The law professor who started the blog Inside the Law School Scam has finally been outed as University of Colorado lawprof Paul Campos. As anyone with the intelligence of a brick might guess, his views on law school, and particularly the price of the Academy, didn’t make him a popular fellow in the faculty lounge.
He was far more popular with practicing lawyers and law students, but then, we don’t get a law school paycheck or judge our manhood by the number of articles published in law reviews.
Naturally, some anger and animosity has been directed toward Campos from others in the Academy, but Brian Leiter, channeling Nancy Grace by giving him the epithet “scamprof” (it could have been “tot mom” except he’s not a mom and law students aren’t tots), does what no lawprof since Ann Bartow has been able or willing to do. He got nasty.
ScamProf is the failed academic who has done almost no scholarly work in the last decade, teaches the same courses and seminars year in and year out, and spends his time trying to attract public attention, sometimes under his own name, this time anonymously. These are important facts about ScamProf, since he is indeed scamming his students and his state, and his initial posts were tantamount to a confession that he’s not doing his job.
A colleague from Penn writes:
I don’t know who this jerk is, but I appreciate you calling him out. I clicked through to his posts and felt the urge to throw something. I bust my butt preparing for class and educating myself deeply in my fields (and, indeed, refuse to teach any class in which I don’t consider myself highly qualified), and students clearly understand and appreciate those efforts, but this kind of recklessly expressed cynicism can undermine an enormous amount of good work in the creation of a cooperative and engaged learning environment. It’s the functional equivalent of writing about how every man on the planet regularly violates the terms of his intimate relationships and pushing out that message with the aim of making even the happiest partners and spouses suddenly experience doubt. What a jerk.
This captures rather well why ScamProf is so offensive to those who actually do their jobs.
Any numbers on how many “actually do their jobs?” Names, maybe? Salary data?
ANOTHER: A colleague at Maryland writes: “Scamprof is easily explained by the well known proverb that ‘a thief thinks everyone steals.’ Don’t let up on him.” By the way, several readers tell me that ScamProf moderates comments, and will not approve those that are too critical.
Several readers told me he eats babies. Don’t you believe me?
For Paul Campos is, of course, most notorious in the legal academy for going on the O’Reilly Factor--yes,the O’Reilly Factor–to call for Ward Churchill to be fired for his offensive political opinions (long before any allegations of academic misconduct arose). And this wasn’t an anomaly: he also called for Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee) to be sanctioned by his university for his offensive political opinions. Fortunately for Professor Campos, his contempt for the First Amendment rights of state university professors do not constitute binding precedents on the courts, and I am confident his university won’t sanction him for his irresponsible speech. They should, however, launch an investigation into whether he is performing his duties, since his blog is tantamount to an admission of dereliction of duties and his ‘scholarly’ record is prima facie evidence of failure to do his job as a professor at a major research university.
The O’Reilly Factor? That’s academic heresy per se, and with pretty good reason, but this has what to do with the law school scam?
I understand that Paul Campos, our ScamProf, is feeling desperate, given the hole he’s dug for himself. His colleagues are furious, he was already an embarrassment to his institution, and now he’s added fuel to the fire by openly insulting his colleagues. But whereas the facts about Campos that I’ve adduced (he disputes none of them, for obvious reasons) are highly relevant to understanding why he would lie, exaggerate and engage in reckless generalizations about his professional colleagues, the facts and non-facts he adduces about me are just irrelevant ad hominems.
From what I see at inside the Law School Scam, Campos has nothing but kind words for his distinguished colleague, Brian Leiter.
It is thus with a certain sadness that I note one of the leading lights of contemporary legal academia, Professor Brian Leiter, the Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director, Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Value, at the University of Chicago Law School, has, I have been told, chosen to point out to the world that, in comparison to himself, I am a poor scholar and have reprehensible work habits, rather than responding to any of my arguments about the state of the contemporary law school.
Having spent a fairly good amount of time reading the words of lawprofs so that you don’t have to, there is one thing that stands out above all else in this flagrant display of outrage. What’s particularly impressive about all of this is to see some law professors (with the obvious exception of Ann Bartow) finally grow a pair and start using language that means what it says. It’s so . . . manly.
But I do offer this word of caution to Brian Leiter: When you piss into the wind, expect to get hit with some spray. No matter how much of a jerk Paul Campos may be, neither Holocaust deniers nor lawprofs are going to be warmly received by merely pretending that everything is hunky dory aside from this O’Reilly Factor lover.
Now strip off your clothes, step into the mud and start rolling. We’ll get the popcorn. And maybe this airing of harsh words will end up producing a wee bit of honesty about how the Academy has completely screwed the pooch on law school.