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Law Professor Blogger Census (Version 3.0)

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UPDATE: The census has been revised. A new version of the census, Version 3.1, incorporates changes and additions suggested by readers. It includes 20 more bloggers.

Back in June of 2005, I decided to do a census of law professor bloggers. I released Version 1.0, and after receiving comments from readers, released an updated Version 2.0 on June 16, 2005, which is available here.

In Version 2.0 of the census, on June 16, 2005, I listed 130 bloggers (28 female, 102 male), and schools with the largest number of bloggers: San Diego (7), UCLA (5), George Mason (5), Cincinnati (4), Ohio State (4), GW (3), Georgetown (3), Stanford (3), St. Thomas (3), Chapman (3), Villanova (3).

I’ve decided to update the census for this fall, creating Version 3.0. Please email me about your blog if you were left out of this list or if you know of others we overlooked. I will post a revised version after receiving comments.

Current statistics for Version 3.0 are:

Number of Bloggers: 182 bloggers.

Growth: Since the last census on June 16, 2005, the number of bloggers has grown from 130 to 182, an increase of 40%! That’s a big increase in less than 5 months.

Gender: Of the bloggers, 41 are female and 141 are male. There are 13 new female bloggers and 39 new male bloggers. Female bloggers increased by 46% and male bloggers increased by 38%.

Schools: Schools with the most bloggers include:

Chicago (14)

UCLA (7)

San Diego (7)

GW (5)

George Mason (5)

Stanford (4)

Northwestern (4)

Ohio State (4)

U.C. Davis (4)

Cincinnati (4)

Schools in the U.S. News Top 20 rankings account for 59 bloggers

1. Yale (3)

2. Harvard (2)

3. Stanford (4)

4. Columbia (2)

5. NYU (1)

6. Chicago (14)

7. Pennsylvania (0)

8. Michigan (3)

8. Virginia (1)

10. Northwestern (4)

11. Cornell (3)

11. Duke (1)

11. Berkeley (1)

14. Georgetown (3)

15. UCLA (7)

15. Texas (2)

17. Vanderbilt (1)

18. USC (0)

19. Minnesota (1)

20. Boston University (1)

20. George Washington (5)

There are 59 bloggers from Top 20 schools. The number is roughly a third (32.4%) of the total number of bloggers (182). It thus appears that the Top 20 schools have a disproportionately large representation in the blogosphere. Only 2 schools in the Top 20 have no bloggers.

The Chicago Law Faculty Blog partly accounts for the disproportionate numbers among Top 20 schools. Without Chicago, there are 45 bloggers from the Top 20 schools, accounting for 24.7% of the total number of bloggers. Not including Chicago, the average Top 20 law school has 2.25 bloggers.

If we use Brian Leiter’s Top 20 law faculties based on scholarly citations, we must include 3 different schools (Colorado, Emory, Illinois – 4 bloggers) and exclude 3 schools (Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt, Minnesota – 2 bloggers total). This results in a net increase of 2 bloggers, thus yielding 61 bloggers from the Leiter Top 20.

The schools with the most bloggers generally fare quite well in the Leiter rankings.

Chicago – Blogger Rank = 1, Leiter Rank = 1

UCLA – Blogger Rank = 2, Leiter Rank = 15

San Diego – Blogger Rank = 2, Leiter Rank = 23

GW – Blogger Rank = 4, Leiter Rank = 16

George Mason – Blogger Rank = 4, Leiter Rank = 23

Stanford – Blogger Rank = 5, Leiter Rank = 4

Northwestern – Blogger Rank = 5, Leiter Rank = 12

Ohio State – Blogger Rank = 5, Leiter Rank = 28

U.C. Davis – Blogger Rank = 5, Leiter Rank = Unranked (outside Top 30)

Cincinnati – Blogger Rank = 5, Leiter Rank = Unranked (outside Top 30)

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5

Your Microsoft Word Documents Can Rat on You

metadata1a.jpgMany people don’t realize that Microsoft Word encodes information about the authors and editors of each document. It’s called “metadata.” For example, some of this data is contained under the “Properties” section of the “File” pull down menu.

An article in the New York Times describes what can be revealed when metadata is examined:

It hardly ranks in the annals of “gotcha!” but right-wing blogs were buzzing for at least a few days last week when an unsigned Microsoft Word document was circulated by the Democratic National Committee. The memo referred to the “anti-civil rights and anti-immigrant rulings” of Samuel A. Alito Jr., a federal appeals court judge who has been nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bush.

The stern criticisms of Judge Alito rubbed some commentators the wrong way (Chris Matthews of MSNBC called it “disgusting” last Monday). But whatever the memo’s rhetorical pitch, right-leaning bloggers revealed that it contained a much more universal, if unintended, message: It pays to mind your metadata. . . .

According to some technologists, including Dennis M. Kennedy, a lawyer and consultant based in St. Louis, (denniskennedy.com), metadata might include other bits of information like notes and questions rendered as “comments” within a document (“need to be more specific here,” for example, or in the case of my editors, “eh??”), or the deletions and insertions logged by such features as “track changes” in Microsoft Word.

A blogger searched the Alito memo for metadata and could figure out some of the authors of the document. According to the NYT story:

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5

The arms race continues in the Spam wars

We’re getting a new wave of spam comments like this one:

IP Address: 195.39.170.102

Name: Thomas Miller

Email Address: Alex@gmail.com

Comments:

Two thumbs up!!! thins that excited you at 14: http://www.panasonic.com , [a href=”http://www.sun.com”]my parents didnt told me about it[/a] , [a href=”http://www.apple.com” rel=”itsok”]think that will make relief [/a]

What in the world is going on here? Are the spammers really shilling for Sun, Yahoo, and Panasonic?

Nope. The newest wave of comments is a sophisticated long-term attack by the smart big spammers. They are designed not to advertise for the mainstream sites in question, but rather to compromise the blacklists that are becoming more effective against spam.

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0

Welcome Business Week Readers

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This week’s Business Week Online contains a reference to this blog’s postings on Judge Alito’s securities jurisprudence. For your reference, we’ve written about Judge Alito several times.

1. Solove on Alito and privacy law.

2. Hoffman on the power of Congress to subpoena Alito’s former law clerks.

3. Solove on the utility of mining Alito’s record.

4. Hoffman on Alito and securities law (Part I).

5. Hoffman on Alito and securities law (Part II).

6. While you are here, you may also be interested in posts that don’t appear on our main page, including Oman on the bankruptcy of France and the philosophical significance of the repo man, and Wenger on liability for blogging. Plus, you really ought to read our registration statement.

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New Phrases for the Ann Coulter Talking Doll?

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In the spirit of Dan Solove’s recent posting on the airport security playset, I would like to recommend the Ann Coulter talking doll.

Check out the link and you can hear sample phrases. My favorite is the one about liberals hating American more than terrorists. God bless politics.

Perhaps a phrase that could be added to the next edition of the doll is this one, which Dave Hoffman includes in his discussion of Coulter’s attack on Harriet Miers: “[A]ll the intellectual firepower in the law is coming from conservatives right now.”

All of this leads me to some serious questions (which modify Ms. Coulter’s statement): are conservative legal academics the ones producing the most influential or the most interesting scholarship these days? There was a time (in the nineteenth century) when the legal treatises were almost all written by conservatives (James Kent’s Commentaries; Joseph Story’s Commentaries; Timothy Walker’s Introduction to American Law). I can only think of one important antebellum legal treatise writer who was a Democrat: Henry Sedgwick. And his treatise on constitutional law was a success because he did not let his Democratic politics interfere with reporting on the law as it was.

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5

AALS Law Professor Meat Market

meatmarket1a.jpgFor aspiring law professors, the infamous hiring conference, known as the “meat market,” is this week. Best of luck!

Here are some helpful posts from Concurring Opinions:

1. Solove’s advice on job interviews

2. Kaimi’s advice on getting to your job interviews

I’d like to say that my post is more instructive and Kaimi’s is more humorous, but if you can’t get to your interview . . . well, you probably won’t get a callback. As Woody Allen famously said: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

More advice on law teaching can be found at:

1. Solove’s roundup of PrawfsBlawg teaching interview advice

2. Brad Wendel’s advice and roundup of useful links to more advice

3. Brian Leiter’s advice

4. Jack Chin and Denise Morgan’s advice and roundup of useful links to more advice

5. Michael Madison’s advice and useful links

1

Introducing Guest Blogger Al Brophy

brophy.jpgFor the next few weeks, Al Brophy will be guest blogging with us.

Al is a professor of law at the University of Alabama, where he teaches property, wills, and remedies. He is also the book reviews editor of Law and History Review.

His recent work includes Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Riot of 1921-Race, Reparations, Reconciliation (Oxford University Press, 2002) and Reparations Pro and Con (forthcoming Oxford University Press, 2006).

His current research involves legal thought in the Progressive era and moral and legal thought in the old South.

We’re very excited to have Al here as a guest.

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Hi-Tech Rat Race: Law Enforcement Surveillance and New Technology

surveillance2.jpgBrian Bergstein writes in an AP article about the issue of law enforcement surveillance and technology:

With each new advance in communications, the government wants the same level of snooping power that authorities have exercised over phone conversations for a century. Technologists recoil, accusing the government of micromanaging — and potentially limiting — innovation.

Today, this tug of war is playing out over the Federal Communications Commission’s demands that a phone-wiretapping law be extended to voice-over-Internet services and broadband networks.

Opponents are trying to block the ruling on various grounds: that it goes beyond the original scope of the law, that it will force network owners to make complicated changes at their own expense, or that it will have questionable value in improving security.

No matter who wins the battle over this law — the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, known as CALEA — this probably won’t be the last time authorities raise hackles by seeking a bird’s eye view over the freewheeling information flow created by new technology.

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2

National Security Letters

confidential3.jpgDid you know that the FBI can issue a letter to an Internet Service Provider or a financial institution demanding that they turn over data on a customer? The letter doesn’t require probable cause. No judge must authorize the letter. The FBI simply issues the letter and gets the information. There’s a gag order, too, preventing the institution receiving the letter from mentioning this fact.

A recent lengthy Washington Post article examines National Security Letters (NSLs) in depth:

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters — one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people — are extending the bureau’s reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.

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1

“Potentially Safer” Cigarettes

images.jpeg This article from the Times (UK) is interesting. Apparently, BAT is planning to introduce a cigarette that, through various filtering technologies, may cut the risk of cancer and other smoking related diseases up to 90%

There are many problems with producing, marketing and buying “safer” cigarettes. Some were explored in one of my favorite books about American business, Barbarians at the Gate. As the article points out, the BAT folks are nervous. Although “privately” they refer to the cigarette as “risk free” or “low-risk cigarettes”, they are going to be sold as merely “potentially safer”.

But here is the kicker. BAT executives understand they can’t say, out loud, that consumers using their product as it was intended to be used will not get sick. Even safe cigarettes are bad for you, even if somewhat less so than competitive brands. But the “safe” inference is the inference that BAT really would like consumers to make. Without the inference, why would smokers buy a cigarette that likely will be more expensive, or have a harder “draw,” or might even taste terribly. So, BAT is “likely to focus its advertising on the new technology,” and hope that consumers will reach the appropriate conclusion themselves.