Wednesday, September 19, 2018
I may update this list from time to time; feel free to e-mail me with additions. Looks like a pretty strong hiring season for business law. Updated 9/19/18.
Law School Professor Positions – Business Specialty Sought
Drake University (Director of the Entrepreneurial/Transactional Law Clinic)
Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Professor of Practice) (9/17/18 deadline or until filled)
University of Arizona (International Business Law Focus) (Review begins 9/28/18)
University of California, Berkeley (initial review 8/15/18; accepted through 3/1/19)
University of Oregon (Business Law Clinic)
Legal Studies Professor Positions (Mostly Business Schools)
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (10/1/18 first consideration)
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (9/17/18 review begins)
Princeton University (Fellowships) (11/14/18 deadline)
State University of New York at Oswego (Instructor) (11/1/18 review begins)
University of the Bahamas (PHD in Law required)
University of Michigan (10/15/18 guaranteed consideration)
University of South Florida (Instructor) (JD/LLM or JD/PHD only)
Western Carolina University (10/1/18 review begins)
Sunday, September 16, 2018
I knew it would be impossible. There was no way to relay my excitement about the potential of blockchain technology in a concise way to lawyers and law students last Friday at the Connecting the Threads symposium at the University of Tennessee School of Law. I didn't discuss cryptocurrency or Bitcoin other than to say that I wasn't planning to discuss it. Still, there wasn't nearly enough time for me to discuss all of the potential use cases. I did try to make it clear that it's not a fad if IBM has 1500 people working on it, BITA has hundreds of logistics and freight companies signed up to explore possibilities, and the World Bank, OECD, and United Nations have studies and pilot programs devoted to it. As a former supply chain person, compliance officer, and chief privacy officer, I'm giddy with excitement about everything related to distributed ledger technology other than cryptocurrency. You can see why when you read my law review article in a few months in Transactions.
I've watched over 100 YouTube videos (many of them crappy) and read dozens of articles. I go to Meetups and actually understand what the coders and developers are saying (most of the time). A few students and practitioners asked me how I learned about DLT/blockchain. First, see here, here, here, and here for my prior posts listing resources and making the case for learning the basics of the technology. What I list below adds to what I've posted in the past.
Here are some of the podcasts I listen to (there are others, of course):
1) The Decrypting Crypto Podcast
2) Block that Chain
3) Block and Roll
4) Blockchain Innovation
Here are some of the videos that I watched (that I haven't already linked to in past posts):
There are dozens more, but this should be enough to get you started. Remember, none of these videos or podcasts will get you rich from cryptocurrency. But they will help you become competent to know whether you can advise clients on these issues.
September 16, 2018 in Compliance, Corporate Governance, Corporations, CSR, Current Affairs, Financial Markets, Human Rights, Law Firms, Law Reviews, Law School, Lawyering, Marcia Narine Weldon | Permalink | Comments (1)
Saturday, September 1, 2018
Did I lose you with the title to this post? Do you have no idea what a DAO is? In its simplest terms, a DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization, whose decisions are made electronically by a written computer code or through the vote of its members. In theory, it eliminates the need for traditional documentation and people for governance. This post won't explain any more about DAOs or the infamous hack of the Slock.it DAO in 2016. I chose this provocative title to inspire you to read an article entitled Legal Education in the Blockchain Revolution.
The authors Mark Fenwick, Wulf A. Kaal, and Erik P. M. Vermeulen discuss how technological innovations, including artificial intelligence and blockchain will change how we teach and practice law related to real property, IP, privacy, contracts, and employment law. If you're a practicing lawyer, you have a duty of competence. You need to know what you don't know so that you avoid advising on areas outside of your level of expertise. It may be exciting to advise a company on tax, IP, securities law or other legal issues related to cryptocurrency or blockchain, but you could subject yourself to discipline for doing so without the requisite background. If you teach law, you will have students clamoring for information on innovative technology and how the law applies. Cornell University now offers 28 courses on blockchain, and a professor at NYU's Stern School of Business has 235 people in his class. Other schools are scrambling to find professors qualified to teach on the subject.
To understand the hype, read the article on the future of legal education. The abstract is below:
The legal profession is one of the most disrupted sectors of the consulting industry today. The rise of Legal Tech, artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, and, most importantly, blockchain technology is changing the practice of law. The sharing economy and platform companies challenge many of the traditional assumptions, doctrines, and concepts of law and governance, requiring litigators, judges, and regulators to adapt. Lawyers need to be equipped with the necessary skillsets to operate effectively in the new world of disruptive innovation in law. A more creative and innovative approach to educating lawyers for the 21st century is needed.
For more on how blockchain is changing business and corporate governance, come by my talk at the University of Tennessee on September 14th where you will also hear from my co-bloggers. In case you have no interest in my topic, it's worth the drive/flight to hear from the others. The descriptions of the sessions are below:
Session 1: Breach of Fiduciary Duty and the Defense of Reliance on Experts
Many corporate statutes expressly provide that directors in discharging their duties may rely in good faith upon information, opinions, reports, or statements from officers, board committees, employees, or other experts (such as accountants or lawyers). Such statutes often come into play when directors have been charged with breaching their procedural duty of care by making an inadequately informed decision, but they can be applicable in other contexts as well. In effect, the statutes provide a defense to directors charged with breach of fiduciary duty when their allegedly uninformed or wrongful decisions were based on credible information provided by others with appropriate expertise. Professor Douglas Moll will examine these “reliance on experts” statutes and explore a number of questions associated with them.
Session 2: Fact or Fiction: Flawed Approaches to Evaluating Market Behavior in Securities Litigation
Private fraud actions brought under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act require courts to make a variety of determinations regarding market functioning and the economic effects of the alleged misconduct. Over the years, courts have developed a variety of doctrines to guide how these inquiries are to be conducted. For example, courts look to a series of specific, pre-defined factors to determine whether a market is “efficient” and thus responsive to new information. Courts also rely on a variety of doctrines to determine whether and for how long publicly-available information has exerted an influence on security prices. Courts’ judgments on these matters dictate whether cases will proceed to summary judgment and trial, whether classes will be certified and the scope of such classes, and the damages that investors are entitled to collect. Professor Ann M. Lipton will discuss how these doctrines operate in such an artificial manner that they no longer shed light on the underlying factual inquiry, namely, the actual effect of the alleged fraud on investors.
Session 3: Lawyering for Social Enterprise
Professor Joan Heminway will focus on salient components of professional responsibility operative in delivering advisory legal services to social enterprises. Social enterprises—businesses that exist to generate financial and social or environmental benefits—have received significant positive public attention in recent years. However, social enterprise and the related concepts of social entrepreneurship and impact investing are neither well defined nor well understood. As a result, entrepreneurs, investors, intermediaries, and agents, as well as their respective advisors, may be operating under different impressions or assumptions about what social enterprise is and have different ideas about how to best build and manage a sustainable social enterprise business. Professor Heminway will discuss how these legal uncertainties have the capacity to generate transaction costs around entity formation and management decision making and the pertinent professional responsibilities implicated in an attorney’s representation of such social enterprises.
Session 4: Beyond Bitcoin: Leveraging Blockchain for Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Enterprise Risk Management
Although many people equate blockchain with bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and smart contracts, Professor Marcia Narine Weldon will discuss how the technology also has the potential to transform the way companies look at governance and enterprise risk management. Companies and stock exchanges are using blockchain for shareholder communications, managing supply chains, internal audit, and cybersecurity. Professor Weldon will focus on eliminating barriers to transparency in the human rights arena. Professor Weldon’s discussion will provide an overview of blockchain technology and how state and nonstate actors use the technology outside of the realm of cryptocurrency.
Session 5: Crafting State Corporate Law for Research and Review
Professor Benjamin Edwards will discuss how states can implement changes in state corporate law with an eye toward putting in place provisions and measures to make it easier for policymakers to retrospectively review changes to state law to discern whether legislation accomplished its stated goals. State legislatures often enact and amend their business corporation laws without considering how to review and evaluate their effectiveness and impact. This inattention means that state legislatures quickly lose sight of whether the changes actually generate the benefits desired at the time off passage. It also means that state legislatures may not observe stock price reactions or other market reactions to legislation. Our federal system allows states to serve as the laboratories of democracy. The controversy over fee-shifting bylaws and corporate charter provisions offers an opportunity for state legislatures to intelligently design changes in corporate law to achieve multiple state and regulatory objectives. Professor Edwards will discuss how well-crafted legislation would: (i) allow states to compete effectively in the market for corporate charters; and (ii) generate useful information for evaluating whether particular bylaws or charter provisions enhance shareholder wealth.
Session 6: An Overt Disclosure Requirement for Eliminating the Duty of Loyalty
When Delaware law allowed parties to eliminate the duty of loyalty for LLCs, more than a few people were appalled. Concerns about eliminating the duty of loyalty are not surprising given traditional business law fiduciary duty doctrine. However, as business agreements evolved, and became more sophisticated, freedom of contract has become more common, and attractive. How to reconcile this tradition with the emerging trend? Professor Joshua Fershée will discuss why we need to bring a partnership principle to LLCs to help. In partnerships, the default rule is that changes to the partnership agreement or acts outside the ordinary course of business require a unanimous vote. See UPA § 18(h) & RUPA § 401(j). As such, the duty of loyalty should have the same requirement, and perhaps that even the rule should be mandatory, not just default. The duty of loyalty norm is sufficiently ingrained that more active notice (and more explicit consent) is necessary, and eliminating the duty of loyalty is sufficiently unique that it warrants unique treatment if it is to be eliminated.
Session 7: Does Corporate Personhood Matter? A Review of We the Corporations
Professor Stefan Padfield will discuss a book written by UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler, “We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights.” The highly-praised book “reveals the secret history of one of America’s most successful yet least-known ‘civil rights movements’ – the centuries-long struggle for equal rights for corporations.” However, the book is not without its controversial assertions, particularly when it comes to its characterizations of some of the key components of corporate personhood and corporate personality theory. This discussion will unpack some of these assertions, hopefully ensuring that advocates who rely on the book will be informed as to alternative approaches to key issues.
September 1, 2018 in Ann Lipton, Compliance, Conferences, Contracts, Corporate Governance, Corporate Personality, Corporations, Current Affairs, Employment Law, Human Rights, Intellectual Property, International Business, Joan Heminway, Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Lawyering, LLCs, Marcia Narine Weldon, Real Property, Shareholders, Social Enterprise, Stefan J. Padfield, Teaching, Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, August 13, 2018
The Washington and Lee University School of Law seeks to hire a faculty member with research and teaching interests in the fields of corporate law, securities regulation, and/or commercial law. Our school has a long history of outstanding scholarship and teaching in these areas, and we are excited to advance our trajectory with a new hire. In addition to this subject-matter focus, we look for an individual who will embrace and meaningfully contribute to our close-knit, collegial, and intellectually vibrant community.
We warmly invite applications for a position as Assistant or Associate Professor of Law beginning July 1, 2019, and we are particularly focused on lateral candidates with between 2-4 years of experience. In all cases, candidates for the position must demonstrate a record of excellence in both teaching and scholarship.
Washington and Lee University School of Law is an Equal Opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran’s status, or genetic information with regard to employment. We have a commitment to enhancing the diversity of our faculty and, in that regard, we welcome candidates who are members of communities that are traditionally under-represented in the legal profession and academia.
Applicants should submit the following materials through the W&L portal (https://apply.interfolio.com/53173): a cover letter describing their interest in the position, a current curriculum vitae, a research agenda, and a list of references. Please address these materials to Prof. Christopher B. Seaman, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee. Any questions may be addressed to Prof. Seaman at firstname.lastname@example.org. All inquiries will be treated as confidential.
Sunday, August 12, 2018
We’re a month away from our second annual Business Law Professor Blog CLE, hosted at the University of Tennessee on Friday, September 14, 2018. We’ll discuss our latest research and receive comments from UT faculty and students. I’ve entitled my talk Beyond Bitcoin: Leveraging Blockchain for Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Enterprise Risk Management, and will blog more about that after I finish the article. This is a really long post, but it’s chock full of helpful links for novices and experts alike and highlights some really interesting work from our colleagues at other law schools.
Two weeks ago, I posted some resources to help familiarize you with blockchain. Here’s a relatively simple definition from John Giordani at Forbes:
Blockchain is a public register in which transactions between two users belonging to the same network are stored in a secure, verifiable and permanent way. The data relating to the exchanges are saved inside cryptographic blocks, connected in a hierarchical manner to each other. This creates an endless chain of data blocks -- hence the name blockchain -- that allows you to trace and verify all the transactions you have ever made. The primary function of a blockchain is, therefore, to certify transactions between people. In the case of Bitcoin, the blockchain serves to verify the exchange of cryptocurrency between two users, but it is only one of the many possible uses of this technological structure. In other sectors, the blockchain can certify the exchange of shares and stocks, operate as if it were a notary and "validate" a contract or make the votes cast in online voting secure and impossible to alter. One of the greatest advantages of the blockchain is the high degree of security it guarantees. In fact, once a transaction is certified and saved within one of the chain blocks, it can no longer be modified or tampered with. Each block consists of a pointer that connects it to the previous block, a timestamp that certifies the time at which the event actually took place and the transaction data.
These three elements ensure that each element of the blockchain is unique and immutable -- any request to modify the timestamp or the content of the block would change all subsequent blocks. This is because the pointer is created based on the data in the previous block, triggering a real chain reaction. In order for any alterations to happen, it would be necessary for the 50%-plus-one of the network to approve the change: a possible but hardly feasible operation since the blockchain is distributed worldwide between millions of users.
In case that wasn’t clear enough, here are links to a few of my favorite videos for novices. These will help you understand the rest of this blog post.
- Blockchain Expert Explains One Concept in 5 Levels of Difficulty
- 19 Industries That Blockchain Will Disrupt
- How Blockchain is Changing Money and Business
To help prepare for my own talk in Tennessee, I attended a fascinating discussion at SEALS on Thursday moderated by Dean Jon Garon of Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law called Blockchain Technology and the Law.
For those of you who don’t know how blockchain technology can relate to your practice or teaching, I thought I would provide a few questions raised by some of the speakers. I’ve inserted some (oversimplified)links for definitions. The speakers did not include these links, so if I have used one that you believe is incomplete or inaccurate, do not attribute it to them.
Del started the session by talking about the legal issues in blockchain consensus models. He described consensus models as the backbones for users because they: 1) allow users to interact with each other in a trustless manner; 2) ensure the integrity of the ledger in both normal and adversarial situations; and 3) create a “novel variety of networks with extraordinary potential” if implemented correctly. He discussed both permissioned (e.g. Ripple) and permissionless (Bitcoin) systems and how they differ. He then explained Proof of Work blockchains supported by miners (who solve problems to add blocks to the blockchain) and masternodes (who provide the backbone support to the blockchain). He pointed out how blockchains can reduce agency costs and problems of asymmetrical information and then focused on their utility in financial markets, securities regulation, and corporate governance. Del compared the issues related to off-chain governance, where decisionmaking first takes place on a social level and is then actively encoded into the protocol by the developers (used by Bitcoin and Ethereum) to on-chain governance, where developers broadcast their improvement protocols on-chain and then, once approved, those improvements are implemented into the code. He closed by listing a number of “big unanswered issues” related to regulatory guidance, liability for the performance of the technology and choice of consensus, global issues, and GDPR and other data privacy issues.
Catherine wants to help judges think about smart contracts. She asked, among other things, how judges should address remedies, what counts as substantial performance, and how smart contract audits would work. She questioned whether judges should use a consumer protection approach or instead follow a draconian approach by embracing automation and enforcing smart contracts as drafted to discourage their adoption by those who are not sophisticated enough to understand how they work.
Tonya focuses on blockchain and intellectual property. Her talked raised the issues of non-fungible tokens generated through smart contracts and the internet of value. She used the example of cryptokitties, where players have the chance to collect and breed digital cats. She also raised the question of what kind of technology can avoid infringement. For more on how blockchain can disrupt copyright law, read her post here.
In case you didn’t have enough trust issues with blockchain and cryptocurrency, Rebecca’s presentation focused on the “halo of immutability” and asked a few central questions: 1) why should we trust the miners not to collude for a 51% attack 2) why should we trust wallets, which aren’t as secure as people think; and 3) why should we trust the consensus mechanism? In response, some members of the audience noted that blockchain appeals to a libertarian element because of the removal of the government from the conversation.
Professor Carla Reyes, Michigan State University College of Law- follow her on Twitter at Carla Reyes (@Prof_CarlaReyes);
Carla talked about crypto corporate governance and the potential fiduciary duties that come out of thinking of blockchains as public trusts or corporations. She explained that governance happens on and off of the blockchain mechanisms through social media outlets such as Redditt. She further noted that many of those who call themselves “passive economic participants” are actually involved in governance because they comment on improvement processes. She also noted the paradox that off chain governance doesn’t always work very well because participants don’t always agree, but when they do agree, it often leads to controversial results like hard forks. Her upcoming article will outline potential fiduciaries (miner and masternode operators for example), their duties, and when they apply. She also asked the provocative question of whether a hard fork is like a Revlon event.
As a former chief privacy officer, I have to confess a bias toward Charlotte’s presentation. She talked about blockchain in healthcare focusing on these questions: will gains in cybersecurity protection outweigh specific issues for privacy or other legal issues (data ownership); what are the practical implications of implementing a private blockchain (consortium, patient-initiated, regulatory-approved); can this apply to other needed uses, including medical device applications; how might this technology work over geographically diverse regulatory structures; and are there better applications for this technology (e.g. connected health devices)? She posited that blockchain could work in healthcare because it is decentralized, has increased security, improves access controls, is more impervious to unauthorized change, could support availability goals for ransomware attacks and other issues, is potentially interoperable, could be less expensive, and could be controlled by regulatory branch, consortium, and the patient. She closed by raising potential legal issues related to broad data sharing, unanswered questions about private implementations, privacy requirements relating to the obligation of data deletion and correction (GDPR in the EU, China’s cybersecurity law, etc); and questions of data ownership in a contract.
Eric closed by discussing the potential tax issue for hard forks. He explained that after a hard fork, a new coin is created, and asked whether that creates income because the owner had one entitlement and now has two pieces of ownership. He then asked whether hard forks are more like corporate reorganizations or spinoffs (which already have statutory taxation provisions) or rather analogous to a change of wealth. Finally, he asked whether we should think about these transactions like a contingent right to do something in the future and how that should be valued.
Stay tuned for more on these and other projects related to blockchain. I will be sure to post them when they are done. But, ignore blockchain at your peril. There’s a reason that IBM, Microsoft, and the State Department are spending money on this technology. If you come to UT on September 15th, I’ll explain how other companies, the UN, NASDAQ, and nation states are using blockchain beyond the cryptocurrency arena.
August 12, 2018 in Commercial Law, Compliance, Conferences, Contracts, Corporate Governance, Corporations, Current Affairs, Entrepreneurship, Human Rights, Law School, Lawyering, Legislation, Marcia Narine Weldon, Research/Scholarhip, Securities Regulation, Shareholders, Teaching, Technology, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Friday, July 27, 2018
Pura vida from Costa Rica. Between recovery from carpal tunnel surgery a few weeks ago and an ATV flip two days ago, I don’t have much mental or physical energy to do a full post. I haven’t mastered dictation so I’m typing this on an iPad with one hand. Next week, I’ll provide more substance as well as a preview on my September talk at our second annual BPLB symposium at the University of Tennessee. Today, I want to pass on some resources for those who don’t know anything about blockchain.
For those who want to provide resources for students, Walter Effross has put together a great site:
The following sources come from Professor Tonya Evans at UNH, who has developed an online curriculum on blockchain:
Blockchain + Law:
Next week, I’ll talk about my research into how blockchain is used in corporate governance, compliance, supply chain management, enterprise risk management, cybersexurity, and human rights.
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Details on another excellent business law professor position are posted below.
Entry-Level or Experienced Faculty Position
The UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA COLLEGE OF LAW invites applications for entry-level and lateral candidates for two tenure-track or tenured faculty positions.
Our primary areas of interest are Civil Procedure, Business Associations, and other business law courses, including, but not limited to, Corporate Finance, Securities Regulation, Corporate Governance, Non-Profit Organizations, and Transactional Drafting.
Other needs include courses related to
- Health Care (g., Federal Regulation of Health Care Providers, Health Care Finance, Administrative Law, Medical Malpractice, Privacy Law, Law and Medicine, Public Health Law, Bioethics and the Law, and the Law of Provider and Patient);
- Litigation Skills and Related Courses (g., Trial Advocacy, Civil Rights Litigation, Conflicts of Law, Remedies, Pretrial Litigation, and other litigation skills courses);
- Criminal Law (g., Federal Criminal Law, White Collar Crime, PostConviction Remedies, and Criminal Sentencing);
- Environmental Law (g., Environmental Law, Water Law, and Natural Resources Law);
- Family Law; and
- Election Law.
Minimum required qualifications include a J.D. Degree or equivalent, superior academic record, and a demonstrated interest in relevant substantive areas. The title of Assistant or Associate Professor will be based on the qualifications of the applicant.
To be considered, please complete the Faculty/Academic Administrative information form and attach a letter of interest, current vita, and names and contact information for three professional references at http://employment.unl.edu/postings/59925. Review of applications will begin on August 24, 2018, and continue until the position is filled. Contact Associate Dean Eric Berger, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Nebraska College of Law, Lincoln, NE 68583-0902, or send an email to email@example.com. General information about the Law College is available at http://law.unl.edu/.
As an EO/AA employer, qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation. See http://www.unl.edu/equity/notice-nondiscrimination.
Monday, July 23, 2018
On Thursday and Friday of last week, I had the honor of attending and presenting at the inaugural conference on Women's Leadership in Academia at the University of Georgia School of Law. The conference featured a wide variety of plenary and breakout/workshop sessions over the two days. My dean and two other colleagues from UT Law also were presenters at the conference; an additional UT Law colleague attended but did not present.
The opening plenary panel featured four women talking about "Me Too and the Legal Academy." The panelists offered perspectives from journalism, criminal law, tort law, constitutional law, victim/survivor advocacy, classroom teaching, law school administration, campus Title IX adjudication, and personal experience. Audience members actively participated in a dialogue with the panelists. The keynote on the second day was delivered by the interim provost at UGA, Libby Morris, who offered information on women in leadership--data, anecdotes, and observations--and moderated a related audience Q&A.
The remainder of the program included various panels, presentations, and workshops. Among them was a nifty combined PechaKucha/workshop offered by three of my UT Law colleagues on "Leadership Challenges and Solutions over the Course of a Career" and my breakout session entitled "Outside the Four Walls of the Law School: Law Faculty and Staff as Campus and University Service Leaders." A number of colleagues/friends attended my session, and two took pictures of me in action. Although I look serious and pained in all of those photos, I am including one here since it features a key slide in my presentation.
The full program can be found here.
Friend of the BLPB, Conglomerate blogger, and UGA Law colleague Usha Rodrigues worked with a team of female leaders from a number of schools to organize and carry off the conference. It was exceptionally well done. Future Women's Leadership in Academia conferences will be held at the University of Virginia School of Law (2019), the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law (2020), and Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School (2021). Look for more news here and elsewhere on these annual women's leadership events.
Thursday, July 19, 2018
This summer, I have met with a few of my pre-law advisees who will start their 1L years in a few weeks.
While I have blogged on general advice for students before, I decide to memorialize some of my specific advice for 1Ls.
Of course, every student is different, and this advice may be amended a bit, depending on the student's situation and goals. This advice, for example, assumes a desire to perform well academically. I encourage my co-bloggers to chime in through the comments or in separate posts. My co-blogger Josh Fershee (West Virginia) has already authored two 1L advice posts, which are worth consulting, here and here. It should go without saying that I did not follow all of my own advice, but I wish I had.
- Move into your house or apartment a few weeks early. Moving in early may not be possible for every student, but it is worth doing if you can. Getting settled before the work starts to pile up can help you avoid getting behind early.
- Live alone or with friends with similar schedules. I had some law school friends who lived with non-law students, usually people they knew from college who moved to the same town for a job. In many of these situations, the law school students were distracted from their studies and did not do particularly well in their 1L classes. I had the good fortune of living with an incredibly studious fellow 1L during my first year, and we provided each other with some positive peer pressure. Roommates don't have to be law students, but I would choose someone, like a medical resident, who is likely to be focused on work more than social outings (and is unlikely to throw a Tuesday night party at your place).
- Ask for advice and outlines from 2Ls and 3Ls. Early in the semester seek out the 2L and 3Ls who did well in your professors' classes. You can use law review membership as a proxy, and there may be a list of the students who got the highest grade in each class (usually called "booking" or "CALI-ing" the class). Ask those good students (politely) for their outlines and for tips about taking exams from your professors. Use those outlines--I suggest you get at least 3 for each class--as models and to check your own outlines, but not as an excuse to avoid producing your own outlines. The courses are likely to change a bit each semester, esp. if there is a new edition of the casebook, or if the professor switches casebooks, and much of the value of an outline comes from constructing it yourself. That said, having those other outlines to reference can be quite valuable.
- Consider the pros and cons of study groups. I decided against traditional study groups in law school because the two groups I briefly tried seemed to be (1) wasting a lot of time on law school gossip and (2) sharing their understudied ignorance. There were probably some better study groups, but I did not get invites to those, including one we called "the cult." My roommate and a few other fellow students did, however, form a hybrid group of sorts. We did not meet regularly, as many groups did, but we did share our outlines, and we analyzed practice exams together, which proved extremely helpful.
- Make contacts and be professional. Both the student and professor contacts you make in law school can be invaluable in your career. Also explore the mentor programs through your law school to meet some practicing lawyers. Know that your reputation from law school may follow you into practice, so be professional even if some of your fellow classmates are not (and don't jump off a ferry boat at law prom).
- Meet with your professors. I suggest meeting with each of your professors, in person, in the middle of the semester (and also after finals (and any midterms) to review your exams). The start of the school year is busy and you won't be ready to ask good, substantive questions yet. A month or more into the semester, however, you should meet with your professors, ask for general advice, and pose some questions about your outline. You can also ask your professors to review a practice test answer,though I would limit the review to a single issue (or maybe two).
- Do practice tests. Answering a lot of practice tests (and analyzing the answers with smart friends to see what I missed) helped me immensely in law school. If your professor provides practice tests, those are the best ones to use, but you can also find practice tests from other schools posted online (or through your friends at other law schools). For some of the practice exams we would just issue spot, but I think it is important to fully write out, and time, at least one full practice exam per class.
- Start your outlines early and start actively studying 6 weeks out. Start your outlines very early, in the first week or two of school. Outlining is much more important than briefing the cases, in my opinion, though I would attempt to brief cases for a while too, so you learn that skill. I quickly learned I preferred book briefing to briefing on a Word document. About 6 weeks before finals started, my friends any I started actively studying for finals. Obviously, we had been outlining and reading all along, but at 6 weeks until the first exam we really started studying. We would devote a week to each subject--flushing out our outlines and doing practice exams. We still kept up with our other classes, but we devoted 1-2 hours per day to the subject of that week. In the week before finals, we spent one day on each class, finalizing the outlines and writing out practice exams under the time limits of that class.
- Have a life outside of law school, but try to minimize additional responsibilities. Some law students only focus on academics during law school, especially in the first year, and I think this is a mistake. But it is also a mistake, in my book, to overcommit yourself, given that your 1L grades will be the focus of employers looking to hire summer associates in the fall of your 2L year. Intramural flag football, for example, helped keep me sane. Also, I typically did no law school related work from Friday evenings until Saturday evenings (though this practice was mostly abandoned close to finals). While it is important to have one or two non-law outlets, I also know law students who got overextended with extracurriculars and regret that choice during interview season.
- Eat well, exercise regularly, and get consistent, sufficient sleep. It is difficult to do all three of these in law school, but well worth it if you can. Packing some healthy food the night before can help you from living out of the snack machine. Most law schools are attached to universities that have nice gyms. And if you do not get consistent, sufficient sleep you will quickly see diminishing returns on your studying.
Good luck and enjoy the process!
Monday, July 16, 2018
Had I not been taking pictures on the beach during a morning walk with dear college friends on the New England shoreline, I would not have seen the incoming call on my silenced cell phone--a call from a business law colleague from UT Law that I figured I ought to answer. But the call was not, as I expected, a request for help with a research or teaching question. Instead, this colleague was calling to inform me of an email message from our Dean letting us know that our junior business law colleague, Jonathan Rohr, had died the day before. (I am linking here to a YouTube video featuring Jonathan, which will tell you much more about the man that he was than any CV or website.)
Jonathan came into my life almost two years ago when he interviewed with UT Law for a permanent, tenure track position after VAP-ing at his law alma mater, Cardozo. From the start, Jonathan impressed me and others on the Appointments Committee with his intellect, his enthusiasm for the faculty task, and his intensity. He survived the appointments tournament and came to work with us last summer. Before his untimely death, he already had been invited to comment on a paper at last year's AALS annual meeting and had symposium and virtual symposium invitations--as a first-year tenure-track colleague. His scholarship was thoughtful and lucidly written. He worked hard to make every piece better and better and better through editing. He was a popular and revered teacher. He was contributing to our College of Law community in significant ways. I could not have been prouder to have him as a colleague and tried to introduce him to everyone imaginable to get his permanent teaching career off to the right start.
I think it's fair to say that no one was more excited for Jonathan's arrival at UT Law than I. He was what my dear husband calls a "Mini-Me"--someone at the early stages of a career trajectory with a similar professional background who aspires to similar career goals and seeks to be mentored by me along the way. Most of the Mini-Mes that I have worked with were and are law practice colleagues and students. Jonathan was my first faculty Mini-Me. I had plans for our ongoing work together. I think he had plans of that kind, too. We had started working in a number of areas informally. We drank beer and discussed strategies for research, teaching, tenure, promotion, etc. The one academic year that we had together was idyllic in so many ways--too good to be true, for me, as I often observed. Our last conversation about his current work and my current work was last week. He was writing a guest post for this blog. He promised to send me his most recent essay in draft form for review. On July 11, he sent the essay to me and a few others. Two days later, he was no longer with us. Unbelievable.
And so, on Saturday, after my colleague delivered the news during that beach walk, I stopped and cried. I asked "why?" so many times and shook my head in disbelief as I moaned and the tears fell. What else could I do? The once colorful, happy beach scene turned gray. Over 20 years ago, I remember my husband relating that the colors were taken from him when his Dad, a vibrant graphic artist, died too young (but at a much older age than Jonathan). I understood in that moment on the beach exactly what my husband meant. Yet, I knew I had to move on. My friends were way down the beach by that time. They needed to know what had transpired. I needed their support and love; and I knew I needed them to to try help me make sense out of the world around me. Everything was and remains a bit off-kilter. I know many of you can identify with that feeling.
As I walked down the beach, head bowed low, the first thing that stood out for me on the bland, gray sand was this rock.
It appeared blue in the sunshine--a striking blue in the dull sandy grayness--although in other lights it takes on more charcoal color, as it does in this photo. Like Jonathan, it stood out as special, a near-perfect specimen among many others. In finishing the walk, I picked up several other objects that stood out from others on the beach. Somehow, that effort comforted me. I cannot really say why . . . .
Over the past few years, those of us who research and teach business law have mourned the loss of a number of amazing colleagues. These passings have hit all of us hard, professionally and personally. But the loss of Jonathan Rohr from our midst feels qualitatively different to me, as a close colleague and mentor. It will take time for me and many others who knew him to even begin to process this tragic loss. Perhaps this post will begin a process of healing for me. But I do not know that I ever will make sense out of this. We have lost a man that many had loved and respected. In his way-too-short life, he touched colleagues and students, as well as family and friends. His enthusiasm and love for life was so palpable and contagious; I still feel that energy now. I hope that sense of connection lingers. It also is a comfort.
I dedicate this post to Jonathan, with offers of sympathy and love to his wonderful wife, Jing, and the rest of their family. I am so glad that he became part of my life and so mournfully sad that he has left us.
Monday, July 2, 2018
Seton Hall University School of Law welcomes applications for tenure-track positions to begin July 1, 2019. Candidates should have a J.D. or equivalent degree and a record of academic excellence. Candidates should be able to demonstrate both extraordinary scholarly promise and the ability or potential to be an outstanding teacher who can motivate students while preparing them for the practice of law in the twenty-first century. The School of Law will consider entry-level and junior lateral candidates in a variety of subject areas with particular focus on 1) Law and Technology, including data analytics/AI as it intersects with law and compliance, social media and electronic discovery, and ethics in the intersection of law and technology; 2) Business Law, preferably with a focus on Securities Regulation; and 3) Health Law, preferably with a focus on Healthcare Fraud or Food and Drug Law.
Seton Hall Law School offers a vibrant, energetic academic environment. Located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, approximately 20 minutes from Manhattan, Seton Hall Law is especially well-regarded in the health and life sciences law, intellectual property, cybersecurity, and privacy arenas, and it is in the process of expanding its role in energy, technology and data analytics. The faculty includes nationally recognized scholars and teachers with expertise in a wide range of areas.
Seton Hall Law School is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. We welcome applications from minorities, women, and others whose background and experiences will contribute to institutional diversity.
To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Professor Marina Lao, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, Seton Hall Law School, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I received the following today through the AALS teaching listserv. It may be of interest to some of you or to folks you may know in the region.
I am happy to report that the UC Davis School of Law is offering a mandatory skills course for 1Ls starting in Spring 2019. It will include segments on negotiation and client interviewing. If you are in northern California, or plan to be January through March 2019, I hope you will consider applying for one of the six adjunct positions relating to this exciting new course. Information here: https://recruit.ucdavis.edu/apply/JPF02281
Donna Shestowsky, J.D., Ph.D.
Director of Lawyering Skills Education
Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law
Martin Luther King Jr. Research Scholar
Affiliated Faculty, Department of Psychology, UC Davis
Phone: (530) 754-5693
My latest research, published in the Harvard Negotiation Law Review, can be found here:
Monday, June 25, 2018
LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, PAUL M. HEBERT LAW CENTER seeks to hire a tenure-track or tenured faculty member in business and commercial law, with particular attention in corporate, partnership, and other areas of tax law. We may consider applications from persons who specialize in other areas as additional needs arise. Applicants should have superior academic credentials and publications or promise of productivity in legal scholarship, as well as a commitment to outstanding teaching. The Paul M. Hebert Law Center of LSU is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Employer and is committed to building a culturally diverse faculty. We particularly welcome and encourage applications from female and minority candidates.
Applications should include a letter of application, resume, references, and teaching evaluations (if available) to:
Melissa T. Lonegrass
Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee
c/o Pam Hancock (or by email to email@example.com)
Paul M. Hebert Law Center
Louisiana State University
1 East Campus Drive
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803-0106
Friday, June 1, 2018
Greetings from Atlanta, Georgia, site of the Emory Transactional Law & Skills Conference. After only a few hours of presentations, I'm already inspired to make some changes in my new transactional lawyering class. I will write about some of the lessons learned next week. Today, I want to share some of Tina Stark's remarks from the conference dinner that ended moments ago. Although she initially teased the audience by stating that she would make "subversive" statements, nothing that she said would scandalize most law students or surprise practicing lawyers.
Her "radical" proposal entailed having transactional skills education be a part of every law student's curriculum. In support, she cited ABA Standard 301(a), which states:
OBJECTIVES OF PROGRAM OF LEGAL EDUCATION (a) A law school shall maintain a rigorous program of legal education that prepares its students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession.
She argued that for the academy to meet this standard, schools must go beyond a narrow reading of ABA rules and provide every student with the foundation to practice transactional law, particularly because half of graduates will practice in that area even if they don't know it while they are in law school. She also referenced ABA Standard 302, which states in part:
LEARNING OUTCOMES A law school shall establish learning outcomes that shall, at a minimum, include competency in the following: (a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law; (b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context.
Stark correctly observed that notwithstanding the litigation focus in law school, lawyers write more than predictive memos and briefs. She emphasized that competency in oral and communication skills is particularly important for deal lawyers.
If she came even close to being "radical," (and I don't think she did), it's because she went beyond calling on more schools to offer, much less require drafting courses. Instead, she recommended that schools add at least one credit to the first year contracts course so that students can learn the structure of contracts and build a foundation for more advanced work. She likened law students failing to learn the parts of a contract to medical students studying anatomy without doing dissections.
She anticipated the argument that schools do not have enough time to add an extra credit to the basic contracts course by countering that another first year course could be moved to the second year. This would allow professors to spend the first part of the semester teaching 1Ls to read and analyze a contract so that they can understand business drivers when reading cases in contracts and property class.
Although some in the academy might resist the proposal, I believe that members of the bar and business community would applaud this move. If the long waiting list for my transactional lawyering course and similar ones around the country are any indication, law students would appreciate more balance in the curriculum as well.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Earlier today, I received this call for submissions from the American Business Law Journal ("ABLJ"). I published with the ABLJ in 2017 and had a fabulous experience. The manuscripts are blind/peer-reviewed, something we need more of in the legal academy, in my opinion. I found the substantive comments to be of a much higher quality than one gets from a typical law review, and, unlike the practice of some peer-reviewed journals, the ABLJ published my manuscript in a timely manner.
The American Business Law Journal is seeking submissions of manuscripts that advance the scholarly literature by comprehensively exploring and analyzing legal and ethical issues affecting businesses within the United States or the world. Manuscripts analyzing international business law topics are welcome but must include a comprehensive comparative analysis, especially with U.S. law.
As most of you know, the ABLJ is a triple-blind, peer-reviewed law journal published by the Academy. The ABLJ is available on Westlaw and Lexis, and ranks in the top 6% of all publications in the Washington & Lee Submissions and Ranking list by Impact Factor (2016) and in the top 1% of all peer-edited or refereed by Impact Factor (2016). The Washington & Lee list ranks the ABLJ as the Number One Refereed/peer-edited “Commercial Law” and “Corporations and Associations” journal.
Because of a physical page limit imposed by our publisher Wiley, we ask that manuscripts not exceed 18,000 – 20,000 words (including footnotes). Submissions in excess of 25,000 words (including footnotes) may be returned without review. We also require that manuscripts substantially comply with the Bluebook: A Uniform Method of Legal Citation, 20th ed. For more details, please review our Author Guidelines at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291744-1714/homepage/ForAuthors.html
Because the peer-review process takes from four to six weeks to complete, we strongly suggest that you submit to the ABLJat least a few weeks prior to submitting to other journals. The peer-review process is not conducive to expedite requests (though we will attempt to honor them if possible), so if you give us a head start we will more likely be able to complete the review process.
While we gladly accept submissions through ExpressO and Scholastica, save yourself the submission fee and submit directly to the ABLJ at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the Managing Editor, Julie Manning Magid, at email@example.com.
Thank you and we look forward to reviewing your scholarly work.
Monday, April 16, 2018
I learned earlier this afternoon that Lynn Stout, author of The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations and the Public (2012), lost her battle with cancer today. Appropriate words are hard to come by. She was among the nation's scholarly leaders in the legal aspects of corporate governance. Regardless of whether you agree with her on the substance, you would likely find her work enlightening and her presence powerful. She was persistent in argument, yet generous with mentoring and other professional support.
I know we each will miss her in our own way. She and I had a bit of an unfinished conversation last June at the National Business Law Scholars Conference about my Washington & Lee Law Review article, "Shareholder Wealth Maximization as a Function of Statutes, Decisional Law, and Organic Documents." I am sorry we never completed that chat.
Her vast body of work is among her great legacies. I have my Advanced Business Associations students read "A Team Production Theory of Corporate Law" (coauthored with Margaret Blair) every year. Other articles that I have enjoyed and used in teaching or research include: "Why We Should Stop Teaching Dodge v. Ford" (although I enjoy teaching the case and interrogating it nevertheless), "The Investor Confidence Game," "The Mythical Benefits of Shareholder Control," and "On the Proper Motives of Corporate Directors (or, Why You Don't Want to Invite Homo Economicus to Join Your Board)." Feel free to add your memories and favorite works in the comments.
Thank you, Lynn, for all you have done for all of us. May you rest in total peace, free of your earthly burdens. Amen.
Friday, March 9, 2018
I love teaching courses that develop practical skills. This summer, I am teaching a 2-credit transactional drafting course for the first time. In the past, I have taught 2-credit skills courses that had a drafting element, but the students enrolled in those courses typically had taken business associations, and therefore we could do entity selection exercises, portions of bylaws, operating agreements, asset purchase agreements, NDAs, and employment agreement clauses. This time, BA will not be a prerequisite, and I am likely to have a number of rising 2Ls enroll.
I have a pile of proposed textbooks that I'm looking to for inspiration (and to select for the course), but I'm specifically seeking tips and best practices for teaching these skills to students who are fresh off of their 1L year. I plan to have a number of practicing lawyers speak to the students about common pitfalls in negotiating and drafting because I have the luxury of one three-hour block of time per week. At a minimum, students will draft, edit, and redline (where appropriate) a retainer letter, time sheets, a nondisclosure agreement, an independent contractor or employment agreement, and a license or settlement agreement. The goal is to have them draft some documents from scratch, some from forms, learn interviewing and negotiation techniques, and apply some business judgment to address client concerns.
What has worked (or bombed) when you've taught a transactional drafting class, especially to those who have not taken BA? For the practicing attorneys, what would you want your interns or junior associates to have worked on prior to joining you? Inquiring minds want to know. Please comment below or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Law Teaching for Adjunct Faculty and New Professors Conference
Law Teaching for Adjunct Faculty and New Professors is a one-day conference for new and experienced adjunct faculty, new full-time professors, and others who are interested in developing and supporting those colleagues. The conference will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort Worth, Texas, and is co-sponsored by the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning and Texas A&M University School of Law.
Sessions will include:
Course Design and Learning Outcomes – Michael Hunter Schwartz
Assessment – Sandra Simpson
Active Learning – Sophie Sparrow
Team-based Learning – Lindsey Gustafson
Technology and Teaching – Anastasia Boles
Details are here.
CALL FOR PRESENTATION PROPOSALS
Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2018 Conference Exploring the Use of Technology in the Law School Classroom June 18-20
Gonzaga University School of Law
The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops addressing the many ways that law teachers are utilizing technology in their classrooms across the curriculum. With the rising demands for teachers who are educated on active learning techniques and with technology changing so rapidly, this topic has taken on increased urgency in recent years. The Institute is interested in proposals that deal with all types of technology, and the technology demonstrated should be focused on helping students learn actively in areas such as legal theory and knowledge, practice skills, and guided reflection, etc. Accordingly, we welcome proposals for workshops on incorporating technology in the classrooms of doctrinal, clinical, externship, writing, seminar, hybrid, and interdisciplinary courses.
The Institute invites proposals for 60-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme. The workshops can address the use of technology in first-year courses, upper-level courses, required courses, electives, or academic support roles. Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and when they return to their campuses. Presenters should model effective teaching methods by actively engaging the workshop participants. The Institute Co-Directors are glad to work with anyone who would like advice on designing their presentations to be interactive.
Second, our summer conference will be at Gonzaga Law, June 18-20 and will focus on the use of technology in the classroom. We're currently accepting proposals for that conference (and the deadline has been extended to March 2). More info here.