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Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America Hardcover – March 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594032335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594032332
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,408,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest book from Olson (The Excuse Factory) is part historical overview and part cutting-edge commentary examining corporate case studies and public and tort law with a sharp analysis of the academic system and the internal and external forces shaping its agenda. Law schools mould the future leaders of America, shaping the nation and influencing consensus. Recent legal scholars have infiltrated politics, journalism, and broadcasting, claiming greater authority and creating potentially serious social repercussions. The author explores perceived political bias at Harvard and Yale, their dependence on "left-tilting philanthropy," and the tendency of professors to permeate the curriculum with their own values. Additionally, Olson argues, the commercialization of American universities creates markets of intellectual property and a culture of one-upmanship. Often with tongue firmly in-cheek, Olson addresses the "American disease" of dubious injury claims and product liability lawsuits, the ever-spurious "recovered memory" litigation, and other legal precedents. This hard-hitting, witty account reveals the effect of law on the individual and the collective and astutely forecasts the future of law reform, in the academy, in politics, and across the globe.
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Ira E. Stoll VINE VOICE on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Of all the possible explanations for Barack Obama, one of the most intriguing is that, like Bill Clinton before him, he was both a law school graduate and a law school professor.

As such, Walter Olson explains in his new book, Mr. Obama was subjected to an environment of overwhelming leftism.

Democrats outnumber Republicans 28 to 1 on the Stanford law school faculty, 23 to 1 at Columbia, Mr. Olson reports.

Mr. Olson's book describes the various ways that law schools have shaped public policy. Clinics on the law school campuses get involved in political issues. He writes that Yale's Legislative Advocacy Clinic "attempts to move the state of Connecticut toward 'a more progressive agenda in taxing.'" CUNY law school, meanwhile, is "itself a unit of the same New York City government it regularly sues on welfare issues. The website of Fordham's Community Economic Development clinic says it works to "limit gentrification."

Law schools, including professors who profited personally from their work on anti-tobacco litigation, helped shape changes in product liability law. They also helped spawn "public law litigation" suits under which, Mr. Olson recounts, courts "in more than half the states took control of school financing systems" and "took over control of child welfare departments in thirty-five states, prisons in more than forty, and jails in all fifty..... The process thrust courts deeply into management, with reform orders often going on for hundreds of pages specifying such details as the required square footage of prison cells, the wattage of light bulbs, the temperature at which food had to be served, and so forth."

Mr.
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33 of 46 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Carrad on March 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great idea for a book but, alas, falls very short in the execution. First, it is much broader than an analysis of what is wrong with US law schools -- it meanders off into tort cases, "public interest" law, UN NGOs, etc. and loses focus too soon. Second, it is very poorly written and full of awkward sentences and simple grammatical errors which should have been caught had even the most rudimentary editorial attention been paid to the manuscript. There are lots of interesting - and depressing! - bits, but overall the souffle fails to rise. (I am a Harvard Law graduate, '72, so was caught in the middle of many of the evil developments addressed here and am painfully aware of the many shortcomings of American legal education).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not a book for everyone, but I highly recommend it. Walter Olson presents a revealing look (and history) of how the hated lawyer class has expanded their influence over the decades. You don't need to be a lawyer to appreciate. To understand how much power and influence legal academia has had (and continues to wield) in our world today, read this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Connecticut Commentator on February 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An illuminating expose of the ideologically slanted culture that pervades most American law schools by one the country’s leading critics of the American legal system. Olson, whose previous books--The Litigation Explosion and The Rule of Lawyers—paint a less than flattering portrait of the litigation and class action-obsessed legal profession, now directs his attention to the legal education culture that is its breeding ground. In the author’s view, with a few notable exceptions, such as the conservative and libertarian Federalist Society, the political culture of most American law schools is decidedly left-of-center, an irrefutable fact revealed by examining faculty voter registration records, opinions expressed from the professorial lectern, the leanings of student legal clinics, and, as Judge Richard Posner has observed, the frequently bizarre and tendentious titles of law review articles. In contrast to the real world of practical law, Olson argues that this culture is informed by an obsession with legal theory (e.g. critical race theory, feminist jurisprudence, critical legal studies, deconstructionism, identity politics, etc.), its associated inscrutable jargon, intellectual conformity, and political agendas advancing claims of victimization. Ideas that would be considered extreme and over-the-top among the population at large, are likely to find acceptance in the rarefied and hermetically sealed halls of the legal academy. Olson attributes this culture to three kinds of pressure: the ABA accreditation process and its associated pressures for “diversity,” fear of litigation, and donors with ideological agendas.Read more ›
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By KH on February 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't normally write reviews, but after being exposed to law profs who preach the wonders of class actions and debase the "horrific" case of Citizens United (and that's just this particular term), I run home to find solace in Olson's book. Law school can be alienating for a Libertarian, but it is heartening to know that people like Olson exist. Every law student should read this book--I hope it will open their eyes to the Left's monopoly on academic law.
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