From Barack Obama (Harvard and Chicago) to Bill and Hillary Clinton (Yale), many of our current national leaders emerged from the rarefied air of the nation's top law schools. The ideas taught there in one generation often shape national policy in the next.
The trouble is, Walter Olson reveals in Schools for Misrule, our elite law schools keep churning out ideas that are catastrophically bad for America. From class action lawsuits that promote the right to sue anyone over anything, to court orders mandating the mass release of prison inmates; from the movement for slavery reparations, to court takeovers of school funding—all of these appalling ideas were hatched in legal academia. And the worst is yet to come. A fast-rising movement in law schools demands that sovereignty over U.S. legal disputes be handed over to international law and transnational courts.
It is not by coincidence, Olson argues, that these bad ideas all tend to confer more power on the law schools' own graduates. In the overlawyered society that results, they are the ones who become the real rulers.
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About the Author
"Perhaps America's leading authority on over-litigation". That's what Investor's Business Daily has called Walter Olson, whose books and writings have helped set the terms of debate about the excesses of the nation's civil justice system. Olson's book The Litigation Explosion was reviewed favorably in the New York Times by the late Chief Justice Warren Burger and subsequently cited by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in a major Supreme Court opinion; the Washington Post dubbed Olson an "intellectual guru of tort reform". The Excuse Factory, his book on litigation in the workplace, was met with accolades everywhere from The American Lawyer ("engaging, witty and provocative") and the London Times ("riveting") to the A.B.A. Journal ("wittily scathing") and The American Spectator ("devastating and eloquent"). His new book The Rule of Lawyers has already been hailed in the American Lawyer as "wry, amusing" as well as "provocative and enjoyable".
A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, the think tank in New York City, Mr. Olson is a frequent contributor to the magazine Reason, and his writing appears regularly in such publications as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has appeared numerous times before Congress, federal agencies and state lawmakers and has approximately 300 broadcast appearances under his belt, including "Crossfire", "MacNeil-Lehrer", "Oprah", "Donahue", and NPR. His website Overlawyered.com, launched in 1999, has won wide acclaim for its mix of entertaining and serious commentary.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
MASSIVELY hackish. This is the sort of book I label "anti-persuasive", as in, books whose arguments are so bad that they make me more hostile to the author's position than I was when I started. As someone who does think intellectual diversity in academia is important, and has supported proactive efforts to increase conservative representation within the professoriate as a result, this book was absolutely terrible. It has less an argument than it does a stream of invective, mocking out-of-context passages and articles with funny titles (I don't even think most academic conservatives think "The Curvature of Constitutional Space" is an embarrassing article to the profession, but to an uninformed reader "The Harvard Law Review published an account of the supposed impact on judges' constitutional interpretation of Einstein's theory of relativity, space-time curvature, and quantum physics." (4) sure sounds silly, doesn't it?). Ditto his listing of secondary journals devoted to left-friendly topics (generally, identity politics) -- he doesn't tell you that any law professor knows placing exclusively in those journals is a quick way to a tenure-denial.Olson is almost explicitly anti-intellectual, mocking the very process of having novel ideas or attempting to look at problems in different ways. Obviously, when one canvasses the entire history of legal scholarship one can find plenty of duds, but this is hardly an honest way of evaluating the state of the field (and I really don't think Olson wants to get into a debate about whether legal liberals or legal conservatives defended more substantively appalling positions over the entire course of the 20th century). It's exceptionally unclear what he thinks legal scholars should be doing, aside from writing more things Olson agrees with and fewer he disagrees with, which, believe it or not, is not a workable principle.
Maybe Shakespeare was right, "first kill all the lawyers" but unfortunately that is not an option. In Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and An Overlawyered America by Walter Olson, the author makes the case how our society has systematically gotten more litigious for the wrong reasons. Stemming from the future lawyers, law students, learn in the institutionalized law schools. This has led to a systematic system of mistrust. Multi track, this book examines a broad view of the law on our society. Starting off that many of our leaders, like President Obama are lawyers. Olson goes into examples of legends of frivolous law suits that have placed a strain on our system. He also ventures into universal jurisdiction that blurs national boundaries and cause havoc to sovereignty. This book also examines the united consequences of policies that attempt to fix one program but end up creating others. Over all Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and An Overlawyered America by Walter Olson is an insightful analysis into our modern legal system for anyone wondering out loud "How the heck did we get here?"