University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter and University of Colorado law professor (and ScamBlogger) Paul Campos both are passionate in their views about legal education. Of course they are not the only two academics so engaged, but SBM Blog has taken special note of Campos because of his notoriety as ScamBlogger and because he is a University of Michigan Law grad.
As we've noted before, there are many, many things that Leiter does not like about Campos's views, how he arrives at them, and how he expresses them. The stakes for the future of legal education are high and the topics Leiter and Campos are taking on are fraught, but simply for comic relief this relatively lighthearted topic seems worth noting. From Campos:
There is no such thing as international law. Or environmental law. Or human rights law. Or sports law. Basic rule: If some form of legal practice sounds interesting to non-lawyers, it does not exist.
The Leiter response:
This is obviously silly, since, in fact, lawyers work in all these areas. Perhaps what is meant is that one should not go to a law school simply because it advertises a specialty in one of those areas, and without regard for its overall reputation, and that is probably correct, but then that's what he should have said.
It's not the denial of specialty law practices that caught my attention, although I agree with Leiter that Campos probably meant what Leiter suggests. And that there is a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere. It's the Campos's basic rule that strikes me as a humorous non sequitur. To state the obvious, whether nonlawyers think a particular type of practice is interesting has no impact on the existence of the practice. And the strange truth is that lawyers find all kinds of practices interesting that appear deadly boring to nonlawyers. And to other lawyers, for that matter. It's a big and evolving profession and it takes all kinds -- provided that they're smart and ethical, of course.