ABA Journal


Law Schools

‘Leftist law professors’ stayed silent on high tuition while enjoying ‘sweet ride’, says law prof

May 2, 2013, 02:00 pm CDT


Oh boy did this guy hit the nail on the head. Academics and politicians are so out of touch with real world economics that it's become hypocrisy. I liken this to the democrats who are opposing Obamacare being applied to themselves or their staffers because, get this, the best and the brightest won't apply for those jobs.

By Chris on 2013 05 02, 2:24 pm CDT

Talk about speaking truth to power! Amen!

By Yankee on 2013 05 02, 2:33 pm CDT

I hope for his sake he has tenure! Regardless, he may have to start eating lunch alone at his desk or with the students.

By Joe on 2013 05 02, 2:47 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By 2010 Graduate on 2013 05 02, 3:23 pm CDT

Many law professors spend less than 8 hours per week actually on the law school premises. They teach their one or two classes, keep a couple of office hours, then it's splitsville. Seriously. I'm sure they'd respond that they work real hard from home. Many many hours on their laptops writing their law review articles that nobody reads. "Scholarship" (or, as the law students and practicing attorneys call it, "scholarsh*t).

Yes, yes. You must not overextend yourselves you hard-working law professors...we are all depending on your hard, hard labor that you perform from home. Or while on sabbatical to exotic locales. I understand that some of you even blog from time to time. Oh my, so much to do and they only pay you $200,000/year to do it. Good thing those kiddies keep paying you with their student loan money. Oh, wait...the kid's don't apply to law school anymore. Uh oh....

By Uh Oh on 2013 05 02, 3:38 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By 2010 Graduate on 2013 05 02, 3:51 pm CDT

@ 2010 Graduate - Chill. It's too late to change your grades. You'll just have to live with that record. Take the Wal Mart offer, follow good hygiene and dietary practices for the next fifty years, and you'll live long enough to pay off your Tier 4 debt and have a couple of years to play with grandkids.

The problem with Tammany Hall's argument is that law professors at most schools (it used to be true of only the elite schools), can make a lot more money in practice, and did so before joining the academic ranks. (Anyone who thinks law profs come directly from clerkships is 20 years out of date.) Law profs have the best credentials, so they will get the best jobs, and they are smarter than most lawyers, so they will rise in the ranks over time. There will be individual exceptions to this, of course, but it will be true as a general pattern. They will take less money to teach in law school but, like almost everyone, there is a point at which they will go for the big bucks. Law schools compete for staff in the most competitive law labor market there is in other words, and as a consequence, they have to pay something akin to a going rate to compete successfully. Law school dean salaries are over the top, but most law professor salaries are quite modest compared to what the profs could be making in the Biglaw market. In fact, many of them make less than their Biglaw kids. Most of the remaining comments, about work hours and the like, are simply ignorant and there's no point in breathing life into ignorance. As the Cambridge Don said to the creationist, "That would do a lot for your C.V., but it would do nothing for mine." People who went to bad law schools may have a legitimate complaint, but no profession is judged by its worst examples.

Sorry about the ABA thing, 2010 Graduate, but I'm already a member. And as for the Brian Leiter schtick, give it up. I don't like him any more than you do.

By Pushkin on 2013 05 02, 4:48 pm CDT

"hypocrite liberals" - perfect example of tautology.

By Marc on 2013 05 02, 4:54 pm CDT

@7: "The problem with Tammany Hall’s argument is that law professors at most schools (it used to be true of only the elite schools), can make a lot more money in practice, and did so before joining the academic ranks. (Anyone who thinks law profs come directly from clerkships is 20 years out of date.) Law profs have the best credentials, so they will get the best jobs, and they are smarter than most lawyers, so they will rise in the ranks over time.

There will be individual exceptions to this, of course" - how true! Obama is certainly an exception.

By Marc on 2013 05 02, 4:57 pm CDT

Read Tamanaha's article, Pushkin. He disposes of several arguments, among them your could-be-making-more-elsewhere argument.

By margaret soltan on 2013 05 02, 5:02 pm CDT

How odd that Professor Tamahana does not inform us that he rejected all of the laptops, salary increases, time off to write, conference underwriting, food and wine that high tuition placed on his table that he chastises his "liberal" colleagues for accepting. Perhaps that is because he, too, gleefully accepted them.

By AndytheLawyer on 2013 05 02, 5:11 pm CDT

@9: "There will be individual exceptions to this, of course” - how true! Obama is certainly an exception."

I am glad you fit in your anti-Obama dog-whistle comment. Seriously, how obsessed are you?

By EsqinAustin on 2013 05 02, 6:13 pm CDT

Yes, I agree that if Law Profs wanted to, they COULD make more money in BigLaw, but most are too lazy or entitled to endure the long hours and traveling associated with BigLaw. Trust me, they are not professors because they want to fulfill the Socratic ideal. It's a cushy gig with minimal responsibility.

By Joe on 2013 05 02, 6:17 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By anon on 2013 05 02, 6:25 pm CDT

Maybe it's just the school I went to, but I have a lot of respect for my profs. Most of them were very hard working, and put in significant hours.

By RecentGrad on 2013 05 02, 6:54 pm CDT

Pushkin says, "but most law professor salaries are quite modest compared to what the profs could be making in the Biglaw market." That line of BS is good for a belly laugh and it is about to be tested.

Some profs will be hitting the job market, involuntarily, within a year or two if not sooner. Any prof who has been sitting on his/her tail collecting student loans funds for a number of years is toast. Would you want a dinosaur peforming brain surgery?

Only the top-notch recent hires and a few name-brand professors stand a chance in "Biglaw." And even those select few will have a tough time of it because they've already indicated to the firms that instead of hustling for more they'd rather live a cushy no-work lifestyle for less. They've made it known that they're pointy-headed betas rather than go-for-the-throat alphas. That matters.

Keep smoking whatever it is you're smoking, keeps your trolling creative.

By Uh Oh on 2013 05 02, 6:54 pm CDT

And God forbid that law schools would hire law profs who graduated from lower-ranked schools. By only selecting profs from Top 10 schools, the cycle described by Tamanaha constantly replicates itself. These "liberal" champions of the poor that law profs profess to be have a strange way of spreading the wealth when it really counts. They only believe in redistribution of other people's money.

By Joe on 2013 05 02, 7:08 pm CDT

A few years ago, the Dean of Stanford's law school wrote the California bar and, of course, failed. She then had the nerve to request she be admitted pro hac.

By Marc on 2013 05 02, 10:20 pm CDT

"wrote the California bar "

No American says someone "wrote the bar." Americans say that someone "took the bar." The only people I know who say that someone "wrote the [fill in name of state] bar" are Canadians or someone from a Commonwealth country.

So, where y'all from, Marc?

By Doodle Dandy on 2013 05 03, 2:25 am CDT

Three cheers for Karen! She's the Best!

By Karen Rocks on 2013 05 03, 3:48 am CDT

Moronic logic. Anyone is free to pursue a legal education, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religious background, etc. THAT's what progressives support. Wealth (or lack thereof) is not a protected class and never has been. The access is there, that's what matters. What is Tamahana talking about. Typical conservative moron.

By anonymous on 2013 05 03, 7:52 am CDT

His essay to be published in the "Stanford Law & Policy Review"? Ah yes, Stanford, that left-wing bastion of low cost education.

By William Able on 2013 05 03, 9:41 am CDT

What a self serving load of crap.

The 'writer' clearly has a right wing axe to grind. How do you seriously complain about someone's salary (one THEY didn't set) when you also receive a nice fat salary (and perks too)?

Mind your own house, and stop sticking your nose into other folks' business.

By Pablo on 2013 05 03, 12:30 pm CDT

Folks who use the word "leftist" as an epithet always seem a little too gleeful. Like petulent little children.

And I've noticed that they often have some clever clever little argument that trying to make the world a better place, as "liberals" and "leftists" are wont to do, always backfires to make it worse, the implication being that we should stop trying.

By Patrick on 2013 05 03, 12:38 pm CDT

@ AndytheLawyer (11) "Tamanaha does not spare himself in his analysis. "Beyond writing a few blog posts on the topic and voicing objections at faculty meetings, I did nothing myself to halt tuition increases that I too benefited from," he writes." I would argue that he implicitly states that he accepted all the perks of being a law professor.

Professor Tamanaha was a professor at my law school years ago. He was a very effective teacher, an outspoken supporter of his students and a genuinely nice guy. He has posted numerous articles regarding the costs of law schools over the last ten years, but the powers that be would rather ignore his recommendations and the blogging community would rather attack him personally.

@anonymous (21) if something is cost prohibitive, then there is no access. I believe that we are seeing a return to the poor and middle class being excluded from education and careers that are considered part of the "upper class" spectrum. Particularly when we start seeing Secretary of Education Arne Duncan agreeing that not all people should go to college, and particularly those on the lower strata should just consider trade school...if this is the approach that is going to be taken from now on, we may lose out as a society from the benefits of some brilliant kid from the poorer section of town - we would have no more ben carsons or sonia sotomayors'...

By government ethics is an oxymoron on 2013 05 03, 12:55 pm CDT

Well said - and long overdue!

By John Smith on 2013 05 03, 1:07 pm CDT

I'm sure members of the Federalist Society pay back the subsidies they receive at state schools in the form of low tuition, right?

By C on 2013 05 03, 1:33 pm CDT

I am surprised that anyone finds this to be a problem. The liberal professors consider themselves a part of the liberal elite and everyone should know the rules do not apply to the liberal elite.Expecially the intellectual elite. The rule is "do as I say, not as I do" and they know what is best for us in any event so you Kulaks get back in line and respect the liberal elite and be thankful and do no question their elite status. Next you are going to start asking the elite to give us their exhorbitant salaries, to pay their fair share of taxes and to give up their private jets, gas guzzling cars, huge energy and resource gulping mansions and armed personal guards. What are you thinking?

By BJJT on 2013 05 03, 1:40 pm CDT

This is a problem much broader and deeper than law school. And I wasn't aware that there was any sort of political slant to the criticism leveled at the cost of higher education.

Finally, yes, shockingly, professors as a whole do seem reluctant to loudly voice their support for lower pay in education.

By linovo on 2013 05 03, 1:59 pm CDT

It has been suggested that one thing driving up tuition costs in general is the incredible availability of student loans. Tuition rises while colleges and universities sit on huge endowments. Faculty positions have grown faster than student population, again driven by such open-ended availability of funds. Then the BHO administration puts caps on repayment obligations without regard to what meaningless, unemployable degrees borrowers chose to get, and even forgives the loans after a stated term. Hear it here if not hearing it here first: Student loans will be the next "housing loan" type crisis. Another wealth redistribution program for the productive to absord the unpayable loan liabilities of the unproductive.

By BJJT on 2013 05 03, 3:08 pm CDT

I heard a saying once when I was in my early 20's that went something to the effect of: "If you're under 30 and not a liberal, you have no heart. If you're over 40 and not a conservative, you have no brain." I considered myself just left of center at the time. Now i'm in my early 30's and I can feel the ever increasing pull towards the "dark side".

By You call this coffee!? on 2013 05 03, 3:32 pm CDT

Everyone on here who is making snarky comments about the hours law professors work v. how much they get paid - you would all jump at the opportunity to do the same darn thing. I know I would. Who doesn't want to work less and make more?

By Jules on 2013 05 03, 3:45 pm CDT

His comments hold true for all upper education, not just law schools. I taught at Uof Md for one semester many years ago and found out that professors taught only two sections a semester, most often in one subject. It amazed me as I saw all tuitions increasing that, at least for the next several years, that no one even proposed professors may want to teach one more section an academic year, thus possibly saving students a tuition inclrease. In that semester, I taught two sections and with office hours and other time preparing for class, I averaged a whopping 15 hours a week. Mainly because I offerered 3 extra hours of office time for my students and would make appointments to help students one my own time.

By Charles Bonuccelli on 2013 05 03, 4:22 pm CDT

Not sure what being "liberal" has anything to do with this but the author has definitely identified a major problem. The salary expectations of professors are not at all consistent with the free market right now. Law professors, deans, and other administration make WAY too much money. The original logic of paying professors the same salary they would receive at a big law firm is way out of date. To earn 150-200k a year in a big law firm today you have to work 80 hours a week and have no life. There is no way professors and administration should be making that much money to work only 8 months a year.

By Steve on 2013 05 03, 4:25 pm CDT

It's not just law school. From Grad school to kindergarten, the priority is admin, then teachers, then (maybe) students.

By Joe Fonebone on 2013 05 03, 4:36 pm CDT


People who were conservative when they were younger get a bit more liberal as they experience life. People who were liberal when they were younger get a bit more conservative as they experience life. That's why they call it "Middle Age."

By Doodle Dandy on 2013 05 03, 4:53 pm CDT

Well, "leftist law professors" does seem largely redundant, but I suppose there must be a few conservative law profs out there somewhere, right? Maybe? Anyway, I think the point is that it is particularly hypocritical for law profs who consider themselves "progressives" not to have spoken out against the rapacious tuition increases. The unstated assumption being that conservative law profs should be fine with it as they are, by definition, greedy self-centered capitalist pigs with no interest in anything other than maximizing their own slice of the pie.

Anyhoo, the answer to Tamanaha's question -- "So why aren’t liberal law professors who are concerned about class barriers rising up to oppose the oppressive cost?" -- other than elitism and hypocrisy, is largely contained in BJJT's post @ 30: because progressives always believe that free federal money solves any problem. It's OK to jack up tuition, and our salaries, because Uncle Sam will make sure the poor and minority students get that free money so they can still come to law school with the rich white kids. Of course, without all that free money, market forces would never have allowed law schools to double tutitions in just over 10 years, because no one (well, very few) would be able to afford it. The applications would dry up, and the schools would be forced, just like normal companies, either to cut costs or go out of business. And now that the gov't-created student loan bubble is about to come home to roost, it surprises ... exactly no one ... that the progressives' proposed "solution" is to put the taxpayers on the hook for the debtors' poor choices. Absolutely classic.

By Just Some Bloke on 2013 05 03, 4:54 pm CDT

Marc--Is there a study that shows how many law professors actually made partner before they switched to teaching? Based upon my own observations, I don't think that many law professors would have made it to partner in private practice.

By Joan on 2013 05 03, 6:20 pm CDT

At first I thought this article was nonsense because I assumed that law profs were making somewhere around 200k (slightly more or less based on experience and school rank). I agree that anything less than that would be problematic when it comes to retaining talented professors. If you open the article though you'll see that some of these schools are regularly paying their faculty 300-400k, and there are surely extreme examples of much more. That's not necessary.

By You Got Me on 2013 05 03, 6:26 pm CDT

If this guy doesn't spare himself from the criticism, then the headline is misleading. It appears that it's not just "leftist" law professors who happily fed at the academic trough, but law professors of all political stripes.

By AndytheLawyer on 2013 05 03, 6:36 pm CDT

I start retching when people use any opportunity to jump on their "everything boils down to right versus left" soapbox.

But the dude has a point.

By Violette on 2013 05 03, 6:40 pm CDT

I've met exactly one professor who could even SURVIVE (i.e., feed themselves, screw the kids), much less make equity partner in any law firm. (He became a professor after not making partner actually.) Any pay arguments are completely bogus. These chumps couldn't hustle 100k/yr in the real world, much less 200k, and they know it.

Wow, progressives and liberals get really worked up when they're called to the carpet. You guys can quit defending the liberal professors now, they have plenty of free time to do it for themselves. That, and they're hypocrites by their own definition, so it's bad form to toss your credibility in with them.

By associate on 2013 05 03, 7:02 pm CDT

Law school is overdue for a market correction. Law prof salaries will go down when people stop feeding the pig.

Also- ivy league schools are mostly attended by the rich, and they get better jobs too -- Is this somehow different then the past 100 years?

In the past, people would sacrifice to move up in the world so that their kids wouldn't have to. I'm not happy with my law school debt, but being an attorney will benefit my children in the long run. They will have the connections that I didn't, and I can help them navigate things that my parents couldn't. The benefits of a career in law are not just tied to how much is in your bank account.

By just some guy on 2013 05 03, 8:09 pm CDT

I cannot resist a comment here directed to all of you who erroneously believe that law professors are 'so well-credentialed' that they could (or did at one point) make more in private practice vs. riding the law school gravy-train-o-pay. To that delusional view I say bullfeathers. My recollection of my former law professors, many of whom are still teaching today, is that very few if any of them had much real world lawyer experience before bailing on the practice to join the ranks of academia (likely so they would no longer have to deal with crazy clients, unreasonable partners, oppressive billable hour requirements and pressure). I got about 5 deep into the current faculty roster as WUSTL law – which confirmed that most only clerked or lasted less than 4 years in private practice – before I gave up the time waste of an exercise that would only yield more of the same. To clarify, I’m not by any means slamming those who chose an academic path because it is no small accomplishment to have your name on a textbook or published article. What I am saying is that writing, teaching and/or publishing doesn’t necessarily translate to being able to competently handle a $15M asset purchase, try a felony murder or divorce case, or “manage” clients, which are the skills valued by most law firms value. As the saying goes, those who can’t (or choose not to) teach/coach/write/lecture/publish. Just sayin’.

By 89WUSTLLawGrad on 2013 05 03, 8:13 pm CDT

At my alma mater, UC Berkeley (aka Boalt Hall), tuition has increased almost tenfold since I attended in the mid-90s. However, much of the increase (or so we were told by the dean) was used for scholarships so low income students could attend. That's all well and good, but it means middle class students are priced out. What middle class family can afford 50k a year for three years?

By Cal Gal on 2013 05 03, 8:13 pm CDT

"changes to tenure and job security protections that are aimed at lowering the cost of legal education"

Straw man, or is this a thing that exists?

By Ham Solo on 2013 05 03, 8:16 pm CDT

How come all of 2010 Graduate's posts are removed by the moderator? I miss out every time!! Is this person just generally pissed off about everything? I graduated in law school in 2010 also but I can gladly say that I live a happy life, even though I have an absurd amount of debt looming over my head. I will pay it off one day. As for the law students of the future, hopefully the system can change for you.

By MEHLAW on 2013 05 03, 8:29 pm CDT

I think the author should share his own salary (including benefits, retirement, etc., as he has done when quoting figures from IRS filings), so we can compare what he makes to the people whose salaries he cites in the article. And in comparing his salary to the various Deans -- you can assume Professors do not work as many hours as Deans and should make less. This is not like a student calling out professors and deans for making a lot of money, this is another professor making the accusation, and a journal should make it a requirement that he reveals his own salary if he is going to reveal that of others.

By What Does Brian T. Make? on 2013 05 03, 8:40 pm CDT

Prof. T's just striking while the iron's hot (while undoubtedly increasing his income) although it resonates as the proverbial beating of the dead horse.The labeling, finger pointing, whining, all nothing new...move on. The comments interest me though. It never ceases to amaze me how smart the commentators are but still fall into the trap of arguing that the average law professor does little and is overpaid for even that. If it's so easy and cushy then why not join the ranks? Could it be that they can't do the job and/or intelligence data indicates law profs don't make all that much? $300,000-400,000 LOL @39 Most law Profs don't make $200K -- in fact the average salary is probably <$150K. Being a law prof is a job/profession just like practice and there's the same range amongst members of good/bad/ugly. It also seems just plain dumb to idealize that law profs have some direct influence over federal loan programs.What federal legislation have you seen law profs effect as a group? At best it will take a joint effort from all legal arenas.

By Chauncy D on 2013 05 04, 12:00 am CDT

"If a man is not a socialist at age 20, he has no heart. If he is still a socialist at age 40, he has no head." Winston Churchill. To this we might add that if that man espouses socialism but reaps substantial financial benefits from capitalism at 40, he is a hypocrite of the highest order.

By Faulhaber on 2013 05 04, 1:11 am CDT

I love this guy. Really.

By Tom Youngjohn on 2013 05 04, 1:45 am CDT

People really shouldn't assume Tamanaha is a conservative--he's not. They also really shouldn't comment on the article without, you know, reading it, which so many of you clearly have not done. It's a good read, though--I recommend it.

By Recent JD on 2013 05 04, 8:18 am CDT


What's the matter, Marc? Is it so bad that you outed yourself as a Canadian?

By Doodle Dandy on 2013 05 04, 2:56 pm CDT

@20 said: "Everyone on here who is making snarky comments about the hours law professors work v. how much they get paid - you would all jump at the opportunity to do the same darn thing. I know I would. Who doesn’t want to work less and make more?"

This attitude is EXACTLY why we have a country going to sh**. You see its OK to want more and work less unless your doing so on the backs of students who accure massive debt for
lucrative" jobs that don't exist. I got mine and to he88 with everyone else- yeah- nice attitude.

By WINGCMDR on 2013 05 04, 6:17 pm CDT

I believe a possible solution to bring down costs is for state bar associations to adopt the education standards for admission into the California State Bar. It will allow greater competition into the legal education market place and bring down costs in time. It also allows individuals to test out of the college education requirement that most law schools have. Here is the link to the admissions standards:

Further Law Schools should require business courses as part of the degree requirements. If lawyers have to remain independent and manage themselves then they should be required to understand how to run a business properly.

By BCReed on 2013 05 04, 11:15 pm CDT

The title suggests that "right-wing law professors," in contrast, were speaking out.
I believe "Pot, meet kettle" might be rather more accurate.

By Ham Solo on 2013 05 05, 3:13 am CDT

That certainly wasn't his point, though--perhaps you should read the article rather than just looking at the title.

Hint: Tamanaha is not right-wing.

By Recent JD on 2013 05 05, 7:53 am CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By Zeto on 2013 05 05, 3:17 pm CDT

Mr. Faulhaber: That quote is a statement Mr. Churchill never made. Churchill was born on 30 November 1874. At the age of 40 in 1914 he was First Lord of the Admiralty in the Liberal Government of Herbert Asquith. He did not leave the Liberal Party until the late 1920's when he was in his 50's when it becam apparrent that Labour had supplanted the Liberals as Britains major party in opposition to the Conservatives. Churchill was one of the authors of the British Social Security Act, the Parliamentay Reform Act and it was his coalition government that adopted the Beveridge plan for a National Health Service to be implemented after the war, albeit implemented by the Atlee government. Churchill represented the progressive wing of the Conservative Party following the First World War comparable to a RIPON Republican. Unfortunately neither wing of either party still exists. As for Prof. Tamanaha's thesis, I don't recall any Conservative Professors complaining about high tuition, and most of the professors I knew were either former long time law practioners, retired judges or were adjuncts who were still in practice. My law school's dean is a former state attorney general. But then I did go to a state school.

By George Sly on 2013 05 05, 5:04 pm CDT

Again, Tamanaha is not a conservative. It isn't hypocritical for right-wing law professors not to care about the race and class implications of rising law school tuition; Tamanaha's point (or one of them, anyway) is that it is hypocritical for left-wing law professors who have campaigned against race and class in other areas not to do anything about it when it's happening right in front of them. He is in fact a left-wing law professor himself.

Again, read the damn article.

By Recent JD on 2013 05 05, 5:58 pm CDT

Hell, even read the abstract:

"This is offered in the spirit of critical legal studies — as a critical self-examination of the failure of leftist law professors. The Crits were highly critical of complacent liberal academics of their day, arguing that they had a hand in perpetuating an unjust legal system; here I charge liberal legal academia — including the Crits — with perpetuating the profoundly warped and harmful economics of legal education. What follows will offend many of my fellow liberals. It may even lose me some friends. Liberal law professors must see past their anger to reflect on whether there is a core truth to my arguments, to take personal responsibility for what has happened, and to engage in collective action to do something to alter the economics of our operation. If not, the current economic barrier to a legal career may become permanent."

By Recent JD on 2013 05 05, 6:01 pm CDT

While Tamahana may be neither a conservative nor a hypocrite, he is a moron. Progressives favor open access regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious preference, and age.

In regard to law school, those goals have been accomplished. Pretty much anyone can go (if they get accepted).

Ability to afford the tuition (aka economic background) is not a protected class. It is not a "progressive/liberal cause."

Anyone can go. Get a job and save. Apply for and get grants. Take out loans. Ask for help from the family. Etc.

So Tamahana is a fool for suggesting that "liberal professors" are hypocrites.

By CriticalThinker on 2013 05 05, 9:00 pm CDT

Of course they can go, that's not his point.

Again, read the article. Is it really that much to expect people to read an article before commenting on it?

By Recent JD on 2013 05 05, 9:36 pm CDT

And of course class and the divide between rich and poor is a "progressive/liberal cause." It may not be a "protected class," but that is a legal term that is irrelevant to the discussion, really.

As for the disparate economic consequences of rising law school tuition, read the article/use common sense.

By Recent JD on 2013 05 05, 9:47 pm CDT

@63&64; - you're totally not getting my point.

The professor's thesis argument is that "liberal professors" are hypocrites because they should be outraged (but are not) about rising tuition which leads to class barriers for law school.

My point is that there is no class barrier. Anyone can go. Your dad/mom could be a gardener or work for the 99 Cents Only store and you will still have the same access to law school that the son/daughter of a billionaire does.

It might mean you'll have to work harder in undergrad to get the grades/LSAT score necessary to get grants. It might mean you'll have to take out loans. Whatever. You still have the same access.

Therefore, there is no need for "liberal professors" to be outraged (and they are not hypocrites for not being outraged) because there is no class barrier. Which is why Tamanaha's entire thesis is absurd and he is a moron for espousing it.

I imagine he must have a book coming out that he's trying to drum up publicity for. Or maybe he's shooting for a tenured position and trying to increase his public profile? Based on his faulty logic and inflammatory rhetoric, I'm sure there will be a job waiting for him at Fox News before long.

By CiticalThinker on 2013 05 05, 11:23 pm CDT


And there is a class barrier. It's not a barrier in that there are armed guards permitting only the rich to attend, but higher tuition sets higher hurdles for the poor than for the rich. Being able to take out loans is not a panacea, as anyone who is in the position of having to pay back six digits of loans would be able to tell you.

So, no, access is not the same because the consequences of attendance are not the same, and yes, leftist professors should be concerned, as they are concerned about unequal access to justice in other areas of the law.

In conclusion, read the article.

By Recent JD on 2013 05 06, 12:39 am CDT

And quit implying that he's a conservative. He's far less of a conservative than someone who appears to believe that class is not an issue.

By Recent JD on 2013 05 06, 12:42 am CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By Doodle Dandy on 2013 05 06, 12:57 am CDT


It shows.

By CritialThinker on 2013 05 06, 1:16 am CDT

@65 Okay, someone who saves up the money is able to purchase the same product as a person who already had the money.
That is a factually correct statement, but it does not follow from that statement that there is no class barrier (unless you have a very different (and unstated) definition of "class barrier").
So, in total, you have offered one factually true statement (of questionable relevance) and a statement of your opinion to support your proposition.
I've seen enough to be certain that there is a class barrier, and a significant one at that. Also, and this should be obvious to all who have spent time around tenured professors: "Liberal" college professors are NOT LIBERAL when in comes to things that affect them and their families personally. In such matters, they are as conservative as a person can be. One may say it's the only time they're honest.
Same with politicians - they just know how to market themselves to get votes from a certain demographic. - watch what politicians say and who they say it to - that's a great indicator that there are multiple classes (separated by money).
Why is it such a big deal to win the lottery? Why is getting that raise or higher paying job "moving up" in the world? There is an obscene class barrier. It is about money. It's everywhere. The one's who deny it most vigorously are the children of the wealthy. But they soon realize they'd rather rather be "that rich kid" than have to worry about someone in the family getting sick.

By john on 2013 05 06, 1:40 am CDT

And this is just out of curiosity. Why is it so important to Recent JD that Tamanaha be perceived as not being liberal. I take it Recent is a liberal student / former student. No worries if that label is a concern - if you're a law prof. it's assumed. But yes, it seems that such labels are important (esp. lately). Ah, the good old days when being qualified and appointed by the president got you a job - like when Ginsgurg - (Ms. 12 years old should be the age of consent) still got the senate's bipartisan nod. We all should've seen the writing of the wall during Roberts' Senate vote (when one of the most qualified nominees for the office of chief justice (and there were few if any others [liberal or conservative] with his qualifications) was approved in an unusually close vote by historical standards.
We really need to pay attention to the quality of a person - at this rate, the country will be (may already) be making decisions the way prom queen is selected - maybe we're already well past that point.
The ABA could be helping, but traditionally it hasn't. It rated Easterbrook and Posner both unqualified. I know a lot of people don't like them for personal reasons, some don't agree with them on a principled basis (not as many as their opponents would like). But those guys were qualified - even if one doesn't care for their politics. And for those who would point out to me that politics shouldn't play a role in a decision. I agree with you - and please list a few sitting federal appellate judges who've never had politics get into an opinion. No, agreeing with an opinion doesn't mean you get to take it off the list. But doing so (if it's a liberal point), should get you a free year membership in the ABA.

By john on 2013 05 06, 2:41 am CDT

lol- typo above. "Why is it so important to Recent JD that Tamanaha be perceived as not being liberal." should be "Why is it so important to Recent JD that Tamanaha be perceived as not being conservative."

Though that might have been a freudian slip i have kinda wondered if he's a closet conservative.

By john on 2013 05 06, 2:47 am CDT

Ignoring the rest of your statement, because I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at, it is significant to me that people are viewing Tamanaha as a conservative, because it shows to me that they either haven't read his article (the most likely circumstance), or haven't understood his argument. I wouldn't mind having a debate on the merits of his argument, but that isn't what people are doing. Instead, they're defaulting to the typical black-and-white "if he criticizes leftists, then he must be a conservative" view, without engaging his argument at all.

By Recent JD on 2013 05 06, 2:54 am CDT

law professor--maybe the easiest job in america---teach 1 or 2 classes per semester, use the same notes from 10 years ago, write useless law review articles that no one reads, with no relation to practice, make big money and get an obscene pension--the good life

By allco on 2013 05 06, 4:25 am CDT

assuming you were addressing me, my points were:
in #70:
A) I did not believe the author of #65 made an argument that class barriers don't exist, rather he made a statement of his opinion.
B)"liberal" college professors and politicians are not as liberal as they claim to be or as liberal as their supporters claim them to be.
C)their is a significant class barrier.

in #71:
A)you're very concerned with whether Tamanaha is seen as a liberal or conservative, but was not sure which one you were hoping for - my guess was liberal b/c that's the norm on most ABA sites.
B)such distinctions (when used casually in an article and its commentary) weren't taken as seriously they once were (now people act like the statement carries an extra level of truth because it was on the internet).
C)Its troubling that more and more people seem to attach an unsaid opinion about a person's competence, professionally and personally, to their use of the labels "liberal" and "conservative." This is even more troubling when its people studying for, or who have had for years, the degree of J.D. - it used to be a rigorous set of coursework that improved one's critical thinking (which disappeared quickly if not used once in a while). Now, it seems few people have it to begin with - and fewer people can tell the difference between a serious argument and a statement of opinion.

and just adding this for no particular reason-
(It seems a lot of this decline can tied to the vastly increased reliance on the internet sources used in the profession.
I actually did read the article, but I've read a number of others that argued a similar point -going back a decade (maybe longer). and others with a similar point, but about different professions and courses of study, and some of the comments were so passionate - and demonstrated a failure to discern fact and opinion - something I've had to deal in discussions with others and when having to evaluate the merits of an argument being made before me (while trying to find a way to get the record right and still help people get better at their profession while working around ego - hoping that professions will learn and then make better statements when dealing with citizens and more civil discussions with colleagues.
Anyway I can come here any make grammatical and other errors and maybe see/participate in a good discussion without having everyone talking about "did ya see what so-and-so did on Sat.?..."

By john on 2013 05 06, 4:33 am CDT

In the words of that great American patriot, Gomer Pyle, USMC....
"Sooprise! Sooprise! Sooprise!"

By Robert on 2013 05 06, 3:13 pm CDT

@Cal Gal 45:
As a fellow Boaltie, I wish the $ allocation story you got was true. A large chunk of the increase was an exponential increase in the professional fee from the University, the rest was law school greed done because of supply and demand. The school rankings shot up so they could justify charging $ on par with "other top 10 schools."

That is the real issue and what will lead to the market corrections that have been alluded to by other posters and whose beginnings are all around. You see it in the drop in law school applications and the continued erosion of big law.

The question I have about the piece is why only "leftist" professors? This is a puzzling blanket statement. Does it mean only the "liberal" professors should complain? Does it mean most law professors are liberals?
Neither statement would make sense. Berkeley was/is a "liberal stronghold" and the professors who could fairly be described as liberal never reached double digits.

By Erick Victor Munoz on 2013 05 07, 8:09 pm CDT

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