It’s known as “law porn” — those glossy brochures that arrive in torrents in every professor’s mailbox touting the wonderful accomplishments of law schools. There’s been a recent swell in posting lately in the legal blogosphere about law porn — from tips by David Bernstein about how best to produce the porn to Jeff Harrison’s plea for a Do Not Mail list.
Why does law porn exist? To raise up a law school’s US News Ranking. Law schools like to tout their accomplishments. Without law porn, how would we know that Professor X published a new book? Or that Professor Y spoke at the school? Or that the school put on a symposium? Or that Professor Z got an honorary degree from the University of Antarctica Law School?
Brian Leiter has devoted a significant amount of time to mocking the obscene claims made within some law school promotional materials.
What should be done? How do we stamp out law porn?
The answer, I believe, is to give the law schools a different outlet for releasing all this information. After all, we want to encourage law schools to do the kinds of things depicted in law porn — publish articles and books, hold conferences, have faculty workshops, and otherwise create a vibrant intellectual community. We want this healthy activity to be reflected in a law school’s ranking. We just don’t like it placed in our mailboxes.
My solution is for law schools to create a law porn blog. A representative from each school can post about the various news, conferences, and publications at the school. Of course, it need not be called “law porn blog,” although with a moniker like that, I’m sure it would enhance the visitor traffic. But a blog can serve as a centralized resource for announcing law school news, and it can save countless money and trees.
So we don’t need to end law porn — just steer it to a new venue, an online red-light district for the legal blogosphere. It’s time for the law schools to join together to create a law porn blog.