. That is the mentality that has taken us down this path. I am hard put to understand why a teacher who does not respect what lawyers do can be effective in the typical tier one classroom. John Gardner noted some 50 years ago: "The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

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  39. I agree LOC. This blog wasn't supposed to be about Leiter so let's not let him hijack it too much.

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  40. From Leiter's most recent blog entry:

    "It is unfortunate that some victims of the recession think, falsely, that ScamProf [LawProf] is doing something courageous on their behalf. He's not, he's just doing what he always does, trying to surf the wave of the latest fad and attract attention to himself."

    Wow Brian. You're accusing LP of doing what you did! You saw that he gained a ton of attention because he told the truth, and the truth is powerful, and you glommed onto his attention by attacking him. Pot. Kettle. Black Brian . . .

    But more seriously, I am deeply troubled by the threats that you AGAIN make against LawProf's livelihood. That is outrageous. Absolutely outrageous that you are resorting to such means to shut down a voice that the vast majority of legal profession stakeholders believe is courageously telling the truth. That is seriously revolting and disgusting Brian. Stop it.

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  41. Above BL1Y said this
    "I took four philosophy of law classes, and they were easily among the most intellectually engaging classes I had, and also rather useful practically, at least so far as they went towards developing critical thinking skills.

    I took them in undergrad, from a philosophy department."

    This is interesting. It's not just in law school that law is taught. I actually had a Business Law course in high school. Of course there is also paralegal school, and people also go to bar review courses to review for the bar exam (And lament that they had to learn stuff needed to pass that law schools never bothered to teach).
    I wonder if law school is even the most efficient school for learning law?

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  42. "I wonder if law school is even the most efficient school for learning law?"

    I think you're being too generous to even call it a "school."

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  43. Law school is absolutely not the most efficient school for learning law as anybody who has taken a Bar-Bri class can attest to. Bar exam prep courses run for about 3 months and yet manage to teach about 2 years worth of law school material.

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  44. "I wonder if law school is even the most efficient school for learning law?"

    resounding HELL NO on that point, friend. I learned more in 2 months of bar review than i did in first year of law school, and learned more in first six months of practice than i did in all three years of law school.

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  45. law school really is an enormous racket. you don't realize how much of a racket it is until you take Bar-Bri. worse yet, it seems as though law school methods of teaching are actually counter-productive; they confuse more than illuminate. sometimes i wish i went to a lower ranked "bar prep" school rather than a T14.

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  46. Well, law school courses could train you in the law. However, I doubt a course taught by a philosopher who has never practiced will be very helpful when you are arguing that motion, or writing up that contract!

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  47. I am really infuriated by Brian Leiter's latest blog post. What an outrageously obnoxious bully. It's no wonder he was allegedly physically abused in highschool. At first I felt bad reading those stories, but now not so much.

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  48. I'm happy to see that Leiter has now said something about the plight of law students. That has always been the most important part of this discussion. Whatever the value law professors and scholarship bring to the world, they do so only because of the financial support of law students.

    I hope all law students, past and present, take a moment to consider why their law professors have not done as Lawprof has done. Lawprof has exposed each and every one of them. Why did they not speak up? Why did they try to pretend that this problem didn't exist? And now they accuse Lawprof of cowardice?

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  49. But Leiter also said he wants LawProf investigated and fired, and he even set a labor day deadline! That's outrageous.

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  50. I'm glad you finally got the courage to sign your name to your opinions. Here's to hoping your readers will follow your example, Mr. Campos.

    By the way, I respect juveniles more than I respect cowardly juveniles.

    http://source4politics.blogspot.com/2011/08/lawprof-paul-campos-got-some-courage.html

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  51. The funniest Leiter posts are the ones when he suggest he may bring an action against someone else for their comments about him. He's made that sort of threat, such as it is, many times, and always in complete and comfortable ignorance of the requirements for such an action.

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  52. It seems to me that LawProf is the one who could be suing here. Btw, Leiter, rhetoric is an art and if you are so bad at it that everyone who reads your dishonest, blunt, hyper literal and angry rants hates you, then you may want to stick to philosophy.

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  53. Hey math geek amm. Perhaps some people are being anonymous because they don't want to get into it with someone like Leiter. I refer you to the parable of the angry fool.

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  54. P.s. im a math geek myself (i realized that could be taken the wrong way). My favorite courses were number theory and game theory.

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  55. You should link to the other scamblogs at this point. They all link to yours, and they were fighting this fight long before.

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  56. Anonymous: (I have no real way of keeping track of who's who, or if any of you are even different people than Campos, so I'll just address you as a unit).

    "everyone who reads your dishonest, blunt, hyper literal and angry rants hates you"

    You may want to check your assumption that your opinion is the universal, or even common, one.

    "Perhaps some people are being anonymous because they don't want to get into it with someone like Leiter."

    People are always free to not try to influence the public debate if they can't stand a little internet criticism. But like I've said, anonymity can at times be a necessary evil. But from a tenured law prof, it's cowardice.

    (I can't stand number theory myself, though game theory's cool. At the moment, I'm most into algebraic topology. I'd describe myself as more of a law nerd than math geek, though.)

    ReplyDelete
  57. The anonymity served an important purpose, which is that it helped keep the focus on the issue: law schools hurting their students. Now this is going to devolve (hopefully temporarily) into an academic cat fight.

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  58. Wow topology. I was never into that for some reason but i respect it. For non math folks, alg tops think a coffee mug (with a handle is equivalent to a donut is equivalent to an engagement ring. . . It is more complicated than that though)

    Ps look into the parable of the angry fool. Must reading for lawyers.

    ReplyDelete
  59. The anonymity served an important purpose, in that it allowed Campos to write things with little fear of consequences. It also made the postings seem basically irrelevant, except to those who already agreed with them. Those who aren't willing to take responsibility for what they say are rarely worth listening to.

    Anonymous: link? Google seems to not know what it is, though it has many results for the parable of the rich fool.

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  60. Anonymity is not important, what is important is that these issues are finally being discussed and law professors, anonymous or otherwise are coming forward to talk about it. We can thank Lawprof for that. Good luck with your own job hunt Andrew, you're going to need it.

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  61. http://bible.cc/proverbs/29-9.htm

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  62. Are you really Paul Campos!

    Thank you. I think you just might get how law professors have been a special class-protected by tenure. It's particularly egregious when it's at a publicly funded school. Why aren't a certain class of law professors subject to any of the same checks and balances as the rest of us?

    I remember a valiant fight you made long ago and it's weird I googled to find it and the first hit I got was Leiter moaning about it.

    You started back then to burst the bubble of their special class.

    I think he's till grinding the same axe. Just a hunch.

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  63. I didn't go to law school obviously because I write like a hack but someone I know that went to a law school-( usually ranked in the top six) told me this when I discussed your "anonymous blog" with him-

    I worked as an intern one summer during law school and I was mortified that the paralegal knew way more about the practicalities of the law-than I could ever hoped to-I felt mortified, ripped off and ashamed.

    He also told me about the only valuable thing he leaned in law school was during "trial advocacy".

    Keep in mind when you were writing as anonymous-certain law professors were critiquing your writing.

    Well there is a saying in the world out here that values higher things-

    Small minds correct small things.

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  64. Sorry the quote should have read-

    ...than I could ever ^have^ hoped to: I felt mortified, ripped off and ashamed.

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  65. "That Professor Leiter's scholarship, touching on such complex and important subjects as those explored in "Rorty and the Philosophical Tradition: Comment on Professor Szubka." 25 Diametros 159 (2010)," and in "Explaining Theoretical Disagreement." 76 University of Chicago Law Review 1215 (2009) (also published in Spanish in Analisis y Derecho), neither of which I have read, but which I plan to give my full attention as soon as time permits, is of both the highest quality and the deepest relevance to the mission of the contemporary law school is a proposition that surely no one qualified to evaluate the question would bother to dispute."

    That is just brilliant.

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  66. Great line about leiter from jdu

    Under this cost-effective model of legal education, there would be no need for law professors at all or monstrous law school buildings. Brian Leiter could earn a living standing on a street corner in Hyde Park and reciting "Nietzsche and Morality" in exchange for spare change and hamburger coupons. At least he wouldn't be scamming anybody, which would greatly assist his authority in evaluating other people's morality.

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  67. "The anonymity served an important purpose, in that it allowed Campos to write things with little fear of consequences."

    Yes because in order to make any comment about the system you must willing to be subjected to ad hominem attacks that have nothing to do with the substance of the your argument. Please this

    "It also made the postings seem basically irrelevant, except to those who already agreed with them."

    Considering LawProf's blog has incited incredible amounts hate and vitriol from the likes of Lietner, it can hardly be described as being irrelevant.

    "Those who aren't willing to take responsibility for what they say are rarely worth listening to."

    Maybe for you, but for many of us the message is alot important than the messenger.

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  68. "The anonymity served an important purpose, in that it allowed Campos to write things with little fear of consequences."

    ---------------------

    This is simply dishonest and I'm getting Andrew's trolling on this blog.

    First of all LawProf revealed himself to reporters, and said himself that he is in no way hiding his identity and would be outed soon.

    Second he obviously weighed the consequences of his actions before courageously doing the right thing.

    Third, an idea has nothing to do with the identity of the person who says it. Absolutely nothing. Debate the idea, not the characteristics of the speaker.

    Fourth, and most importantly, the only reason people wanted LawProf outed is because - knowing they couldn't argue with his ideas (which are self evident and which were not his but rather were the accumulated complaints of hundreds of thousands of disgruntled law graduates) they realized their only chance at stifling his voice was to attack him personally.

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  69. The entire law profession is in disarray.

    a) We need to stop the barriers to entry each state puts up. We need complete national reciprocity for lawyers. Just pay a fee, produce your certificates of good standing, and you can move freely throughout the USA to practice law where you believe you can make a living.

    b) The stranglehold of mandatory bar associations with their political agendas must stop.

    c) If you don't think you can make a living as a lawyer, don't go to law school. Look at other professions.

    d) If you can't make what you want as a lawyer, move to another profession.

    e) Don't whine about not being able to pay your student loans. You borrowed the money - pay your loans.

    f) As an example of other types of restrictions that can be removed: Open up the restrictions of the military and National Guard to allow older people to join. Lawyers can choose to apply for those positions, instead of being kept out.

    I'm sure you all can think of many other ways to rethink the use of your law skills other than complaining that you can't find a job.

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  70. The pathology is that someone like Leiter has advanced so far in the Academy.

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  71. "e) Don't whine about not being able to pay your student loans. You borrowed the money - pay your loans."

    Don't complain that the stocks you bought were expensive. Just accept the fact that the company was giving you highly fraudulent/misleading information in order to induce you to buy those stocks, and move on. Oh wait...

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  72. "The pathology is that someone like Leiter has advanced so far in the Academy."

    Leiter sounds like an arrogant prick, of course for most of us out in the real world his ramblings, which he seems exceedingly pretentious about, are little more than an amusement. What is sad and pathetic is the fact his ego is supported by parasitically feeding off of his law students' tuition money. Is he seriously that deluded into believing that lecturing on law and philosophy actually improves his students' career prospects?

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  73. I wouldn't fret significantly over the credibility of Leiter's arguments given his association with the "Ponzi School of Philosophy." Analytical philosophy is known by non-U.S. philosophy professionals and by theorists outside the U.S. practice's ivory tower to be an self-serving academic scam.

    Several years ago, I met with the department chair of a well known Big 10 philosophy program. Considering my interest in applying to the Ph.D. program, the meeting gave me a remarkable insight into the analytic tradition racket. As a senior executive in a Fortune 500 firm responsible for its risk management, with an M.S. in economics and B.S. in finance, I explained that we see an even greater role for identifying, analyzing and managing risk in the areas of hermeneutics (theory of interpretation), pedagogy (theory of learning) and epistemology (theory of knowledge). The way language is used in the organization by senior management, for instance, is of a greater significance to the management of risk than refinement of quantitative methodologies.

    The philosophy chair was aghast at my academic background and quite forcefully explained I would not qualify, lacking an undergraduate in philosophy (never mind my economics M.A. and practice were extensively oriented in behavioral econ). When asked what philosophy I was familiar with, my answer of having been well read in my personal studies across phenomenology (Husserl, Merleau-Ponty), late Heidegger, as well as extensively read in Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari and much of the Frankfurt School, I was astounded at her reaction: "We don't study that kind of material. We're a philosophy program, not a critical writing workshop. Our courses work on a serious regime regarding historical and contemporary philosophy theories and wouldn't be a place for someone with more of an 'applied' background."

    Astounded at the direct acknowledgement that the analytical program had no relevance to the real world, I asked what it was intended for. "We teach students so they can become future philosophy academics."

    Welcome to the analytical school Ponzi scheme. Strangely, I'd suspect even the Ancient Greek philosophers would be horrified by the proclamation that philosophy shouldn't have anything to do with the applied world. Fortunately, it appears the U.S. is mostly alone in this practice, as Continental philosophy (an approach that bases philosophy in the historical, contemporary, changing world) is the norm there.

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  74. "Third, an idea has nothing to do with the identity of the person who says it. Absolutely nothing. Debate the idea, not the characteristics of the speaker."

    Which is why Campos rested on the good part of his laurels by claiming to be a law professor at a Tier One school. Because his identity was irrelevant. Yes.

    By the way, one (or maybe more, I still have no idea which Anonymouses are which) of you needs to look into the difference between ethos and ad hominem.

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  75. Andrew, you and I disagree, but unlike Brian, I won't throw a shit fit because I didn't get my way.

    Law Prof has outed himself. So its time for you to move on from that debate. If you're waging a one-man campaign against internet anonymity, you're fighting a losing battle. So what do you have to say about the actual substance of Law Prof's arguments?

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  76. Reviewing his resume he does not have a law degree, states that his career goal is to be a lawyer and is an undergrad at University of Chicago. I speculate that perhaps Andrew would like to get into law school, and probably U of Chicago Law School. Andrew, you don't actually think that by publicly supporting Leiter you will get a favorable admissions nod do you? Don't be silly if that is what you think.

    But poor Andrew, like many of our current young generation including me, has only been able to secure a series of utter shit low paying jobs, such as intake clerk at public defender's office and private tutor. Something tells me he understands the plight of un and underemployed law graduates.

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  77. Reading Andrew's blog, I see we have one with college sophomore syndrome.

    Andrew, not everyone engages in evaluating speech by filtering it through an evaluation of the speaker. Theoretically, there's no reason for sound argument to rely on the qualities of its speaker.

    This is probably difficult for people like you and Leiter to understand, given that you plaster your name on everything you produce, which doubles as a marketing technique, as it has for academics and pseudo-intellectuals for centuries.

    If you honestly believe anonymity can have no virtue, you have a very limited imagination. Furthermore, you seemingly dismiss the drawbacks of anonymity. In the event the speaker makes profound or profitable speech, he is denied the attached publicity and increase in goodwill, and may be denied the intellectual property rights.

    Given both the benefits and drawbacks, the choice to attach a name is merely a literary option, little different than the choice to attach a title or a picture to the text. Most choose to do it, sure, but it doesn't discredit the speech to not.

    Yes, Campos relied on his professor status to bring the blog credibility and differentiate it from the other "scamblogs." To my knowledge, no one has disputed that. But I don't see how he "rested" his arguments on that. The views expressed herein have merit even if he weren't a professor of law. It seems to me that he wanted to avoid exactly what you and Leiter are doing, which is redirect the speech from the real issues to the speaker. That's classic ad hominem.

    Do you think it's more virtuous to focus an argument on the facts and text itself, or on the people displaying them?

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  78. To Andrew's "ad hominem" argument, I'd suggest such charges are often used in a context that makes them more meaningless than the target of their attack.

    I very much disagree that a writer's ideas can be separated from the writer, and suggest that the majority of contemporary theory would concur. Heidegger is often (and appropriately) implicated for his brief association with National Socialism. Does this mean his ideas are invalid? Certainly not. Does it distract us from a greater charge we should make toward his throwing Husserl under the bus, or an even larger charge that should be made toward the tendencies of middle class academic thought leaders to uncritically embrace totalitarian movements? Does this distance us from the question of anonymity in criticism? Of course not.

    We are all the product of our associations, our choices, our academic, professional and social pathways, and the proximities those choices provide toward spheres of constructed thought. I'd suggest there is an interesting conflict occurring in this space, certainly around the anonymity question, but even more so in an underlying question to the legitimacy of post-secondary academia that may be no longer driven by serving its students, but rather has completed its progression into a welfare state for overpaid, underworked curators of mostly useless knowledge. We see this throughout the law schools, and it pervades American philosophy, art theory and music theory programs.

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  79. Shark Sandwich, I've got very little incentive to engage with Campos: he's saying very little new, and it's not stuff that really concerns me. He's an instructive case in anonymity cowardice, and that's about it.

    Anonymous, I'm glad you were able to peruse my resume (though you seem to be misreading or misrepresenting parts of it). Wish I could say the same for you.

    But I'm not sure how you get from anything I've said to the accusation that I'm sucking up to Leiter. Were I sucking up to him, I probably wouldn't call him an immature child.

    Also, Anonymous, I'm not sure what "ad hominem" argument of mine you're referring to. I've made ethos arguments, but no ad hominems.

    ReplyDelete
  80. "I've made ethos arguments, but no ad hominems."

    Well, so long as we're all arguing about such important things.

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  81. "Without Professor Leiter's exemplary work on the subject, legal academics and the world at large would both find it much more difficult to determine whether, for example, the faculties of the NYU and Columbia law schools have had the fifth and sixth greatest scholarly impact on their fields over the past five years, or vice versa."

    Flawless Victory.

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  82. If you didn't make baseless accusations, I wouldn't have to respond to them. :)

    ReplyDelete
  83. Andrew,

    It looks to me that you want to be an attorney at some point. What Law Prof is saying should concern you. However, if you really do think you don't have a dog in this fight, you should stop trolling here to boost interest in your own blog.

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  84. There are issues that concern me with law school. The points Campos is raising, and the cowardly way he went about it, aren't really a part of it.

    By the way, I generally post a link when I critique something. Not to increase traffic, but because I'm uncomfortable attacking behind someone's back (and I've found that most authors prefer a posted link to an email.) And check your definition re: trolling.

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  85. Any unduly self righteous person with a mouth can accuse others of something. But in Mr. Campos's case accusations of cowardliness are outrageously dishonest as he has clearly risked pecuniary value to do the right thing.

    What I've found most interesting about accusers, though, is their own personal lives. Behind that veil of self righteous accusation often lies a vile and despicable person, so disgusting that they give a creepy feeling to all who know them.

    Have you ever risked pecuniary value to do the right thing Andrew? I'm guessing no, because you don't seem like that type. You seem like the type to game systems improperly to gain pecuniary value, much like you are doing by trolling for hits to your cliche and overdone political blog and by trying to gain brownie points at U of Chicago Law's admissions committee.

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  86. See my previous responses to you, Anonymous.

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  87. Andrew, you provided no response to my post above, but I'd like to add a response to the following:

    "I'm not sure what "ad hominem" argument of mine you're referring to. I've made ethos arguments, but no ad hominems."

    Factoring in someone's individual courage as a relevant part of speech where courage has de minimus relevance to an evaluation of the speech itself is blatant ad hominem.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Leiter is an arrogant, obnoxious, craven, greedy bully.

    Professor Campos, you are doing the Lord's work. Keep on keepin' on.

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  89. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  90. Professor Campos, please keep going. It's hard being an unhappy grad because people dismiss your legitimate critique as just the poor mouthing of a underemployed JD who with middling grades in a bad economy. I recently told someone that if I could have the 3 years of my life back and my debt forgiven, I'd happily give back my degree. When asked if I'd give it back just to wipe out the debt, I said without equivocation, "Yes."

    At least then I'd be free to pursue a lower paying but more rewarding job I actually wanted.

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  91. I sort of regret that your identity has been revealed. When did that happen? I think it's unfortunate that now the ad hominem attacks are being unleashed.

    Professor: As an untenured law professor, I am absolutely delighted with your work. Many of us want to say something, but fear the repercussions (as a critic of Wall Street's activities during the subprime mortgage crisis, I feel like an absolute hypocrite). The sad truth is that, in spite of the terrific things we try to stand for in our law review articles, the vast majority of us are slaves to the desire to perpetuate the status quo. When I think about this too much, I feel really guilty going to work every day. Academia and academics should aspire to something better. I'm glad you've taken that initiative. I wonder if, perhaps, you should circulate a petition at AALS or something? Many of us agree with you, but there is, of course, greater strength in numbers.

    I'm really, really proud of your work here. Thank you for that. I hope you can continue to be the voice of many anonymous professors.

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  92. As a law professor myself, I firmly believe that all professors are attention whores. What matters, though, is the importance and truth of the messages we convey.

    Everyone: don't let this important topic become adulterated by petty disagreements. I see Leiter's posts, this response, and many of the above comments as a horrible, unfortunate detour.

    Let's not prove our critics' point: that we're a bunch of psychically fragile intellectuals who have little of consequence to share with society.

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  93. Leiter is part of the problem at law schools: an overblown academician whose practice, if any, in the profession was scant and whose practical ability to help create anything but similarly overblown academics is nonexistent. You have been an important part of the solution, by educating would-be lawyers of the nature of the system. It is a shame Leiter could not engage you on that front, but snooze his usual MO, attacking your credentials, because his measure of academic credentials is, he believes, all that matters. The profession and academia are poorly served by his apologetics. Thank you for your effects.

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  94. Leiter comes across as hopelessly lost. Bravo, Campos. Pull the curtain on this.--"Tort Jones"

    ReplyDelete
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