Tuesday, November 13, 2007


One of the eye-opening things for me (which may just be an indication of my innate idealism) is the willingness of expert witnesses to say anything for money. It's a well known tendency among economists. In fact, it was only a few years ago that Robert Lucas, right on the heels of winning his Nobel Prize in economics, was described by a court as applying an "ostrich approach," showing "disdain for reality," "abdicat[ing] entirely the concept of the independence of expert witnesses," and offering opinions that "were not only not based on the evidence, [but] were inconsistent with it." For more see 18 Yale J. on Regulation 253.

Now in an article -- The Market for Bad Legal Advice: Academic Professional Responsibility Consulting as an Example -- that makes me rethink the proposition that law professors are sissies, indirect, and tend to look away, William Simon takes a look at law professors. Where does he find the least admirable behavior -- among so called ethicists. It is just possible that they make economists look good. Simon points out not only the questionable ethics involved but that the sellers of bad advice are actually also trading on the institutional authority of some of America's most elite institutions. It's worth reading and thinking about if and how a Moneylaw Law School would react.


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