Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hardesty on Law Students as Future Leaders: Using Neutral Facilitation Techniques to Teach Leadership Skills

I have had the pleasure to work with a diverse and impressive group of people on the law faculties upon which I have had the privilege to serve.  One of those people is  David C. Hardesty, Jr., President Emeritus of West Virginia University and Professor of Law at the WVU College of Law. President Hardesty holds degrees from West Virginia University, Oxford University (which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar), and Harvard Law School, but more impressive is the time he spends mentoring students and faculty.  He remains committed to the college, university, and state, and we are fortunate he continues to share his time with us.  

President Hardesty teaches a course on leadership, called Lawyers as Leaders, which would be highly relevant at any law school, but it especially important at a school like ours where we are the only law school in the state.  In addition to serving clients big and small, our students consistently go on to hold public office, advise legislators and regulators, and run large companies in the state.  President Hardesty recently wrote an article for the West Virginia Law Review Online that explains part of how he helps prepares lawyers to be leaders.  The article is Law Students as Future Leaders: Using Neutral Facilitation Techniques to Teach Leadership Skills120 W. Va. L. Rev. Online 1 (2017).  The introduction explains: 

Lawyers lead in America. They always have. They probably always will. This Article suggests the reasons why. It also argues that if lawyers are destined to lead, then law schools should help law students develop an understanding of leadership theory and foster leadership skill development. The Article describes how a course called “Lawyers as Leaders” is taught at the West Virginia University College of Law, employing neutral facilitation techniques, as well as lectures, group discussions, journaling, and simulation activities. It then describes a powerful pedagogical tool that can be used to develop future leaders: “student-centered neutral facilitation.” It explains why neutral student-centered facilitation is an effective method for teaching leadership skills to law students. The Article begins and ends with two “facilitation stories,” highlighting the use of facilitation by experienced lawyers and law students alike. The first story is about the use of facilitation to help clients achieve their goals. The second is about a student in the midst of learning how to facilitate a discussion.

As we continue to evolve how we think about educating lawyers, and what we hope to accomplish, courses that discuss options and expectation in context can play a significant role in preparing our students.  Hardesty explains:  

Research has found that the student-centered discussion process enriches student learning. In particular, the incorporation of the student-centered discussion process into the classroom “has the potential of enhancing the level of student learning about the course content and about the way they and others think about difficult issues.” This finding makes sense given that students tend to remember course content based on their level of involvement it.  Faculty members have reported that content coverage in their courses has not declined in student-centered classrooms; rather, they have found that their students experience a deeper understanding of the course’s fundamental concepts. One explanation for this deeper level of understanding is that students discover for themselves the essential concepts that would normally be presented through course readings or lecture material. In addition, “[f]aculty report that they have seen students who have not been ‘stars’ in previous classes suddenly ‘blossom’” in the student-centered classroom environment. Because students feel safe and comfortable working with their teammates, student-centered discussions can bring out the potential that some students have but may not otherwise reveal in more traditional classroom environments. (footnotes omitted)

As the semester draws to a close, I thought this one was worth a look as you gear up for next semester's courses.  It helped me think about some new ideas, anyway. Happy Thanksgiving! 

 
 
 

November 21, 2017 in Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Lawyering, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Deadlines and Extensions

After my daughter Allie's first stay at Vanderbilt Children’s hospital, with what we think was a virus that attacked her lungs, Allie seemed to return to normal for a couple weeks before having another episode. This time, we spent 4 days in the hospital. The praise I lavished on Vanderbilt last time was less deserved on this trip, mostly blamed, staff repeatedly claimed, on a new computer system. (Note: In a place like a hospital, don’t you think you should provide adequate training and work out the bugs before launching a new computer system?)

In any event, Allie is back home again, though we are still working with doctors to uncover the precise cause.

Obviously, my daughter’s health is much more important than work, but I do need to continue to work (if for no other reason than health insurance...we would be bankrupt without health insurance). Given that my focus has been diverted, I have had to push on quite a number of deadlines -- 4 writing assignments and 2 speaking engagements -- and have been slower than normal in returning graded work. Thankfully, students, editors, and colleagues have been quite understanding.

As a professor and a person, I am a big believer in meeting deadlines, so it has been difficult for me to ask for extensions. When asking for extensions, I do think students and professors can “cry wolf” too often, and then, when true emergencies do arise, it becomes harder for the other side to happily grant the extension. This situation has made me even more committed to hitting every deadline I can, so that when I do ask for an emergency extension, people know it is for a valid reason.

Also, this situation has reminded me of the need to create some margin in my life. This past month was going to be a busy one, even without my daughter’s situation. It was doable, but all time needed to be available and efficiently used. Without margin, many projects were impacted, in domino fashion. Now, this situation with my daughter was unexpected and extraordinary and difficult to plan for, and I am not suggesting that we all run at 50% capacity in case of an emergency, but I do think I could have benefited from having built a bit more flexibility into my schedule. (Note: As a law review adviser, I recommended that my students to build some of this margin into their publishing schedule for professors. For example, tell the professors you need the article about a month before you actually do because various issues almost invariably arise.)

In any event, I am quite appreciative to all those who have been so understanding, and I am catching up. Barring any future issues, I think I will be back in the grove and on schedule in about 10 days or so, just in time to gear up for finals.  

November 10, 2017 in Business Associations, Business School, Haskell Murray, Law Reviews, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Notre Dame Law Seeks Director for New Palo Alto Innovation Clinic

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University of Notre Dame: The Law School
Director, California Innovation Intensive

Location: Palo Alto, California


Notre Dame Law School invites applications to serve as the inaugural full-time Director of the Law School’s new California Innovation Clinic.  The Clinic will provide transactional services and related advice to individuals or entities in the Bay Area seeking to start or expand their own ventures.  The Clinic will operate out of the Notre Dame California center in Palo Alto, California.

The Clinic will provide students, under the supervision of the Clinic Director, opportunities to serve the transactional needs of early-stage startup ventures. The services offered by the Clinic will depend in significant part on the background and skills of the Clinic Director, but we anticipate that the Clinic will assist clients with some or all of the following: entity formation, founder agreements, non-disclosure agreements, ownership agreements, licensing and/or freedom to operate agreements, and privacy and data security policies. Specific client matters will be determined by the Clinic Director, although decisions about the overall direction of the Clinic’s work will be made in consultation with the Dean and other law school faculty members.

The Director will be a full-time staff attorney or non-tenure track faculty member, with responsibility for all aspects of the Innovation Clinic, including client development, client representation, law student supervision, and classroom instruction. The Innovation Clinic will be one of six clinics at the Law School.

Responsibilities of the Director will include

  • Developing a consistent and appropriate base of clients for the clinic;
  • Designing and implementing the Clinic infrastructure including a curriculum, a case management system, and relationships with partner organizations;
  • Providing transactional services to Clinic clients;
  • Supervising up to 8-10 law students per semester, and approximately
    1-2 law students each summer, in direct client representation;
  • Providing law students with instruction in substantive and procedural law necessary to effectively represent Clinic clients;
  • Providing law students with training in core lawyering skills necessary to carry out client representation, including interviewing and counseling, fact investigation, negotiation, drafting corporate  agreements, and oral advocacy;
  • Developing and teaching a companion course covering the range of legal issues that arise at different stages of a startup venture’s development;
  • Collaborating with clinical and other faculty at the Law School;
  • Collaborating with leaders of other entrepreneurship-related activities within the broader University, including the IDEA Center;
  • Attending conferences and interacting with faculty at other institutions; and
  • Assisting in the development of additional financial resources for the Clinic.
QUALIFICATIONS

The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications:

  • A Juris Doctor degree from an ABA-accredited law school and at least 8-10 years of practice experience relevant to the representation of startup ventures in transactional matters;
  • Excellent supervisory and communication skills;
  • A commitment to instructing and supervising law students;
  • Ability to work in a self-directed and entrepreneurial environment;
  • An academic record that demonstrates the capacity to be an active participant in the Law School’s academic community and in the national clinical-education community; and
  • A license to practice law in the State of California.

Term and Compensation: The position is full-time with a salary commensurate with experience, plus benefits, which include medical, dental, and retirement.  The initial contract will be for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2018, or as soon as possible.  

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Application Process and DeadlineApplicants should submit a cover letter and a Curriculum Vitae.

The Search Committee will begin reviewing applications immediately.  The position will remain open until filled. 

For more information contact Professor Mark McKenna at 574-631-9258 or markmckenna@nd.edu.

October 23, 2017 in Clinical Education, Entrepreneurship, Joan Heminway, Jobs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

University of New Mexico: Faculty Position in Business Law and/or Intellectual Property

UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO SCHOOL OF LAW

BUSINESS LAW AND/OR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

OPEN RANK FACULTY POSITION

The University of New Mexico ("UNM") School of Law invites applications for a faculty position in Business Law and/or Intellectual Property. The faculty position is a full-time tenured or tenure-track position starting in Fall 2018. Entry-level and experienced teachers are encouraged to apply. Courses taught by this faculty member could include general business courses, intellectual property courses, and commercial law courses. Candidates must possess a J.D. or equivalent legal degree. Preferred qualifications include a record of demonstrated excellence or the promise of excellence in teaching and academic scholarship and who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success, as well as working with broadly diverse communities. Academic rank and salary will be based on experience and qualifications. For best consideration, applicants should apply by October 22, 2017. The position will remain open until filled. For complete information, visit the UNMJobs website: https://unmjobs.unm.edu/. The position is listed as Open Rank – Business Law Requisition Number 2761.

The University of New Mexico is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Direct Link to Job: https://unm.csod.com/ats/careersite/jobdetails.aspx?site=1&c=unm&id=2761&m=-1&u=16023

October 11, 2017 in Jobs, Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Research/Scholarhip, Service, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Miler Method and Online Education

From August 31 to September 10, I participated in an excellent 6-week online boot camp called Miler Method. The camp is led by 2x Olympic medalist in the 1500m, Nick Willis, and his wife Sierra. The camp led up to the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile in NYC

As I have posted about before, I have enjoyed taking some massive open online courses (MOOCs), and I think all educators should familiarize themselves with this form, as the online world is already impacting even the most traditional courses.

The Miler Method, like MOOCs, taught me not only valuable substantive information, but also further instructed me on the art of online education. Below are a few reflections on the pros and cons of the online format as applied to the Miler Method running training camp. My thoughts follow below the page break.

Continue reading

September 15, 2017 in Haskell Murray, Sports, Teaching, Web/Tech, Wellness | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Interview with Dr. Jeff Edmonds on Running and Education

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I am delighted that Dr. Jeff Edmonds has agreed to be interviewed for this blog. Jeff and I graduated from the same high school in Chattanooga, TN, a few years apart. We both ran track, though Jeff ran a good bit faster than I ever did, and Jeff continued his running career at Rice University and Williams College. Jeff earned a PHD in philosophy at Vanderbilt University and is currently the high school academic dean at the prestigious University School of Nashville. Jeff coaches a running group called the Nashville Harriers, and he recently revived his excellent philosophy and running blog, The Logic of Long Distance.

The interview follows under the break. In the interview, Jeff shares wisdom on running and education that are well worth your time.

Continue reading

August 25, 2017 in Haskell Murray, Philosophy, Sports, Teaching, Wellness | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

If You Annoy Your Professors, You Will Probably Annoy Your Boss/Clients

So, don't. Over at Above the Law, Prof. Kerriann Stout wrote 10 Things That Will Absolutely Piss Off Your Law Professor.  She notes it is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good one and worth a read.  This year, I added a new bit of information to my first day of class about how to interact with me about absences and workload.  (I often discuss this in class at some point, but I don't recall ever doing it in both of my classes on day one.) 

So, here's the deal.  In my classes, I allow a certain number of absences (depending on number of credits and days we meet) without questions for personal reasons, interviews, etc.  Here is an example of my attendance clause: 

Students are expected to attend every class.  Students are permitted to miss up to four classes for other obligations without explanation.  This number is to include virtually all absences, including sickness, out-of-town interviews, etc. (but does not include classes missed for religious observance).  If classes in excess of four are missed, to avoid withdrawal from the course, a written explanation may be required, including the reason for missing additional classes, the student’s plan to ensure the materials covered in the missed classes will be learned, and the reasons the student should be permitted to continue in the course.  The policy is designed to facilitate learning, not impose hardship.

This way, students can plan ahead (and most do), and they can make decisions as professionals must about how they prioritize their time.  Despite this policy, every year I have students email me to say they will (or did) miss class because they: 

  • Have to finish a paper for another class
  • Have a law review note or moot court brief due
  • Must study for a midterm
  • Need to prepare for a clinic meeting/hearing
  • Plan to attend an out-of-town football game/baseball game/concert

Again, I do not require nor do I ask for an explanation (unless it is related to excess absences, and no one has tried these reasons for that).  My new tack is to explain: 

    I am interested in you as a human being, so please do not hear me saying I don't care what you do or why.  And if you need help, you should ask. And if you can't ask me, talk to our Dean of Students or Dean of Academic Affairs or ask a friend. There is help available; please let us help.  What I am about to tell you is not about when you need help. It is about what you say when you can't make it to class or be prepared for that class and about what you say to me (or my colleagues) in communicating that information.

    Though I do not require it, I appreciate it when you tell me you cannot be in class on a given day. I am am fine if you very rarely request a pass for the day because you are not prepared.  But I don't ask you for reasons for your absence or why you are not prepared.  So, if you volunteer that information and tell me that you have to miss class or are unprepared because you need to finish a paper for another class, that says to me, "I have prioritized another class over yours."  You may not mean to be saying that, but it is in many ways what you are saying.  

    I understand that you may be sharing to be honest.  I appreciate that, and if I were to ask you, honesty is the best policy. I get that you might be trying to communicate that you are not missing my class for a frivolous reason. Okay, but you have still told me your priorities. I also understand that you might want some level of absolution.  I can't and shouldn't give you that. We all have a lot to do, and sometimes life gets in the way of life, so we must make tough choices.  That does not make me mad.  Just don't volunteer that you made such a choice when you don't need to volunteer that you did.  

    I raise this for you not because it really upsets me. It doesn't. It may annoy me on a given day, but I can handle it. But it really, really irritates some of my colleagues, even if they don't tell you.  And it is an incredibly risky thing to share with a client or boss, who definitely don't want to hear someone else's work is more important than their's. 

    So, be honest when asked, and take responsibility for your actions.  Don't share information unnecessarily. Don't seek external absolution from professors, or clients, or bosses. I am here to teach, and I am here to help you learn, and grow, and find the resources you need to thrive.  But I am not here to make you feel better about not doing the work I have asked of you.  

 

August 23, 2017 in Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Lawyering, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The CEOs of Corporate America vs. The CEO of America

Business leaders probably didn’t think the honeymoon would be over so fast. A CEO as President, a deregulation czar, billionaires in the cabinet- what could possibly go wrong?

When Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck, resigned from one of the President’s business advisory councils because he didn’t believe that President Trump had responded appropriately to the tragic events in Charlottesville, I really didn’t think it would have much of an impact. I had originally planned to blog about How (Not) To Teach a Class on Startups, and I will next week (unless there is other breaking news). But yesterday, I decided to blog about Frazier, and to connect his actions to a talk I gave to UM law students at orientation last week about how CEOs talk about corporate responsibility but it doesn’t always make a difference. I started drafting this post questioning how many people would actually run to their doctors asking to switch their medications to or from Merck products because of Frazier’s stance on Charlottesville. Then I thought perhaps, Frazier’s stance would have a bigger impact on the millennial employees who will make up almost 50% of the employee base in the next few years. Maybe he would get a standing ovation at the next shareholder meeting. Maybe he would get some recognition other than an angry tweet from the President and lots of news coverage.

By yesterday afternoon, Under Armour’s CEO had also stepped down from the President’s business advisory council. That made my draft post a little more interesting. Would those customers care more or less about the CEO's position? By this morning, still more CEOs chose to leave the council after President Trump’s lengthy and surprising press conference yesterday. By that time, the media and politicians of all stripes had excoriated the President. This afternoon, the President disbanded his two advisory councils after a call organized by the CEO of Blackstone with his peers to discuss whether to proceed. Although Trump “disbanded” the councils, they had already decided to dissolve earlier in the day.

I’m not teaching Business Associations this semester, but this is a teachable moment, and not just for Con Law professors. What are the corporate governance implications? Should the CEOs have stayed on these advisory councils so that they could advise this CEO President on much needed tax, health care, immigration, infrastructure, trade, investment, and other reform or do Trump’s personal and political views make that impossible? Many of the CEOs who originally stayed on the councils believed that they could do more for the country and their shareholders by working with the President. Did the CEOs who originally resigned do the right thing for their conscience but the wrong thing by their shareholders? Did those who stayed send the wrong message to their employees  in light of the Google diversity controversy? Did they think about the temperament of their board members or of the shareholder proposals that they had received in the past or that they were expecting when thinking about whether to stay or go? 

Many professors avoid politics in business classes, and that’s understandable because there are enough issues with coverage and these are sensitive issues. But if you do plan to address them, please comment below or send an email to mweldon@law.miami.edu.

August 16, 2017 in Business Associations, Corporate Governance, Corporate Personality, Corporations, CSR, Current Affairs, Ethics, Law School, Marcia Narine Weldon, Shareholders, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

GRE or LSAT? Careful: More Options for Schools Means More Options for Students, Too

TaxProf Blog has been passing along the news of law schools choosing to allow applicants to substitute the GRE in place of the LSAT. The most recent post: Georgetown Is Fourth Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions, Finds It Is Just As Accurate As LSAT In Predicting 1L Grades; LSAC Disagrees, Says 'The Rest Of The Top 14 Will Go Like Lemmings Off The Cliff'.

As to the substance of the matter, I don't feel too strongly.  It is my suspicion that combining grade point average with any standardized test (including GMAT and MCAT, along with GRE and LSAT) would do a reasonably good job of predicting success in law school. Sure, the MCAT  would likely be less on target, but probably not that much, especially when we're talking about highly selective schools like Georgetown and Northwestern.  

The value of competition in the testing marketplace does seem valuable to me in a few ways..  For one thing, the LSAT is still administered like it is 1989 (as Christine Hurt noted a while back). There would be value in making the LSAT more accessible, and it is is at least plausible that the highly limited access to the LSAT is negatively impacting the number of students choosing to apply to law school.  LSAC would be well served to catch up with the other tests (that are now offered with more regular testing dates and sometimes online) to give prospective law students more options. 

In addition, I think there is value in letting students have options.  I know there are some concerns that students taking the GRE might apply to law school without really thinking it through because it's easy, but I think that risk is limited.  For one thing, just taking the LSAT doesn't mean someone thought that hard about law school. It just means that planned ahead.  A little. There would be flaky GRE-taking law students, but there'd be highly motivated GRE-taking students who were thinking about a master's degree but would be great law students.

One thing some schools might be missing, though, is that the GRE thing swings both way. That is, if the GRE is acceptable for law school applications, students planning on law school might now choose to take the GRE and end up considering other kinds of graduate programs.  Schools looking to expand their pool may be creating competition in places that did not exist before (or was much milder).  

Ultimately, I support creating more options for students so that they can make better decisions about their future.  As long as the testing option (LSAT, GRE, etc.) serves as a reasonably good predictor of law school and bar passage success (and I think that is still an open question), I am okay with it.  I hope schools that chose to accept the GRE are doing so with an expectation that the admitted students will do well, and I hope schools monitor their students so that adjustments can be made if success rates are not as anticipated.  That, to me, is the biggest issue: whatever we do, we need to make sure we're delivering on our educational promises, regardless of how we assess our potential students' likelihood of success.  

 

August 8, 2017 in Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How (Not) To Teach A Course in Compliance and Corporate Social Responsibility

Good morning from gorgeous Belize. I hope to see some of you this weekend at SEALS. A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the compliance course I recently taught. I received quite a few emails asking for my syllabus and teaching materials. I am still in the middle of grading but I thought I would provide some general advice for those who are considering teaching a similar course. I taught thinking about the priorities of current employers and the skills our students need.

1) Picking materials is hard- It's actually harder if you have actually worked in compliance, as I have, and still consult, as I do from time to time. I have all of the current compliance textbooks but didn't find any that suited my needs. Shameless plug- I'm co-authoring a compliance textbook to help fill the gap. I wanted my students to have the experience they would have if they were working in-house and had to work with real documents.  I found myself either using or getting ideas from many primary source materials from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, the  Institute of Privacy ProfessionalsDLA Piper, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizational Defendants, policy statements from various governmental entities in the US (the SEC, DOJ Banamex case, and state regulators), and abroad (UK Serious Frauds Office and Privacy Office). Students also compared CSR reports, looked at NGO materials, read the codes of conducts of the guest speakers who came in, and looked at 10-Ks, the Carbon Disclosure Project, and other climate change documents for their companies. I also had students watch YouTube videos pretending that they went to CLEs and had to write a memo to the General Counsel so that s/he could update the board on the latest developments in healthcare compliance and risk assessments. 

2) This should be a 3-credit course for it to be an effective skills course- My grand vision was for guest speakers to come in on Mondays  for an hour and then I would lecture for the remaining time or I would lecture for two hours on Monday and then students would have simulations on Wednesday.This never happened. Students became so engaged that the lecturers never finished in an hour. We were always behind. Simulations always ran over. 

3) Don't give too much reading- I should have known better. I have now taught at three institutions at various tiers and at each one students have admitted- no, actually bragged- that they don't do the reading. Some have told me that they do the reading for my classes because I grade for class participation, but I could actually see for my compliance course how they could do reasonably well without doing all of the reading, which means that I gave too much. I actually deliberately provided more than they needed in some areas (especially in the data privacy area) because I wanted them to build a library in case they obtained an internship or job after graduation and could use the resources. When I started out in compliance, just knowing where to look was half the battle. My students have 50 state surveys in employment law, privacy and other areas that will at least give them a head start.

4) Grading is hard- Grading a skills course is inherently subjective and requires substantive feedback to be effective.  40% of the grade is based on a class project, which was either a presentation to the board of directors or a training to a group of employees. Students had their choice of topic and audience but had to stay within their industry and had the entire 6-week term to prepare. Should I give more credit to the team who trained the sales force on off-label marketing for pharmaceuticals because the class acting as the sales force (and I) were deliberately disrespectful (as some sales people would be in real life because this type of  training would likely limit their commissions)? This made their training harder. Should I be tougher on the group that trained  the bored board on AML, since one student presenter was in banking for years? I already know the answers to these rhetorical questions. On individual projects, I provide comments as though I am a general counsel, a board member, or a CEO depending on the assignment. This may mean that the commentary is "why should I care, tell me about the ROI up front." This is not language that law students are used to, but it's language that I have tried to instill throughout the course. I gave them various versions of the speech, "give me less kumbaya, we need to care about the slave labor in the factories, and less consumers care about company reputation, and more statistics and hard numbers to back it up."  Some of you may have seen this recent article about United and the "non-boycott, which validates what I have been blogging about for years. If it had come out during the class, I would have made students read it because board members would have read it and real life compliance officers would have had to deal with it head on.

5) Be current but know when to stop- I love compliance and CSR. For the students, it's just a class although I hope they now love it too. I found myself printing out new materials right before class because I thought they should see this latest development. I'm sure that  what made me think of myself as cutting edge and of the moment made me come across to them as scattered and disorganized because it wasn't on the syllabus.

6) Use guest speakers whenever possible- Skype them in if you have to. Nothing gives you credibility like having someone else say exactly what you have already said.

If you have any questions, let me know. I will eventually get back to those of you who asked for materials, but hopefully some of these links will help. If you are teaching a course or looking at textbook, send me feedback on them so that I can consider it as I work on my own. Please email me at mweldon@law.miami.edu.

Next week, I will blog about how (not) to teach a class on legal issues for start ups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses, which I taught last semester.

August 2, 2017 in Compliance, Corporate Governance, Corporations, CSR, Current Affairs, Employment Law, Human Rights, Law School, Lawyering, Marcia Narine Weldon, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Call for Papers and Features: Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief - Animal Welfare

As some of you know (and as I noted in a prior post), I have taught from time to time in the past (and will be teaching again this fall) a course focusing on nonhuman animals and the law.  The course reveals, among many other things, that business law doctrine and practice have a number of significant intersections with nonhuman animals.  Although I am likely to say more on that later, the earlier post linked in above notes a few things.

Yesterday, I received the "Call for Papers and Features" reproduced below.  Many of the suggested topics--and the overall theme of "animal welfare in the context of human development"--engage business law.  In particular, agricultural business seems to be on the ends of the editors . . . .  Accordingly, I am posting the call thinking that some of our readers would be interested in knowing about this.

[Aside: I do not subscribe to the citation policy of the journal for the "features" being sought through this call--e.g., "Almost every sentence must be cited" and "If a sentence does not have a citation, you should have a good reason (i.e., it is your concluding argument or a recommendation)."  Unless those who established these requirements are confident that "features" otherwise meeting their requirements do not contain novel legal or policy arguments or recommendations, that pair of citation "requirements" is absurd, imv.]

*          *          *

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CALL FOR PAPERS AND FEATURES

The Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief (SDLP) is currently accepting submissions for its Fall 2017 edition on topics related to animal welfare in the context of human development. Development will not be sustainable if animal welfare and human-animal relationships are not included in development programs, policies, and laws. Therefore, it is important to highlight the commonality between animal welfare issues and human justice issues.

If you would like to submit an article or feature for consideration, please contact us at sdlp@wcl.american.edu immediately. We will accept submissions on a rolling basis. The deadline for submissions is Monday, September 25, 2017. We will select up to four articles and four features for publication, and we will notify the Authors by Monday, October 2, 2017. Article Requirements differ from Feature Requirements – see below.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

§ Consumption of Species Versus Ecotourism in Developing Nations
§ Exploitation of Natural Fisheries and the Associated Issue of Bycatch
§ Challenges in Regulating Offshore Aquaculture
§ The Effects of Anthropogenic Noise on Marine Life
§ Going Meatless and Securing Food Sources: Moving Away from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Meat Consumption
§ Socio-Economic Challenges in Shifting from Animal-Based Agriculture to Plant- Based/Non-Animal Based Agriculture
§ Intersection Between Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Environmental Justice
§ Habitat Loss and Deforestation from Agriculture
§ The Role of Financial Institutions in Animal Agriculture Projects
§ How to Move Toward a Global Animal Welfare Policy
§ Human Health Implications Associated with the Production and Consumption of Animal Products
§ Balancing Wildlife and Continued Land Exploitation in National Parks and Preserves
§ The Effects of Deep Sea Bed Mining on Marine Life

SDLP is available online at LexisNexis, Westlaw, VLex, Hein Online, and on our website at www.wcl.american.edu/org/sdlp.

It is also widely distributed at law and graduate schools, and to representatives of international organizations worldwide.

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July 26, 2017 in Call for Papers, Joan Heminway, Law Reviews, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer Reading: Parker Palmer - Courage to Teach

At the beach with my wife’s family, I read Parker J. Palmer’s Courage to Teach in a couple sittings. Palmer has a PHD in sociology from UC Berkeley, and has written extensively on education.

My mother-in-law was reading the book for her job at a private elementary school, and I brought a limited number of books (due to the weight of my hardcopy books), so I read this book too. Our teaching center at Belmont University has mentioned Palmer’s work a number of times, so I was interested in the book.

Simply stated, Palmer’s thesis is that “good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.” He defines identity as “an evolving nexus where all the forces that constitute my life converge in the mystery of self," and he defines integrity as “whatever wholeness I am able to find within that nexus as its vectors form and re-form the pattern of my life.” (13) Teaching, he argues, comes from the heart and soul of the teacher, and not primarily from chosen techniques. 

Palmer makes a solid point about paradox and pedagogical design. “The space should be bounded and open….hospitable and charged….invite the voice of the individual and the voice of the group…welcome both silence and speech.” (76-77). The tendency in teaching, I think, is to swing from one side to the other, when we really need to be addressing all of these things simultaneously. Making space for silence in the classroom is something that is especially difficult for me.

He observed, “students who have been well served by good teachers may walk away angry—angry that their prejudices have been challenged and their sense of self shaken. That sort of dissatisfaction may be a sign that real education has happened. It can take many years for a student to feel grateful to a teacher who introduces a dissatisfying truth.” (96-97). This made me wonder if we should add teaching evaluations from alums 5+ years after the class.

I also liked his description of subject-centered classes (instead of teacher-centered or student centered). In the subject-centered class, the students are active and important participants, but they are not the focus of the time.

Palmer notes that he uses mastery grading, allowing students to revise their papers as many times as they like with only the final grade counting. I tried this once, in an MBA class, because many of my colleagues utilize it. I found mastery grading lacking. It encourages weak initial effort, as the students wait for comments, knowing that they can revise their poor product with more specific guidance.

Finally, I really liked the Quaker concept of a “clearness committee” that Palmer describes. The committee consists of four or five colleagues and a focus person. Before the meeting, the focus person writes a description of the problem (as professors, likely stemming from the classroom). Then, for two to three hours the colleagues of the focus person ask him/her open-ended questions about the problem, being careful not to offer advice, bring attention to themselves, or ask questions that are really advice in disguise (e.g., Have you considered seeing a therapist?) After the questions, the focus person has the option of continuing with mirroring (“reflecting to the focus person things he or she said or did but might not be aware of: 'When asked about A, you said B,' or 'When you spoke about X your voice dropped and you seemed tired.'”) (160). Confidentiality is pledged, not only to those outside of the committee, but also within the committee--meaning that the topic would not be raised again, even among the group members. The clearness committee would take a fair bit of time but seems like a great way to solves problems, as most solutions that stick seem to stem from personal realizations rather than merely outside advice.

There wasn’t all that much that surprised me in this book, but it was an easy read and had a few good reminders.

July 21, 2017 in Books, Haskell Murray, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Should we be steering more law students to compliance careers?

Prior to joining academia, I served as a compliance officer, deputy GC, and chief privacy officer for a Fortune 500 company. I had to learn everything on the job by attending webinars and conferences and reading client alerts. Back then, I would have paid a law school graduate a competitive salary to work in my compliance group, but I couldn’t find anyone who had any idea about what the field entailed.

The world has changed. Now many schools (including mine) offer relevant coursework for this JD-advantage position. I just finished teaching a summer skills course in compliance and corporate social responsibility, and I’m hoping that I have encouraged at least a few of the students to consider it as a viable career path. Compliance is one of the fastest growing corporate positions in the country, and the number of compliance personnel has doubled in the past 6 years. Still, many business-minded law students don’t consider it in the same vein as they consider jobs with Big Law.

This summer, my twelve students met twice a week for two hours at 7:30 pm. In the compressed six-week course, they did the following:

  • Heard from compliance officers and outside counsel for public companies and government entities
  • Read the same kinds of primary source material that compliance officers and counsel read in practice (such as the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Yates Memo, deferred prosecution agreements, and materials from the EU on the upcoming changes to data protection regulation)
  • Compared and contrasted CSR reports from WalMart and Target, and reviewed the standards for the Global Reporting Initiative and the UN Global Compact
  • Advocated before a board as a worker safety NGO for a company doing business in Bangladesh
  • Served as a board member during a meeting (using actual board profiles)
  • Wrote a reflection paper on the ideal role and reporting structure of compliance officers
  • Considered top employment law and data protection risks for fictional companies to which they were assigned
  • Looked at the 10-Ks and CDP report for climate change disclosures after examining the role of socially responsible investors and shareholder resolutions
  • Drafted industry-specific risk assessment questionnaires
  • Drafted three code of conduct policies
  • Wrote a short memo to the GC on health care compliance and the DOJ Yates memo
  • Did a role play during a crisis management simulation acting as either a board member, SEC or DOJ lawyer, the CEO, compliance officer or GC and
  • Conducted a 20-minute board presentation or employee compliance training (worth the biggest part of the grade).

Perhaps the most gratifying part of the semester came during tonight’s final presentations. The students could pick any topic relevant to the fictional company that they were assigned. They chose to discuss child labor in the supply chain for a clothing company, off-label marketing in the pharmaceutical industry, anti-money laundering compliance in a large bank, and environmental and employment law issues for a consumer product conglomerate. Even though I was not their BA professor, I was thrilled to hear them talk about the Caremark duty, the duty of care, and the business judgment rule in their presentations. Most important, the students have left with a portfolio of marketable skills and real-world knowledge in a fast growing field.

If you have your own ideas on how to teach compliance and CSR, please leave them below or email me at mweldon@law.miami.edu.

July 12, 2017 in Compliance, Corporate Governance, Corporate Personality, Corporations, CSR, Law School, Marcia Narine Weldon, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Job Posting: Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic

Clinical Faculty Position
The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law

*          *          *

Description: The Moritz College of Law invites applications for the position of Assistant Clinical Professor of Law in its Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic (EBLC), to start in late 2017. The EBLC professor has primary responsibility for directing and teaching the Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic, which provides third-year law students with the opportunity to learn lawyering skills by representing entrepreneurs and their start-up businesses. EBLC students typically work with clients on all phases of starting a business, including client intake, entity formation, legal business planning, and contract drafting (including employment and independent contractor contracts). When relevant for the client, students also learn how to protect the intellectual property of a business. The EBLC’s clinical professor will have several areas of responsibility, including 1) supervising law students who represent clients under the Ohio Supreme Court's student practice rule 2) classroom teaching of lawyering skills, 3) engaging with the local and regional entrepreneurial community, and 4) participating in the life and governance of the College of Law.

We will consider all applicants; however, we prefer candidates with significant experience in representing entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. Candidates also should have an excellent academic record that demonstrates potential for clinical teaching and preparation of clinical educational materials. Candidates should be admitted to the Ohio Bar or eligible for admission in Ohio. The starting salary range will be $78,000 - $81,000 for a 12-month contract; full University fringe benefits are provided as well. The ideal starting date will be November 15, or as soon thereafter as possible. The successful candidate will begin teaching in January 2018.

Application Instructions: A resume, references, and cover letter should be submitted to Professor Paul Rose, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, 55 West 12th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Send e-mail applications to rose.933@osu.edu. Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled; preference will be given to applications received before September 1st.

The Ohio State University is committed to establishing a culturally and intellectually diverse environment, encouraging all members of our learning community to reach their full potential. The Ohio State University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, or protected veteran status.

About Columbus: The Ohio State University campus is located in Columbus, the capital city of Ohio. Columbus is the center of a rapidly growing and diverse metropolitan area with a population of over 1.5 million. The area offers a wide range of very affordable housing, many cultural and recreational opportunities, excellent schools, and a strong economy based on government as well as service, transportation, and technology industries (see http://columbusregion.com/). Columbus and its many suburbs have consistently been rated as one of the Top U.S. places for quality of life. Additional information about the Columbus area is available at http://www.columbus.org.

July 12, 2017 in Clinical Education, Joan Heminway, Jobs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Lessons on Teaching Law and Creating a Legacy from Hamilton: An American Musical

With a Fourth of July post, I was inclined to write something patriotic and connected with our great nation and to law schools generally. As an unabashed and unapologetic fan of the Hamilton: An American Musical, a couple of analogies from this brilliant production seemed appropriate to convey my thoughts on law school and leaving a legacy.  

First, I think most of us who are fortunate enough to serve as law professors recognize the great gift we have to pursue our passion and to be part of educating the next generation of people who understand the rule of law and have the skills to protect the rights of individuals and groups. This is especially needed for those who are marginalized or under represented and thus less likely to be able to enforce their rights without the help of our legal system.  This is an incredible legacy in America, set in motion by some our nation's founders.  

Like John Adams defending British soldiers and Alexander Hamilton defending Loyalists after the war, lawyers (and law professors) do not need to compromise their own views to embrace the ideals they seek to uphold. We can vigorously maintain our personal views, while defending the rights of others to have their views.  As law professors, I think we generally do value and defend the rights of others who have differing views, but I also think we can do a better job ensuring that is the case (and that others know it).

To be effective, law professors must be engaged with their work, with their institution, and their students. This means, to me, engaging in scholarship, in some way, and sharing that work with the world.  As Alexander Hamilton tells Aaron Burr in The Room Where It Happens

“When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game. But you don’t get a win unless you play in the game. Oh, you get love for it. You get hate for it. You get nothing if you…Wait for it, wait for it, wait!”

We need to part of the program. We need to engage and share our ideas. This doesn't mean being overtly political, and it doesn't necessarily mean being abrasive. But we must be invested in what we do, and we must be invested in how we do it. The passive teacher and scholar will likely have passive students, and we need to be educating lawyers to get in, get dirty, and keep learning.  We can't just tell them. To some degree we have to be the ones to show them how.

Second, as law professors who are committed to their profession, I think we need to be thinking about who we want to be as professors, including our desires for our legacy, early in our careers.  We need to think about what we want to be like as tenured professors before were are tenured.  And we need to think about where we hope to get as professionals, as teachers, and as scholars.  I think a lot faculty members (law and otherwise) get to a point where they aren't sure what it will mean to move on or how, and that makes it hard to stay engaged or focused because you don't have an idea of the end game. And that is linked, in part, to feeling like their legacy is incomplete.  That is understandable.   

Alexander Hamilton says, in the song, The World Was Wide Enough Legacy: 

"What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see."

And it's true. We rarely, if ever, will get to see our legacy, but we can know what we are trying to grow.  We each create our own legacy by the seeds we choose to plant.  And as professors, we plant those seeds in our students.  They go out and hopefully grow and flourish. And as part of a profession, those seeds are spread wider than just our students, as those new lawyers go out and interact with and work to protect others.  We must think carefully about what we are teaching about the profession that we helping to shape, whether or not we ever see it fully grown.  The world evolves and so must we, so that the seeds we plant, our legacy, is one that is worthy of this great, though greatly flawed, nation that got its start 241 years ago.  

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, let us celebrate the past while at the same time we think about the future.  This goes for both our teaching and for our nation overall.  Wishing you a happy and safe Fourth. 

July 4, 2017 in Current Affairs, Law School, Lawyering, Music, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Is This the End of Uber's PR Nightmare?

Yesterday, during a conversation with a law student about whether corporate social responsibility is a mere marketing ploy to fool consumers, the student described her conflict with using Uber. She didn’t like what she had read in the news about Uber’s workplace culture issues, sex harassment allegations, legal battles with its drivers, and leadership vacuum. The student, who is studying for the bar, probably didn’t even know that the company had even more PR nightmares just over the past ten days--- the termination of twenty employees after a harassment investigation; the departure of a number of executives including the CEO’s right hand man; the CEO’s “indefinite” leave of absence to “mourn his mother” following a scathing investigative report by former Attorney General Eric Holder; and the resignation of a board member who made a sexist remark during a board meeting (ironically) about sexism at Uber. She clearly hadn’t read Ann Lipton’s excellent post on Uber on June 17th.

Around 1:00 am EST, the company announced that the CEO had resigned after five of the largest investors in the $70 billion company issued a memo entitled “Moving Uber Forward.” The memo was not available as of the time of this writing. According to the New York Times:

The investors included one of Uber’s biggest shareholders, the venture capital firm Benchmark, which has one of its partners, Bill Gurley, on Uber’s board. The investors made their demand for Mr. Kalanick to step down in a letter delivered to the chief executive while he was in Chicago, said the people with knowledge of the situation.

… the investors wrote to Mr. Kalanick that he must immediately leave and that the company needed a change in leadership. Mr. Kalanick, 40, consulted with at least one Uber board member, and after long discussions with some of the investors, he agreed to step down. He will remain on Uber’s board of directors.

This has shades of the American Apparel controversy with ousted CEO Dov Charney that I have blogged about in the past. Charney also perpetuated a "bro culture" that seemed unseemly for a CEO, but isn't all that uncommon among young founders. The main difference here is that the investors, not the Board, made the decision to fire the CEO. As Ann noted in her post this weekend, there is a lot to unpack here. I’m not teaching Business Associations in the Fall, but I hope that many of you will find a way to use this as a case study on corporate governance, particularly Kalanick’s continuation as a board member. That could be awkward, to put it mildly. I plan to discuss it in my Corporate Compliance and Social Responsibility course later today. As I have told the students and written in the past, I am skeptical of consumers and their ability to change corporate culture. Sometimes, as in the case of Uber, it comes down to the investors holding the power of the purse.

June 21, 2017 in Ann Lipton, Compliance, Corporate Governance, Corporate Personality, CSR, Current Affairs, Marcia Narine Weldon, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer "Work" Reading: Straight Man, by Richard Russo

A friend who is a member of a university faculty (non-law) some years ago recommended that I read Straight Man, by Richard Russo. I am forever thankful.  The book is a novel set in a small town in Pennsylvania and follows the trials and tribulations of an English-department faculty member at a college besieged by budget challenges, a dysfunctional department, and his own lack of motivation.   

The book is funny -- sometimes laugh-out-loud funny -- and for anyone on a faculty, I am willing to wager that, despite occasional absurdity, this faculty will feel like it could be yours.  The main character is sympathetic, to a point, but he is also part of the problem.  It is a fast read, and it's one I come back to every couple years.  Perhaps it is just a guilty pleasure, but the universality of the characters and the bit of hope that emerges are things I find to be comforting in some way. It may be that the book serves as a reminder that we're not alone in our craziness.  Everyone who has taught for a while knows a Hank, a Finny, a Gracie DuBois, Jacob Rose, a Billy Quigley.  

The book also a good reminder of traps we, as faculty (and administrators), can fall into, and hopefully, help us avoid them. If you need a break from research and heavy reading, I highly recommend you put this in the rotation. 

Here's the Amazon.com Review: 

First Jane Smiley came out of the comedy closet with Moo, a campus satire par excellence, and now Richard Russo has gotten in on the groves-of-academe game. Straight Man is hilarious sport, with a serious side. William Henry Devereaux Jr., is almost 50 and stuck forever as chair of English at West Central Pennsylvania University. It is April and fear of layoffs--even among the tenured--has reached mock-epic proportions; Hank has yet to receive his department budget and finds himself increasingly offering comments such as "Always understate necrophilia" to his writing students. Then there are his possible prostate problems and the prospect of his father's arrival. Devereaux Sr., "then and now, an academic opportunist," has always been a high-profile professor and a low-profile parent.

Though Hank tries to apply William of Occam's rational approach (choose simplicity) to each increasingly absurd situation, and even has a dog named after the philosopher, he does seem to cause most of his own enormous difficulties. Not least when he grabs a goose and threatens to off a duck (sic) a day until he gets his budget. The fact that he is also wearing a fake nose and glasses and doing so in front of a TV camera complicates matters even further. Hank tries to explain to one class that comedy and tragedy don't go together, but finds the argument "runs contrary to their experience. Indeed it may run contrary to my own." It runs decidedly against Richard Russo's approach in Straight Man, and the result is a hilarious and touching novel.

June 20, 2017 in Books, Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Social Enterprise, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Thinking Ahead to Next June: Georgia on My Mind - Save the Dates for Emory Law and NBLS in 2018

As I am traveling and conferencing, my thoughts already have turned to next summer's conference schedule.  It seems like a good time to get two important business law conferences on the agenda for next year.  Those two conferences are: the sixth biennial conference on teaching transactional law and skills, “To Teach is to Learn Twice: Fostering Excellence in Transactional Law and Skills Education,” which will be held on June 1 - 2, 2018, at Emory Law in Atlanta, GA and the National Business Law scholars conference, which will be held at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, GA on June 21-22, 2018.  Emory Law's "Save the Date" notice hit my in box this morning and appears below, FYI.

*          *          *

SAVE THE DATE

Emory’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice cordially invites you to attend its sixth biennial conference on the teaching of transactional law and skills. The conference, entitled “To Teach is to Learn Twice: Fostering Excellence in Transactional Law and Skills Education,” will be held at Emory Law, beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2018, and ending at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

We welcome you to share your experiences teaching any aspect of transactional law and skills, focused primarily on what general approaches, teaching methods, and specific exercises have been the most effective. Additionally, we want to know how you have implemented the ABA’s standards on learning outcomes and assessment and whether your teaching has changed as a result.

A formal request for proposals will be distributed in the fall.

Note: For this Sixth Biennial Conference, we will be offering a discounted registration rate for new teachers as well as for adjunct professors. Please encourage your colleagues to attend.

Looking forward to seeing all of you in June of 2018!

Sue Payne                                                                                                                                Katherine Koops
Executive Director                                                                                                                  Assistant Director
sue.payne@emory.edu                                                                                                         katherine.koops@emory.edu

June 19, 2017 in Conferences, Joan Heminway, Research/Scholarhip, Teaching, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What Law Schools Should Be Teaching and Aren’t

I listened to a podcast today entitled “What Law Schools Should be Teaching, and Aren’t (with Mark Cohen).” Cohen is the founder and CEO of Legal Mosaic. In a previous life he served as a partner in a large law firm, a partner in his own boutique firm, a receiver, and the founder of a now defunct legal tech startup, Clearspire.

Given all of his experience, I value what he has to say about what law schools need to do to prepare students for the current legal marketplace. I recommend that you listen to the podcast yourself, but here is his list of gaps in student knowledge:

  1. How to interview clients
  2. The importance of project management, collaboration and teamwork
  3. How to provide legal solutions and not just merely legal opinions.
  4. How to use technology and deal with the rise of legal process outsourcing
  5. Marketing and getting clients
  6. The importance of emotional intelligence

Many may quibble with his list in an age in which bar passage rates are at historical lows. But I think he has a point, especially since most of students will work for small law firms and will not have the infrastructure/safety net of Big Law. As Cohen mentioned, lawyers increasingly work within a legal supply chain and must provide value beyond what they are being taught in law school. These include the soft skills that business schools typically teach, and which will enable our students to get and keep clients.

I particularly liked his discussion of project management and collaboration. As we know, many law students can’t manage their time properly, don’t like working in groups, and focus more on regurgitating what they are taught in class rather than thinking of creative, constructive solutions. Students also haven’t developed the skills to deal with the increasing automation of document review/drafting and the potential rise of robots, which thankfully, won’t replace lawyers (yet).

I have tried to teach my students to understand the importance of learning their client’s business so that they can provide solutions rather than standard law school exam answers. I grade based on deliverables and time management to the extent that I don’t accept late work (barring extraordinary circumstances). In every class, I have had students do some work in groups, even though they don’t like it at first. I have also stressed the importance of learning to explain complex concepts clearly and concisely through blogging (which also provides marketing opportunities).

Now I plan to see how I can incorporate more of Cohen’s suggestions. Practitioners- is there anything else professors can do to produce more effective and efficient graduates?

May 31, 2017 in Law Firms, Law School, Lawyering, Marcia Narine Weldon, Teaching, Technology | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Reflections: Choosing the Non-Profit Corporate Form for Organizations Helping the Families of Fallen Warriors

MemorialDayWreath

Wikipedia tells us what most (if not all) of us already knew: "Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces."  As I have often noted in conversations and communications with friends, regardless of one's views on the appropriateness of war in general or in specific circumstances, most of us understand the importance of honoring those who have lost their lives in serving their country.  My dad, father-in-law, secretarial/administrative assistant, and many friends and students have served in the U.S. armed forces and survived the experience.  Others have not been so lucky.  I dedicate this post to all of them.

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting at and attending a conference on Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing—In the US and Beyond (also featuring co-blogger Anne Tucker).  My presentation was part of a panel on securities crowdfunding as impact investing.  But I attended many other presentations and participated in a lunch table talk on choosing the right entity for social enterprise and a brainstorming session on how legal education can better support social entrepreneurship and impact investing.  The conference was fabulous, and I learned a lot by listening to the great folks invited by the organizers--including others on my panel.

As I reflected on the holiday today in light of last week's conference, my thoughts turned to organizations serving the families of fallen warriors and what types of formal entity structures they had chosen.  These organizations are mission-driven and socially conscious.  They exist, at least in part, to serve society.  All of the ones I could think of or easily find in a Web search (among them Children of Fallen Patriots FoundationThat Others May Live Foundation, and Travis Manion Foundation--although I do not intend to endorse any specific organization) are organized as non-profit corporations under various state laws and qualified as exempt from federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.  One might ask why.  

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May 29, 2017 in Anne Tucker, Business Associations, Conferences, Joan Heminway, Nonprofits, Social Enterprise, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)