- An End to ‘Law School Porn’?- Some legal educators are fed up with the overwhelming influence of the U.S. News’ rankings on law schools and how they spend their money, The National Law Journal reports. This issue is demonstrated by the proliferation of “slick mailings extolling the virtues of individual law schools meant to sway voting in the U.S. News & World Report‘s reputation survey,” otherwise known as “law school porn.” Schools invest a lot of money in this self-representation, through brochures and mailings that aim to enhance their reputation. Lawyers, judges, and legal educators all vote in the U.S. News reputation survey, which comprises 40 percent of a school’s ranking score. Although these materials can offer some useful information about the schools, how much money should really be invested in them? University of New Hampshire law professor Sarah Redfield contends that the money should instead go toward diversity scholarships. Her challenge requires the support of many law school deans, so that no one school is putting its reputation score in jeopardy.
- Cornell Law to Expand- Cornell Law School is expanding for the first time in over 25 years. As The Cornell Daily Sun reports, this expansion is due to the recent increase in faculty, which will soon require more space. At the earliest, the three-phase expansion will be finished in late 2014, and will cost about $60 million. According to the plan, new underground classrooms will be created, the dorm will be converted into offices and meeting space, and the law library will be repurposed.
- Transactional Law Skills Now Taught Online- Law students looking to learn transactional skills need to look no further than their computers and the Law Meets Web site. As reported by The National Law Journal, Karl Okamoto, a Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law professor, created the site once he witnessed the success of the transactional law competitions he initiated in 2009. The site “offers law students a simulated opportunity to act as transactional attorneys and receive feedback on both their substantive knowledge and interaction with clients.” For the time being, the site’s funding comes from a grant from the National Science Foundation, but it will eventually have to produce enough income to function.
- November Jobs Status- This past month has not been particularly encouraging for the legal sector. As reported by the WSJ Law Blog, only 100 jobs out of the 120,000 added in November were in the legal services sector. This number is down from the 400 jobs legal services picked up in October, and the sector has lost about 3,100 in the past 12 months.
- Illinois Finally Places Blame- According to The National Law Journal, the University of Illinois College of Law’s final report holds Paul Pless “solely responsible for a pattern of misreporting the Law School Admission Test scores and grade point averages of incoming students.” Pless, the former assistant dean for admissions and financial aid, was placed on administrative leave in September, and resigned in November. It turns out that data were misreported for six of the past 10 years, and the school also misreported its acceptance rates for some of the years, besides increasing the median LSAT scores and GPAs. While Pless officially holds all the blame, the law dean was called out for his “intense management style [that] could make employees reluctant to bring him bad news.” Plus, it is recommended that the law school work harder to oversee the admissions office and make sure that there is more shared responsibility in monitoring admissions data. Meanwhile, the ABA is still looking into the issue and may sanction the law school.
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