Category Archives: Legal Academia

Journal Issue Celebrating Duncan Kennedy (with mild self-promotion)

Unbound: the Harvard Journal of the Legal Left has published an issue full of contributions celebrating and reflecting on the work and career of Duncan Kennedy, who recently retired.  My own mini-essay about Duncan is here.

Op-Ed: “Why ‘need-blind’ is the wrong goal for college admissions”

_DSC0224Op-Ed: Nick Anderson, Why ‘need-blind’ is the wrong goal for college admissions, Wash. Post, Oct. 12, 2015.

For Law Professors: AALS Poverty Law Section Newsletter Submissions

It is time for the 2015-2016 edition of the Poverty Law Newsletter.  Please send me,, any items or news from the past year (such as publications or articles accepted for publication) you would like included by Monday, Nov. 30, 2015.  The categories for entries are listed below.  Format your entries by starting with your name in bold and your school in parentheses, followed by the bluebook citation.  If there the article or publication is available online, please include the URL.  Finally, it would help if you let me know what categories to place your entries if it the category is not obvious.  Thanks!


  • Upcoming Conferences
  • Books and Book Updates
  • Articles and Other Publications
  • Other Activities
  • Personal Notes

For inclusion in the newsletter, email me at

Not good news… David Grossman

I suspect many readers of this blog already know this but since I am not on a clinic listserv, I only found out a couple of days ago that David Grossman died over the summer thanks to an alumni magazine.  I decided to go ahead a do a post about it in case others did not know.  I was one of David’s many students in both his clinic and his class, and my Housing Law class borrows heavily from the class he taught and from his mentoring.  This Boston Globe obituary is worth reading not only for what is says about David but what it says about how to make work more about making a difference than about self-promotion.  David was relentless in his defense of people facing eviction; one of the more notable examples of such dedication were “Grossman Agreements” which protected tenants from landlords who signed them.

Property-related presentation opportunity for junior scholars at AALS 2016 NYC

[This is not strictly poverty law related, but I also work in property law and know that lots of property articles have a strong poverty law connection.]

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS  AALS Section on Property Junior Scholar Mentoring Session at the 2016 AALS Annual Meeting Property Section Breakfast 7:30 AM January 7, 2016, New York, NY.

The AALS Section on Property is pleased to invite junior faculty members to submit an abstract of a current writing project or an abstract outlining a possible paper idea. Authors of selected abstracts will informally present their theses/ideas during a mentoring session to be held as one part of the Section breakfast at the 2016 AALS Annual Meeting in New York. The breakfast will take place at 7:30 am on January 7, 2016.

The goal of this event is to create a safe and organized (but informal) space at the AALS meeting for junior property scholars to meet and engage with more experienced scholars.  Selected presenters will have a maximum of 5 minutes to informally present their emerging theses/ideas to their table at the breakfast, after which the members of the Section at each table can offer feedback. Each table will have at least one member of the Section’s Executive Committee as well as other more senior property scholars who will provide mentoring advice, including constructive comments and guidance designed to help suggest ideas and directions of research that might assist with the junior scholar’s project.

Interested full-time, junior faculty members (defined for these purposes as 10 years or less in the academy) of AALS member law schools are invited to submit an abstract of one to three pages to Professor Donald J. Kochan (Chapman University Fowler School of Law), Secretary of the AALS Section on Property, at by September 30, 2015.  A review panel consisting of seven property scholars will select three to five junior scholars’ abstracts for these informal presentations and table discussions at the Section breakfast.  Selected presenters will be notified of the review panel’s decision in mid-October. Each selected presenter will be responsible for paying his/her annual meeting registration fee, the registration fee for attending the Property Section breakfast, and travel expenses.

Please feel free to direct questions to Professor Kristen Barnes (University of Akron School of Law), Chair of the AALS Section on Property,, or Professor Kochan at

Where is Poverty Law Offered?

A comment was recently made on the clinic listserv (for those who police such things, don’t worry, I was not on that listserv, the email was forwarded) asking where poverty law was offered so I thought I should work on such a list.  If your school offers the class, please note that in the comments and I will expand the list.  The list below is not a complete list at all, it is just a start so my apologies if I did not include your class but should have!

  • Alabama
  • American University
  • Arkansas-Fayetteville
  • Berkeley
  • Chapman
  • Depaul
  • Duke
  • Georgetown
  • Illinois
  • Inter American University of Puerto Rico
  • Loyola-New Orleans
  • Minnesota
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Stanford
  • Stetson
  • St. Thomas
  • Temple
  • Tennessee
  • UCLA
  • USC
  • Vanderbilt
  • Widener-Delaware

New Article of general (non-poverty law) law school interest: “What Makes a Law Student Succeed or Fail? A Longitudinal Study Correlating Law Student Applicant Data and Law School Outcomes”

Of general (non-poverty law) law school interest: Alexia Brunet Marks & Scott Moss, What Makes a Law Student Succeed or Fail? A Longitudinal Study Correlating Law Student Applicant Data and Law School Outcomes, SSRN.  Abstract below:

Despite the rise of “big data” empiricism, law school admission remains heavily impressionistic; admission decisions based on anecdotes about recent students, idiosyncratic preferences for certain majors or jobs, or mainly the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Yet no predictors are well-validated; studies of the LSAT or other factors fail to control for college quality, major, work experience, etc. The lack of evidence of what actually predicts law school success is especially surprising after the 2010s downturn left schools competing for fewer applicants and left potential students less sure of law school as a path to future success. We aim to fill this gap with a two-school, 1400-student, 2005-2012 longitudinal study. After coding non-digitized applicant data, we used multivariate regression analysis to predict law school grades (“LGPA”) from many variables: LSAT; college grades (“UGPA”), quality, and major; UGPA trajectory; employment duration and type (legal, scientific, military, teaching, etc.); college leadership; prior graduate degree; criminal or discipline record; and variable interactions (e.g., high-LSAT/low-UGPA or vice-versa).

Our results include not only new findings about how to balance LSAT and UGPA, but the first findings that college quality, major, work experience, and other traits are significant predictors: (1) controlling for other variables, LSAT predicts more weakly, and UGPA more powerfully, than commonly assumed – and a high-LSAT/low-UGPA profile may predict worse than the opposite; (2) a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) or EAF (economics, accounting, finance) major is a significant plus, akin to 3½-4 extra LSAT points; (3) several years’ work experience is a significant plus, with teaching especially positive and military the weakest; (4) a criminal or disciplinary record is a significant minus, akin to 7½ fewer LSAT points; and (5) long-noted gender disparities seem to have abated, but racial disparities persist. Some predictors were interestingly nonlinear: college quality has decreasing returns; UGPA has increasing returns; a rising UGPA is a plus only for law students right out of college; and 4-9 years of work is a “sweet spot,” with neither 1-3 or 10 years’ work experience significant. Some, such as those with military or science work, have high LGPA variance, indicating a mix of high and low performers requiring close scrutiny. Many traditionally valued traits had no predictive value: typical pre-law majors (political science, history, etc.); legal or public sector work; or college leadership.

These findings can help identify who can outperform overvalued predictors like the LSAT. A key caveat is that statistical models cannot capture certain difficult-to-code key traits: some who project to have weak grades retain appealing lawyering or leadership potential; and many will over- or under-perform any projection. Thus, admissions will always be both art and science – but perhaps with a bit more science.

Yesterday was a good day.

King v. Burwell

Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

Things to add to next year’s readings for Poverty Law. =)

New Report: “ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education Report”

New Report: “ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education Report,” 2015.

New Article: “What Makes Lawyers Happy?: A DataDriven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success”

New Article: Lawrence S. Krieger with Kennon M. Sheldon, What Makes Lawyers Happy?: A DataDriven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success, 83 G.W. L. Rev. 554 (2015).

And the New York Times coverage article is here (the title shows the punchline of the law review article): Douglas Quenqua, Lawyers With Lowest Pay Report More Happiness, New York Times, May 12, 2015.