Thursday, September 29, 2011
In what my wife calls my not real world life I typically come into contact with attorneys, law professors, students, and expert witnesses. Within each group I observe a great range of ethical standards although the pressures are always downward. Nevertheless like four racehorses, I think of the groups as racing to the bottom. In terms of shameless lying, expert witnesses are still in the lead. Have you ever compared what some law professor experts write and then the positions they take for money? And then there is the sad story of Robert Lucas -- Nobel Prize winner -- getting clobbered for his expert opinions.
The latest Law School cheating news -- Illinois -- makes me reconsider the ranking. Is it possible law faculties (including deans) have overtaken expert witnesses? I'd be inclined to give Illinois a break since the differences are small. If you are going to lie, why not go big time? On the other hand, just like getting the wrong change back in some foreign countries, the errors always seem to cut in one direction. These "mistakes" at the margin may affect the investment decisions of thousands of law students. Is there a remedy for them?
Still out there is the ethical question I asked about six weeks ago. One school lies. The other school spends thousands hiring its own students or recruiting transfer students or teaching new bar exam courses so it can "honestly" report its new numbers. But for the rankings, it would not have done any of this. Is redirecting resources in this way any worse than lying?