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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ohio is Not New York. Or Even Texas.

The Times today has a write-up of the recent Deborah Jones Merritt study of employment outcomes for the JD Class of '10 in Ohio.  As I described in more detail at the law & econ prof blog a few weeks ago, Prof. Merritt's study has, ahem, merits.  It's a great snapshot of struggling graduates in Ohio, people who deserve our attention and support.  The trouble is that the Times story reports these findings as though they told us something about the national law job market.  Merritt's new data are all in Ohio, which may be a systematically different legal market than many others.  Nonetheless, the Times story reports Merritt's findings as though they were representative of the whole country (and also describes the study as "published," when in fact it's an ssrn working paper).  Most troublingly, the Times reports Prof. Merritt's conclusion that "the 2010 class had not recovered in the ensuing years" without any caveats.  

Yet there are several serious caveats that ought to have been offered.  For example, as I read the paper, Merritt 's claim depends entirely on a trend line she draws between 2010 national NALP data (which are based on self-reported survey results but supplemented with some web follow-up) and 2014 Ohio data (which Merritt hand-collected on the web).   That is not likely to be a persuasive method of measuring employment trends for anyone, whether in Ohio or anywhere else.  It's like comparing 2014 scoring in the NBA against 2010 scoring in college basketball.  Unless you can show a really convincing case for why these groups are actually very similar to each other, the trend line is likely to be just random noise.  

Deborah and I had an exchange about these issues on my blog.  She convinced me that the method NALP used for supplementing some of the 2010 data was similar to her method (although that leaves the question whether it makes any sense to compare her results to the bulk of the NALP numbers, which used a quite different method).  But she did not address the issue that the 2010 NALP data were for the whole country, not Ohio, and there is no a priori reason to think that Ohio was similar to the U.S. in 2010 or that its trend since has been similar.  I left our exchange believing she would return to her project and revise it to reflect its serious limitations as a window into national trends.  If that has happened, it is not reflected in the Times story.  

Posted by BDG on April 26, 2015 at 06:41 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


Can I suggest that Steve's blog might be a more appropriate place for this discussion to continue? I'm closing comments.

Posted by: BDG | May 1, 2015 4:49:20 PM


Instead of engaging in conspiracy theorizing . . ."

Says someone who has been propounding the theory that the Cato Institute wants to destroy American law schools as a prelude to eliminating the rule of law, and that it is employing Koch brothers money to accomplish this ambitious program, via nefarious means such as a public lecture attended by dozens of people, where Brian Tamanaha discussed his work and I commented on it.

Posted by: Paul Campos | May 1, 2015 4:00:27 PM

"try to do a different job of legal education than Stanford."

Yeah, your model ends up with 30% unemployed and seeking at 9 months; 77 human lives.

Stanford: 1.6% unemployed and seeking at 9 months, 3 graduates.

Nice work Jesuits.

Posted by: terry malloy | May 1, 2015 3:36:22 PM

Barry, We at Santa Clara, a Jesuit law school, try to do a different job of legal education than Stanford. I have explained this in several other places. It should not be a surprise that our outcomes differ. If we had taken the Stanford path thirty years ago, when the modern era SCU law school was begun, we might produce the cookie cutter lawyers that schools like HYS produce.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | May 1, 2015 3:22:40 PM


Instead of engaging in conspiracy theorizing or encouraging more sophomoric behavior by the participants on this blog and instead of ignoring what I actually write and instead of baselessly attacking the solid research of junior faculty, why don't you read my review of your book where I explain precisely how your position on the rule of law contradicts your attack on tenure and other important institutional protections in the American law school?

I know you shy away from actual personal engagement with me on these issues, having canceled a long planned discussion of them at my law school a couple years back, but I had hoped time had mellowed your approach.

Perhaps not. In any case, if you still care about the substance of the issue and want to understand my view, you can find my review essay at LUN. And I extend the same offer I extended to Orin. Even though you are not willing, any longer, to come to Santa Clara, I would be happy to travel to Wash U if you would like me to present my views to you and your colleagues for a genuine debate.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | May 1, 2015 3:20:35 PM

Still waiting, Steve.

Also, I'm still waiting for you to back up your claim about your school doing as good a job in legal education as Stanford.

Posted by: Barry | May 1, 2015 2:41:48 PM

My book, On the Rule of Law: History, Politics, Theory (Cambridge 2004), translated into 5 languages, literally states the rule of law "is a universal human good." I have given many talks in the US and abroad on the rule of law (including last summer in Beijing), have published over a dozen articles on the topic, and so on.

According to Professor Diamond, apparently, I'm a deep cover double agent, on the surface a vocal advocate of the rule of law, when my true mission is to destroy the rule of law.

Posted by: Brian Tamanaha | May 1, 2015 9:17:13 AM

Steve, my apologies if I misrepresented your views: I was trying my best, but apparently I misunderstood you. If you would like to continue this elsewhere so you can explain your view, that's fine with me. I don't have the power to single-handedly invite you to give a formal workshop to the GW Law faculty for that purpose -- we have a committee for that, and the committee votes on who to invite. But if there is some other forum you have in mind to continue this discussion, either here or at some other site or blog, just let me know.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2015 11:02:21 PM

As said above, nobody is advocating for the abolishment of law schools. How many law schools are necessary to hold back the Koch hordes? 200+? Will they overrun us if thereare only 170 law schools out there to resist them? Will America be lost?

Anyway. Fun discussing. I get the impression it's just about wrapped up, but we'll see.

Posted by: exactly | Apr 30, 2015 10:56:08 PM

Come on, guys. I stop monitoring for 12 hours and this conversation degenerates into name-calling. I've deleted all the comments that fail to uphold a standard of respectful conversation. Tough is fine; nasty is not.

Posted by: BDG | Apr 30, 2015 10:53:05 PM


You set up a straw man as I am fairly certain you know you have not accurately represented my views. This sophomoric setting is clearly not the place for a rational discussion of an important issue like this. Frankly, I regret now responding to your initial inquiry and question whether or not it was your intent given that you somehow think that I might still find this an appropriate setting for such a discussion. In any case, if you want to invite me to GW to present my argument to your faculty I would be happy to do so.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 30, 2015 10:36:13 PM

I still have no idea what "Link Under Name" means.

Posted by: James Milles | Apr 30, 2015 10:34:13 PM

Orin Kerr - Cato Institute Lacky and tri-lateral commission member. Possibly a bilderberg operative. Not to be trusted. *snugs tin-foil derby down*


Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 30, 2015 10:16:17 PM


I'm perplexed by the suggestion that the law school scam movement is being directed by the Cato Institute, or the related notion that the Cato Institute has significant influence over legal education. As I understand the claim, it is based on the fact that the Cato Institute once had an event about Brian Tamanaha's book. The speakers at the event included Tamanaha and Paul Campos. From this event, you seem to conclude that there is some sort of secretive ongoing association: Having spoken at the Cato Institute, the argument appears to go, Tamanaha and Campos are basically now ongoing agents of the Cato Institute.

If that's your view -- and if I have misrepresented it, I hope you'll correct me -- it strikes me as baseless. A lot of people speak at the Cato Institute. They host a lot of events on a wide range of topics featuring a wide range of perspectives. Legal education isn't even a significant focus at Cato. It's something Walter Olson is interested in, but it's not on Cato's radar screen more widely. And the Cato institute doesn't have some kind of "anti rule of law" perspective. Their view is consistently libertarian, but I don't see how that is more or less "rule of law"-oriented than other views. (Take surveillance law, where Cato's libertarian perspective leads them to oppose government surveillance. Maybe they're right and maybe they're wrong, but how is that against the rule of law?) Given all of this, the idea that the Cato Institute is some sort of nefarious force driving the scam blog movement strikes me as, well, bizarre.

But I should add a caveat. I myself have spoken at the Cato Institute several times. And my own politics tend to be on the libertarian side. So that may make me a "collaborator" with the Cato Institute who is just hiding their influence o help them destroy the law schools. I don't think that's the case. But one never knows for sure.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2015 10:02:05 PM

The Koch Brothers care about Santa Clara law school?

No one -- and I mean no one -- is advocating the complete closing of all law schools. Critics fault misleading employment data and other come ons from touts who then saddle 0Ls with six figures of debt, and then graduate far too many students into a saturated legal market.

That's the conduct that threatens rule of law. When lawyers can't make a living practicing law, who will stand up for justice?

Posted by: Jojo | Apr 30, 2015 9:40:56 PM

BTW, Steve, I'm still waiting for any honest explanation of the drop in 'unemployed but not seeking' grads your school displayed when classifying people as that was no longer advantageous to your school.

Posted by: Barry | Apr 30, 2015 9:04:11 PM

Derek, Merritt - why have you not being sharing some of that Koch money?

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 8:24:46 PM

The implication that I came up with this insight into the scam bloggers' agenda is not accurate. And it would not be responsible of me to claim an idea as original. So please see LUN (link under name for the uninitiated) to see the reaction when the Cato event was announced.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 30, 2015 8:08:14 PM

Awe Derek - please, come on, just a little more...

By the way, the meeting is at location beta-sigma. DJM's bringing the Krystal and Tamahana the bandaids for after the blood oaths.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 7:19:57 PM

Alright, come on now guys, I think it's time to lay off. It was funny before, but now it's bordering on cruelty.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 7:13:28 PM

Steve, when you feel slandered by objective facts (e.g., SC 30% unemployed and seeking for class of 2013 reported to the ABA), you might be wrong.

Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 30, 2015 6:56:08 PM

"It's a "fact" that this crowd is out to destroy the American law school and higher education itself as an institution. That is the clear goal of the Koch Brothers backed Cato Institute."

"In the longer run I believe the intent is to undermine the rule of law itself."

Wow. Just wow.

Who knew that Campos, Merritt and Tamahana were trying to destroy the rule of law itself by arguing that the United States is cranking out more lawyers than are actually needed?

I guess they are part of "a conspiracy so immense and an infamy so black as to dwarf any previous venture in the history of man", right?

Fortunately, we have a few brave professors willing to stand up to the vast right-wing conspiracy of "Law School truthers".

Posted by: observer | Apr 30, 2015 6:53:53 PM


who else are members of the conspiracy? Do we have secret handshakes? Do Campos, Merritt and Tamahana have secret meetings with Derek Tokaz and those you keep attacking? Are they also members of the Trilateral Commission? Is Campos' left wing politics all a charade - his criticism of modern capitalism in the US? Why have they never been invited to the Bilderberg conference? Maybe they are all members of the Illuminatii? Are they conspiring with or against L. Ron Hubbard?

Please, we need to know more details. The future of democracy depends on ripping the veil away from these evil people - please, we need to know. Save us.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 6:36:21 PM


It's a "fact" that this crowd is out to destroy the American law school and higher education itself as an institution. That is the clear goal of the Koch Brothers backed Cato Institute. Anyone who tries to deny that is either collaborating in that effort or naive beyond belief. I have made this crystal clear from the earliest days in which I joined this debate. See LUN.

In the longer run I believe the intent is to undermine the rule of law itself. As law faculty we have a responsibility to defend the rule of law and I have argued that means defending the American law school as an autonomous institution.

The slanderous treatment of (least of all) me but much more against many others by this crowd is aimed precisely at shutting us out of the debate and that of course is critical to the longer term strategy of destroying law schools themselves. Instead of worrying about my reputation - as much as I appreciate your concern (in all seriousness) - perhaps you should consider the agenda these people are attempting to carry out.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 30, 2015 6:16:48 PM

I can't say how much I aree with what Orin is saying.

To be less diplomatic - Steve, you've made yourself into the rabid attack dog of the pro law school crowd. Most of what you write makes me feel sick due to your tone and your tactics. Many of them also seem silly. Mentioning at every opportunity that Campos and Tamanaha once spoke at Cato and holding that out as a bogeyman and connecting law school critics to a vast right wing conspiracy is nuts. The politics of the father of a law school critic have nothing to do with anything. Mentioning the fact the DJM's new paper is being put out in the journal of a law school some might be criticl of doesn't seem like something that scores you any 'points'. Perpetuating the clam that LST is trying to shake down law schools is irresponsible. Your story about everything having been ok before the bubble and current issues are simply the result of unforseeable events and it's lamentable that some grads are struggling simply doesn't hold water. I could go on and on (really), but I'm not on a device that allows me to find and cite specifics right now. . In short, your over the top rhetoric is often ridiculous. Your propensity to decide that critics 'are not worth engaging with' and taking all your toys home when people confront you with uncomfortable facts speaks volumes. Lately, with some of the things you're writing I feel like you're entering bizarro world where up is down and day is night.

Personally, I'd appreciate a little less 'rabid attack dog'.

Posted by: less diplomatic than Orin | Apr 30, 2015 5:24:26 PM


That's certainly a much more vivid way of putting it, and perhaps more directly to the point. I think it goes hand-in-hand quite nicely with the "show, don't tell" lesson. If you show the facts, you're pounding the facts. If you say you have the facts, but don't show them, you're pounding the table.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 4:47:53 PM

Derek, there's something to that, although I have in mind something perhaps slightly different -- or at least I would put it slightly differently. We all know this aphorism: "If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table." A corollary is that if you spend a lot of time pounding the table, everyone assumes you have neither the facts nor the law on your side.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2015 4:23:16 PM


Regarding the second of your two cents, I gave a talk on a rather similar subject a few weeks ago. Inserting value judgments does tend to make your writing weaker, rather than stronger.

The example I like to use is from the intro to one of the earlier seasons of Shark Tank, where Barbara Corcoran is described as "fiery." A lot of us have a natural instinct to think in response to a claim like that, "Oh yeah? I bet she's not." Then we view the show looking to disprove the claim. It's far more convincing to show her being fiery, and leave it up to the viewer to reach the conclusion you want. It's the ol' "show, don't tell" idea. Telling creates skeptics, while showing creates believers.

I'm going to steal (and I'm sure do great damage to) a metaphor I heard Andrew O'Hagan use. You can tell your audience "Two plus two equals four," but that's not nearly as powerful as giving them two and two, and letting them figure 'four' out. The language you're finding unhelpful would then be like someone just asserting 'four,' without even giving the audience the two and two.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 4:06:59 PM

*29.5%* of Santa Clara's class of 2013 were unemployed and seeking employment at 9 months.

Your law school took their money. Likely the most money, as those least likely to succeed are most likely to pay full freight.

I suppose the Silicon Valley IPO law firms start hiring at 10 months.

Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 30, 2015 3:57:25 PM

Steve, thanks again for the response. Two thoughts:

1) I don't think the "law professors are being victimized" narrative works here. The law professors involved are giving as good as they get. Consider the case you bring up from Colorado. In that case, the professor actually filed a bar complaint against a critic of her scholarship. The bar complaint was legally quite weak on the merits, I thought, and I wasn't at all surprised it didn't go anywhere. But I don't think you can accurately frame this as a one-sided fight.

2) If I can comment about the debate as a whole, rather than any one contributor, I worry that most of the people participating in this debate are hurting their reputations. A lot of people are digging in their heels and declining to recognize any subtlety or nuance in any position. There can't be any ambiguity or uncertainty, it seems. Instead, the other side has to be demonized as corrupt, craven, and desperate, and all arguments made by the other side must be deemed to have been "crushed" and "destroyed." I don't think the merits of the issues justify that kind of over-the-top rhetoric, which isn't helping those writing in that style -- on either side.

Again, just my two cents.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2015 3:23:44 PM


Thank you for clarifying what the faculty tuition vote meant. I'm glad to see the faculty have managed (through whatever limited power they have) to hold SCU to only an 8.2% tuition hike over the last two years (11.5% over the last 3). You should be commended for that.

As for LST's efforts to "extort" payment, I haven't a clue what you're talking about.

We do generally call for more information though. Which specific information do you consider to not add much value, and what are the costs associated with those data? (I'll note that what LST is most well known for is calling for NALP reports to be published, which would come with no added cost, since that data has already been collected.)

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 1:25:27 PM

No problem at all, Steve. Apology accepted.

Posted by: Stan | Apr 30, 2015 1:07:05 PM

"Terry" The lesson of On the Waterfront is that the working class is too weak to take care of its own, that it needs to rely on priests and cops. That is a lesson that only a real stooge like Kazan could believe in.

Derek, LST did try to extort payment from law schools for its services and your ceaseless calls for more useless data would only add to the cost of going to law school without adding much value. (See my Profits of Doom post at LUN for details)

And as I explained at the time faculty can vote against a tuition increase and yet tuition can go up ... how? because faculty only "share" in the governance of universities they do not own them or make many final decisions including on tuition. I do think our vote slowed the rate of increase and I was happy to make that effort.

Stan, are you a retired lawyer or an amateur shrink?

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 30, 2015 1:04:47 PM

"notorious snitch"

At least we know which side Steve is on. Johnny Friendly (the gangster killing and abusing stevedores) is the good guy, that snitch should have stayed deaf and dumb, the same way I like my law students.

Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 30, 2015 12:49:46 PM

I had thought not to respond to the part about DJM. By now, most regular readers will have noticed Steve Diamond's pattern of making a wild accusation, and when asked to back it up, responding with another wild accusation. But, newcomers to the forum might not be as aware, so I changed my mind.

DJM and I are in no ways "partners" in crime or anything else. Neither of us exerts any sort of control over what the other does, nor do we coordinate or plan our activities. I don't contribute to her blog, and she doesn't contribute to mine. The closest we come to being "partners" is that we're often on the same side of the education reform debate.

As for the "boycott effort," Steve is more or less correct there. In response to his claim "The SCU faculty did vote to block a proposed tuition increase recently," (which appears false in light of SCU's actual tuition increases every year since 2007) and "My guess is that LST is really interested in making money not in any serious change, hence its interest in brand recognition. No doubt it will be offering law school applicants some kind of software package that will only add to the cost of going to law school," (which of course, is false, though he still like to claim LST is a money-making racket), I did write that if I were the SCU student body, I'd under-enroll his classes until he was forced out (which I believe is in the students' rights to do).

The only part of that I'd really object to is his characterization of it as an "effort." I didn't contact SCU students or anything like that.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 12:36:26 PM

Steve, you also said some really dumb things too, remember? But again, Im sorry that bringing those up hurts your feelings and makes you feel sad inside.

Posted by: Stan | Apr 30, 2015 12:34:50 PM


What people are pointing out, applyimng the motto of this website:

"Where Intellectual Honesty Has (Almost Always) Trumped Partisanship -- Albeit in a Kind of Boring Way Until Recently -- Since 2005"

is that your complaint that:

"so many of the critics seem to view it as a moral crusade to follow law professors all around the web in order to attack them"

is pretty ludicrous given that you carried out perhaps the most grotesque of all the attacks when you Doxxed someone and then demanded of them whether that person's recently deceased father would be ashamed of them - as well as saying things about the deceased that were perceived to be slanderous. In short, you are not in a very good position to be complaining, something that Orin Kerr tried, gently and dimplomatically to suggest to you.

Similarly, there is the question of who is Wikedtor, who has been filling thge pages of Wikipedia with praise for Simkovic's work and for Leiter more directly while making very nasty attacks on Campos and Tamahana. To be clear, most people think that Wiedtor is one of three people - Simkovic, Leiter or you. The tone is yours, the IP address hsitory of unnamed editors trackts to the institutions where Leiter and Simkovic are found - and this has been going on for years (getting a name on Wikipedia hides IP addresses for editors, unamed editors names are visible.) At least a good few of Wikedtor's edits could have been cut and pasted directly from your blog.

So the problem is that you have mounted some pretty poisonous attacks on many people. You have all but accused Law School Transparency of corruption and manipulating data on many occasions. Yet you complain bitterly of persecution. To translate Orin Kerr's very diplomatic comment, you earned much of what you are receiving.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 12:29:10 PM

That is an impressive recollection of past events, Steven. Still, you have moved me. I am sorry I hurt your feelings and made you sad.

Posted by: Stan | Apr 30, 2015 12:20:14 PM

Is Simkovic and others' lack of tenure somehow relevant?

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 12:05:15 PM

I am, of course, hardly the most impacted object of their wrath (just the target of a boycott effort aimed at my dismissal by Derek Tokaz, Merritt's partner in crime as well as specious claims like those made by Terry Malloy (an apt name - a notorious snitch in a movie directed by an even more notorious snitch)) and now Stan who invents things I never said or wrote anywhere).

One of the most obvious and completely unjustified targets of the critics has been Mike Simkovic, who is not yet tenured. And the biggest attack on him came from a tenured professor who was upset at the fact that Mike's solid and widely recognized empirical research laid waste to that tenured professor's own work. Nice.

Details for those whose memories are short at LUN.

Oh, and need I recall for the memory impaired tenured faculty the infamous bullying of another untenured but also rising young star professor from Colorado by an anonymous but widely known scamblogger?

I could go on, but what's the point.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 30, 2015 11:55:15 AM

A very diplomatic answer from Orin Kerrwhen he says "most of the law professors involved give as good as they get -- yourself included, from your blog posts and comments I have read -- so there's nothing one-sided about that aspect of things." Steve, you may want to wonder what that neutrality says.

And of course Orin Kerr was an observer during the event(s) "terry malloy' and "daily lives" are referring to it. It also seems unlikely that Wikedtor is one of the"people" Diamond is referring to since his obsessive attacks are directed at the same people that Diamond attacks, his promotion and praise towards those Diamond promotes and praises.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 4:22:29 AM

Steve, thanks for the response.

But actually, no; I don't see evidence of people "follow[ing] law professors all around the web in order to attack them" or being "overly concerned with the daily lives" of law professors. Granted, I see a debate involving some law professors on both sides, in which there is a lot of mud thrown and nastiness. But most of the law professors involved give as good as they get -- yourself included, from your blog posts and comments I have read -- so there's nothing one-sided about that aspect of things. It's also true that some are criticizing law professors as a group. But I don't see a problem with that. If there's any group that should be able to take criticism, it's tenured law professors. My 2 cents, at least.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2015 1:38:42 AM

The ABA's employment report, released today, shows that the demand for new lawyers is, well, flat. Among the Class of 2013, nine months after graduation 26,653 people reported LT, FT positions requiring bar admission. For the Class of 2014, with data gathered 10 months after graduation, the figure is 26,248.

Similar comparison if you look at all jobs requiring bar admission (i.e., including PT and/or ST jobs): 29,109 in 2013 and 28,113 in 2014.

All of those figures reflect intensive efforts by career services offices, as well as jobs funded by law schools.

Posted by: Deborah Merritt | Apr 29, 2015 5:43:21 PM

try again,

I don't think anyone is "following" him anywhere. Prawfsblawg is a pretty central site, as far as legal ed issues are concerned. He even links to it on his own blog.


While I think there's plenty of room to be critical of folks on either side of the aisle (myself and LST included), I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm "totally OK" with it. I think questioning motives and biases is fine (after all, we question the incentives law school professors and administrators have), but Steve goes a step further, asserting specific improper motives, and failing to provide any sort of reasoning or evidence to support those assertions.

If someone where to say "Steven Diamond may be biased because he works at a school many might be dissuaded from attending," that's one thing. If that person were instead to say "Steve Diamond receives a $100 kickback every time a student agrees to pay full sticker price at SCU," that would be an accusation of a very different nature, and I think would require some sort of substance behind it.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 29, 2015 3:40:32 PM

Steve, in the last 6 months you have posted numerous blogs critical of some of your peers such as DJM and Brian T. Paul Campos has also had the fine distinction of being featured in the title of two such blogs. You have also been critical of LST, alluding improper motives and a lack of transparency on their part. For the record, I am totally OK with this. But it does seem to be highly hypocritical to then complain when those same people - and their supporters - take an interest in idiotic things* you've said here, and elsewhere, not to mention the more substantive issue of how SCU grads are actually faring in the marketplace.

Perhaps you should take your own advice, and worry less about others and more about what is happening to your graduates. According to the SCU's own statistics, it is a worrisome time to be a graduate of your institution.

My two favorites include:
*Businesses should greenlight all NPV projects
* SCU and Stanford graduates have the same opportunities

Posted by: Stan | Apr 29, 2015 2:54:59 PM

Steve - I don't think people are following you around the internet attacking you. People are following you around the internet attacking your poor reasoning behind believing that people should be going to law school at current prices and debt levels and that there are no problems with it. People may also question things you say. It's called having a debate. That's not the same as attacking you.

How many people are running around 'attacking' Orin Kerr that you've noticed of late? There's a reason for that.

Posted by: try again | Apr 29, 2015 2:50:11 PM

See what I mean now, Orin?

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 29, 2015 2:10:56 PM

Given his law school's incredible shrinking incoming class (2010 - 314; 2014 - 152), and transparent mediocre employment outcomes, Steve and Co. are in the Baghdad Bob phase of law school denial-ism.

SC's 44K/year in tution for a 50/50 chance at a full time legal job of any kind doesn't seem worth it.

Are you going to doxx me and libel my father too, Steve?

Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 29, 2015 12:29:21 PM


You said, "so many of the critics seem to view it as a moral crusade to follow law professors all around the web in order to attack them."

Can you specify (1) who some of these critics are, (2) which professors they follow, and (3) where they are being followed to and attacked at?

I'm sure those of us who only frequent the more popular and mainstream fora would find this enlightening. (Also, if any of these people earn their living attacking law schools, go ahead and specify that as well.)

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 29, 2015 12:18:52 PM

Steve - If I'm not mistaken you've gone so far as to sleuth the identities of anonymous commenters and post about their families.

Frankly, I haveno idea who your father is nor have I ever been tempted to use the internet to try and discover such information. The sort of comment coming from you is astounding.

Posted by: daily lives | Apr 29, 2015 11:06:49 AM

Stephen, I too found the comment odd--especially in a post that continued a discussion with me. I can assure you that I have no interest in the daily lives of law professors or deans; I'm happy for them to leave those details at home! And I'm a pretty unlikely crusader to follow law professors all around the web since I didn't even know what "LUN" was until you explained it.

I'm also much slower than others at composing comments and posts. I have some further thoughts about your numbers, but it may take me a few days to compose them as I work on other things at the same time. Until then, I promise not to think about anyone's daily life!

Posted by: Deborah Merritt | Apr 29, 2015 8:45:31 AM

"[S]o many of the critics seem to view it as a moral crusade to follow law professors all around the web in order to attack them."

Like Wikedtor, though he/she seems to obsessively praise two or three. One tends to assume that the obsessively praised are perhaps Wikedtor, which may explain the persons they choose to obsessively attack.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 29, 2015 6:59:57 AM

Nothing that specific, Orin. Just my view that so many of the critics seem to view it as a moral crusade to follow law professors all around the web in order to attack them.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 29, 2015 1:22:59 AM

Over at his own blog, Stephen Diamond writes: "While there are many changes that law schools can and should and in fact are making in the way they deliver legal education, it is a mistake to be overly concerned – some might even say fanatically obsessed – with the daily lives of law professors and deans. "

Stephen, if you'll answer questions, I don't understand from the context of your post what it means to be "overly concerned . . . with the daily lives of law professors." Does you mean concerned about whether the salaries of law professors are justifiable based on the employment outcomes of their graduates? Or does that mean something else?

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 28, 2015 11:55:54 PM

Steve, please post your reply where readers can engage with the substance of your post. Your blog does not permit comments.

Posted by: Stan | Apr 28, 2015 6:31:55 PM

I prepared a reply to this string on my blog (LUN - "Link Under Name"). Enjoy.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 28, 2015 6:15:10 PM

Just out of curiosity Professor Diamond, who is Wikedtor, Michael Simovic, Brian Leiter or you?

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 28, 2015 2:12:06 PM

Steve, I'm not familiar with "LUN" so I couldn't check there for your data. Based on the BLS figures, though, I don't think your calculation works. For simplicity, look first at the most recent year. There were 630,750 lawyers, judges, and judicial clerks in May 2013, and 643,060 in May 2014. That's an increase of 12,310 jobs for lawyers. But accredited law schools graduated 46,766 JDs that year (ABA statistics).

Some of the existing lawyers (those included in the 2013 pool of 630,750) would have become partners or solo practitioners (not counted in BLS stats), moved to another field, retired, or died. It's hard to believe, however, that 34,456 of them did so. Even if they did, some people from those other fields would have moved back into the "employed lawyer" category. A partner who becomes in-house counsel, for example, becomes a newly employed lawyer for the purpose of these BLS statistics. So does one who leaves solo practice to become a law firm associate.

The same graduate surplus occurs every year, and it accumulates. In 1997 (the earliest year for which BLS has figures), there were 492,010 lawyers, judges, and judicial clerks. That number grew, as mentioned above, to 643,060 by 2014. That's an increase of 151,050 new jobs or 30.7%. That sounds like a lot until we realize that more than 700,000 students graduated from accredited law schools during the same period. To accommodate that many new lawyers, everyone who was a lawyer/judge/clerk in 1997 would have had to leave the category and many of the new grads would have had to enter and depart.

There is significant movement into and out of these "salaried lawyer" categories but it's not nearly enough to account for this many graduates. The employment statistics further back that up: Even back in 1997, we didn't see all law grads getting full-time lawyering jobs within 9 months of graduation: according to NALP, the percentage was 73.6%.

The numbers, I think, pretty clearly show more law graduates than lawyering jobs--both year by year and over the span BLS measures.

What we do about that is a different question. Some argue that law school provides financial and other benefits to students even if they don't practice law. I think there's significant truth to that statement; I'm a strong supporter of any type of education and think that learning is always a good thing. But law school has become pretty expensive and there are lots of other graduate programs (as well as some undergrad ones) that lead to interesting and remunerative careers. It's also somewhat inefficient for law schools to administer two types of education, one for future lawyers and another for general analytic skill. There was a time when those two overlapped significantly, but we are seeing demands for advanced coursework for both goals that may be hard to fill simultaneously.

So the question for law schools is: What do we want to be? What type of students do we serve and what do we teach them? I've advocated preserving both of our strengths by creating an undergrad major out of the first year, then complementing that with a 2-yr JD for those who will practice. That seems like a practical, efficient way to achieve both of the goals that law schools have served--as well as to attract students at a more reasonable price.

Posted by: Deborah Merritt | Apr 28, 2015 1:04:46 PM

Steve, whatever you think of Simkovic and McIntyre's argument -- and I note that despite Simkovic's blog defenses, there are many criticisms that he has not seriously refuted -- I don't think it's appropriate to use language like "show" when you're talking about one researcher's (or team of researcher's) arguments, particularly when that study was limited in scope and is contradicted by other researchers.

Posted by: twbb | Apr 28, 2015 9:16:38 AM

There is no necessary contradiction. While overall longterm growth of law school output (JDs) is well below the growth rate of employed lawyers, there could easily be oversupply from year to year.

There was a huge growth in applicants in the wake of first the dotcom/telecom crash and then the burst credit bubble (as student hid out in law school as the market for BA only job applicants also disappeared) and it is taking more time anyone wanted for it to resolve.

In retrospect I suppose some might argue it would have been better to counsel students in the fall of 2006 (those profiled in the Times story) that a financial tsunami not seen since the 30s was on its way. As far as I know only a handful of "shorts" (profiled by Michael Lewis) were willing to make that kind of bet.

(Of course as Simkovic and McIntyre show timing law school is not a good idea.)

While we are not likely to see this magnitude of a problem in the near future again (except the possibility of a more significant lawyer shortage occurring in the next few years) it would make sense to insure that undergraduates understand the actual market for lawyers and the effect of trying to time the market.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 27, 2015 11:15:11 PM

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