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the future of law
Why Did Harvard Scrap the LSAT?
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  • WigWag

    Instead of scrapping the LSAT, Harvard should scrap its law school. How much damage have Harvard Law School graduates done to our country? I would argue, quite a bit.

    • Anthony

      Harvard, Yale, and Lawyering do not predispose toward moronic outcomes; yes, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama were each graduates of Harvard, Yale or both. But, aside from the bottom feeding milieu of internet threads, that “class” feature of American political interests may be common knowledge (where it matters) – the distinction between a democracy of form and one of substance (to exemplify, aren’t seven current Supreme Court Justices either Harvard or Yale graduates). Trump nor his election changes the plutocratic culture – though he did attend college in the East.

      • Fat_Man

        You think they are plutocrats. I think they are communists. Can’t we just agree on having the Federal Government seize the endowment for back taxes and recycling the buildings for low income housing.

        • Anthony

          A reasonable thought (but I defer from using too quickly the communist appellation) however seizure of private property??

          • Fat_Man

            Harvard is not private property. It is a public trust. One that has been abused to pay off the administrators and “faculty”, although most of them haven’t seen a student in years. Harvard has justly been called a hedge funds with a college attached. It is cheaper for the fund managers to run the college than to pay taxes.

            There is no injustice in taking the assets of a public trust that are being misused to be used properly by the public.

          • Anthony

            Fat_Man, I knew (or at least presumed) you were going to proffer the “Public Trust” grant. And yes, the hedge fund analogy has resonance too (in some particulars). Organize/mobilize the outraged and I’ll support your fight to rectify the commons.

        • Proverbs1618

          Yet we need institutions of higher learning. One of my alma matas, Stanford, is as liberal as they come. Yet it is working in association with Stanford Linear Accelerator that helps us understand the universe. There’s tons of brilliant research going on there. How do we separate the two? I honestly have no idea.

          • Fat_Man

            I think it would be easy enough to separate useful research from the rest of the academic grifters.

          • FriendlyGoat

            All that liberalism must be why Stanford hosts the Hoover Institution.

          • Proverbs1618

            A lonely oasis of conservatism in a liberal desert.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Must be a persuasive oasis. They sent you out to pester the rest of us, after all.

          • Proverbs1618

            I know I pester you with these ridiculous ideas of personal freedom and personal responsibility. Why can’t we just live in a socialist paradise like Cuba and Venezuela?
            And why FOR GOD’S SAKE can’t we raise taxes to confiscatory levels above a certain amount randomly determined by Comrade FriendlyGoat? That would solve all of our problems.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You lived in a liberal desert, you say, and yet that tiny little oasis got ya hook, line and sinker.

          • Proverbs1618

            There are no conservative places on universities. It is ruled by the Left. Also, research is done by non-political researchers, not gender studies professors. the fact that you are thinking that research produced by Stanford is somehow dependent on how liberal the place is shows how stupid you are. Otherwise, places like Oberlin would produce even more groundbreaking research in physics and yet somehow they do not.

          • FriendlyGoat

            There are lots of conservative universities where the founding purpose and the “not-open-to-debate” tone—— maintained in perpetuity—– is religious. Wherever religion is force fed, there is a lot of conservatism. Wherever religion is not force fed, the atmosphere becomes more liberal. It seems that lots of researchers and research funding seem to prefer the latter as places to be.

          • Proverbs1618

            Yes, small colleges don’t have the resources to attract top researchers. Researchers go where the money is and that is research facilities like Stanford. I also went to University of Chicago, a top notch research facility that through its famously rigorous curriculum managed to avoid being infested by Leftwing slime.

          • FriendlyGoat

            My understanding is that one of the distinguished graduates of the University of Chicago is John Paul Stevens, former Republican, serving 34 years on the Supreme Court, mostly siding with liberals. I’m guessing the University did not tell either him or you that the Left Wing is slime.

          • Proverbs1618

            I have no idea what the University told anyone other than myself. For me, the U of C once again affirmed my faith in personal freedom and personal responsibility. In short, everything the Left doesn’t believe.

          • PierrePendre

            I wouldn’t put too much hope in Oberlin. They can’t even make a Vietnamese sandwich.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Let the research arms of the universities reorganize as research institutions, then spin off from the (soon to be) dead husks of the credential factories. This isn’t all that hard.

            When were you at Stanford? I spent a delightful year there long ago…

          • Proverbs1618

            my undergrad years in the late 90’s…. The liberal orthodoxy was already quiet strong back then, but from what I understand, it is a LOT worse now.

          • f1b0nacc1

            My time at Stanford was a few decades earlier….here’s a hint: miniskirts were quite common on campus!

          • Proverbs1618

            You know, I liked my time in Stanford. It is definitely a top notch research facility. But even in the 90’s I felt that it was too rigid, too liberal, too Leftwing dogmatic. Back then, it was still possible to avoid it, but now I’m not so sure. And anyway, I’m way more proud of being a University of Chicago alum. It is a literal oasis in the blight of Chicago’s South Side. It stands for everything that government of the city of Chicago is against. The fact that those imbeciles in IL don’t use a resource like UofC economists to help them is a sad comment on blue governance.

          • f1b0nacc1

            UChi? We must have crossed paths at some point! Well, once again, my time there was in the middle 70s (I lived in Hitchcock Hall, right across the street from Regenstein Library), and yes….I am deeply proud of my time spent there.

          • Proverbs1618

            Proud Resident of Graduate Student Housing which was AWESOME btw. Lots of Social Services chicks lived there. Good times…. 🙂
            During my time UChi, I’ve come to appreciate how everything there was just top notch. Even their athletic facilities, from fields to swimming pools, were great. And it is the location of first controlled self-sustaining nuclear reaction by Fermi. Imagine the balls it took to flip that switch not knowing for sure that it will be controlled. Small plaque.

          • f1b0nacc1

            My father was a VERY junior member of the team that built the first reactor under the old squash courts (very near Regenstein, as it happens, there is a mushroom-shaped monument to it, or was when I was there) Some very funny stories he told about it. As top-secret as everything was, the shoeshine boys in the area all knew that something was going on….they all wondered about the black greasy stuff on the shoes of the scientists that they worked on after the day was over!

            I miss UChi, but not Chicago….

          • Proverbs1618

            I miss UChi too. I got my MBA there (I know, I know a fake degree but mine was in quantitative finance so it did require some not absolutely trivial math). Honestly, what I miss the most is constantly getting to meet people smarter than myself. From fellow students, to undergrads, to professors I was constantly exposed to the level of intelligence I’ve never encountered, before or since.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Agreed. Some pivotal moments in my life happened on that lovely campus, and my mind was enriched in ways that I haven’t been able to match since….

    • FriendlyGoat

      Trump has a very specialized legal education from what he has personally hired lawyers to do throughout his career. It is not a reason for optimism that our president sees law as intimidation and vice versa.

    • sacip

      W was an obvious legacy-admit and a mediocre student, at best. From recent reviews, he apparently should have gone to an Art Institute instead. Would’ve saved a helluva lot of lives if he had.

      • PierrePendre

        W was still smarter than Kerry who was so stupid he couldn’t tell a Bush is stupid joke right. And that was before he became the worst SoS since his “air miles” predecessor

  • Anthony

    As someone who has taken both (at long ago points in life) the LSAT and GRE, I can frankly state that the decision will not diminish quality of applicant and may rightly expand pool. Martha Minnow may be on to something.

  • Suzy Dixon

    Harvard isn’t justifiably prestigious anymore, not after guys like Watters waltz onto campus and make the kids looks dumb. And that’s actually a tragedy. Oh, and Obama with his modest intellect managed to get his JD from Harvard..so yeah.
    It’s now just a name brand and even that’s fading. Heck, I took the LSAT and scored a 165 (apparently just a point behind Obama?) the difference is that I didn’t attend law school, ultimately, because lawyers are a dime a dozen.

    • KremlinKryptonite

      Well they are a dime a dozen and they don’t really have any skills, hence the high number of JDs who go back to school and/or try to get into politics.

      • Suzy Dixon

        Oh I know. Most of my professors had JDs and either hated the actual profession or just couldn’t succeed in the saturated market so they got their PhD in this or that and ended up fairly unhappy teachers.

      • Andrew Allison

        Yes, it’s time to change the time honored maxim that those who can’t do teach, to those that can’t do get a JD and go into politics. A JD, the only purpose of which is to excise morality, should disqualify anybody from elective office.

  • Fat_Man

    The real question is why do I care. My own belief is that the law schools have been a destructive leftist influence on the development of law in the United States. And this is most particularly true of Harvard and Yale.

    There is no reason why a prospective lawyer should be required to spend 4 years getting a BA in some field that is irrelevant and then spend 3 more years in a very expensive graduate program to get a law degree so that he can take the bar exam and be licenced to practice law. Law is not that hard. In many countries including the UK and Canada only an undergraduate program is required.

    But, I would go further, law should be a two year program at a community college, like useful things such as plumbing and HVAC.

    • Andrew Allison

      There’s a very good reason why a prospective lawyer should be required to spend 4 years getting a BA in some field that is irrelevant and then spend 3 more years in a very expensive graduate program to get a law degree, namely the welfare of the law schools and their employees! If you think, as I do, that such an obviously non-economic venture should be consigned to the proverbial dustbin of history, the solution (stop funding it at taxpayer expense) is obvious. And you’re right that by-and-large, a plumber is more useful.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Both plumbers and lawyers have much in common…they specialize in moving excrement through the system….

        • Andrew Allison

          Hmmm, I’m under the impression that a lawyer’s primary job is to stop thing from moving.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Just because lawyers cause constipation, doesn’t mean that they intend it….but perhaps we might agree then that a plumber fixes what a lawyer causes?

          • Andrew Allison

            LOL!

  • D4x

    One can wonder if Harvard’s decision is based on similar concern behind New York’s pending decision to eliminate the Literacy test for teacher certification:

    “…A task force that has been reviewing teacher certification exams since May has recommended dropping the ALST. …Sources said education officials also were concerned about the disparity between passing rates among white and minority candidates. …
    In 2013-14, only 48 percent of aspiring black teachers and 56 percent of prospective Hispanic educators passed, compared to 75 percent of white candidates, the website Chalkbeat reported in February.

    Instead of having prospective teachers take the ALST, the department is recommending that another existing exam, the Educating All
    Students test, be modified so it assesses “both students’ ability to teach a diverse population and also their literacy skills.”

    http://nypost.com/2017/03/06/state-considering-major-changes-to-teacher-certification-exams/

    JW: long conclusion, over-reliance on Spellcheck?: “…comfortable middle class lifestyle to any[one] bright college graduate who wanted it…”

    or did you mean anyone who wanted it even if they are not a ‘bright college graduate’?

    • Andrew Allison

      Why on earth would one expect a teacher to be literate [/sarc]? This is the 21st Century after all. Between the rock of impossible to fire hacks and the hard place of illiterate entrants, teaching is no longer a profession, and education is a joke.

  • (((kingschitz)))

    It’s been said that an American legal education qualified graduates to sit on an appellate court—but little more. As a product of that system I’ll vouch for that.

    In the nineteenth century few lawyers graduated from law school. Most were apprenticed under current practitioners for at least one or up to three years, depending on the county bar’s rules. They were then examined by a panel (or a sitting judge) at county level, and if satifying basic competency, were then sworn in. The system had its flaws but its “products” have never been equaled in the history of U.S. jurisprudence.

  • Andrew Allison

    As TAI has frequently pointed out, the very last thing that we (or the poor suckers considering law school) need is more JDs. Could it be that prospective students are figuring this out, and HLS is getting desperate?

    • f1b0nacc1

      Not likely. HLS will be one of the last to go under, as it has reputation and connections (if not actual merit) working for it. I suspect however, that HLS does worry that as the overall reputation of the business (I hesitate honoring it with the appellation of “Profession”) declines, they won’t be able to squeeze out the same filthy lucre….

      • Andrew Allison

        Where I come from, prostitutes are known as “professionals”, so it seems reasonable to call legal professionals professionals [grin] Seems to me we should also call career politicians professionals for the same reason.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Well, both screw us….

  • Mark Hamilton

    I’d wager the LSAT is no more predictive of suitability to the study of law than the GRE. I’d also wager the reason Harvard is considering scrapping the LSAT has more to do with affirmative action nonsense than anything else.

    A true reform that would help the profession would be to eliminate year 3 of law school, which is unnecessary and really burdens students with more debt. Most law students don’t get great jobs so saddling them with an extra year of debt is unfair. Another reform would be for law schools to go back to what they used to be and actually fail significant numbers of students. The wash out rates used to be quite high and the class sizes much lower. The legal education industry has been graduated too many would-be lawyers, many of whom aren’t fit for the profession in the first place.

    Although irrelevant to this article, standardized tests and even performance at law school itself is not all that reliable a predictor as to whether the student has what it takes to succeed at the practice of law. But I suppose such things are as good a predictor as there is, aside from whether these students are working real law jobs after their first year.

  • Pete

    What you write makes sense.

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