Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The “public service” mantra

I try to remain ignorant about local politics, happenings, goings on, news, and events of every kind.  Normally, this is easily accomplished by substituting a national newspaper for the local rag.  But despite my modest efforts, I’ve been subjected to a lot of chatter recently about who is going to be running for Kenosha circuit court judge when one of the sitting judges retires.  And when election time rolls around – actually, I suspect that it’s always election time for those with a political bent – the voters will be hearing a lot of talk about why the candidates want the job.  I can predict that every candidate’s answer will be that he or she wants the job to “serve the public,” or “serve the community,” or some variation of that phrase.  My advice to the voters: don’t buy it.  Most (if not all) candidates want the job for the huge pay raise that comes with it.  Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The State of Legal Education: Are Law Profs Really to Blame?

I enjoy a good professor-bashing blog post as much as the next guy—especially when the targeted profs have said, done, or written silly things.  But today, many people like to blame law profs for the abysmal state of legal education—especially graduates’ staggering debt loads and inability to perform even basic legal tasks.  This blame comes in many forms, but a common criticism is that profs earn way too much money for publishing useless law review articles and, to compound the problem, their schools spend even more money shipping them to pricey, tuition-funded conferences to present their articles to other profs.  This, in turn, drives up the price of legal education and, worse yet, marginalizes (or displaces) real training in legal practice and legal theory.  As it turns out, however, the current state of affairs in legal academia is exactly what students have (unwittingly) asked for. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Observations on March Madness

Marquette could have used me this year.
The month-long celebration of college basketball is here.  Conference regular season champions have been crowned, conference tourneys are wrapping up, and tomorrow is Selection Sunday for the NCAA tourney.  It’s the time of year where Big East giants are humbled (sorry Nova), where 5-seeds come out of nowhere to become Horizon League champs and crash the Big Dance (congrats Milwaukee Panthers), and where Bill Raftery yells things like “organize the puppies – nylon delivery!”  But even the most wonderful time of the year can be improved.  Below are some thoughts for fans, coaches, players, and especially the zebras. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

NCAA disbands selection committee, defers to Joe Lunardi

For its 2014 men’s college basketball tournament, also known as “March Madness,” the NCAA has announced a major change in its selection and seeding process.  Philip Timmerman, the NCAA’s Director of Tournament Seeding, stated that this year “the selection committee will be disbanded, and the NCAA will simply defer to the selection, seeding, and placement decisions of Joe Lunardi.”

Joe Lunardi is an ESPN analyst who, in recent years, has predicted the tournament field with surprising accuracy.  “In most years, Lunardi was already predicting 63 or 64 teams of the then 65-team field, and was also amazingly accurate on both seeding and geographic placement of those teams,” Timmerman stated.  “It doesn’t make sense for the selection committee to continue to meet in a small conference room year after year, just to keep reinventing the wheel.  We always end up doing what Lunardi recommends anyway.  Or maybe it was like he was reading our minds and just beating us to the punch.  Regardless, this change will streamline the entire selection and seeding process.”

Law schools implement the mirror test

In the early 2000s, the real estate industry was booming and money was cheap and easy.  In some cases, a prospective buyer could even qualify for a “no doc loan” without giving proof of stable employment.  During these boom years the mortgage brokers joked (as they raked in their commissions and led us to a housing bubble) that a buyer only had to pass the mirror test: if they stuck a mirror in your face and you could fog it up, then you would get the mortgage.  And now it looks like the mirror test has jumped industries and made its way to law school admissions offices across the country.