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By Dave Hoffman

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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Ranking: Law v. Undergrad

Inspired by this 2007 Taxprof post, I decided to compare the 2013 US News undergrad ranking to the 2013 overall law school rank. This project was a bit more complicated than it was six years ago,  due both to scandal & to the proliferation of regionally rankings.  But, ignoring schools that aren’t present on both lists, the results are illuminating.  For figures, follow me after the jump.

First, I’ll list the schools with a +20 or more difference between law and undergrad rankings — i.e., those schools with a significantly better ranked law school than their home institution.

 

Next, those schools with a -10 or more difference — i.e., those law schools lagging the most behind their home institutions.

You’ll note that there are more law schools [...]

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What Can Law Review Editors Do to Attract “Better” Articles?

While academics angst, law journal editors toil to manage the fire hose of submissions, real and fake expedites, and the uncertainty that comes with a new job.  Many journal editors now seem to have the goal of “improving their ranking“.  Seven years ago (!) I wrote some advice on that topic.  It seems mostly right, but I want to revise and extend those comments below, in letter form.

Dear Incoming Chief and Under-Chiefs!

Congratulations.  You’ve won the pie-eating contest. In a better world, you’d be paid in cash. You’ll have to take prestige.

Many people will tell you that (after running the show on time & not making anyone cry) your primary goal for the next year is to select articles that will be cited often, raising your prestige [...]

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PLF Noses Around the California Law Review

Via Josh Blackman comes this news:

“The Pacific Legal Foundation has sent requests under the California Public Records Act (the equivalent of FOIA) to the University of California Berkeley and University of California Davis, seeking information about how they use race and gender in making decisions about what articles to publish. You can download the requests here: [UC Davis PRA request; UC Berkeley PRA request.] The letters were sent to the Dean of the law schools, and carbon copied to the Editor in Chief and the Faculty Adviser.”

The PLF demands a response by March 2, which seems like an awfully short time, not least because the students involved on the board have important work to do, like reading this.

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What is the Point of Symposia?

Over at the Faculty Lounge, the estimable Michelle Meyer argues that it’s possibly inconsistent to take account of race, gender, and sexual orientation in symposia invitations but not to do so when selecting articles in law reviews.  Her post is thoughtful and well-written, though I believe it rests on a false premise.  Go over there and read it and then come back to find out which one.

Michelle largely responds to an anonymous commentator, who wrote:

“I know you don’t direct this question to me but to Dave, but let me chime in. I see them as analytically different. I think diversity is very important in symposia, and I agree that editors should seek a wide group of people taking of demographic facts there. The [...]

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