Monday, November 28, 2011

David Segal's critiques of legal education and the academy's reaction

Law school
David Segal of the New York Times has spent the better part of 2011 skewering American legal education. Academic reaction, though never favorable, reached a nadir when Segal assailed legal scholarship and the process for hiring law professors. This post is intended primarily as a way of documenting the Segal critique and some (though by no means all) of the academy's reaction to it.

Segal's articles:
  1. The economic irrationality of the decision to attend law school
  2. Allegedly deceptive practices in the awarding of law school scholarships
  3. The economics of law school admissions
  4. How the curricular priorities and hiring practices of law schools depart from legal employers' expectations
  5. A Times "Room for Debate" forum, The Case Against Law School
  6. A Times staff editorial, undoubtedly inspired by Segal's series, urging reform of legal education
Herewith a few responses to the Segal series and to the larger issues triggering this discussion:
  1. Paul Caron's compilation of academic responses to David Segal
  2. Paul Caron, Are Law Review Articles Worth $575 Million ($4,000 Per Student) Per Year?
  3. Sarah Krakoff, David Segal's Paper Chase and Some Musings on Legal Education
  4. Dan Farber, The Unexamined Life of the American Law School
  5. Bill Henderson, The Hard Business Problems Facing U.S. Law Faculty
  6. Michael Froomkin, Links to Postings on l'Affaire Segal
  7. Daniel Martin Katz, Thoughts on the State of American Legal Education — The New York Times Editorial Edition
  8. John Steele, 1.5 Cheers for Segal's Article
  9. Matt Bodie, A Recipe for Trashing Legal Scholarship
  10. Orin Kerr, What the NYT Article on Law Schools Gets Right
  11. Frank Pasquale, New York Times Financial Advice: Be an Unpaid Intern Through Your 20s (Then Work till You’re 100)
  12. Brian Leiter, Another Hatchet Job on Law Schools
  13. Scott Greenfield, Those Who Can't, Teach Law
  14. Peter Tillers, Sequelae to Law School and Law Practice, and A Bit of Progress Immersed in Murk
  15. Bruce Ackerman, The Law School Experience (letter to the editor of the New York Times
  16. Stanley Fish, Teaching Law


Blogger JohnSteele said...

Jim, thanks for that round-up. As I've been tracking the responses, they seem to fall into two camps: (1) profs who react very negatively and don't concede the basic problems that law schools are facing, and (2) profs who see the flaws in the Segal articles but also acknowledge and try to grapple with the problems. Fwiw, and I apologize for touting my own post, here are my thoughts on it:

11/28/2011 11:02 AM  
Anonymous shg said...

I can't help but wonder, are there any practicing lawyers who have anything to say about all this? You remember practicing lawyers, the folks who hire, mentor or work with n00bs straight out of law school.

Probably not, since they're so busy making money hand over fist that they have no time to think, no less write, about such provincial matters.

11/28/2011 11:30 AM  
Blogger Jim Chen said...

Thanks, John. Thanks, Scott. I've added your posts on the subject to the list.

11/28/2011 2:37 PM  
Anonymous shg said...

Thank you, Jim.

11/28/2011 3:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

For some scattered comments see

11/28/2011 5:47 PM  
Blogger Jim Chen said...

Thanks, Peter. I've linked both of your pieces, too.

11/28/2011 5:52 PM  

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