Category Archives: Uncategorized

My review of Human Rights and Transnational Solidarity in Cold War Latin America ed. by Jessica Stites Mor

Misguided approaches to the Cold War and the authoritarian regimes supported by both Washington and Moscow abound. My hope that this volume would do a better job were disappointed.

Human Rights and Transnational Solidarity in Cold War Latin America

Is the stock market “rigged”? Evidence from the NYSE – presented at NU Kellogg and Duke

My co-author Stanford-based economist Jenny Kuan and I each traveled to different parts of the country recently to present our research on the problematic changes in stock market structures. I presented the paper at the meetings of SASE held at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business and Jenny presented the paper at the ISNIE meetings at Duke. We got helpful comments from both events and are honing in on a new draft for submission to a peer reviewed finance journal. Here are the slides I used in Chicago.

An open letter to the Task Force on the Future of Legal Education of the ABA

To Whom It May Concern:
I only learned tonight about tomorrow’s public hearing in San Francisco so have not been able to ask for time to speak. However, I would like to share some questions for the Task Force’s consideration.
  1. I read the recent working paper and was surprised and concerned that the words “academic freedom” do not appear in the paper. Are we to conclude that academic freedom is not a principle to be an integral part of the law school of the future? Presumably not. But I would appreciate learning the Task Force’s views on this basic principle.
  2. An implication of the push for diversification of law schools is that the ABA should no longer require tenure as an accreditation standard. For a century or more tenure has been considered inextricably linked to the protection of academic freedom. If the Task Force believes that tenure should no longer be part of the standards, how does it believe academic freedom can be protected?
  3. In light of the concern that many legal academics have about the threat to tenure and academic freedom that is part and parcel of the program being pushed by the law school “reform” or “critics” movement does the Task Force believe that the law school’s place inside independent colleges and universities plays a critical role in the promotion of the rule of law?
Thank you for your consideration of these questions.
I have written a series of blog posts on “The Future of American Law School” and would be pleased to share them with individual members of the committee. They are collected on my personal web page here:
Stephen F. Diamond, JD, PhD
Associate Professor of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law

Study Finds the Net Present Value of a Law Degree is Highly Positive |

Michael Froomkin at has an excellent summary of the new JD value study and takes on in the comments some typical but poorly thought through objections.

Study Finds the Net Present Value of a Law Degree is Highly Positive |

The day I blogged like a Pulitzer Prize winner…or vice versa.

The Wall Street Journal is proud that its foreign policy columnist Bret Stephens has won a Pulitzer for his columns. I am, too, as it would appear my writing helped shape Mr. Stephens writing style. Or maybe not. You can be the judge by reviewing the case here.

How bad is it? Maybe Georgetown report overstates the problem

A law professor who actually practiced law begs to differ with Georgetown center report on alleged dire straits facing law practice and impliedly legal education.

Legal Ethics Forum: The Georgetown/Peer Monitor Report on the 2013 Legal Market.

Barbarians inside the gates

rome2The Wall Street Journal reports here on a letter to the ABA (which sets accreditation standards for law schools) signed by what it describes as “academic heavyweights” endorsing law school reform. What seems to tie together this ideologically disparate group (the list includes “Crits” like Lawrence Friedman, liberals like Walter Dellinger, and “law and econ” figures like Richard Posner) is their uncritical adoption of the Campos and Tamanaha school of law school critique including a call for weakening of what they say are the ABA’s “expensive” accreditation standards to encourage “diversity.”

Of course anyone paying attention to law school battles of the last 20 years will recall that some on this list only yesterday were complaining of too much diversity in law schools. And in fact if there is one thing the American law school has gotten right it is diversity, whether of the ideological, methodological, ethnic or gender variety. And despite what the letter implies, the diversity is structural as well, with a wide range of low and high cost options available for students.

But the slightly hidden gem in the letter is their apparent endorsement of what is at the heart of the “good cop/bad cop” show (as they were introduced at the Cato Institute recently) put on by Tamanaha and Campos: the weakening of tenure and therefore academic freedom and faculty’s role in shared governance of the university. As I explain in my review essay on Tamanaha’s book, Failing Law Schools, a central plank of his proposal to reform law schools is the elimination of tenure as a requirement for accreditation.

Tamanaha falsely claims this is a critical step to unleashing diversity in law schools. He provides no evidence of how this could be true (or how tenure undermines diversity), fails to examine the rich diversity already present in law schools and ignores the important protections that tenure provides to those attempting to conduct research and engage in teaching on controversial, and therefore inherently diversifying, ideas.

The letter claims, as does Tamanaha, that the current accreditation standards are “expensive.” There is no basis to think this is true, and it has not stopped the creation of a wide variety of law schools already, from those that are able to pay professors $300,000 a year down to those that pay them $75,000 per year.

In fact, tenure has been a stable part of the university environment for many decades, long before the very recent increase in the cost of law school. The lack of correlation is notable given the emphasis on economic analysis in a letter titled: “the economics of legal education.” Despite the presence on the list of several people who claim some familiarity with economics, they do not seem to have thought very carefully about this lapse.

As I have pointed out here several times law school faculties engage in frequent and careful, even exhaustive, internal debate about the proper balance between cost and revenue generation. These debates result in frequent changes to the way law schools work. I think the current cyclical downturn in the economy represents a good chance to think about new ways to improve law schools such as the adoption of MOOC-like courses to save costs and free up faculty time for research. I outline several other ideas in my essay on Tamanaha.

But the signatories of this letter would seem to wish to go far deeper: by addressing themselves to the ABA and raising the canard that universally recognized accreditation standards like tenure are too expensive, they undermine the integrity of the law school itself. It is remarkable how only a few years ago these “academic heavyweights” in law schools were fighting for recognition as academics by their social science and hard science colleagues. Now they seem content to return law school to its early 20th century place as a mere trade school.

The barbarians are not just at the gates, they are inside the compound.

Is TV streaming changing the landscape?

Is Netflix’s remake of a British political thriller changing the structure of TV? It’s about time.

TV streaming: six of the best shows.

Upcoming events

I will be lecturing EMBA’s at the SCU Business School next month on cross border transactions and securities regulation.

And the following month I will be talking with SCU’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics about reform of the global financial system.  A podcast will be made of this event.