Sunday, March 3, 2013

It Wasn’t Scholarship: Philosopher Bids Farewell to Paul Campos and “Inside the Law School Scam”


Several commenters have written to alert me that University of Chicago Law Professor Brian Leiter has authored a post in response to the retirement of Professor Paul Campos’s blog, “Inside the Law School Scam” (serious credit being due to Leiter for posting this entry so quickly, given his tendency to forget that the blog exists). Leiter and Campos have sparred in the past, so it’s not surprising to hear Leiter allege in his post that Campos’s blog “didn’t have much content, apart from insulting and deriding Deans, faculty and anyone else who contested his claims. But, true to form, [Campos] can’t say goodbye without just making things up out of whole cloth.”
It’s certainly true that Inside the Law School Scam never had much content – it featured no self-interested law school rankings or poetry, for example – and tended to focus on trivial issues like the facts that law schools are overproducing lawyers at a rate of 2:1, that law schools are using questionable recruitment tactics, that law school tuition is insanely high, that legal scholarship might not be worth the cost at which students are currently subsidizing it, and that in the end taxpayers are stuck with the bill for this mess. What I find difficult to believe, however, is that Campos is “just making things up.” Fortunately, on that matter, Leiter reports.
While Campos claims that, in response to his initial authoring of his blog anonymously, “people in legal academia instantly became more concerned with Who Was Saying These Outrageous Things than in whether those things might actually be true,” Leiter assures us that “[i]n fact, it was Campos himself who made a big deal out of ‘who was saying these things’…” How, exactly? Campos prominently bragged, in a small information section at the top of his blog, that he is "a tenured law professor at a Tier 1 law school." No one else cared about Campos’s identity or obsessed over “outing” him.

But Leiter doesn’t end his roast there. Nor should he. He explains that Campos used his prominence to “lend his claims, including his false ones, credibility,” such as his claims that law professors are “lazy” and “produce lousy scholarship.” These claims were not only false but “inflammatory and, at best, misleading” and this “is what annoyed even those who didn't know Campos and his history of trying to garner media attention by any means possible.” As to how Campos’s claims were false, inflammatory and, at best, misleading, Leiter unfortunately doesn’t explain. But let’s be honest – do we really need a factually supported argument from Leiter on this point? Campos clearly loves attention and will lie and/or mislead in order to get it.

Leiter finishes Campos off with an argument that Campos’s purported “core message” actually belongs to Brian Tamanaha and Bill Henderson. As Leiter rightly notes, it is their, not Campos’s, message to share. In fact, Leiter even concedes that he was spreading this message long before Campos ever was (don’t tell Tamanaha or Henderson) through his exhaustive linking to articles written by those law professors. But unlike Campos, Leiter spread this message the way that he spreads all of his messages: tastefully. He did so in a manner that would not (heaven forbid) completely disrupt the current system of legal education.

The cherry on top of the delicious ice cream cone that is Leiter’s exposé of Campos is what he calls “[t]he key fact to remember about Paul Campos” and which was “the first clear sign that this was an individual without a core, intellectual or moral.” For that gem, I will leave you to his article. Though please feel free to discuss the article here. Unlike Leiter Reports, and much like Inside the Law School Scam, we welcome constructive comments.

43 comments:

  1. First! Twice in one day!

    Today I am the king,..

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  2. That is a masterclass in how to write a smackdown!

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    Replies
    1. You mean Leiter's pompous whining?

      I don't think anyone who knows the facts and followed Campos's blog from the beginning will be much impressed, to be honest.

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    2. I'm sure the bloggers here would love to have you join them if you feel you can do better. I thought this post was cleverly subtle in its attack.

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    3. You get that the author of this post is only pretending to be backing Leiter's position, right?

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    4. Sorry -- misinterpreted the comment.

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  3. Apparently Leiter doesn't quit: http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=2196839&mc=64&forum_id=2

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  4. fuck that assclown.

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  5. Leiter is a special breed of asshole. Here's his latest post (before he takes it down):

    http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2013/03/we-get-mail-thomas-r-grover-esq-edition.html

    >>>>>>>>>>

    We Get Mail: Thomas R. Grover, Esq. Edition

    For criticizing Mr. Campos last week, I received the following insolent e-mail:

    You’re a “Law and ______” Professor, not a lawyer. How would you know how to ‘think like a lawyer’?

    Thomas R. Grover, Esq.

    Goodsell & Olsen, LLP

    10155 W. Twain Ave., Ste. 100

    Las Vegas, NV 89147

    Tel: (702) 869-6261

    Fax: (702 869-8243

    Cell: (702) 900-3003

    tom@goodsellolsen.com

    www.goodsellolsen.com

    Mr. Grover is a law graduate of the University of Nebraska, one of those law schools that students should still be considering, even in the current market, and notwithstanding Mr. Grover. But it is odd that he thinks that being a lawyer and a philosopher involves a contraction, rather than an expansion, of knowledge and competence. In any case, I replied to Mr. Grover as follows:


    Dear Mr. Grover,

    Are you actually an attorney at the firm in question? If so, why do you not appear on the website? Do your supervisors know that you are using the firm’s e-mail to send impertinent and juvenile messages to other professionals?

    “Thinking like a lawyer” refers to a style of reasoning and analysis that is exemplified in the law section of appellate briefs and in judicial opinions; I assume you must be familiar with both genres. It encompasses, for example, the use of analogical reasoning to distinguish precedents or propose extensions or developments of existing doctrine, but also involves techniques of statutory and constitutional construction, the use of arguments from authority, facility with the law/fact distinctions, and so on. Again, merely looking at the chapter headings of Schauer’s book Thinking Like a Lawyer would illuminate this apparently opaque topic for you. Alternatively, you might read Edward Levi’s classic book An Introduction to Legal Reasoning; Mr. Levi was the former Dean of my Law School, as well as former Attorney General of the United States.

    Of course, there are more skills involved in being a lawyer than thinking like a lawyer. There is industry-specific knowledge, know-how with respect to how local courts or regulatory agencies approach statutory language, rhetorical talent, as well as a range of psychological and interpersonal skills that are important. For example, most good lawyers I know, among my family and friends, exhibit maturity and professional judgment, that would prevent them from sending insolent e-mails from their’s firm account to other professionals. I will be sure to send a copy of this entire correspondence to the name partners of your firm.

    I do think we law professors, and especially those with blogs, have been far too tolerant of malicious and unprofessional conduct by usually anonymous or pseudonymous lawyers and students. Mr. Grover deserves credit for signing his name to his stupidity, and, of course, his intervention is a relatively mild example of juvenile nonsense emanating from putative lawyers. I've generally let most of this garbage pass in silence, but in the coming weeks I'm going to be posting a bit more about some alleged legal professionals whose on-line conduct deserves to be aired in public. I especially welcome more information on a sick individual using the pseudonym "dybbuk," who is, among other pathetic characteristics, obsessed with the appearance of female law faculty, and who fantasizes on-line about spanking them with wet slippers (though that is only the tip of the iceberg of his malevolent conduct towards and harassment of individuals behind the cloak of pseudonymity). He is a Washington & Lee law graduate from the 1990s, and an appellate public defender, and we will have more to say about him soon. But I welcome any further details from readers.

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    1. I was hoping that this Thomas Grover doesn't exist, and that this was all just an attempt to bait Leiter. But apparently he co-hostsa radio show: http://www.radiofreevegas.com/?page_id=4. I hope he covers this matter on the air.

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    2. So ...

      Leiter gets criticized, and demands names and docs on his critic. Then he sends a hurty letter to the critic's boss in which he cries and bitches non-stop. Finally, he demands further info about his other critics.

      It's not POSSIBLE ... but could it be? Could Leiter and Paintroach be the SAME person?

      Sounds like they have the same M.O.

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    3. I frequently confuse the two amongst the trolls.

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    4. That makes sense. I have long argued that Painter was an industry insider so unlikable and outrageous so as to make us all look like losers. It is all starting to fit. Painter is a puppet of Leiter.

      Or maybe Leiter is a puppet if Painter?

      I think I just blew your minds.

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    5. What a prize wuss Leiter is. He puts himself out there by publicly abusing Campos. Then when he gets a responsive e-mail that is objectively far less objectionable than what he himself wrote -- no name-calling, no off-color language -- he throws a hissy-fit. I don't think he can control himself. He's a pompous nitwit who just doesn't know when to shut up.

      I hope Grover's employers tell Leiter to go away and stop bothering them. And if Grover really has a radio talk show I hope he gets a lot of mileage out of this. Presumably he wouldn't have sent the e-mail if he wasn't prepared for Leiter to respond.

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    6. Agreed. What a dick Leiter is if he feels that destroying someone's career over a one line email is an intelligent, appropriate, and measured response.

      Ooooohh my ego has been hurt! KILL THEM ALL!

      Delete
  6. It must be nice for Letier not to have to live in reality.

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    1. It's the "Hyde Park bubble." The benefit to living there is that you get to conveninetly ignore the fact that the real world exists right outside its borders. To do otherwise would take away the fringe benefit of getting to be pompous and insufferable towards the great unwashed masses.

      The fact that Leiter has made his nest there should surprise no one.

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  7. Let me speak without prejudice briefly. I have nothing against Brian Leiter as a person. He is what he is, and I don't know him personally through the internet. But I do think that he represents what is wrong with legal education.

    - Feels that his status as a professor deserves respect by default.

    - Feels that students are lesser and should not question him, or act insolently or impertinently (terms most often used when describing children,. not adults).

    - Stifles debate (no comments on his site) and threatens other people and tries to destroy them if he doesn't like their opinions.

    - Has no significant legal experience, and represents the utter and absolute detatchment of legal academia from what the profession needs.

    I don't particularly care for the personal insults directed at him because it makes us all look a bit retarded, but I do think that he has plenty of faults that are valid targets for debate.

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    1. 100% correct (but he does bring the personal insults -- including mine -- on himself.)

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    2. I hope the author of that email, Grover or whatever his name is, fights back. Leiter has already smeared his name all over the internet in an attempt to destroy him.

      And does Leiter not learn? These things have a habit of harming him more than helping him. Remember the time he had that high profile public argument with an internet troll called "dogfucker"?

      I mean, really? You're engaging someone called "dogfucker" in a public debate?

      And I hope that dubbyk appears here to defend his name against creepy Leiter who is trolling for secret insider info so he can destroy dubbyks life over a lighthearted comment about a female law professor. What, is Leiter some kind of knight (Kneiter?) defending the honor of besmirched women?

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  8. I fantasize about spanking Leiter's bare bottom with a wet slipper.

    Oh, wait, no. That's a nightmare that I think about when I need to delay ejaculation sometimes. Except if I think about it for more than a few seconds, I lose my erection and can't get one again for about a month.

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  9. Leiter's article showed that for all the time he spends "ignoring" us and dismissing our claims as groundless, he secretly finds it worrying that this movement has the power to foment some radical changes in public opinion towards law schools.

    It's like his article was written in opposite land. You're ignoring us too hard, Leiter, and it shows.

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  10. Brian needs to get a grip. He has not listened to our complaints and he has ignored them for years and years and we finally get his attention by going to extremes of communication to get him to listen. And then he uses that as a sign that we are savages and cannot be listened to.

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  11. "We Get Mail"? Now what blog might have inspired that title??

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  12. Holy shit people are not happy with this guy: http://www.autoadmit.com/index.php?forum_id=2&hid=&qu=Leiter

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    Replies
    1. Leither basically took the gloves off with them and got himself involved in a lawsuit filed against them

      http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2005/03/penn_law_studen.html

      http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2007/11/anthony-cioll-1.html

      http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2009/10/lawsuit-against-autoadmit-harassers-settles.html

      AND my favorite:

      http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2008/11/autoadmit-updat.html

      Brian believes people are sociopaths when they verbally attack others on an openly juvenile website, but when he does it on a widely-read blog in a professional role, it's a-o-k.

      Delete
  13. 1. I don't know. I went to a lower tier school and really think the whole Leiter v Campos thing is a sort of in house upper tier conflict and doesn't apply to 3rd or 4th tier Reality. I never even knew leiter wrote poetry BTW.

    2. I recall that Campos had about 100 members, as does Nando.
    I wonder if most of them can join here?

    3. I really do think that suggesting that prospective law students delay going to law school for a few years is probably the best message to send.

    With all the controversy by now, and if you were considering taking on 6 figure debt, wouldn't you as a "sophisticated consumer" want to make sure your investment will pay off?

    Painter

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    1. @Roachie,

      You've been suspiciously reticent on this whole Leiter thing. Why might that be, exactly? Is it because you fantasize about doing the exact same thing to YOUR critics?

      How does it feel to be just like Leiter, minus the education, job, paid-off loans, etc.?

      How does it feel?

      Delete
    2. Are you even nuttier than I had at first thought?

      Who are you? What is your name?

      Delete
    3. Answer the question, Paintroach. How does it feel to be a creepy, Leiter-like stalker trolling for docs on your critics?

      Delete
  14. This little addendum is just to annoy the anon stalker :)


    There once was a silly old banjo.
    Baked in a pie.

    A silly willy nilly old banjo
    all baked in a pie!

    And when the pie was opened
    the banjo began to play.
    And everybody smiled and laughed and chuckled
    and had a good old sunshiney day!

    _____________

    Have a good day everybody! Go to youtube and find some nice banjo music to listen to!

    PS Shucks, I love youse guys and you are all big lugs.

    I even love Brian Leiter and his poetry. Because Leiter don't apply to me and don't know me from Adam nor nuthing.



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    Replies
    1. @Paintroach,

      Nobody here loves you. Except for the poop sculptor, that is; his enormous man-boobs have enough sugar-milk in them to fill a frigate.

      Milk for a roach. With a brown tint in it, naturlich.

      Delete
    2. "Hi, Mr. Infinity!"

      Delete
    3. @10:29AM

      Who are you? What is your name?

      Delete
    4. It isn't Paintroach or PoopSculptor, that much is clear.

      Delete
  15. SWARM SWARM!

    http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2013/03/04/amid-plummeting-app-numbers-law-schools-adapt-to-economy/

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    1. That is a great article. With many law faculty members saying exactly what Campos said.

      The Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions earned a record-high number of applications this year, reflecting the phenomenon of rising application numbers at colleges nationwide. But across campus at the Yale Law School, admissions officers are witnessing the exact opposite trend.


      Robert Berring, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, said students who are unsure of their futures may be wary of the high tuition fees associated with law school.

      “There are two different varieties of people who go to law school,” Berring said. “Some are set on becoming lawyers, and some enroll because it’s the next logical thing to do. But are you going to bet $150,000 to $200,000 on something you are not sure you want to be?”

      Robert Rasmussen, dean of the University of Southern California Law School, said the declining number of applications to law schools nationwide has become a talking point among law deans, some of whom are concerned that they will not have enough students to fill their classes in future years.

      “At some point,” he said, “what happens when we have more law school seats than qualified applicants?”

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  16. Leiter is just pissed that he's spent over forty years trying to grow a chin and the effort was all in vain.

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  17. Somebody needs to email this cunt's destruction of a mere student to all of his co-professors, his deans, his co-authors and everyone he knows. What a fucking bully. He must have been waiting to pounce on the first emailer who he could identify so he could make an example of him.

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    Replies
    1. Brian Leiter’s meltdown

      http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/03/brian-leiters-meltdown/

      Delete
  18. And here:
    http://www.volokh.com/2013/03/04/a-new-civility-standard/

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  19. From Campos: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2013/03/whats-going-on-in-the-faculty-lounge#more-40592

    This is also great: http://brianleitercyberbully.blogspot.com/

    The obsessive troll/law school apologist is getting his due.

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