Flowers really starting to come out in Northern VA and DC

Things are really starting to look beautiful around here. This weekend has been very nice. Some information on the National Cherry Blossom festival can be found here.

NYT: Comparing Apples and Oranges on percent of women in law firms

Although the nation's law schools for years have been graduating classes that are almost evenly split between men and women, and although firms are absorbing new associates in numbers that largely reflect that balance, something unusual happens to most women after they begin to climb into the upper tiers of law firms. They disappear.

According to the National Association for Law Placement, a trade group that provides career counseling to lawyers and law students, only about 17 percent of the partners at major law firms nationwide were women in 2005, a figure that has risen only slightly since 1995, when about 13 percent of partners were women.

Even those who have made it to the top of their profession say that the data shows that women's legal careers involve distinct, often insurmountable hurdles and that those hurdles remain misunderstood or underexamined. . . .

For their graph on the percentage of women law partners over time see here.

One obvious problem with their data is that people might be lawyers for 40 or 50 years, but women didn't reach 40 percent of law school students until twenty years ago and didn't reach 50 percent until 2000. It was 20 percent thirty years ago and 10 percent just 23 years ago. It is the average over the entire period that counts, not just the most recent graduation numbers. Indeed if it takes 7 years or so for people to become partners you can't even compare the graduation rates prior to 1997 (since their numbers end in 2004).

A second possible problem is that law schools might have let in lower quality women then men inorder to get the admission rates so high for women.

I am not sure what to say about this quote: "Lauren Stiller Rikleen says many women don't like being part of 'a billable-hour production unit.' " If workers don't like that arrangement and are willing to take sufficiently lower pay to compensate for the loss in efficiency, we would see law firms set up around those alternative arrangements. Since I don't think that we see many firms like that, it seems that isn't true.


New Orleans finally admits that it took law-abiding citizen's guns

A Second Amendment group calls it a “stunning reversal.” After denying it for months, the City of New Orleans on Wednesday admitted that it does have a stockpile of firearms seized from private citizens in the days following Hurricane Katrina.

The city even took lawyers to the place where some 1,000 firearms are being stored.

The city’s disclosure came as attorneys for both sides prepared for a court hearing on a motion to hold the city in contempt. (On March 1, The Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association filed a motion to have New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley held in contempt of court for refusing to comply with an injunction to stop illegal gun confiscations and return all seized firearms to their rightful owners.) . . .

Thanks to the The Independent Conservative for pointing to this story.

Thoughts on Kelo Decision


Senate Grandstanding on Oil

This is very depressing. Does it bother anyone making these causation claims that the prices didn't really go up that much until after Katrina? Can anyone discuss the changes in supply that have occurred? More importantly, it is not just the US price that has gone up, it is the world price that has gone up. If these politicians were right the gap between the US retail price and the world price should have gone up, and there seems to be no evidence of that. The only saving grace for Republicans is that the Democrats are even worse.

Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the hearings to examine whether mergers in the oil and gas industry had resulted in higher gasoline prices at the pump.

Gasoline prices jumped above $3 a gallon after Hurricane Katrina last summer and are now about $2.37 a gallon. They have risen by 60 percent in the last five years.

"We do know that there have been mergers and that gasoline prices have risen," Senator Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said in his opening remarks. . . .

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said that the degree of competition and the amount of market power held by oil companies following the mergers raised "really serious questions."

"Although each of these mergers reduced the companies' costs they were nevertheless followed by increases in the costs to consumers," she said. . . .


Talks this week

March 14 (noon) Law School, Florida Coastal, Jacksonville, FL
March 15 (lunch) Law School, Stetson, Gulfport, FL
March 16 (10:30 to noon) Economics Department, University of Miami
March 16 (4pm) Law School, Florida International, Miami, FL

In the economics department, I will be talking about my research on the judicial confirmation process. In the three law schools, I will be talking about gun control issues.


Gun law enforcement out of control in New Jersey

You have to follow the link to read the whole story, but this is a pretty scary story. Mr. Revell was carefully following the law, but it didn't stop NJ police from arresting him and getting him stuck in jail for a long time. I have posted on this case before, but the details here are worth reading:

When Gregg Revell packed his bags for a trip to Pennsylvania last April, he had no idea how far he'd be traveling.

Before the week was out, the 57-year-old suburban real estate agent and grandfather would be arrested, thrown into one of the country's most notorious jails, strip searched and inoculated against his will. The soft-spoken Utah native would be on his way to becoming a poster child for the National Rifle Association in a $3 million lawsuit.

During a nearly five-day stay in a Newark, N.J., jail, he would meet a terrifying side of America that most Utahns see only on television and briefly would become a jailhouse mentor to drug dealers and violent criminals.

It started as a trip to pick up a BMW in Allentown, Pa., for a relaxing road trip back to Utah.

"I fix them up and sell them," Revell says. "Sometimes I make a profit. It's something I do for fun."

Revell, who has a Utah concealed weapon permit, usually takes a handgun with him for protection on his car trips.

Transporting a firearm in your luggage across country on an airline is not illegal, but involves some paperwork. Revell who has made a couple dozen such car-buying trips, knows the process. He fills out the Federal Aviation Administration paperwork, packs his .45 caliber pistol in a locked case, his hollow-point ammunition in another locked case and puts both in his checked luggage. He declares the gun to the ticketing agents.

"Sometimes I get a look, but it's never been a problem," he says. . . .