Three prominent law professors, all Yale law grads, recently had a good laugh at the expense of a public figure who we have had occasion to mention on this blog. Thanks to the reader who called this to our attention and who forwarded a short clip.
In the August 11 episode of PJTV's InstaVision program which you can watch in its entirety here, Professor Glenn Reynolds (of "Instapundit" fame) reflected on the heroic qualities of Professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr., the fictional Harvard Law School professor depicted in The Paper Chase.
Professor Reynolds then directed his imagination to what a post-modern version of The Paper Chase would look like, and what sort of character would play the villian -- the "bad example of a law school professor today."
His answer? Larry Tribe, a leading figure on this very blog! In identifying the sort of anti-Kingsfield he had in mind, Reynolds made a not-too-thinly-veiled reference to Tribe's practice of having large tracts of his constitutional law treatise ghostwritten by assistants (here), some of whom, it seems, just cannot resist inserting into their drafts plagiarized passages (here).
This amused the other participants in the discussion -- NYU law professor Richard Epstein and Berkeley law professor John Yoo -- who were quick to pledge they've never had a research assistant write a single sentence in any of the articles they've published.
Here's a brief clip (to subscribe to PJTV click here).
Professor Tribe was unavailable for comment on whether he will be playing himself in the film.
Harvard Plagiarism Archive
"[T]he problem of writers . . . passing off the work of others as their own . . . [is] a phenomenon of some significance."
PROFESSOR LAURENCE TRIBE, e-mail to Dean Lawrence Velvel, 9/13/2004
"'I . . . delegated too much responsibility to others . . .,' [Prof. Charles Ogletree] said. 'I was negligent
in not overseeing more carefully the final product that carries my name.' * * * Ogletree told The Crimson that
he had not read the passage of Balkin’s book that appears in his own work. An assistant inserted the material
into a manuscript . . . . But Ogletree said he was closely involved in most of the drafting of the book . . . ."
STEVEN MARKS, "Ogletree Faces Discipline for Copying Text," The Harvard Crimson, 9/13/2004
"'Ronald Klain . . . then only a first-year student at Harvard law . . . spent most of his time with
Tribe working on Tribe's  book God Save This Honorable Court,'" the Legal Times added in 1993.
* * * 'Many of Klain's friends and former colleagues say that he wrote large sections of the book . . . .'"
JOSEPH BOTTUM, "The Big Mahatma," The Weekly Standard, 10/4/2004
"[A]fter several plagiarism scandals broke over distinguished faculty members at Harvard's law school, including
Laurence Tribe,a group of students there set up a blog, Harvard Plagiarism Archive, to follow the University's
handling of the problem. They believe that the University, President Summers, and Dean Elena Kagan
essentially white-washed the scandal and are demanding further action.
PROF. RALPH LUKER, History News Network's "Cliopatria" blog,4/26/2005
“The Tribe and Ogletree matters have catalyzed bitter complaints from Harvard students that the university
employs a double standard. . . . The students have every right to be incensed over this gross double standard.
They in fact ought to raise hell peacefully about it: a constant barrage of letters, emails, statements . . . .”
DEAN LAWRENCE VELVEL, "Velvel on National Affairs" blog, 4/28/2005
"If you want to keep track of this story, I recommend the new Harvard Plagiarism Archive. . . . [I]t's pretty thorough."
TIMOTHY NOAH, Slate's "Chatterbox" blog,9/28/2004
"[Y]ou have done a wonderful service to all by operating the AuthorSkeptics website . . . a fine public service."
DEAN LAWRENCE VELVEL, author of "Velvel on National Affairs," e-mail to AuthorSkeptics, 4/19/2005