Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Call for Papers: Law and Ethics of Big Data

I recently received the following call for papers via e-mail


Law and Ethics of Big Data


Co-Hosted and Sponsored by:

Virginia Tech Center for Business Intelligence Analytics

The Department of Business Law and Ethics, Kelley School of Business


Co-Sponsored by:

The Wharton School

Washington & Lee Law School


April 8 & 9, 2016

Indiana University- Bloomington, IN.

Abstract Submission Deadline: January 17, 2016

We are pleased to announce the research colloquium, “Law and Ethics of Big Data,” at Indiana University-Bloomington, co-hosted by Professor Angie Raymond of Indiana University and Professor Janine Hiller of Virginia Tech.

Due to the success of last year’s event, the colloquium will be expanded and we seek broad participation from multiple disciplines; please consider submitting research that is ready for the discussion stage. Each paper will be given detailed constructive critique. We are targeting cross-discipline opportunities for colloquium participants, and the IU community has expressed interest in sharing in these dialogues. In that spirit, the Institute of Business Analytics plans to host a guest speaker on the morning of April Participants are highly encouraged to attend this free event.

Submissions: To be considered, please submit an abstract of 500-1000 words to Angie Raymond at and/or Janine Hiller at by January 17, 2016. Abstracts will be evaluated based upon the quality of the abstract and the topic’s fit with the theme of the colloquium and other presentations. Questions may be directed to Angie Raymond at or Janine Hiller at

Authors will be informed of the decision by February 2, 2016. If accepted, the author agrees to submit a discussion paper by March 26, 2016. While papers need not be in finished form, drafts must contain enough information and structure to facilitate a robust discussion of the topic and paper thesis. Formatting will be either APA or Bluebook. In the case of papers with multiple authors, only one author may present at the colloquium.

TENTATIVE Colloquium Details:

  • The colloquium will begin at noon on April 8th and conclude at the end of the day on April 9th
  • Approximately 50 minutes is allotted for discussion of each paper presentation and discussion.
  • The manuscripts will be posted in a password protected members-only forum online. Participants agree to read and be prepared to participate in discussions of all papers. Each author will be asked to lead discussion of one other submitted paper.
  • A limited number of participants will be provided with lodging, and all participants will be provided meals during the colloquium. All participants are responsible for transportation to Indiana University Bloomington, IN.

November 18, 2015 in Business Associations, Business School, Call for Papers, Corporations, Haskell Murray, Law School, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bar Passage and the Business Law Professor

With the recent release of bar results in many states, I have been obsessed of late about the sorry state of bar passage across the country--as well as specific bar passage issues relating to our graduates.  So, rather than (as I should and will do soon) responding to Steve Bradford's prompting post on the final JOBS Act Title III crowdfunding rules and the related proposals regarding Rules 147 and 504 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (as well as his follow-up post on the Rule 147 proposal), I have decided to focus on bar passage for my few minutes of air time this week.  Specifically, I want to begin to explore the question of what we can do, if anything, as business law professors to help more of our students succeed in passing the bar on the first attempt.

At a base level, this means we should endeavor to understand something about the reasons why our individual students fail the bar the first time around.  A lot has been written about the national trends (inconclusively, as a general rule).  And I am sure every law school is now analyzing the data on its own bar passage shortcomings.  But my experience teaching Barbri and my conversations with former students who have not passed the bar indicate a number of possible causes.  They include (and these are my descriptions based on that experience and those conversations, in no particular order):

  • Failing to state the applicable legal rule(s) and apply them to the facts;
  • Difficulty in processing legal reasoning in the time allotted;
  • Nerves, sleep deprivation, illness and the like; and
  • Engaging insufficiently with study materials and practice examinations.

Assuming that these anecdotal observations are, in fact, causes contributing to bar exam failures for at least some students, how might we be able to help?

Continue reading

November 5, 2015 in C. Steven Bradford, Joan Heminway, Law School, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thank Law Review Editors and Thoughts on the Law Review Submission Process

This week I thanked the law review editors at the West Virginia Law Review for their hard work on my forthcoming article. They seemed truly grateful for the thanks, which was well deserved, and it made me think that I should thank law review editors more often.

Law review editors put in a tremendous amount of time working on our articles, often well after-hours given all of their other commitments. Even when the process is frustrating, I think we need to be thankful and professional. Also, given that I have had a few rough editing experiences, I now state my preferences up front, which (at least this time) led to better results. 

Somewhat related, over at PrawfsBlawg, Andrew Chongseh Kim has a couple posts on the law review process: one on exploding offers and one on peer review of law review articles.

Personally, I don't have a problem with exploding offers, and I actually think more law reviews should use them. The submission game incentivizes submission to many journals and trading up multiple times. This process wastes an incredible amount of student editor time and they have every right to effectively shut down the expedite process.

As I have mentioned before, the exclusive submission window is an elegant solution to the expedite problem. Under this strategy, the law review promises a prompt decision and the professor promises to accept the offer if made. The only downside to the exclusive submission window is that the professor usually cannot shop the article during that window, so it slows the submission process. 

Maybe the solution is to allow multiple submissions, but prevent professors from trading-up. If that were the rule, professors would be incentivized to submit only to journals where they would be happy to publish and the process would be faster.

Finally, I can't have a post about law reviews without asking, again, why more law reviews have not moved to blind review. I cannot think of a good reason, but am I missing something? 

October 23, 2015 in Haskell Murray, Law Reviews, Law School, Research/Scholarhip, Writing | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What Happens In Law School Does Not Stay In Law School

From potential employers to faculty, I hear a common mantra that students are “no longer able to write.” Thus, we need to get them practice ready in a way that apparently we, as law schools, used to do. 

I, too, share frustration with poorly written materials and poor performance generally. I also worry about the practice-ready nature of some of our students. Still, I find myself compelled to say that, in my experience, the vast majority of our students are thoughtful, intelligent, and capable.

I also can say that many of our students do not push themselves to deliver the high-quality work product of which they are capable.  I long for the self-motivated student, the same way I have (at times) longed for the self-motivated employee.  Some people have it, and some people don’t.  Like height, one can’t really teach motivation, but we can try to help students find their own motivation from within.  And we can set expectations high enough that failure is, in fact, an option. 

I have come in contact with quite a few students, and I don’t think we have an actual literacy problem with the students I have taught over the years (a few stark examples, perhaps, to the contrary). A lack of literacy or ability is simply not a fair assessment of virtually all students I have taught. I concede, however, that we often have far too many students who fail to demonstrate their abilities, and that is cause for alarm.  Not working hard is not that same as not being able to do the work, though the result is the same. 

I fully support taking measures to try to address these shortcomings, and the time to do something is now.  We have a moral and ethical obligation that we try to do more. At our law school, we are taking this concern seriously, but I want to make sure we are focusing our concern in the right areas.   

At our school, we have started (another) dialogue about how we can improve our students’ performance, and I think (hope/expect) that those conversations obviously include improving our collective performance as teachers, as well.  The law school community needs to be one that fosters learning.  Part of what everyone in the building, regardless of job, should be committed to is educating our students (on professionalism, as well as legal doctrine) because everything that happens here impacts the educational experience.  What happens in law school, does not stay in law school.  It impacts lives, futures, and communities, including our students, their clients, and every part of where we live, learn, and work.

One of the big keys to all of this is, I think, ensuring that we hold ourselves accountable for the learning of our students, and that means holding them accountable, not just complaining when they come up short.  If we’re not willing to have tough conversations, before (but including) issuing a final grade, we’re not doing our jobs. I love my job, and I care about what I do, but I’m putting myself first on the list of people who need to better.

We have many great students, and I am truly thankful for the countless wonderful I have had the chance to teach.  I have many great colleagues at my school (and at others schools) who care about law students and the world those students can and will impact.  But I also think that, as a group, we as faculty can do better.  It starts with holding ourselves accountable in the way many seem to wish we’d hold our students accountable.  Perhaps not surprisingly, part of truly holding ourselves accountable means holding our students accountable.  I think we need to start there. 

October 20, 2015 in Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Lawyering | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Encouraging Student "Thriving" Through Group Simulations

Last week was the oral midterm examination week for students in my in Business Associations class.  I admit to exhaustion and jubilation at the end of that week every year.  I think the students feel about the same way . . . .

This year's examination related to an expulsion of members in a member-managed limited liability company (LLC).  The facts were based on an interesting Tennessee case with which many LLC aficionados are no doubt familiar: Anderson v. Wilder.  The exam questions related to the validity and effects of the expulsion under the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act and the LLC's operating agreement, the potential breaches of fiduciary duty and failure to comply with the contractual obligation of good faith and fair dealing, and the possible resulting causes of action and remedies--including any effects of the members' dissociation.

In a blog post last weekend from Lou Sirico and our other friends at the Legal Skills Prof Blog, I divined support for all of us who engage in practice-focused legal education: these teaching/learning methods can help students to thrive, not merely survive.  It has been my (admittedly anecdotal) observation that students who engage in simulations (as well as those who participate in clinics and internships/externships) in law school are happier and more well-adjusted about their education and their post-graduation employment.  Last week's oral midterms--conducted in groups of three--gave me some windows on that world.  I will share a few here.

Continue reading

October 14, 2015 in Business Associations, Clinical Education, Joan Heminway, Law School, Lawyering, LLCs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 12, 2015

How Much Securities Law Should Be in the Basic Business Associations Course?

Last week,  I asked whether casebooks should include statutes. That post provoked a healthy debate in the comments and elsewhere. Today, I want to address another content question, this one dealing not with the content of casebooks but with the content of the Business Associations course itself. What securities law topics should be included in the basic business associations course?

The answer to that question obviously depends on whether the course is for three or four credit hours. I don’t think a comprehensive business associations course should ever be limited to three credit hours. But, if I had to teach a three-hour course, I would not cover any securities law. Agency, partnership, corporations, and LLCs are already too much to cram into a three-hour course. Adding securities topics on top of all that would, in my opinion, make the course too superficial.

Luckily, I have the hard-fought right to teach B.A. as a four-hour course. In a four-hour course, I think it’s essential to cover proxy regulation. Federal law or not, it’s mainstream corporate governance, at least for public companies, and many, perhaps most, securities regulation courses don’t cover it.

Beyond that, I’m not sure any securities coverage is absolutely essential. I spend a few minutes on the registration of securities offerings and a few minutes on Rule 10b-5 and securities fraud. I cover both topics in my Securities Regulation course, so I don’t want to cover either topic in any detail, but it’s so easy to stumble into these areas without even realizing it that every future lawyer should be warned. My main message: if you’re not a regular practitioner of securities law, call a securities lawyer. It’s too complicated to pick up on your own.

When I say I cover those topics in a few minutes, I mean no cases and, except for the text of 10b-5, no regulations. Just a brief summary by me of the potential pitfalls.

I do cover insider trading in depth. It could be relegated to the basic securities course; I cover the rest of Rule 10b-5 in Securities Regulation. But it just seems to work better in Business Associations, perhaps because of its focus on fiduciary duties. And covering it in B.A. keeps me from having to cram even more into my three-hour Securities Regulation course.

I would be interested in hearing what others think about this. Which securities law topics should be covered in the basic B.A. course and which should be relegated to Securities Regulation?  

October 12, 2015 in Business Associations, C. Steven Bradford, Law School, Securities Regulation | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Midwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business (MALSB) Annual Conference - Chicago, IL - April 2016

Currently, I am planning to attend the MALSB Annual Conference in Chicago this coming April. The conference is described by the organizers below. While ALSB regional meetings like this one are usually attended mostly by legal studies professors in business schools, I am told that the conference is open to all.


The Midwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business (MALSB) Annual Conference is held in conjunction with the MBAA International Conference, long billed as “The Best Conference Value in America.”

The MBAA International Conference draws hundreds of academics and practitioners from business-related fields such as accounting, business/society/government, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, health administration, information systems, international business, management, and marketing. Although the MALSB will have its own program track on legal studies, attendees will be able to take advantage of the multidisciplinary nature of this international conference and attend sessions held by the other program tracks.

 [More details are available under the break.]

Continue reading

October 1, 2015 in Business School, Conferences, Haskell Murray, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Albany Law School - Associate Dean and Professor Postions

University of Kentucky College of Law - Commercial and Business Law Professor Position


The University of Kentucky College of Law recently posted an announcement of their professor opening in the commercial and business law areas

My updated list of law schools hiring in the business law area is here.

My updated list of non-law schools (mostly business schools) hiring law professors is here.

September 30, 2015 in Business School, Haskell Murray, Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ten Promises For New (and Old) Law Professors to Consider

A couple weeks ago, I wrote Ten Promises For New Law Students to Consider, which discussed the promises I made to myself when I went to law school.  It seems to me appropriate that I should follow up with something applies to me now.

This list for law professors (or at least, this law professor) includes some of the promises I made myself when I left practice, and some that have evolved over the almost decade I have been teaching.  It's hard to believe this is my tenth year as a full-time teacher. 

To that end, here are my suggestions for faculty members, based on my experience. I don't always keep these promises, but (as I did with the law school promises) I try.  This list is even less exhaustive than my last effort, and I welcome additions to the list in comments. I am not going to lie, this was a harder list to make, and it's a challenge to fulfill them all (especially #6). 

I promise: 


(1) To be intentional.  That is, I will choose books, assign readings and exercises, and draft paper assignments and exams with a purpose.  They may not always be the best choice, but there will be a reason (supported by good intent) they were chosen. 


(2) To remember, whether it's related to demeanor, effort, or analysis, that I cannot be the benchmark for all my students.  They are not me, and I am not them.  We all have a story, and it is (in some way) unique. 


(3) To remember that, while kindness, sympathy, and empathy are essential skills to being a good teacher, colleague, and human being, they are not inconsistent with high expectations.


(4) To keep connected to practice and to people with non-academic jobs so that I can keep current and  grounded in the practical realities of life as an attorney and member of a broader community. 


(5)  To take pride (and risks) in my work in an effort to be better at what I do and to evolve in all aspects of my work -- teaching, research, and service.  (Old dogs can learn new tricks.)


(6) To recognize boundaries and to be kind and patient with my family because who I am at home impacts who I am at work (and vice versa).


(7) To do my best to get enough sleep and enough exercise. 


(8) To find the fun in my work when I can, and not forget that one of the best parts of being an academic is writing about things I choose (not that my clients choose) and taking positions I think are right.


(9) To be friendly and helpful to build relationships so that the community I know is a community I want. This includes my faculty colleagues, our staff and support colleagues, and our student colleagues.  


(10) To understand that I cannot be everything to everyone and that opportunity costs are real.  Thus, as I seek to fulfill John Wooden's ideal -- "Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."-- I will keep in mind that accomplishments are more than articles written and classes taught. They include those, but they also include things like laughs, hugs, bike rides, soccer games, swing sets, sunsets, beaches, and good food. Beer, wine, and cocktails, are sometimes a nice touch, too. 

September 1, 2015 in Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Research/Scholarhip, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Hiring in Business and Tax Law

As mentioned in my post about law schools hiring in business law areas, we received the following posting from The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.


University of Utah Hiring in Business and Tax Law

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the rank of associate professor beginning academic year 2016-2017. Qualifications for the position include a record of excellence in academics, successful teaching experience or potential as a teacher, and strong scholarly distinction or promise. The College is particularly interested in candidates in the areas of business and tax law. Interested persons can submit an application to the University of Utah Human Resources website at (please note that the application requires a cover letter, CV, and list of references). Baiba Hicks, Administrative Assistant to the Faculty Appointments Committee ( or 801-581-5464) is available to answer questions.

The University of Utah is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and educator and its policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion, age, status as a person with a disability, or veteran’s status. Minorities, women, veterans, and those with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Veterans’ preference is extended to qualified veterans. To inquire further about the University’s nondiscrimination and affirmative action policies or to request a reasonable accommodation for a disability in the application process, please contact the following individual who has been designated as the University’s Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 201 South Presidents Circle, Rm. 135, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, (801)581-8365, email:

August 27, 2015 in Business Associations, Haskell Murray, Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Thoughts on Beginning My 30th Year of Law Teaching

I begin my 30th year of law teaching today. I can still remember that hot August day I first stepped into the huge, tiered classroom at SMU. Standing on the raised platform facing a mob of over a hundred eager students. The low hum generated by dozens of pre-class conversations. The feeling of inferiority as all those pairs of eyes checked out the newest professor.

I was scared to death. I had spent the summer reviewing the law of business associations—reading and highlighting the casebook; reading a corporate law treatise; reading law review articles. I had extensive teaching notes in front of me that first day, some of them cribbed from class notes that the late Alan Bromberg had generously shared with me. But I didn’t have a clue how to teach. For the most part, I was mimicking what my own law school professors had done, without realizing why they had done what they did.

It didn’t go well at first. I was shy and hesitant, and students could sense my lack of confidence. Many of the students weren’t as prepared as I’d hoped, and I wasn’t sure how to draw them out and build on what they understood. Some of the students weren’t that eager to learn the law of business associations, and I didn’t have a clue how to motivate them. My first-semester evaluations were horrible.

Things have changed significantly since I began teaching. I’ve changed. I’m no longer afraid as I walk into the classroom; decades of teaching have turned my fear into just a slight tinge of anxiety. The evaluations aren’t as bad; I’ve learned how to teach, and I succeed more often than not. I have even won teaching awards.

The classroom has also changed. When I started teaching, I wasn’t competing with Facebook, online shopping, and email. I don’t think anyone in my first class had a laptop. When I started teaching, PowerPoint wasn’t an option. SMU didn’t even have whiteboards; I had to regularly brush chalk off my clothes. When I started teaching, professors distributed syllabi and supplemental reading via photocopy and e-books weren’t available. Today, I distribute all supplemental material over the Internet and one of my courses is wholly online.

Some things haven’t changed that much. Some of the students are still underprepared. Some of them still aren’t that interested in business associations, taking the class only because they know it will be on the bar. And it’s still a chore to end that hum of pre-class conversations when it’s time to start.

But it’s been a great career. I enjoy what I’m doing, except when administrative hassles interfere with my teaching and research—something that, unfortunately, seems to happen more often with seniority.

If you’re new to law teaching, persevere through the challenges. Learn as your students learn and try to have fun. Law teaching is an awesome responsibility, but, in spite of the struggles, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. I hope you too can look back after thirty years with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.

If you're a student, give those new teachers a break. They're learning, just like you. Take out your frustrations on the old fogies like me.

August 24, 2015 in C. Steven Bradford, Law School, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (6)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Corporations

Apparently the corporate tax inversion crackdown by the Obama administration is not working. The Financial Times reported this week that three companies have announced plans to redomicile in Europe in just one week. I’m not sure that I will have time to discuss inversions in any detail in my Business Associations class, but I have talked about it in civil procedure, when we discuss personal jurisdiction.

From my recent survey monkey results of my incoming students, I know that some of my students received their business news from the Daily Show. In the past I have used Jon Stewart, John Oliver, and Stephen Colbert to illustrate certain concepts to my millennial students. Here are some humorous takes on the inversion issue that I may use this year in class. Warning- there is some profanity and obviously they are pretty one-sided. But I have found that humor is a great way to start a debate on some of these issues that would otherwise seem dry to students. 

1)   Steve Colbert on corporate inversions-1- note the discussion on fiduciary duties

2)    Steve Colbert on corporate inversions interviews Allan Sloan

3)   Jon Stewart- inversion of the money snatchers and on corporate personhood toward the end.

For those of you who are political junkies like me, I thought I would share a video that I showed when I taught a seminar on corporate governance, compliance, and social responsibility. This video focuses on political campaigns, and for a number of reasons, this campaign season seems to be in full gear already. Indeed, Professor Larry Lessig from Harvard is mulling a run for president in part to highlight the need for reform in campaign financing. Below is Stephen Colbert’s take on SuperPACs and political financing.

1) Colbert's shell corporation- note the discussion of the incorporation in Delaware and the meeting of the board of directors

Enjoy, and best of luck for those starting classes next week.

August 13, 2015 in Business Associations, Compliance, Corporate Governance, Corporate Personality, Corporations, Current Affairs, International Business, Law School, Marcia Narine, Teaching, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ten Promises For New Law Students to Consider

It is orientation time for West Virginia University College of Law, and I am sure other law schools around the country. If not, it's coming soon. I always like the buzz of the new students returning to the building, though it is a little bittersweet as the time I had for other projects is clearing nearing the end. All in all, though, I miss the students and the activity, so I'm happy the new year is getting ready to start. 

The combination of excitement and trepidation (if not fear) seems to be what stands our to me the most. It makes sense. Law school is a big undertaking, and it's not easy.  And it can be hard because it can be challenging both academically and socially.  As my wife has noted, "Law school can be more like high school than high school."  (I had a distinct advantage in skipping a lot of that because we were married when we started law school.)

To that end, here are my suggestions, based on the promises I made to myself when I left my job and went back to law school. Give it a try (and I welcome additions to the list in comments.)

I promise: 

(1) To read everything assigned.  Really. Not like undergrad, but actually read it all.  Then read it again. And again if I need to.

(2) To be honest with myself about whether I really understand what I' m reading so I know if I should read it again. 

(3) To view Black's Law Dictionary as my friend and use it liberally, rather than guessing at words from context.  

(4) To remember I don't know Latin very well (and see number 3 above). 

(5) To go to every class -- every class -- that I am able to attend and participate in that class so that I can learn what I know or don't know, not to so show what I know (or think I know). 

(6) To recognize that no one class is more important (or easier or harder) than another.  I will not skip Torts or Contracts to work on my Legal Writing memo.  It all needs to happen. 

(7) To do my best to get enough sleep. 

(8) To remember that everyone has a story and not assume I know it. 

(9) To be friendly and build relationships so that the community I know is a community I want. 

(10) To do my best work and know that my real competition is myself, so that when I finish an exam or paper, even though I don't know how well I did, I will know I did everything I could to do well. As John Wooden said, "Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."

August 11, 2015 in Joshua P. Fershee, Law School | Permalink | Comments (4)

University of Iowa Hiring Faculty

The law school in the state next door to mine is hiring faculty. Their football team isn't as good as ours, but it's a pretty good law school in spite of that deficiency. Here's the listing:

THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA COLLEGE OF LAW anticipates hiring several tenured/tenure track faculty members and clinical faculty members (including a director for field placement program) over the coming year. Our goal is to find outstanding scholars and teachers who can extend the law school’s traditional strengths and intellectual breadth. We are interested in all persons of high academic achievement and promise with outstanding credentials. Appointment and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Candidates should send resumes, references, and descriptions of areas of interest to:  Faculty Appointments Committee, College of Law, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa  52242-1113.

THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

August 11, 2015 in Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kosuri on the Art of Business Lawyering (and How to Teach It)

As I continue my (futile?) quest to exhaust my electronic reading pile before the fall semester begins, I recently read a nice article on business lawyering: Praveen Kosuri, Beyond Gilson: The Art of Business Lawyering, 19 LEWIS & CLARK L. REV. 463 (2013), also available on SSRN here.

Kosuri asks what distinguishes great business lawyers, and develops a three-tiered pyramid of the skills that transactional business lawyers need. At the bottom of the pyramid are what Kosuri calls foundational skills: reading and understanding contracts; research and drafting; financial literacy; and a basic knowledge of business law. The next level of the pyramid, which Kosuri calls transitional skills, includes negotiation; structuring deals; risk management; and transaction cost engineering. The top level of the pyramid, which Kosuri calls optimal skills, includes understanding business; understanding people; problem-solving; and advising.

Kosuri then considers who would be best at teaching each of those categories of skills and how to teach them. I don’t agree with everything he says, but the article is insightful and certainly worth reading.

Here’s the abstract:

Thirty years ago, Ronald Gilson asked the question, “what do business lawyers really do?” Since that time legal scholars have continued to grapple with that question and the implicit question of how business lawyers add value to their clients. This article revisits the question again but with a more expansive perspective on the role of business lawyer and what constitutes value to clients.

Gilson put forth the theory of business lawyers as transaction cost engineers. Years later, Karl Okamoto introduced the concept of deal lawyer as reputational intermediary. Steven Schwarcz attempted to isolate the role of business lawyer from other advisors and concluded the only value lawyers added was as regulatory cost managers. All of these conceptions of business lawyering focused too narrowly on the technical skills employed, and none captured the skill set or essence of the truly great business lawyer. In this article, I put forth a more fully developed conception of business lawyer that highlights skills that differentiate great business lawyers from the merely average. I then discuss whether these skills can be taught in law schools and how a tiered curriculum might be designed to better educate future business lawyers.

August 10, 2015 in C. Steven Bradford, Law School, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 7, 2015

The University of South Carolina School of Law - Professor Positions

From an e-mail I received earlier today:


University of South Carolina School of Law

Hiring Advertisement

The University of South Carolina School of Law invites applications for tenured, tenure-track, or visiting faculty positions to begin fall semester 2016. Candidates should have a juris doctorate or equivalent degree. Additionally, a successful applicant should have a record of excellence in academia or in practice, the potential to be an outstanding teacher, and demonstrable scholarly promise.  Although the School of Law is especially interested in candidates who are qualified to teach in the areas of taxation, clinical legal education, environmental law and small business, we are equally interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity of our law school community whose teaching interests may fall outside of these areas. 

Interested persons should send a resume, references, and subject area preferences to Prof. Eboni Nelson, Chair, Faculty Selection Committee, c/o Kim Fanning, University of South Carolina School of Law, 701 S. Main St., Columbia, SC 29208 or, by email, to HIRE2016@LAW.SC.EDU (electronic The University of South Carolina is committed to a diverse faculty, staff, and student body.  We encourage applications from women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and others whose background, experience, and viewpoints contribute to the diversity of our institution. The University of South Carolina is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the base of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetics, sexual orientation, gender, or veteran status.

August 7, 2015 in Haskell Murray, Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools Hiring in Business Areas 2015-16

Earlier I posted a list of business schools hiring in legal studies.

This post includes a list of law schools that have listed business law as an area of interest.* I will use the PrawfsBlawg spreadsheet and other sources to update this list from time to time.

Feel free to send me any additions or leave additions in the comments.   

Updated Sept. 30, 2015

*Schools that have not listed any preferences, or that have provided open-ended language after preferences that do not include business law, are not included in this list. Also, given that I do not have access to the AALS ads, this list is likely incomplete and only includes schools that have posted their open positions online.  

For the purposes of this post, I include the following subject areas in the definition of "business law": banking; business associations; corporate finance; corporate governance; financial institutions; international business transactions; law & economics; law & entrepreneurship; M&A; securities regulation; unincorporated entities .

August 7, 2015 in Business Associations, Haskell Murray, Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The University of Maryland School of Law - Professor Opening

I received this position posting today via e-mail (emphasis added):


The University of Maryland School of Law invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position to teach in the area of business law, potentially including an appropriate combination of the following courses: Business Associations, Corporate Finance, Secured Transactions, along with other core classes in the business curriculum.  We will consider both entry level and lateral candidates.  The University of Maryland has a strong commitment to diversity.  We welcome applications from persons of color, women, and other members of historically disadvantaged groups.  Contact: Professor Leigh Goodmark, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, 500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.  Email:  Phone: (410) 706-3549.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

August 5, 2015 in Business Associations, Haskell Murray, Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Responses to Students Who Ask About the Use of Outdated Course Materials

I am sure that many of you, like me, are deluged with email messages at this point in the year from well-meaning students taking your fall courses who ask whether a particular text--or version of a text--marked as "required" on the book list is really required. There are many ways to respond to these requests.  A number of my my Facebook friends--including former students--suggest a simple response, something akin to: "What part of required do you not understand?"

While that kind of a response sometimes is very appealing (especially when I get two emails asking about this kind of thing on the same day), I have decided to use these interactions as a teaching moment--of sorts. Set forth below is a version of a message that I send, in case it is of some use to you in this or another similar context. The specific inquiry to which I am responding relates to a student's question about using a 2013 "statutory supplement" in my Fall 2015 Business Associations course.

Hey, [name of student]. Thanks for reaching out to me. This is a common question. It has an easy (although perhaps unpalatable) answer. I marked the 2015 statutory resource book (not really a supplement, but the core of our work in this course) as required for the course. I will be working from the 2015 version in and outside class. I cannot ensure that the 2013 version—or even the 2014 version—will have everything you need. While I know the authors, I do not control and am not privy to what they include and exclude every year. So, I cannot recommend your use of the 2013 version, and if you use it, you will be responsible for noting where the gaps or changes are. There may be none, but I cannot guarantee that.

I regret making students pay the money for a new paperback every year. But I have come to consider it an investment. Of course, as you already know, lawyers should never use an outdated version of the law for their research. It can be the basis of a claim of malpractice or sanctions on the basis of incompetence or a lack of diligence. So, my required use of a current version of the restatement provisions, statutes, rules, and other materials in the statutory resource book is also a way of encouraging professionally responsible, low-risk legal practice.

I will not be policing the use of outdated or other supplements—or even online versions of the statutes, rules, and other materials (which include a sample corporate charter and bylaws, for example)--instead of the assigned statutory resource book for class. So, it's all up to you. Others have used outdated or online or photocopied versions of the materials in the statutory resource book in the past and done very well in the course. But they typically put in significant work on their own to ensure they had what they needed for the exams and assignments.

See you in a few weeks. I will look forward to having you in class. You already have exhibited professionally responsible behavior in contacting me in advance and asking about the resource book. That's a great start to the semester.

Joan Heminway

Incidentally, in case you wondered, most students respond to my email thanking me and noting they will acquire the 2015 edition.  Many students do not contact me at all about this issue and just go ahead and use outdated materials.  Some of these non-communicative students have later admitted to me they regretted that decision.

Also, I have tried in the past to just assign online versions of the restatement provisions, statutes, and rules.  There are two main disadvantages that I identified to this approach.  First, I found that students did not bring the necessary legal provisions to class with them in electronic or hard-copy form or did not bring a computer to access rules that come up in class in an unplanned manner.  Relatedly, it is important to note that, when the students take my open-book midterm (oral) and final (written) exams, they really need to have hard copies of the relevant rules with them, which means printing them out and collecting them in a book or folder anyway (since I do not allow electronic devices, other than ExamSoft-modified computers, in my examinations). Second, my statutory resource book has materials other than restatement, statutory, and regulatory provisions in it.  If the book is not required, I must supplement the text with these additional materials, where necessary or desired.  

Let me know your thoughts and share comments for improvement.  Or tell me I am being too nice and should push back harder at my students.  The type of response I have included above is generally consistent with my overall communication style with my students, which could be characterized as compassionate but direct.  Others may have very different approaches to instructor-student communications or course objectives that make my response undesirable or even counterproductive.  Please do share those kinds of reactions in the comments.

August 5, 2015 in Books, Business Associations, Joan Heminway, Law School, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)