Monday, July 6, 2015
In case you missed it (I did), New York recently announced that it will utilize a uniform bar examination that is in use in 15 states. A New York Times article about this change is available here.
I am not so sure that this is a good idea. One of the flaws in legal education today is that often times courses are just generalist type classes. Students may be reading cases from California in one lesson and reading New York cases in another. As a result, students graduate without having any grasp of the law in any particular state. Now, I recognize that there are exceptions-particularly with federal law, but even then the focus is rarely on the law of the circuit.
This is just rehashing the old debate of national vs. regional law schools. Most students want to go to "national law schools." I also understand that many students may not practice in the state where their law school is located. But, I never believed that this makes much sense.
There is no perfect solution. My view is that law schools should concentrate on the state law where most of their graduates practice. Therefore, it appears to follow that a bar examination based upon state law, at least in part, makes sense.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Thursday, April 9, 2015
South Texas College of Law is opening a new immigration clinic the school announced earlier this week.
The General Immigration Clinic’s mission is to work with the region’s legal service network to provide pro bono legal assistance to unaccompanied minors, adults, and families, and to build on its existing program to expertly educate and train students in immigration law.
The clinic, part of the College’s Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics, will focus on helping immigrants with basic benefits such as naturalization and green cards as well as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) cases. South Texas already is home to the Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic, which handles more complex immigration issues.
The clinic will handle 450-720 clients per year with 10-12 students participating each semester. This clinic is funded in part by a significant grant from Houston Endowment.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
There is a very interesting op ed article in the March 9, 2015 Washington Post written by a law professor that those interested in legal education should read. Law schools are in a death spiral. Maybe now they’ll finally change.
In this article, Professor Brown discusses how law schools are declining, how they put too much emphasis on U.S. News and World Reports rankings and the terrible job market new lawyers face. Professor Brown also questions the value of faculty scholarship and student edited law reviews. As Professor Brown states:
Legal scholarship is in a terrible state, with counter-intuitive incentives for faculty. Status comes with publishing, but more publishing means less teaching and interacting with fewer students. In the legal academy, second- and third-year law students select which law professors’ articles to publish; while my second and third years are brilliant, they cannot select for quality the same way experts would. But even if you think the student-run system is fine, the value of legal scholarship, which is rarely read, has its skeptics, among them Chief Justice John Roberts. Scholars at the University of Florida argue in a recent study that very few articles are cited for their ideas. This broken system is also subsidized disproportionately by the tuition dollars of poorer law students.
Questioning the value of legal scholarship is heresy inside the legal academy – which is why I am grateful that I have tenure. Law schools are run by the faculty for the faculty. A former colleague once put it like this: “If we could run this law school without students, this place would be perfect.” He happened to be the dean. Such a system is unlikely to be changed from within.
But while faculty cannot be terminated, their summer research stipends can be. Other disciplines require faculty to obtain external funding to support their work. Law schools should take a similar approach. For all who argue that legal scholarship has merit, let the market decide. This won’t solve all of a law school’s financial woes, but it could be a place to start right now. My 20 years as a legal academic causes me to predict that no serious change will occur until a cataclysmic event occurs. My prediction: In three years, a top law school will close. Then watch how quickly things change.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
- Impacts of recent developments on the use of adjuncts
- How many adjuncts and what courses should they or should they not teach?
- Maximizing the benefits of adjuncts
I have two initial responses:
Lander writes in the first post, "And if a school is looking for a quick way to cut a few thousand dollars from its expense budget, reduction in the number of adjuncts may seem a handy way to find that reduction while asking "underutilized" tenured faculty to teach the courses the adjuncts had been teaching."
This is true, but aren't greater saving realized by not hiring a tenure track professor and using two adjuncts to teach elective classes otherwise being taught by full-time staff, leaving required and bar classes for the the full-timers? At many adjunct pay scales, this approach would hold greater appeal to the bottom line.
Lander writes in his second post, "One very important concern is the effect of the dependence on adjuncts on scholarship and publications. Although many adjuncts do write articles, nearly all of the true legal scholarship is done by full-time faculty and very little is done by adjuncts. This lack of scholarship has many negative implications...Research and publications will suffer in any area where full time faculty is replaced by adjuncts. Areas which make major use of adjuncts such as trial practice, bankruptcy, and sports and entertainment law have probably reached a tipping point where the amount and quality of research is significantly affected by the mix of adjuncts and full-time faculty working in these fields."
I would certainly agree that in the law school arena adjuncts on the whole are less productive scholars than are full-time professors on the whole, if journal articles and books measure "true legal scholarship." The question, though, is this: How many fully tenured professors are no longer productive scholars (and here)? It seems unfair to criticize adjuncts for not contributing scholarship when tenured professors - those best situated to make scholarly contributions - do not themselves write.
I am looking forward to more from Mr. Lander during his time at The Faculty Lounge.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing for South Carolina on Monday voted against the proposed sale of Charleston Law School to InfiLaw, a private, for-profit education concern. The final up-or-down vote will be made later by the state's Commission on Higher Education. The commission will consider the committee's decision in that final vote.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Job Figures Show Improvement for New York Law Schools is an interesting April 18, 2014 NYLJ article
Read more: http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202651533889/Job-Figures-Show-Improvement-for-New-York-Law-Schools#ixzz2zXIRFu6O
As the article explains:
Members of the Class of 2013 from New York's 15 law schools are faring slightly better than their predecessors in finding jobs, and also better than their counterparts nationwide, according to entry-level employment data released last week by the American Bar Association.
The small boost came even though the nation's law schools graduated their largest class ever.
For the 5,009 graduates of New York's schools, 62.9 percent had found full-time, permanent jobs requiring bar passage as of Feb. 15, roughly a 3 percentage-point increase over last year. Nationwide, the 57 percent who secured such jobs was not much higher than 2012's 56.2 percent.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Yes, it's true and it is by 15%. Story here. Brooklyn is not alone. As CNN reports:
A handful of other schools have cut tuition as well. The most prestigious school in this group is the University of Iowa, which reduced tuition by 16.4%. Others include the University of Arizona (11% in-state, 8% out-of-state) and Roger Williams University (18%). A few schools have really gone all out: Penn State cut tuition by nearly 50% for in-state students in the class of 2014, and the University of La Verne reduced tuition from $39,500 to $25,000 and completely did away with merit aid. (It's worth mentioning that the American Bar Association revoked La Verne's provisional accreditation in 2011; the school has since earned it back.)
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Brian Clarke (Charlotte) has written an extremely important and ultimately courageous post, "Law Professors, Law Students and Depression . . . A Story of Coming Out (Part 1)" at The Faculty Lounge on depression and anxiety's alarming incidence among attorneys. Clarke relates some truly disturbing statistics on depression and suicide in the legal profession (emphasis in original):
Lawyers, as a group, are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than the average person. Of 104 occupations, lawyers were the most likely to suffer depression. (Both of these statistics are from a Johns Hopkins University study to which I cannot find a link).
Further, according to a two-year study completed in 1997, suicide accounted for 10.8% of all deaths among lawyers in the United States and Canada and was the third leading cause of death. Of more importance was the suicide rate among lawyers, which was 69.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 individuals, as compared to 10 to 14 suicide deaths per 100,000 individuals in the general population. In short, the rate of death by suicide for lawyers was nearly six times the suicide rate in the general population.
Clarke continues along this vein and introduces his own story fighting mental illness in this first in a three-part series on the subject.
Some states have added a mental health component to the continuing legal education requirements, and many state bar associations have established hotlines and resources for attorneys battling mental illness. The Texas Lawyers Assistance Program serves this latter function in Texas -- the Program's 24-hour hotline number is 1-800-343-8527.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Karen Sloan, National Law Journal, reports that Cleveland-Marshall will, "allow students who complete one year of studies but don't want to continue their l.egal educations to receive a master of legal studies degree." HT: Above the Law.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
A proposed sale of the Charleston (SC) Law School to a Florida-based company has captured the state legislature's attention, and it appears some there may have other plans for the stand alone law school.
Some powerful S.C. lawmakers are trying to stop the sale of the Charleston School of Law to a Florida-based company to clear the way for it to merge with a state-supported school, a move that would give South Carolina two publicly funded law schools.
But other lawmakers say South Carolina already struggles to sustain the state’s 33 publicly funded colleges, universities and technical schools, adding the state should not interfere with private business transactions.
Here is the full story from Adam Beam of thestate.com. According to the story, some legislators proposed to merge the law school with the College of Charleston, a public university located in downtown Charleston.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
The former Texas Wesleyan School of Law opened this Fall semester as the Texas A&M University School of Law. Earlier this year, the Texas A&M System purchased the Texas Wesleyan School of Law for $73 million. Clay Falls at KBTX.com has a story with video on the transition.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Source: New York State Department of Civil Service
Civil Service Commissioner Jerry Boone recently announced that New York State has hundreds of internships available, and reminded college students to apply for Fall semester internships before the application deadline on September 3, 2013.
New York State created a one-stop website athttp://nysinternships.com/nnyl/ that allows students to view and apply for internship opportunities across an array of state agencies both downstate and upstate.
The website is one component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’sNew New York Leaders initiative, which is focused on attracting new talent to state government through both a fellowship program and an internship program. With the internship website, applicants can view job descriptions, create profiles, specify interests, and upload resumes, writing samples and letters of recommendation. Students can apply for multiple internships at the same time.
“The internship program is designed to attract and mentor a new generation of talented leaders for New York State,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “I continue to encourage talented college students to consider devoting time to public service while acquiring valuable skills and marketable work experience.”
“New York State continues to offer a wide variety of opportunities across numerous professional occupations,” said Civil Service Commissioner Jerry Boone. “Governor Cuomo’s internship program offers opportunities for hands on experience in finance, engineering, public relations, information technology and health care, as well as a host of other professional disciplines.”
The program is open to resident graduate and undergraduate students as well as students who attend schools in other states, but reside in New York. Opportunities include both paid and unpaid positions. Internships may include academic credit depending on the policy of the educational institution.
To apply, visit http://nysinternships.com/nnyl/ .
Reprinted with permission New York Public Personnel Law
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Friday, July 19, 2013
The National Law Journal (Karen Sloan) reports the "ABA committee reviewing the organization’s accreditation standards has voted to do away with the rule establishing a minimum student-to-faculty ratio." Current standards require a 30-1 ratio while stating a 20-1 ratio is ideal. The article also addresses other proposals before the committee, including proposals to change current tenure practices and to require law schools to meet higher bar passage rates.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The Sacramento Bee (Mark Glover) reports this morning that the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law will cut its enrollment from over 1,000 students in Fall 2010 to 600 students over the next three years in response to declines in applications. The story is here.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Rutgers-Camden School of Law enrolled 282 first-year students in 2011. In 2012, the school only enrolled 116. A recession in the legal employment market and a failed merger receives the blame. The Philadelphia Business Journal's Jeff Blumenthal has the full story.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Jordan Weissmann at The Atlantic has posted an article that purports to reveal the best and place regions and states to look for a law job, measured by law graduates per job opening. According to the study, the best region to look for a law job is the Rocky Mountain states; the worst is New England, followed closely by the Great Lakes region. The worst state to look for a job is Mississippi, with over 10 graduates per opening. The best? -- Alaska, the only state with no law school.
Monday, June 3, 2013
The number of people applying to U.S. law schools dropped nationwide for the third year in a row, prompting some law schools to slash the size of their entering classes.
As of May 17, about 55,760 people had applied to American Bar Association-accredited law schools for the 2013-14 school year — down 13.4 percent from 2012, according to data compiled by the Law School Admission Council.
The story goes on to describe cuts in applications or enrollment at Georgetown, George Washington and other schools.
Friday, May 31, 2013
According to this Tacoma-Seattle report by Kathleen Cooper, a "12-person steering committee working on [a] plan" to bring a new law school to Tacoma, Washington, some 20 years after the University of Puget Sound sold its law school to Seattle University. The committee is in its earliest "due diligence" stages according to the report and their are some substantial hurdles to admitting the first student, as the report explains.