Saturday, October 12, 2013

Critique of Tamahana

A new and thoughtful critique of Brian Tamahana's blockbuster, Failing Law Schools, shared with me by my colleague N__.  I've previously offered my own criticism of Tamahana's book.

I have a deeper problem with Prof. Tamahana than problems with his analysis or statistics.  My gripe is that it is an easy form of scholarship to throw stones at everybody else, including existing institutions.  Great publication strategy?  Explain why "One View of the Cathedral" gets it all wrong or is otherwise worthless.  More hay has been made from rankings scholarship than I care to analyze.  A better approach?  Articulate one's own proactive vision of something, leaving the critiques for the footnotes.  (To be clear, I'm not innocent, either, and if Chicago wants to offer me a book contract I may well write "how the runningprofs blog is ruining the academic running community.")

1 comment:

  1. Mike Simkovic has done the academya tremendous service by doing a rigorous analysis of the empirical claims of Tamanaha, Campos and Merritt, in this review and also in his study, "The Economic Value of a Law Degree." Available here and on SSRN --

    Debunking is important, but the point that you make, Max, is even more important. There are certainly things that should/need to be done to reform legal education, but the "law school scammers" offer no suggestions, and, to the extent they do, their critiques focus the discussion on precisely the wrong issues.

    I'm going to move this above the fold, because I suspect we've all been giving this some thought, and it has frequently been one of the things I talk and think about when I run.