No doubt there’s a reason why law reviews exist as a place for legal academics to publish their scholarly writings with the acceptance, approval and oversight of student editors. If I cared enough, I could research it and find out, but I don’t. Rather, it’s sufficient for now that the system involves the least knowledgeable, least capable and least attuned to the realities of law making decisions for a profession of which they’ve yet to earn a place.
Most things are published that they may be read. Law review articles are published that they may be written. – J. Posner
And yet, the law review student editors at New York University Law School demand compensation for their hard work.
“We love our work, but prestige is not adequate compensation for the value we provide,” the letter reads. “Our journals have been cited in courts throughout the country, up to the Supreme Court. NYU reaps the benefits of robust journal publication in admissions and institutional prestige.”
Serving as a law review editor is indeed hard work. Reading tediously boring submissions, Blue-booking cites. Requiring additional footnotes. All for journals that few read and fewer care about. But rather than quit the law review, they want money because these are the days that law schools, law deans, acquiesce to the demands of students because they either can’t or won’t say no.
In the aftermath of the Stanford law school debacle surrounding Judge Duncan, numerous emails were sent, one of which being an apology from Dean Jenny Martinez and Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne to Judge Duncan for the failure of an unnamed administrator, DEI Dean Tieren Steinbach, to uphold school policy. Student groups requested that Dean Martinez correct her misguided blame.
Stanford law alumni apparently also wanted to know what she planned to do about this blight on their alma mater’s reputation. Dean Martinez sent them an email as well.
The way the event with Judge Duncan unfolded was not aligned with our institutional commitment to freedom of speech. Staff members who should have enforced university policies failed to do so and instead intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech.
As I have shared with you all before—and will continue to affirm during my deanship—Stanford Law School is deeply committed to free speech. President Tessier-Lavigne and I have apologized to Judge Duncan. The school is reviewing what transpired and will work to ensure that protocols are in place so that disruptions of this nature do not occur again. SLS is committed to the conduct of events on terms that are consistent with the disruption policy and the principles of free speech and critical inquiry that they support.
No matter how many times you read Dean Martinez’s words, you will not see anything about what will happen to Dean Steinbach or the students engaged in the disruption. While she says the school is “reviewing what transpired,” which will hopefully take less than the four months Georgetown needed to review a single twit by Ilya Shapiro, it’s only expressed purpose is to “ensure that protocols are in place.”
But they are in place. They had a rule. It was violated. The problem is twofold, that the students knew they could do as they pleased and the dean and a phalanx of legal academics would fabricate rationalizations for why they were right and support them for it.**
Can a law school dean say “no”? Can law professors find it in their hearts, if not their brains, to mold these minds full of mush and turn them into lawyers?
The whole incident makes me wonder if these future lawyers will ever be able to truly and zealously advocate for someone they don’t like or for a position they don’t personally hold.
— Steven Greenwald (@teewee249) March 13, 2023
Are the “kids alright” or have we failed them by indulging their whims, their childishness, their arrogance of believing there are no rules which they are required to abide? Will they behave differently in court before a “bad” judge when a defendant’s life is on the line? Will they take comfort in the certainty that they are right, that they are the good and moral voices and can throw bombs at the bad ones who are entitled to neither respect nor decorum because they are wrong and evil?
Has the battle for the future of the legal profession been lost? If so, what then is the purpose of schools of law that have forsaken the role of “vocational schools” to turn out lords of the flies instead of lords of the law?
Update: And the story that never ends hasn’t ended yet.
“Protesters, dressed in black and wearing face masks that read ‘counter-speech is free speech,’ stared silently at Dean Martinez as she exited her first-year constitutional law class.” https://t.co/lCerJu9AaK
— Andy Grewal (@AndyGrewal) March 14, 2023
*Tuesday Talk rules with the new caveats apply.
**More than a decade ago, I admonished academics to “Take The Classroom Back,” recognizing that there would soon come a point in time when it was no longer viable to tell these consumers of education that they were just students.