« on: January 22, 2005, 10:13:02 AM »
Do people still wear Jordache? I can't remember the last time I saw one of their commercials.
Messages - Esq
« on: January 22, 2005, 10:01:46 AM »
USNWR's rankings were first published in 1987. The rankings became important only recently in the 1990s. One reason for the rise in the importance of the magazine's rankings had to do with litigation that had been pending against the American Bar Association (ABA). Historically, the ABA accredited law schools. The ABA-accreditation gave the schools a "brand name". Of course, other schools such as Harvard had reputations due to their histories, but when a law school received ABA-accreditation, it was also conferred a certain status. However, there were charges that the ABA was violating the Sherman Act (antitrust) and withholding ABA-accreditation to control the available supply. In 1995, the ABA settled with the Justice Department. The settlement weakened the ABA's control over the number of schools that could be accredited. More ABA-accredited schools came on line. USNWR became important because it treated prospective law students as consumers. The USNWR's rankings rely on objective data such as LSAT scores and admissions data. Unfortunately, this methodology ignores other factors about law schools. In addition, there have been charges that some schools manipulate their data to "improve" their rankings. The USNWR's rankings are important because prospective students give them importance. The rankings appear to influence decisions about where the students will go to school. The Law schools have to pay attention to this in order to survive.
Unfortunately, the magazine's rankings system has a tendency to turn an intellectual pursuit into just another product on the shelf. On this Board, many people use the term "third tier toliet." What is the difference between a third tier toliet and a first tier toliet? I am glad they did not call the movie, The Toliet Paper Chase. It just doesn't have the same ring.
« on: January 15, 2005, 08:58:06 AM »
It is interesting how USNWR took such a strong hold in a relatively short amount of time. They first started ranking schools in 1987, but the rankings really took hold in the 1990s. The ABA was critical of the ranking system. In 1991, USNWR ranked the top twenty-five schools and then five "up and coming" schools. In 1994, USNWR reported that one in four law schools gave different admissions data to the magazine than what they gave to the ABA. It was reported by a law school dean that some schools were spending over $100,000 trying to "improve" their USNWR rankings. In 1998, a coalition of law school deans held a press conference asking USNWR to stop the rankings. The rankings had expanded a great deal by that point, into the "tier system." By far the most important factor in a school's ranking is its "selectivity ratio." This ratio is most heavily affected by the school's LSAT for its entering class. In short, the higher a school makes its LSAT, the better chance it has of increasing its rankings. However, the top 15 or so of the law schools in the USNWR rankings does not change that much year to year.
I recommend One-L. Yes, it is a little dated; however, for twenty-eight years it has been the primer for entering law school students. So many students, lawyers, and professors have read it, One-L is the book most people in the legal profession can discuss. The big picture concepts in the book still ring true. Almost everyone remembers his description of the night before his first exam--Torts.
"At one-thirty, wild now with drugs and frustration, I rolled out and began to flail at the mattress: I was trying to destoy myself, I shouted; I was insuring failure... . At around six-thirty Annette came in to dress for school and I woke to her stirrings. She kissed me good-bye and wished me good luck and then I got up. I felt horrible. I'd had about three hours' sleep and now the sedatives had taken hold. I was cloudy and numb. My eyes ached and itched as if I'd tucked brambles under each lid. I poured five or six cups of coffee into myself, then, at eight, set off for school... I thought vaguely that I was doomed." Scott Turow, One-L, 174-75 (Warner Books 1988)(1977).
This month's January Texas Bar Journal has an article about the July 2004 Texas Bar Exam pass rates. On page 70, they show a chart that presents the following data:
Law School Tested Passed Pass Rate
Baylor 99 91 92%
St. Mary's 149 119 80%
South Texas 273 190 70%
S.M.U. 222 195 88%
Texas Tech 162 136 84%
Texas Southern 103 54 52%
Texas Wesleyan 123 77 63%
U. of Houston 223 191 86%
U of Texas 339 312 92 %
The individual who got the highest score in the state graduated from Duke law school.
"E&E" stands for The Examples and Explanations Series, published by Aspen Publishing. Personally, these books were my weapons of choice. The Examples and Explanations Civil Procedure by Glannon is great. I know there is some debate about reading materials before law school, but I would recommend reading the E&E Glannon book to understand the major topics covered in most Civil Procedure classes. I write this because it is focused on federal Civil Procedure, not state specific Civil Procedure. The downside is that the E&E books are long. You read the chapters and then read the examples and then the explanations. They help with "issue spotting" while explaining the topics such as minimum contacts and Eerie Analysis. They also don't come cheap; however most law school libraries have copies that can be checked out. I really liked the E&E books.
The Bluebook is something that many come to eventually appreciate because it is amazing how much they have crammed in there. The Bluebook is compiled by the editors of the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal.
A basic example of just some of the information that is in the Bluebook is as follows:
Citation of a U.S. Supreme Court case:
Meritor Sav. Bank v. Vinson 477 U.S. 57, 60 (1986).
The Bluebook tells you that there must be a space before and after the "v." There must be a period after the "v" and so on. If you have never looked up a case before, the "477" is Volume Number 477 of the U.S. Reporter. If you have ever looked at a shelf of law books, you see the volume number on the spines of the books. So when searching for this case, scan the spines for the number 477. The U.S. Reporter is a collection of hundreds of U.S. Supreme Court cases so when you find volume 477 on the shelf, pull the book. The 57 is the page number of the first page of the case called Meritor Sav. Bank v. Vinson. So open Volume 477 and turn to page 57. This page will have the title or "style" of the case. The 60 is a specific page reference to a line or passage in the case that you want to cite. If you just want to refer someone to the entire case, leave off the 60. The 1986 is the year of the decision. The Bluebook provides citation forms for hundreds of documents, not just cases.
By the way, if you are going to law school in Texas, there is also a Greenbook for Texas state cases and documents.