Plain Talk about Law School Rot

Having been to law school — and having read books like Philip K. Howard’s The Death of Common Sense, I’m familiar with the “rot.” For more on the “imperial judiciary,” by the way, visit this page.

Here is Mark Pulliam writing at American Greatness:

The legal academy is a strange place.

It differs from other intellectual disciplines in that legal scholarship is published mainly in student-edited law reviews, not peer-reviewed journals. Most faculty members at elite law schools have never practiced law, or have done so only briefly and usually without professional distinction. The curricula at many of the nation’s law schools are larded with trendy courses devoted to identity politics and social issues du jour. Elite law schools eschew the teaching of “nuts and bolts” fundamentals, deriding such practical instruction as resembling a “trade school.”

Even the most widely-followed ranking of American law schools (one compiled by U.S. News & World Report) relies mainly on “peer assessment” (that is, ratings by other law schools) so that it is something akin to a popularity contest. Nevermind graduates’ placement rates, bar exam passage, average starting salaries, and other objective metrics that might correlate with the tangible value of the legal education provided.

Legal academia is an inbred ivory tower with little intellectual diversity, inhabited by would-be mandarins, separated from the “real world” by a wide moat brimming with abstract concepts, abstruse theories, and an overweening sense of self-regard. Law professors are the courtiers to the imperial judiciary, and “constitutional theory” is the vehicle for counter-majoritarian social change.

This peculiar confluence yields two distinctive (but somewhat related) phenomena: First, law school faculties are much more liberal than the already leftward-skewed higher education establishment as a whole; and, second, “constitutional theory” is the most popular subject of legal scholarship, even though few students will ever have occasion to apply it upon graduation. Topics like family law, contracts, real estate, personal injury law, and other “mundane” areas of legal education are shunned by most academics.

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