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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Huang on Huang and Legal Education, and an Award for Prawfs' Rick Hills and You.

One of the academy's most quirky and wide-ranging minds, Peter Huang, has a score-settling and also otherwise interesting and occasionally funny essay up on SSRN. It's called Tiger Cub Strikes Back: Memoirs of an Ex-Child Prodigy about Parenting and Legal Education. The actual theses of the essay, summarized in the abstract, are relatively innocuous and no doubt salutary. But don't go reading it to find out too much about Amy Chua.  It's really about bringing mindfulness to the legal academy.  Maybe I'm just being cranky -- but is anyone against legal education that emphasizes "character, ethics, professionalism, values, and virtues"? The real question is how to do that and at what costs to other worthwhile pursuits.  Anyway, this paper fits into the cluster of those that gain fame less because of their arguments and more because of their vignettes. Or put more charitably, the arguments will gain force by virtue of the paper's vignettes.

The basic problem with this piece, even once situated within the memoirish genre, is that it has way too many useless footnotes with links to the websites of NYC's fancy private schools. I'm not kidding. As someone who normally loves the below-the-line apparatus as a site for second-rate arguments and cite-mongering, I have to say that my general impression was that the piece would be much better off if almost all the references (and not just those providing background about Horace Mann) were junked and instead the piece was oriented toward publication in Green Bag. Green Bag has a long-known Chicago/GMU connection, however, and so who knows whether Ross Davies and his minions will take the piece given that University of Chicago's Law School doesn't come off too well here.  For those keeping track at home, Penn Law takes a drubbing too; as Huang reports, he was denied tenure there and was purportedly threatened about the costs of publicly griping about that. So, you'll have to read this piece quickly with both cheer and caution. 

Speaking of Green Bag, and on a slightly different note, I shouldn't risk seeming ungrateful during our season of thanks. After all, Green Bag's infinitely wise board of editors at its subsidiary, the Post, recently selected a thread here on Prawfs as exemplary of good scholarship on the internet. Unsurprisingly, they selected Rick Hills' shrewd post on healthcare and federalism. And typical of the high-minded discussion on Prawfs, they also included the comments as being worthy of inclusion, the only thread so selected. So, a hearty congrazel tov is overdue to Rick and our readers.

In the spirit of Huangian flourishing, have a happy Wednesday before Thanksgiving! And remember that giving thanks is good for your health.

Posted by Administrators on November 22, 2011 at 11:06 PM in Article Spotlight | Permalink


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