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By Dave Hoffman

Sherlock and the Law

Like many, I’ve been watching the BBC’s Sherlock, a modern re-telling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective series. I’m only mostly finished the first series, but thus far it has been striking how little role law (and its constraints) play in the narrative.  Basically, although Sherlock is a “consulting detective” (and under US rules, certainly an agent of the State), he routinely behaves in unlawful ways.  He often breaks into dwellings (and cellphones, and cars) to get information; he is resistant to writing up his methods (and consequently, a defense attorney would not be able to effectively examine them); he browbeats suspects and witnesses; etc.  In the States, quite obviously, all of the confessions produced by his methods would be thrown out as poisoned fruit.

There’s nothing [...]

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Introducing Guest Blogger Stephen Galoob

I’m pleased to introduce Stephen Galoob as a guest for the month of June.

Stephen is (as of June 1) an assistant professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law. He is a graduate of UVA law school and is finishing his Ph.D. at U.C. Berkeley’s Jurisprudence and Social Policy program.

Stephen’s scholarly work examines fundamental questions in criminal law, torts, contracts, and professional responsibility. (Although let’s be honest- does anyone ever claim that his work examines peripheral questions?)

Stephen’s dissertation, A Liberal Theory of Reparation, examines the significance of wrongs and injustices, as well as proposing an account of the justification for reparation based on the contractualist liberalism of John Rawls and T.M. Scanlon.

Stephen also writes in the field of legal ethics. His work in this area [...]

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Introducing Guest Blogger Katie Eyer

We’re delighted to welcome Katie Eyer, of Rutgers-Camden Law School, as a guest for the month.

Katie joined the Rutgers Camden law faculty as an Assistant Professor in June 2012.  Her work, which takes multidisciplinary approaches to questions of contemporary anti-discrimination law, has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Minnesota Law Review and the Yale Law & Policy Review.  Her most recent work-in-progress, titled “Constitutional Colorblindness and the Family,” was recently awarded Honorable Mention in the 2013 AALS Scholarly Papers Competition, where it was described by the selection committee as “saying something new and compelling about constitutional colorblindness.”

Prior to coming to Rutgers, Katie was a Research Scholar and Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, where she conducted [...]

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Contract Evolution

There’s a fantastic symposium issue out of NYU this month, devoted to evolution and innovation in contract terms.  There are articles by the ridiculously productive trinity of Choi/Gulati/Posner, a wild piece by Kevin Davis on Contracts as Technology, and a very cool empirical paper by Marotta-Wurgler and Taylor on evolving terms in standard form contracting online.  I’m obviously biased toward empirical work on this exact topic, so I’m a sucker for this stuff.  But I do think that this kind of empirical and theoretical work is where contract scholarship should be heading in the next 10-20 years.  Check it out.

 

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Is it better for one student to get a job than n students to fail the bar?

A student’s final law school GPA predicts bar passage better than other independent variables. But the relationship isn’t causal: raising the mean GPA of all students does not promote bar passage.  Indeed, some investigators have suggested that the inverse is more likely to be true. When GPA rises for all students, individuals at the bottom of the class aren’t sufficiently signaled that their grades are really and truly bad, and consequently such badly-warned students don’t approach bar study with the requisite degree of seriousness. That is, if a school has a mean of a 3.3 at graduation, the bottom 20% of the class probably has GPA of around a B-.  B- students may well say to themselves “sure, I’m at the bottom of the class, [...]

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