Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Stop me before I cross-post again!

Now that I'm overblogging, I might as well cross-post the blog-overs. Hey, it's all bloggable, in the end. Here's my latest post at Law School Innovation.


I feel your cross post is very relevant for Baylor. On more than one occasion when I have made the mistake of crossing over the bounds of where students are supposed to stay and asked why some professors here publish almost nothing, I am told that the briefs and cases etc. are essentially the same thing. I get the argument that allowing them to work on the side lets them keep their skills up and their reputation solid.

However, I am never told how this helps the schools ranking or my education. Also, I know that they are making money on the side as I am paying for tuition and their salaries.

While I do not believe advocacy as a professor is a negative, I do find it very disturbing that many professors at this school have convinced themselves that it is not only a substitute but a right of being a professor.

Nice post that I think hit all to close to Baylor.

I do think that advocacy can be a good thing for the school and for scholarship. I know that it has helped me to participate much more in a national discussion of policy issues.

Also, to be clear, all of my advocacy is pro bono-- I take no pay for the work that I have done in appellate courts (including, in the past year, the federal 1st, 2d, 3d, 8th & 9th Circuits and the Supreme Court). When I did panel work (representing indigent defendants in federal court), I got paid $95/hour by the court, but I have not taken such cases in three years. I took a few cases off the panel so I would know what things were like from the defense side, and to get to know the local bench and bar. For those purposes, it was very worthwhile.

In all of this I have included students in my work, and it has been a very positive experience for many of them.
Professor Osler

I am responding to your cross blog (which dealt with the issue generally) and am in no way trying to point fingers at you.

However, I do feel that some professors here are taking salary that we pay and doing nothing to increase the value of our education. When challenged they hide behind the argument that what they are doing on the side is just as valuable even though nobody can point to a tangible benefit.

Maybe this is the way things work but it has left a bad taste in my mouth. How much has our tuition gone up? How far are we falling in the rankings? How many professor spend a significant amount of time padding their pockets but not publishing or working on scholarship that matters for our school?

Questions that should be asked and I believe are an extension of your cross blog.
I can't speak for anyone else on the faculty, but you might be surprised how much of the "outside" work that is done is pro bono. At any rate, I have seen the other side of the story-- my profs at Yale sometimes (but not always) had little to no exposure to the actual practice of law beyond a judicial clerkship, and that was a whole different problem...
I'm uncomfortable putting comments on your other blog, for fear it isn’t my place, but I can’t help but wondering what life is like at other law schools.

For one, the concept of pod casting lectures seems alien. More than one first year Professor here at Baylor explicitly prohibits voice recorders in the classroom for the reason their presentation doesn’t change from quarter to quarter. They use the same jokes, same notes, same hypos and very little changes. I have no problem with that, I have no problem with professors sticking with what works. My only question is whether it’s like that at every other school?

At several schools I toured before coming to Baylor, exams would be put on file in the library after being administered. Here, they are preciously guarded, like they contain something substantially helpful towards getting better grades.

I know our schedule is far more rigid than most schools but first, are our classes themselves based on a more rigid year to year consistency than other schools? Second, what effects both positive and negative do you think pod casting would have here at Baylor?
I'm not sure I get the podcasting thing-- what's the advantage of it? And I would worry that it would become a reason not to come to class, and there is more to it than audio reveals, after all.
If lectures were podcasted I wouldn't have ever attended a single class. Not one.

However, Patent law did some podcasting for classes the Prof. missed, and I liked that because I could make up for his absence on my own time.

This comment is really pointless, I just don't feel like studying for the Bar...
I think I feel the same way, I guess that’s kind of why I’m confused about people from other schools getting excited over the proposition.
Pod-casting sounds like a good idea, but only for limited purposes, and definitely not for anything foundational.

As someone who is currently taking BARBRI, I can tell you that the difference between a video-taped lecture and a real one is night and day- and its even more pronounced between a live lecture and an audio tape. (and even worse at chipmunk voice speed)

Even with a quality instructor like Trail or Counseller, listening to an audio tape of a lecture is a beating, and I know I wouldn't be retaining much of anything if I hadn't had most of the material previously.
On the subject of podcasting... I'm currently enrolled in a night class at UPenn and the teacher does record it - most of the time (he forgot to tonight, but everyone was there). He doesn't really get how to record it on the little pod machine, and still uses overheads for his lecture. But I think the fact that the podcasts are available are pretty neat, but that their value is limited. I had to miss a class because of a work commitment, and I was able to listen to the podcast. Since the class itself was going over a sample negotiation exercise, it was really hard to follow. I would have much preferred to be in class, but didn't have that choice. So I think it's nice that the school is making such things available. And, the lecture is posted on the "Blackboard site" for that class. I imagine it could be limited just to those currently enrolled in the class, but it is limited to those enrolled in the school of course. Another student said she enjoys listening to the podcasts again after class as she drives 2 hours back home each night. That sounds a bit obsessive, but... she sounded pretty "driven!"

The other thing I might note is that the professor for this course is a practicing attorney and mediator. When I went to GW law school, I did take courses from part time/adjunct faculty. There were some professors who had lots of things going on to benefit students - like Prof. Banzhaf's study on dry cleaner's gender discrimination by price of shirts! I think it's good to have a balance of profs who can bring some real world experience. And, even better if they are helping to better the world while they do their job...!
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