Saturday, February 27, 2010

Call for Proposals: AALS Section on Balance in Legal Education and Academic Support


A Joint Program of the Sections on Balance in Legal Education and Academic Support
Co-Sponsored by the Section on Student Services

Theme:  “Beyond Humanizing:  Can – and Should – Law Schools Strive to Graduate Happy Students?”

Students often enter law school with goals of helping others, improving peoples’ lives, and making the world a better place.  By the time they graduate, however, other considerations have supplanted students’ pro-social inclinations.  Their aspirations succumb to more extrinsic values, such as prestige and money, and are often faced with the realities of time pressure and the dehumanizing effects of legal education.  Despite the prestige associated with being an attorney, the profession is not ranked in the top ten for job satisfaction or happiness.  In fact, one recent study revealed that a majority of practitioners would not recommend law to a young person.

Three AALS Sections, Balance in Legal Education, Academic Support, and Student Services will be hosting a program in which we explore the causes of lawyer distress, the role legal education plays in producing unhappy law students and lawyers, and the concrete steps law schools are currently taking or could take to combat those causes.  The Program Committees invite proposals that provide concrete demonstrations of ways doctrinal, clinical, legal writing, and academic support professors and student services professionals are addressing these concerns.

The Program Committees will give preference to presentations designed to actively engage the workshop audience, so proposals should contain a detailed explanation of both the substance of the presentation and the interactive methods to be employed.  In addition, we would like to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and will look for variety in presentations and presenters.  Based on participant numbers for the last several years, we anticipate over 150 people will be attending the program.  To assist the presenters in the interactive piece, the program committee members and other volunteers will be on hand to act as facilitators with audience members.

Proposals must be one page and include the following information:
1.  A title for your presentation.
2.  A brief description of the objectives or outcomes of your presentation.
3.  A brief description of how your presentation will support your stated objectives or outcomes.
4.  The amount of time allocated for your presentation and for the interactive exercise. No single presenter should exceed 45 minutes in total time allowed.  Presentations as short as 15 minutes will be welcomed.
5.  If warranted, a detailed description of how the presentation will be interactive.
6.  Whether you plan to distribute handouts, use PowerPoint, or employ other technology.
7.  Your school affiliation, title, courses taught and contact information (include email address and telephone number).

Optional and on a separate page:  A list of the conferences at which you have presented within the last three years, such as AALS, national or regional conferences, or other academic conferences.  (The committees are interested in this information because we wish to select and showcase seasoned, as well as fresh, talent.)  Any articles or books that you have published describing the technique(s) you will be demonstrating.

Send proposals by March 15, 2010 via email (preferably in a Word Document) to Prof. Emily Randon, University of California, Davis School of Law, at  Phone number:  530-752-3434.

Questions?:  If you have questions, feel free to contact Emily Randon, Program Chair for the Academic Support Section, Andrew Faltin, Program Chair for the Balance Section, at or Catherine Glaze, Student Services Section at


February 27, 2010 in Conferences/Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AALS 2011 Call for Proposals for Open Source Programming

The AALS has issued the following Call for Proposals for Open Source Programming at the 2011 Annual Meeting:

Open Source sessions at the Annual Meeting are novel ideas for programs proposed by groups of faculty members and selected by a committee in a competitive process. The programs should be innovative and include interactive and out of the ordinary approaches to presenting the topics. AALS is requesting proposals for Open Source programs for the 2011 AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California. 

The goal is to encourage a "bottom up" process in which scholars collaborate to develop fresh and exciting ideas for a program at the Annual Meeting. These are not Section, law school, organization, or institution-sponsored programs. An Open Source Program is one developed by a group of faculty members in various subject matters, who have an original topic that they would like to present at the Annual Meeting. 

When developing the proposal you should consider the following:

  • Is the format innovative?
  • Will the program attract a broad audience?
  • Is there a diversity of presenters and multiplicity of planners?
  • Is there junior and senior teacher involvement?
  • Does the topic cross over common issues and transcend a particular subject area?
  • Would there be a publication coming out of the submission?
  • Will the program format require expensive audio-visual equipment?

To ensure exceptional topics for the Open Source programs, proposals should not feature a program or subject that could be offered by an AALS Section or conflict with other program topics being presented at the 2011 AALS Annual Meeting. Thus, the Open Source Selection Committee will evaluate all proposals in light of AALS Section programs.

For your proposal to be considered, you must provide the following submission requirements:
  • Program title
  • Detailed description and explanation of what the program is trying to accomplish
  • Names of the planners of the program and a description of how the program idea was generated
  • Names of speakers to be invited including their full names and schools with a link to or copy of their vita
  • Presentation format of program
  • Program publishing information: Will the program be published? If so, where would it be published?

Please mail your submissions and required information to by April 17, 2010.

[H/T Susan Westerberg Prager]

February 27, 2010 in Conferences/Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

SCOTUS Cert Grant of Interest: Harrington v. Richter

This week the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Harrington v. Richter, No. 09-587, a habeas case out of the Ninth Circuit. Here are links to the opinion below, the docket, and SCOTUSblog's wiki on the case. From a federal-courts standpoint, this part of the order granting cert may be of interest:

"In addition to the question presented, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following question: Does AEDPA deference apply to a state court's summary disposition of a claim, including a claim under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984)?"

The amount of deference federal habeas courts owe to a state court's decision on federal constitutional issues has been the subject of considerable judicial and scholarly debate, as the doctrine evolved from the days of Brown v. Allen (no deference) to Teague v. Lane (deference via a non-retroactivity principle) to the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), which codified the following language in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1):

"An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States."

Whether deference is required when a state court issues only a "summary disposition" of a constitutional claim (the issue for which SCOTUS ordered briefing in Harrington) targets a potentially thorny question: How can a federal habeas court determine whether a state court's decision "involved an unreasonable application of clearly established Federal law" if the state court never explained how it actually applied clearly established federal law? One possible answer: it can't, so the federal court should proceed to decide the federal issues de novo.

If readers are interested, I examine this issue (and others relating to § 2254(d)(1)) in an article from many years ago entitled: Reconceptualizing Federal Habeas Corpus for State Prisoners: How Should AEDPA's Standard of Review Operate After Williams v. Taylor?, 2001 Wisconsin Law Review 1493.


February 25, 2010 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Barton on Pro Se Court Reform

Benjamin H. Barton (University of Tennessee College of Law) has posted Against Civil Gideon (and for Pro Se Court Reform) to SSRN.

This Article argues that the pursuit of a civil Gideon (a civil guarantee of counsel to match Gideon v. Wainright’s guarantee of appointed criminal counsel) is an error logistically and jurisprudentially and advocates an alternate route for ameliorating the execrable state of pro se litigation for the poor in this country: pro se court reform.

Gideon itself has largely proven a disappointment. Between overworked and underfunded lawyers and a loose standard for ineffective assistance of counsel the system has been degraded. As each player becomes anesthetized to cutting corners a system designed as a square becomes a circle.

There is little in indigent criminal defense that makes one think that a guarantee of civil counsel will work very well. If Courts have not required funding for meaningful representation in the serious cases covered in Gideon (including felony and death penalty prosecutions), it is extremely unlikely that they would do so in civil cases like eviction or deportation.

Moreover, focusing our attention on pro se court reform is a much, much more promising and likely palliative to the legal problems of the poor. Lastly, and most importantly, civil Gideon is a deeply conservative and backward looking solution to this problem, while pro se court reform has the potential to do more than just help the poor. It has the potential to radically reshape our justice system in ways that assist everyone.


February 24, 2010 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SCOTUS Decision In Hertz Corp. v. Friend: Where Is A Corporation's Principal Place Of Business?

Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Hertz Corp. v. Friend, covered earlier here, here, and here. The opinion, per Justice Breyer, begins:

The federal diversity jurisdiction statute provides that "a corporation shall be deemed to be a citizen of any State by which it has been incorporated and of the State where it has its principal place of business." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1) (emphasis added). We seek here to resolve different interpretations that the Circuits have given this phrase. In doing so, we place primary weight upon the need for judicial administration of a jurisdictional statute to remain as simple as possible. And we conclude that the phrase "principal place of business" refers to the place where the corporation’s high level officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation’s activities. Lower federal courts have often metaphorically called that place the corporation’s "nerve center." We believe that the “nerve center” will typically be found at a corporation’s headquarters. 


February 23, 2010 in Recent Decisions, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lewis & Clark Law Review Symposium "Pondering Iqbal"

The Lewis & Clark Law Review Symposium "Pondering Iqbal" is now available on-line here. Contributions include:

Edward Brunet, The Substantive Origins of “Plausible Pleadings”: An Introduction to the Symposium on Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1 (2010) 

Suja A. Thomas, The New Summary Judgment Motion: The Motion to Dismiss Under Iqbal and Twombly, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 15 (2010)

Scott Dodson, Federal Pleading and State Presuit Discovery, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 43 (2010)

Suzette M. Malveaux, Front Loading and Heavy Lifting: How Pre-Dismissal Discovery Can Address the Detrimental Effect of Iqbal on Civil Rights Cases, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 65 (2010) 

Hillel Y. Levin, Iqbal, Twombly, and the Lessons of the Celotex Trilogy, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 143 (2010)

Howard M. Wasserman, Iqbal, Procedural Mismatches, and Civil Rights Litigation, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 157 (2010)

A. Benjamin Spencer, Iqbal and the Slide Toward Restrictive Procedure, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 185 (2010) 

Tung Yin, “I Do Not Think [Implausible] Means What You Think It Means”: Iqbal v. Ashcroft and Judicial Vouching for Government Officials, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 203 (2010)

Michael C. Dorf, Iqbal and Bad Apples, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 217 (2010) 

Juliet P. Stumpf, The Implausible Alien: Iqbal and the Influence of Immigration Law, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 231 (2010) 

Stephen I. Vladeck, National Security and Bivens After Iqbal, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 255 (2010) 


(Hat Tip: John Parry)

February 22, 2010 in Conferences/Symposia, Recent Scholarship, Twombly/Iqbal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sobbrio, D'Agostino and Sirioni on Lawyering in Italy

Giuseppe Sobbrio, Elena D'Agostino, and Emiliano Sirioni have posted Do Lawyers Affect Legal Disputes in Italy? An Instrumental Variables Approach to SSRN.

The legal system can be treated as a large market where justice is traded in terms of legal disputes. Empirical evidence underlines that demand for legal assistance raises over time, despite high costs connected to filing, not only in Italy but also elsewhere in Europe. Moreover, the demand for legal services increases over time despite the high costs of filing. We argue that such increase is due to plaintiffs’ unawareness about the true cost (including delay) of filing. The reason fundamental to this situation is represented by the asymmetric information, which characterizes this environment. The client usually has poor information to value his chance for winning a dispute; hence he cannot rationally and knowingly form his own demand for legal aid. Thus, there is an adverse-selection process between lawyers and their clients that may lead to an uncontrolled increase of the demand for legal services above the rational level. As we will try to prove in this paper, such situation is emphasized in places with a higher density of lawyers, since they compete with each others in order to attract potential clients. In this paper, we use an instrumental variables approach in order to demonstrate that a high number of lawyers in a geographical area plays a significant role on the demand for new legal disputes. Results provide evidence of a positive effect of lawyers on the increase of legal disputes.


February 22, 2010 in International/Comparative Law, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cromer Young on After Iqbal

Professor Julie D. Cromer Young (Thomas Jefferson School of Law) has posted "Centering the Pleading Pendulum After Iqbal" on SSRN.  

The abstract states:

In 2007, the Supreme Court in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly introduced the concept of plausibility pleading to federal courts and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under this concept, in order for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff had to plead enough facts to make the cause of action plausible to the court. This was a marked departure in the interpretation of Rule 8's "short and plain statement of the claim" from the standard enunciated fifty years before by the Court in Conley v. Gibson. The Conley Court held that to succeed in a motion to dismiss, a defendant must establish that the plaintiff could establish no set of facts that would support plaintiff's allegations after she had pled enough information to put the defendant on notice of the claims against him. Courts and scholars questioned and debated the applicability of plausibility pleading, but in May 2009 the Supreme Court confirmed it in the 5-4 decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, causing the U.S. Senate and House to respond with calls to bring back Conley's "no set of facts" language as the required interpretation.

Iqbal forces the federal court system to revisit the debate that it had at the introduction of the Federal Rules more than sixty years ago: Does notice pleading allow a plaintiff too much entry into the court system without facts sufficient to support a cause of action? Before Twombly, the United States was alone among nations in requiring no factual allegations from civil plaintiffs, inviting foreign litigants to seek the U.S. out as a forum. After Iqbal, however, the United States requires a level of specificity in pleadings not even required by nations adhering to systems of civil (as opposed to common-law) adjudication. By attempting to overcorrect the problems inherent in notice pleading, the Supreme Court has created a standard unworkable with the rest of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. An out-and-out return to notice pleading, however, may not be the answer.

This Article will examine the history of pleading in the United States and provide an in-depth analysis of the years since Twombly to see whether plausibility pleading allowed plaintiffs the opportunity to be heard in the U.S. federal court system. It considers different Federal Rules of Civil Procedure directly framed around the notice pleadings standard to question any change in the application of those rules. The Article also discusses four types of cases that may have relied on notice pleading in the past: employment discrimination, intellectual property, securities fraud, and pro se litigation. It does so to examine whether plausibility pleading lets plaintiffs effectively frame their claims. Finally, the Article proposes an amendment to Rule 8 and other Federal Rules that avoids a knee-jerk reaction to the problems inherent in plausibility pleading but brings the U.S. federal courts more closely in line with their international common-law counterparts.


February 22, 2010 in Recent Scholarship, Twombly/Iqbal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)