Is Union Membership Rebounding in the U.S.?

Unionyes This report from UCLA so suggests:

Buoyed by a rising tide in California in general and Southern California in particular, U.S. unionization levels rose substantially this year, defying a decades-long trend of decline, according to a report by UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

“The State of the Unions in 2008: A Profile of Union Membership in Los Angeles, California and the Nation” shows unionization rates nationwide rising half a percentage point over the 2007 level, to 12.6 percent of all U.S. civilian workers in 2008. The rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point between 2006 and 2007. Prior to that, the last time U.S. unionization rates registered an increase was in 1979.

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Bar Exam Scores as a Law School Ranking Metric

Law deans, faculty, and of course students obsess a great deal over the rankings put out annually by the US News and World Report. Some like the rankings, and some hate them. Some find them important, while others dismiss them. Some propose improvements, while others suggest alternatives. Some join anti-US News letter-writing campaigns or even try to organize anti-US News boycotts (nothwithstanding that a concerted boycott of US News would seem to be an antitrust violation, given that horizontal group boycotts are per se violations of section 1 of the Sherman Act under the Supreme Court’s decisions in NYNEX and Klor’s).

But whatever one might think about the US News’s rankings, there can be no doubt that they evoke strong feelings, as attested to most recently by the many reactions in the legal blogosphere to this story on the rankings in last week’s Wall Street Journal. Because of the high level of interest in them, the rankings are a favorite (and possibly the overall most frequently written on) theme of law faculty blogging. Indeed, it almost seems as though a blogger who has yet to opine on the rankings subject cannot be taken seriously. So, lest I be thought an unserious blogger, here is a suggestion for how the US News’s law school rankings might be improved or replaced that has largely, though not entirely, been overlooked. (After drafting this blog entry I did a Google “preemption check” and noticed that a recent comment on the Moneylaw blog makes a suggestion that is similar to mine, and a somewhat more extended treatment is offered by Andrew Morris and Bill Henderson in a recent paper.)

The basic idea is this: why not use bar exam scores as a way to rank law schools?

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Persuasion Through Harley Davidson

Cross Posted: Indisputably

This summer I read the book Elements of Persuasion by Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickson.  I’ll be blogging about other fascinating parts of the book, but today, in honor of Harley Davidson’s 105th anniversary, which was celebrated last weekend (with thousands of Harley riders in town, including up and down the main street in front of the Law School), I want to highlight what the authors called “mirror neuron training.”  This means that people build empathy for each other by mirroring and matching physical actions.  For successful companies, Maxwell & Dickson argue that close physical contact is associated with successful corporate branding because of this mirror neuron training.  So, when we walk into Starbucks, we notice how the physical labor of taking orders, making coffee, and serving it appears to happen seamlessly.  This is, according to the book, because of mirror neurons, which take care of the physical movements, allowing the baristas to focus on small talk and smiling at their customers.

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