Friday, December 2, 2016

Faith and Work in Universities

Friday, November 18, 2016

Call for Proposals: “Teaching Cultural Competency and Other Professional Skills Suggested by ABA Standard 302”

The following comes to us from Prof. Kelly Terry, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning.  Submit proposals to her at ksterry@ualr.edu by 2/1/17 .

Call for Proposals for the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning’s Summer 2017 Conference, “Teaching Cultural Competency and Other Professional Skills Suggested by ABA Standard 302.” The conference will take place July 7-8, 2017 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.

The Institute invites proposals for workshop sessions addressing how law schools are responding to ABA Standard 302’s call to establish learning outcomes related to “other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession,” such as “interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency and self-evaluation.” The conference will focus on how law schools are incorporating these skills, particularly the skills of cultural competency, conflict resolution, collaboration, self-evaluation, and other relational skills, into their institutional outcomes, designing courses to encompass these skills, and teaching and assessing these skills. The deadline to submit a proposal is February 1, 2017.

November 18, 2016 in Conferences, Current Affairs, Law School, Lawyering, Stefan J. Padfield | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ripped from the Headlines: GE & Baker Hughes Proposed Merger

General Electric (GE)  and Baker Hughes (BHI) announced on Monday, October 31st, a proposed merger to combine their oil and gas operations.  GE and Baker Hughes will form a partnership, which will own a publicly-traded company.   GE shareholders will own 62.5% of the "new" partnership, while Baker Hughes shareholders will own 37.5% and receive a one-time cash dividend of $17.50 per share.  The new company will have 9 board of director seats:  5 from GE and 4 from Baker Hughes.  GE CEO Jeff Immelt will be the chairman of the new company and Lorenzo Simonelli,  CEO of GE Oil & Gas, will be CEO. Baker Hughes CEO Martin Craighead will be vice chairman.

Reuters is describing the business synergies between the two companies as leveraging GE's oilfield equipment manufacturing ("supplying blowout preventers, pumps and compressors used in exploration and production") and data process services with Baker Hughes' expertise in " horizontal drilling, chemicals used to frack and other services key to oil production."

Baker Hughes had previously proposed a merger with Halliburton (HAL), which failed in May, 2016, after the Justice Department filed an antitrust suit to block the merger. Early analysis suggests that the proposed GE & Baker Hughes will pass regulatory scrutiny because of the limited business overlap of GE and Baker Hughes.

As I plan to tell my corporations students later today: this is real life!  A high-profile, late-semester merger of two public companies is a wonderful gift.  The proposed GE/Baker Hughes merger illustrates, in real life, concepts we have been discussing (or will be soon) like partnerships, the proxy process, special shareholder meetings, SEC filings, abstain or disclose rules, and, of course, mergers.

 

Continue reading

November 2, 2016 in Anne Tucker, Corporate Finance, Corporations, Current Affairs, Law School, M&A, Partnership, Securities Regulation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Tricks and Treats: My October as a Law Professor

My October included some signifiant tricks and a bunch of parallel treats.  I will highlight but a few of each here.  They illustrate, in my view, the busy mid-semester lives that law professors may have.

The Tricks

It was a real trick for me to give three distinct presentations in three cities (two in person and one virtually) in a two-day period early in the month.  On the morning of October 6, I participated in a panel discussion at The Crowdfunding Conference in New York City (New York).  That afternoon, I jumped on a plane for Little Rock (Arkansas), where I gave a continuing legal education presentation on crowdfunding for the Arkansas Bar Association as part of a program on "Capital Raising Today and Securities Law Issues."  Finally, later that day, I was Skyped into a the North Carolina Law Review 2016 annual symposium in Chapel Hill (North Carolina) on "The Role of Law in Entrepreneurship," at which I presented a draft paper, forthcoming in the North Carolina Law Review, on the important role of business finance lawyers in entrepreneurial enterprise.  

It then was a trick to refocus my energy on faculty hiring a few days later.  That next week, I jetted off to Washington (DC) with my fellow Appointments Committee members and our Dean and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for a UT Law alumni reception and the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) 2016 Faculty Recruitment Conference.  We were successful in interviewing a variety of folks for our two business law openings--one in the clinic and one in the doctrinal faculty.

After only a few nights home in my own bed, it was (again) a trick to haul my body into the car to drive to Lexington (Virginia) to participate in and attend the Washington and Lee Law Review's 2016 Lara D. Gass Annual Symposium, an event focusing on "Corporate Law, Governance, and Purpose: A Tribute to the Scholarship of Lyman Johnson and David Millon."  At that symposium, my presentation addressed shareholder wealth maximization as a function of firm-level corporate governance.  My essay on that topic will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Washington and Lee Law Review.

Before the next week was out, I accomplished yet another trick.  I drove up to Louisville (Kentucky) to offer my thoughts on current securities litigation issues for the Kentucky Bar Association 2016 Securities Law Conference.  I was asked to cover insider trading and liability under federal and state securities laws.  In fulfillment of this charge, I delivered a presentation entitled "Where There’s a Securities Market, There’s Fraud (and Other Misconduct): Hot Topics in Federal Securities Litigation."

My final October trick?  Fitting in my Business Associations oral midterm examinations and my Monday and Wednesday class meetings for Business Associations and Corporate Finance with all these trips.

The Treats

All of that effort was an investment, however.  The trips, presentations, and other interactions all yielded multiple benefits.  Most of them may be obvious, but I will list a few in any case.

  • I met lots of new and interesting folks from the crowdfunding industry, local bar associations, the AALS applicant pool, and the law academy (from the United States and abroad).
  • I got great feedback on my current work and new ideas, research avenues, and citation sources for my ongoing work.
  • I was able to honor two amazing colleagues, Lyman Johnson and David Millon.
  • I participated meaningfully in the important task of recruiting new faculty to UT Law.
  • I squeezed in some important family and personal time around the edges, including in attending the Knoxville Brewers Jam with my hubby (the tickets having been part of my anniversary gift to him back in August).

I am grateful for safe travels throughout the month.  Having said that, I admit that I am relieved all that travel and activity is over and done.  I look forward to a more calm November and a fun holiday season to follow.  In the mean time, however, I will continue to enjoy the fall, with pumpkins being among my favorite hallmarks of the season.

Bigstock-Pumpkin-Patch-68311816

October 31, 2016 in Conferences, Crowdfunding, Entrepreneurship, Joan Heminway, Law School, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Large Firm Practice Areas and Relative Flexibility

Building on Joan’s personal reflection about her time in practice and stemming from a conversation with a student this week, I decided to post (and solicit comments) on the BigLaw practice areas that are most/least conducive to part-time work or work while raising children. While no practice areas in BigLaw are well known for being incredibly flexible, it did appear that certain practice areas were more flexible than others.

In my view, tax appeared to be the most flexible practice group area and M&A (my first practice group area) appeared to be the least flexible. Granted, I never practiced tax law, but as an M&A attorney you solicit comments from many areas within the firm and you get a sense of their schedules.

The advantages of the tax group were a high billing rate (some of the very highest in the firm) and a lot of piecemeal, often not urgent, work. Sure, we “urgently” needed tax comments on most of our deals, and when clients are paying BigLaw rates, they almost always want a prompt response. But in my limited experience, the tax lawyers controlled their timelines more so than any of the other attorneys I worked with. There were few enough excellent tax attorneys that if they said – I will get to that tomorrow or next week – you often did not have much recourse. Perhaps this was just my own perception or simply unique to my firms. That said, I have also seen tax lawyers pull off the “part-time” or "flexible schedule" role better and more often than other areas. Areas like Patent and ERISA may have similar attributes.

In M&A, however, flexible, part-time work was almost impossible to obtain. I’ve witnessed some M&A attorneys try to go part-time, and I have never seen it go very well or last very long. M&A attorneys are the quarterbacks of the deal, so even if you are only assigned to one deal – you have to be involved in all aspects of the deal and have to be on call 24/7 when that deal is moving quickly. And a deal often lasts for months. And there isn’t much piecemeal work that you can just pop in and do without staying intimately involved. After practicing in an M&A/Corporate group for a few years, I moved to a business litigation/corporate governance group. While the litigation/corporate governance group was not necessarily flexible, and you do have to be "all-in" if a case is heading to trial, there seemed to be a lot more room for flexible, part-time research and writing. In M&A there were some opportunities for these sorts of things, but many fewer of them and often they were simply nonbillable client alerts.

Again, maybe this is just my own perception, I’d love to hear thoughts in the comments or via e-mail from readers, as those thoughts could be helpful in advising students. Which practice group area or areas in a large firm offer the most flexibility?

October 28, 2016 in Haskell Murray, Law School, M&A, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (9)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Business of Being a Law School Dean

Fresh on the heels of reading several Dean search announcements come across email the last several days, the following ABA article on the rise of female Law Deans caught my eye: Cynthia L. Cooper, Women Ascend in Deanships as Law Schools Undergo Dramatic Change, ABA Perspectives Summer 2016.

The list of current deanship openings is available at The Faculty Lounge, as well as a run down of of positions filled last year.

Sorry folks...sick little one on my hands today!

-Anne Tucker

October 26, 2016 in Anne Tucker, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

AALS 2017 Annual Meeting: Overview of Socio-Economics Programs

 

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting will be held Tuesday, January 3 – Saturday, January 7, 2017, in San Francisco.  Readers of this blog who may be interested in programs associated with the AALS Section on Socio-Economics & the Society of Socio-Economics should click on the following link for the complete relevant schedule: 

Download Socio-Economic AALS Participants + Descriptions 161018

Specifically, I'd like to highlight the following programs:

On Wednesday, Jan. 4:

9:50 - 10:50 AM Concurrent Sessions:

  1. The Future of Corporate Governance:
    How Do We Get From Here to Where We Need to Go?
    andre cummings (Indiana Tech)                            Steven Ramirez (Loyola - Chicago)
    Lynne Dallas (San Diego) - Co-Moderator        Janis Sarra (British Columbia)
    Kent Greenfield (Boston College)                        Faith Stevelman (New York)
    Daniel Greenwood (Hofstra)                                 Kellye Testy (Dean, Washington)
    Kristin Johnson (Seton Hall)                                 Cheryl Wade (St. John’s ) Co-Moderator
    Lyman Johnson (Washington and Lee)
  2. Socio-Economics and Whistle-Blowers
    William Black (Missouri - KC)                                 Benjamin Edwards (Barry)
    June Carbone (Minnesota) - Moderator             Marcia Narine (St. Thomas)

1:45 - 2:45 PM Concurrent Sessions:

1. What is a Corporation?
Robert Ashford (Syracuse) Moderator                             Stefan Padfield (Akron)
Tamara Belinfanti (New York)                                             Sabeel Rahman (Brooklyn)
Daniel Greenwood (Hofstra)

On Thursday, Jan. 5:

3:30 - 5:15 pm:
Section Programs for New Law Teachers
Principles of Socio-Economics
in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service
Robert Ashford (Syracuse)                                                     Lynne Dallas (San Diego)
William Black (Missouri - Kansas City)                             Michael Malloy (McGeorge)
June Carbone (Minnesota)                                                     Stefan Padfield (Akron)

On Saturday, Jan. 7:

10:30 am - 12:15 pm:
Economics, Poverty, and Inclusive Capitalism
Robert Ashford (Syracuse)                                                     Stefan Padfield (Akron)
Paul Davidson (Founding Editor                                          Delos Putz (San Francisco)
Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics)                             Edward Rubin (Vanderbilt)
Richard Hattwick (Founding Editor,
Journal of Socio-Economics)

October 23, 2016 in Business Associations, Conferences, Corporate Governance, Corporate Personality, Corporations, Current Affairs, Financial Markets, Law and Economics, Law School, Marcia Narine Weldon, Research/Scholarhip, Stefan J. Padfield, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Belmont Law Professor Position

Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, TN has posted a professor opening and the school's areas of interest include business law. My appointment is in Belmont's business school, but I also occasionally teach in the law school, and I could not recommend the school (or the city of Nashville) more highly. I have updated my business law professor openings post here and am happy to add other postings. 

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Belmont University College of Law, located in vibrant Nashville, Tennessee, invites applications from entry- to mid-level candidates for a tenure-track faculty position to begin in 2017-18.  Our primary areas of recruiting focus include criminal law, business law, and health law.

Applicants should have an exemplary academic record and should demonstrate outstanding achievement or potential in scholarship and teaching.  Our goal is to recruit dynamic, bright, and highly motivated individuals who are interested in making significant contributions to our law school and its students.  Practice experience is preferred, and teaching experience is desirable.  For more information about the College of Law, visit our website at www.belmont.edu/law.

Belmont University College of Law is an ABA accredited law school with approximately 300 students in the heart of Nashville, one of the fastest growing and most culturally rich cities in the country.  In 2015, graduates of the College of Law had the highest bar passage rate in Tennessee, and the school continues to produce strong employment outcomes for its students.  For more information about the College of Law, visit our website at www.belmont.edu/law.

Belmont University is a private, coeducational university in a quiet area convenient to downtown Nashville and adjacent to Music Row.  It is the largest Christian-centered university in Tennessee and among the fastest growing in the nation.  Among its student body of over 7,500 are students from nearly every state and more than 25 countries. In addition to seven baccalaureate degrees in over 50 areas of study, Belmont offers master’s degrees in Business Administration, Accountancy, English, Education (including Sports Administration), Music, Nursing and Occupational Therapy, and doctorates in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Pharmacy, and Law.

The successful candidate will also share the University’s values and support our mission and vision of promoting Christian values by example.  To apply, please contact lawfaculty.recruitment@belmont.edu.

A comprehensive, coeducational university, Belmont is a student-centered, teaching university focusing on academic excellence.  The university is dedicated to providing students from diverse backgrounds an academically challenging education.  Belmont is an EOE/AA employer under all applicable civil rights laws.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

October 21, 2016 in Business Associations, Haskell Murray, Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

University of Nebraska College of Law - Chair in International Trade and Finance

Job posting from an e-mail I recently received:

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The UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA COLLEGE OF LAW invites applications for

lateral candidates for a tenured faculty position to hold the Clayton K. Yeutter Chair at

the College of Law. This chaired faculty position will be one of four faculty members to

form the core of the newly-formed, interdisciplinary Clayton K. Yeutter Institute for

International Trade and Finance. The Institute also will include the Duane Acklie Chair at

the College of Business Associations, the Michael Yanney Chair at the College of

Agricultural Sciences, and the Haggart/Works Professorship for International Trade at the

College of Law. The Yeutter Chair, along with the other three professors, will be

expected to support the work and objectives and ensure the success of the Yeutter

Institute. The Yeutter Chair will teach courses at the College of Law, including

International Finance. Other courses may include Corporate Finance and/or other related

classes pertaining to issues arising in international business and finance. More on the

Yeutter Institute can be found at http://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/giftsestablish-

endowed-chairs-for-yeutter-institute/ .

 

Minimum Required Qualifications: J.D Degree or Equivalent; Superior Academic

Record; Outstanding Record of Scholarship in International Finance and/or other areas

related to international business; and Receipt of Tenure at an Accredited Law School.

General information about the Law College is available at http://law.unl.edu/. Please fill

out the University application, which can be found at

https://employment.unl.edu/postings/51633, and upload a CV, a cover letter, and a list of

references. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is committed to a pluralistic campus

community through affirmative action, equal opportunity, work-life balance, and dual

careers. See http://www.unl.edu/equity/notice-nondiscrimination. Review of applications

will begin on November 5, 2016 and continue until the position is filled. If you have

questions, please contact Associate Dean Eric Berger, Chair, Faculty Appointments

Committee, University of Nebraska College of Law, Lincoln, NE 68583-0902, or send an

email to lawappointments@unl.edu.

 

October 12, 2016 in Financial Markets, Haskell Murray, International Business, International Law, Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Georgetown University Law Center – Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic

Today, I received the position announcement below from my friend Alicia Plerhoples (Georgetown), who is doing exciting things in the social enterprise and nonprofit areas. This is an excellent opportunity, and I think anyone would be fortunate to work with her and her clinic. 

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Georgetown University Law Center –
Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic

Description of the Clinic

The Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center offers pro bono corporate and transactional legal services to social enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and select small businesses headquartered in Washington, D.C. and working locally or internationally. Through the Clinic, law students learn to translate theory into practice by engaging in the supervised practice of law for educational credit. The Clinic’s goals are consistent with Georgetown University's long tradition of public service. The Clinic’s goals are to:

  • Teach law students the materials, expectations, strategies, and methods of transactional lawyering, as well as an appreciation for how transactional law can be used in the public interest.

  • Represent social enterprises and nonprofit organizations in corporate and transactional legal matters.

  • Facilitate the growth of social enterprise in the D.C. area.

    The clinic’s local focus not only allows the Clinic to give back to the community it calls home, but also gives students an opportunity to explore and understand the challenges and strengths of the D.C. community beyond the Georgetown Law campus. As D.C. experiences increasing income inequality, it becomes increasingly important for the Clinic to provide legal assistance to organizations that serve and empower vulnerable D.C. communities. Students are taught how to become partners in enterprise for their clients with the understanding that innovative transactional lawyers understand both the legal and non-legal incentive structures that drive business organizations.

    Description of Fellowship

    The two-year fellowship is an ideal position for a transactional lawyer interested in developing teaching and supervisory abilities in a setting that emphasizes a dual commitment—clinical education of law students and transactional law employed in the public interest. The fellow will have several areas of responsibility, with an increasing role as the fellowship progresses. Over the course of the fellowship, the fellow will: (i) supervise students in representing nonprofit organizations and social enterprises on transactional, operational, and corporate governance matters, (ii) share responsibility for teaching seminar sessions, and (iii) share in the administrative and case handling responsibilities of the Clinic. Fellows also participate in a clinical pedagogy seminar and other activities designed to support an interest in clinical teaching and legal education. Successful completion of the fellowship results in the award of an L.L.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University. The fellowship start date is August 1, 2017 and the fellowship is for two years, ending July 31, 2019.

    Qualifications

Applicants must have at least 3 years of post J.D. legal experience. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in a transactional area of practice such as nonprofit law and tax, community economic development law, corporate law, intellectual property, real estate, and finance. Applicants with a strong commitment to economic justice are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be admitted or willing to be admitted to the District of Columbia Bar.

Application Process

To apply, send a resume, an official or unofficial law school transcript, and a detailed letter of interest by December 15, 2016. The letter should be no longer than two pages and address a) why you are interested in this fellowship; b) what you can contribute to the Clinic; c) your experience with transactional matters and/or corporate law; and d) anything else that you consider pertinent. Please address your application to Professor Alicia Plerhoples, Georgetown Law, 600 New Jersey Ave., NW, Suite 434, Washington, D.C. 20001, and email it to socialenterprise@law.georgetown.edu. Emailed applications are preferred. More information about the clinic can be found at www.socialenterprise-gulaw.org.

Teaching fellows receive an annual stipend of approximately $53,500 (estimated 2016 taxable salary), health and dental benefits, and all tuition and fees in the LL.M. program. As full-time students, teaching fellows qualify for deferment of their student loans. In addition, teaching fellows may be eligible for loan repayment assistance from their law schools.

October 6, 2016 in Clinical Education, Haskell Murray, Jobs, Law School, Nonprofits, Social Enterprise | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Journal of Legal Studies Education - Call for Submissions

JLSE

The Journal of Legal Studies Education ("JLSE") is accepting article and case study submissions. The JLSE is a peer-reviewed legal journal focused on pedagogy. In 2015, I published a case study with the JLSE, had an excellent experience, and received helpful comments from the reviewers. The announcement is below:

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The Journal of Legal Studies Education is seeking submissions of manuscripts. The JLSE publishes refereed articles, teaching tips, and review of books.  Manuscripts must relate to teaching, research, or related disciplines such as business ethics, business and society, public policy and individual areas of business law related specialties. The Editorial Board selects high quality manuscripts that are of interest to a substantial portion of its readers. 

The JLSE is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal.

Please submit directly to Stephanie Greene, JLSE Editor-in-Chief, at stephanie.greene@bc.edu.

 

Stephanie M. Greene

Chair, Business Law Department

Professor, Business Law

Carroll School of Management

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

September 30, 2016 in Business School, Call for Papers, Haskell Murray, Law School, Research/Scholarhip, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Distraction Sickness"

In January 2015, I wrote about a resolution to take a break from e-mails on Saturdays.

That resolution failed, quickly.

Since then, I have been thinking a lot about my relationship with e-mail.

On one hand, I get a lot of positive feedback from students and colleagues about my responsiveness. On the other hand, constantly checking and responding to e-mails seems to cut against productivity on other (often more important) tasks.

Five or six weeks ago, I started drafting this post, hoping to share it after at least one week of only checking my e-mail two times a day (11am and 4pm). Then I changed the goal to three times a day (11am, 4pm, and 9pm and then 5am, 11am, 4pm). Efforts to limit e-mail in that rigid way failed, even though very little of what I do requires a response in less than 24 hours. On the positive side, I have been relatively good, recently, at not checking my e-mail when I am at home and my children are awake. 

A few days ago, I read Andrew Sullivan’s Piece in the New York Magazine on “Distraction Sickness.” His piece is long, but worth reading. A short excerpt is included below:

[The smart phone] went from unknown to indispensable in less than a decade. The handful of spaces where it was once impossible to be connected — the airplane, the subway, the wilderness — are dwindling fast. Even hiker backpacks now come fitted with battery power for smartphones. Perhaps the only “safe space” that still exists is the shower. Am I exaggerating? A small but detailed 2015 study of young adults found that participants were using their phones five hours a day, at 85 separate times. Most of these interactions were for less than 30 seconds, but they add up. Just as revealing: The users weren’t fully aware of how addicted they were. They thought they picked up their phones half as much as they actually did. But whether they were aware of it or not, a new technology had seized control of around one-third of these young adults’ waking hours. . . . this new epidemic of distraction is our civilization’s specific weakness. And its threat is not so much to our minds, even as they shape-shift under the pressure. The threat is to our souls. At this rate, if the noise does not relent, we might even forget we have any. (emphasis added)

Academics seem to vary widely on how often they respond to e-mails, but I’d love to hear about the experience and practices of others. Oddly, in my experience with colleagues, those who are most prompt to respond to e-mails are usually also the most productive with their scholarship. I can’t really explain this, other than maybe these people are sitting at their computers more than others or are just ridiculously efficient. As with most things, I imagine there is an ideal balance to be pursued.

One thing I have learned is that setting expectations can be quite helpful. With students, I make clear on the first day of class and on the syllabus that e-mails will be returned within 24 business hours (though not necessarily more quickly than 24 business hours). I often respond to e-mails much more quickly than this, but this is helpful language to point a student to when he sends a 3am e-mail asking many substantive questions before an 8am exam.

Our students also struggle with "distraction sickness," and most of them know they are much too easily distracted by technology, but they are powerless against it. Ever since I banned laptops in my undergraduate classes, I have received many more thanks than pushback. The vast majority of students say they appreciate the technology break, but some can still be seen giving into the technology urge and (not so) secretly checking their phones.

Interested in how our readers manage their e-mails. Any tricks or rules that work for you? Feel free to e-mail me or leave your thoughts in the comments.

September 23, 2016 in Business School, Current Affairs, Haskell Murray, Law School, Teaching, Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dear Business Law Casebook Authors,

As you know, assessment is of critical importance these days, and I am confident that in a few years most, if not all, law school casebooks will come with effective, out-of-the-box, turnkey assessments. If you believe your book is already there, or even close, please send your pitch to me at spadfie@uakron.edu. Assuming no unforeseen problems, I plan to post these pitches here, as I am sure they will be of interest to many of our readers.

September 14, 2016 in Books, Business Associations, Law School, Stefan J. Padfield, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Two Positions at The Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance

I recently received the following information regarding two positions at The Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance. Many readers, I assume, will be familiar with their co-sponsored excellent blog, The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

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Executive Director

The Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance invites applications for the position of Executive Director. Together with the Faculty Director and others, the Executive Director of the Program works on building, developing, and managing the full range of activities of the Program. Under the Faculty Director’s oversight, the Executive Director manages the wide range of the Program’s operations; collaborates with major corporations, law firms, investors, advisers, and other organizations; participates in developing and directing conferences and other events for the Program; and manages the administration and personnel of the program, including fellows, research assistants, and staff. The Executive Director also collaborates with constituent groups and other professionals; participates in fundraising activities; interacts with donors and visitors; and takes on other management roles within the Program as needed. The Executive Director is involved in overseeing the Program’s website and other media outreach efforts, as well as the Program’s blog, the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Candidates should have a J.D. or another graduate degree in law, policy, or social science, and 3+ years of experience in a relevant field of law or policy. This is a full-time term appointment.Start date is flexible. Additional information on the Executive Director position, as well as detailed instructions on how to apply, is available through ASPIRE.

Academic Fellow

The Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance invites applications for Post-Graduate Academic Fellows. Candidates should be interested in spending two or three years at Harvard Law School in preparation for a career in academia or policy research, and should have a J.D., LL.M. or S.J.D. from a U.S. law school (or expect to have completed most of the requirements for such a degree by the time they commence their fellowship). During the term of their appointment, Post-Graduate Academic Fellows work on research and corporate governance activities of the Program, depending on their interests and Program needs. Fellows may also work on their own research and publishing, and some former Fellows of the Program now teach in leading law schools in the U.S. and abroad.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Interested candidates should submit a CV, list of references, law school grades, and a writing sample and cover letter to the coordinator of the Program, Ms. Jordan Figueroa, atcoordinator@corpgov.law.harvard.edu. The cover letter should describe the candidate’s experience, reasons for seeking the position, career plans, and the kinds of Program projects and activities in which they would like to be involved. The position includes Harvard University benefits and a competitive fellowship salary. Start date is flexible.

September 8, 2016 in Corporate Governance, Haskell Murray, Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Better Meetings, Better Teaching

During the past few days, I have participated in a lot of meetings.

This has led to some thinking on what makes a good meeting.

To me, a useful meeting is one that accomplishes things that could not be handled appropriately by an e-mail. Some meetings are held, I am convinced, because those calling the meetings are not sure that participants read and pay attention to e-mails. This worry could be best addressed, in my opinion, by making expectations regarding e-mail management clear, perhaps coupled with consequences for those who ignore the contents.

That said, e-mail is not appropriate in all cases and here are four categories where in-person meetings can work better than e-mail:

  1. Inspire. Perhaps some can be inspired over e-mail, but it seems much easier to inspire in person. As such, I think some good meetings can be used to inspire participants to achieve organizational goals. But inspiring others, especially sometimes cynical professors, can be difficult to do.
  2. Build Relationships. Sometimes the only times you see certain colleagues are at faculty meetings, so meetings can be a good way to build relationships, especially if folks hang around before and after meetings or if significant time is given for small group discussion.
  3. Engage in Group Discussions. E-mail is pretty good for one-way communication, but as anyone who has been on a group e-mail with hundreds of replies knows, e-mail isn’t great for dynamic group conversation. As such, it may make sense to have meetings when a group needs to converse about working through an issue. That said, preparation for the meeting can often be done alone, and the lion-share of the conversation can be done in small groups.
  4. Engage in Difficult Conversations. When tone is important, e-mail is often inadequate. Thus, in-person meetings may be important for communication of sensitive or controversial information.

When meetings focus on things that cannot be done remotely, I think meetings can be quite useful. Similarly, when teaching, we should think – what is it that students cannot get through an e-mail, the internet, or an online class? We should focus on those things. As such, I am trying to do even more interactive projects and small group discussions in class this semester.

August 26, 2016 in Business School, Haskell Murray, Law School, Service, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Even More Advice for Students

Belmont University starts classes on Wednesday. Below I share a few tips for new students. Josh posted a good list earlier this week, but my list is a bit different, perhaps because I teach primarily undergraduate and graduate business students. None of these is new or earthshattering, but, like many simple things, they remain difficult to put into action.

  1. Be Professional. As I often tell my students, you start building your reputation in school. I have declined business opportunities from former classmates because I remembered how they conducted themselves in school. Be on time, be prepared, be thoughtful, and be honest. We should recognize that people change over time and be open to giving second chances, but, unfortunately, not everyone will be quick to change an opinion they form of you while you are in school.
  2. Get to Know Your Classmates and Your Professors. Building relationships is an important aspect of personal and professional life. It is tempting to just put your head down in school and not spend time trying to form strong bonds. An incredible number of students never meet with their professors or only meet with them right before a project or an exam. Professors and classmates are worth getting to know as an end in and of itself, but can also have tangible benefits like better recommendation letters and client referrals.
  3. Use Laptops Carefully, If At All. There is a growing body of research that shows taking handwritten notes is better for learning the information than typing. For law students, I understand that it can be helpful to have your notes typed to jumpstart your outlines, but, at the very least, disable your internet connection while in class. We are not as good at multitasking as we think.
  4. Outline Early and Do Practice Tests. Staying on top of your outlining will give you a bit of time later in the semester to do practice tests. In graduate school, most students can memorize the course materials, but practice applying the material properly is often what propels students into the "excellent" category.
  5. Work Hard, but Schedule Breaks and Take Care of Yourself. It took me a while to learn this, but you actually perform better when you work hard and take care of yourself. For me, this means at least 7 hours of consistently placed sleep, nutritious meals (including breakfast), exercise at least 4x a week, and one day a week detached from work. Even during law school, I consistently put my books down for one 24-hour period during the week (with an exception for the exam period). Some students need to be reminded to work harder; law school should require the work of a full-time job in my opinion. Other students, however, get caught up in the competition and the rigor, and forget the importance of taking care of themselves.

Hope the fall semester is good to all our readers.

August 19, 2016 in Business School, Haskell Murray, Law School, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Back to (Law) School: More Advice for New 1Ls

Whether we're ready or not (we mostly are), classes start tomorrow for West Virginia University College of Law. Orientation for new students started last week, and I had the chance to teach a group of our new students. I had three sessions with the group where we discussed some cases, how to brief a case, and did some writing exercises.  It's been a while since I worked with first-year students, and it was a lot of fun.  

In addition to the assigned work, I answered a lot of questions, in and out of the classroom.  Questions focused mostly on how to succeed as a law student. Although there's plenty of advice on the internet, and whole books dedicated to subject, and even my own blog posts.  Last year, I provided my Ten Promises For New Law Students to Consider.   This year, I had enough similarly themed questions, that I thought I'd add some detail to my basic advice for new law students. 

1) Do the work. 

Some students ask -- if I work law school like a job, is that a good idea?  As with everything, it depends.  I don't know how you work.  If you work regular hours, every day, where you focus on the task before you, then it can work well.  If you're someone who sits in front of a computer doing everything but your work until a deadline is looming, it's not so likely to work for you. 

So, if you work it like a job where you are the boss, and you have no employees.  And the work absolutely has to get done, then yes.  There will be days when you can work a normal 8 to 5 with a lunch break and get your work done, and there will be times when 80 hours a week is insufficient. If you work until the job is done, you'll be served well.  

1A) Doing the work does not mean looking at the cases.

Reading for class is not about checking the box. There may have been times when "looking" at all 40 pages that were assigned would do the trick. Maybe as an undergrad.  Of course, I was a mostly terrible undergrad, so I didn't even do that often enough.  But law school is about figuring out what matters. That means you need to read the cases more than once.  I have seen twice as the rule of thumb, though I think three times is the right place to start.  It's not just about recognizing that something happened.  It's knowing what happened and what that means, in the context of the case and beyond.  And that requires time and careful reading. And, by the way, class is far more interesting when you know what's being discussed. Seriously. 

2) Be a good classmate and be the best possible you.

You can be competitive without being a jerk.  Your competition is really with yourself.  UCLA basketball coach John Wooden always reminded his players to be the best they could be -- not to try to be better than someone else.  If you always use someone else as the bench mark, you may be holding yourself back, even if you do better than them.  Try to remember that. There will be people who are better than you, at some point, at everything.  Be the best you that you can be.  Good things will follow.  And if it doesn't go as well as you hoped, if you did the work the best you could, you will still be okay.  (See 1 and 1A above.) 

3) Most people aren't cheating, but if they are, turn them in.

Every once in a while, I hear some students who are convinced that there is rampant cheating. "Some people worked together on their memo." Maybe, but usually not.  "Someone's (uncle/sister/cousin) who is a (prosecutor/M&A lawyer/judge), wrote their memo!"  Probably not.   Most lawyers understand the ethical problems with that. And who wants to write another law school memo after you passed the bar exam?  It would take a pretty odd combination of work ethic and lack of basic morals to make that a common occurrence.   

But even worse -- give us some evidence if you do know something.  Or some names, and we will investigate.  I hate cheating, and I want it stopped.  I went to law school with my wife, and we didn't even leave out any of our legal writing materials in our home.  The rules matter.  And you need to practice following them from day one.  That said, I don't think most of my students are or were cheaters, and they have rarely given me any reason to doubt their integrity.  

More than once over the years, I have also heard students say, "well, I don't want to hurt anyone's career."  First, what?  If you know someone is not following the rules, they need to be turned in. Lawyers have such an obligation, though I think it is one that is not often enough fulfilled.  I have heard of attorneys who had opposing counsel forge their signature, and the attorney still did not turn them in.  If we allow it, it continues.  

In addition, I have also heard students say, "I can't prove it, but I KNOW they are cheating."  If you can't point to facts that show it it, you probably don't KNOW, anything.  Your strongly suspect. And might be wrong. Don't forget, lots of people posture when they are stressed or fearful.  Focus on your work, and good things are likely to follow. 

4) Everything is harder.

I wonder if poor grades are sometimes the reason some students decided others are cheating.  I suspect it is sometimes.  The numbers suggest that most of our students are used to getting good grades, so a B can seem like something went wrong.  But law school is the next step up.  I often use a sports analogy -- law school is like an athlete going from college to the pros (or the olympics).  The competition is better because everyone at the next level has a better skill set.  If there is a curve (and there usually is, official or unofficial, in the first year), then students are being compared to one another.  It's not just how well did you do -- it's how well did you do relative to others.  That may seem unfair, but those are (usually) the rules.  Be prepared to work hard, and know others will be, too.  There is room for everyone to succeed, but not everyone can be at the top.  

5) You are not your grades.

Don't let a grade define you.  Your paper may be a C+.  But you are not.  Your A* (which was how the highest grade in the course was noted when I was in law school), doesn't make you an A*, either.  Your work can be a reflection of you, but it is not you. Sometimes things don't go well. Sometimes you might not have worked hard enough.  Sometimes you're sick.  And, yes, sometimes the professor's view of the world is flawed.  Other times, a student might have studies three things all semester. And it's the three things tested on the exam.  You can only control your work and your effort.  You must react and respond to the rest.  

So, I know I am biased.  I loved law school. It's why I do what I do.  Not everyone will feel that way.  But give yourself a chance. Prepare. Engage. Ask questions. Be wrong.  And learn.  

Have a great year!  Oh, and by the way, take Business Organizations before your graduate.  It's pretty much essential.  

August 16, 2016 in Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Richmond Law Professor Openings

From an e-mail I received:

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The University of Richmond School of Law seeks to fill two entry-level tenure-track positions for the 2017-2018 academic year, including one in corporate/transactional law.  Candidates should have outstanding academic credentials and show superb promise for top-notch scholarship and teaching.  The University of Richmond, an equal opportunity employer, is committed to developing a diverse workforce and student body and to supporting an inclusive campus community.  Applications from candidates who will contribute to these goals are strongly encouraged. 

Inquiries and requests for additional information may be directed to Professor Jessica Erickson, Chair of Faculty Appointments, at lawfacultyapp@richmond.edu

August 10, 2016 in Business Associations, Haskell Murray, Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Things Law Professors Say: I Needed to Unpack Law Professors’ Normative Behavior

I am not the first to notice that law professors, and academics generally, have their own jargon and favorite buzzwords.  Some websites do a nice job of highlighting (or mocking) many of the odds turns of phrase many of us use.  Lawyers in the practicing bar do this, too, of course, and other professionals, especially business people (see, e.g., Dilbert) and public relations professionals.

I try not to be too jargon-y, but I have caught myself more than a few times.  I am big on “incentivize,” for example.   After attending a great SEALS Conference (likely more on that to come), I came away with a bunch of new ideas, a few new friends, and some hope for future collaboration.  I also came away noticing that, sometimes, as a group, “we talk funny.”  On that front, two words keep coming to my mind: “unpack” and “normative.”

So, when did we all “need” to start “unpacking” arguments?

This seemed like a relatively recent phenomenon to me, so I checked.  A Westlaw search of “adv: unpack! /3 argument” reveals 140 uses in Secondary Sources.  The first such reference appears in a 1982 law review article: Michael Moore, Moral Reality, 1982 Wis. L. Rev. 1061 (1982).  The phrase doesn’t appear again until 1988, in this article: Jeffrey N. Gordon, Ties That Bond: Dual Class Common Stock and the Problem of Shareholder Choice, 76 Cal. L. Rev. 1 (1988). Of the 140 citations, 113 (or 80%) of those have appeared since January 1, 2000 (69, or nearly 50%, have appeared since 2010). Relatively modest numbers, frankly, compared to how often I think I heard it said, but maybe we're just getting ramped up.  

And when did things become “normative?”

It also seemed to me that it’s relatively recent that the things we expect to happen (or people to do) became “normative” in legal academic circles. Before that, I think we called things the standard or the norm, but it was far less common that legal academics discussed “normative” behavior in the way we do now.   

A Westlaw search bears this out, too. A search of all secondary sources on Westlaw before January 1, 2000, revealed that the term had been used in 2,668 pieces. Since that date, normative has shown up in 7,270.  The term has obviously been around for a long time, and has value in many contexts, but saying “normative” is the new normal.  

To be clear, I don’t think the use of all jargon is bad, and I appreciate that as law professors do more interdisciplinary work, we will expand our jargon into other fields.  Sometimes specific words help us communicate more precisely in a way that increases usefulness and understanding.  I like terms of art and specificity.  (See, e.g., any of my rants about LLCs.) I’m just observing what seems like a shift in how we talk.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it’s just a thing. 

I welcome any comments on these terms, or even better, a list of other words or phrases I missed.  I know there's a lot more out there.  

August 9, 2016 in Conferences, Current Affairs, Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Teaching, Writing | Permalink | Comments (2)

California Western School of Law seeks 2-3 tenure-track faculty members

Do you value diversity? At California Western School of Law, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our student body.  This year, around 50% of our incoming students are from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  We are committed to having a faculty that reflects our student body and our community. 

Do you want to influence legal education at an established but innovative law school?  California Western recently celebrated its 90th anniversary - but we have never been stale or ordinary.  We were on the forefront of innovative, experiential education three decades ago.  As a result, our graduates have a reputation for being uniquely practice-ready.  California Western continues to rethink the status quo in legal education – balancing a rigorous practical education with cutting edge scholarship and community service. 

Who are you?  We are seeking candidates with an entrepreneurial spirit who are eager to put their own stamp on a law school with an expanding faculty and many growth opportunities.

What do you want to teach?  We can prioritize your teaching preferences regardless of subject matter. 

Where do you want to live?  California Western is in downtown San Diego, California, literally overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  A city of breathtaking beauty, we have perfect weather, miles of beaches, and nearby mountains.  We are a family-friendly, diverse city with small city traffic and walkable neighborhoods. 

If you are excited about teaching a diverse student body, shaping the next iteration of an innovative and successful law school, and living in “America’s Finest City,” we want to hear from you.

Candidates should email their materials by September 30, 2016 to Professor Ken Klein at kklein@cwsl.edu.  Candidates are encouraged to submit a statement to our Appointments Committee addressing how they can contribute to the goal of creating a diverse faculty. 

August 9, 2016 in Jobs, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)