February 27, 2012
The MIT School of Law Model: What if technology infusion alters the traditional curriculum?
to cause to be permeated with something (as a principle or quality) that alters usually for the better
In Training students for the technology infused law practice of the 21st Century, Daniel Martin Katz, Michigan State Univ. College of Law, identifies a skills set law students will need to be competitive because they are in short supply: "technology, computational data analytics, finance, informatics, economics, accounting, human computer interaction, supply chain mgmt, etc."
To make our students competitive (hopefully thereby restore the Return on Investment associated with the JD) will require legal education to move away from its significant liberal arts / humanities bent and look more like polytechnic research and teaching operation... .
Conceptually, Katz calls this the MIT School of Law model.
I have argued that the arbitrage opportunity in the market for legal education is for an institution(s) the move toward an “MIT School of Law.” In other words, an MIT style institution would do just fine in the market for legal education (in the long run perhaps better than HYS? [editor's note, HLS?]).
If you are an employer – hiring a lawyer for the 21st Century – please ask yourself this question: do you want a student from an MIT Style institution or some sort of liberal arts school? Of course, the market will ultimately decide this question — but I would place my bet with an MIT style legal institution.
Katz underscores technology and high end data analytics skills as being in very limited supply. This sort of expertise infusion in the legal academy's traditional liberal arts / humanities curriculum dovetails nicely into the skill set of 21st century librarianship even if a total transformation to an MIT style legal education is fanciful.
The Challenge. "You, all of you, are the librarians of the future. Am I right? Is this the dawn of the great age of librarians? That's up to you," writes T. Scott Plutchak in Breaking the barriers of time and space: the dawning of the great age of librarians, J Med Libr Assoc. 2012 January; 100(1): 10–19 (highly recommended). See also Achieving the “Golden Age of Librarians” — An Ambitious Project of Deep Redefinition.
Looking closer to present day realities, if today's purveyors of professional legal services were to offer their full range of law practice solutions to law students nationwide at their typical wholesale pricing for indoctrination objectives, my hunch is that the current cadre of legal skills profs would need today's law library staff to help evaluate their utility for a "practice ready" legal skills focused law school education that is technology infused. [JH]
Short but Sweet? CJ Roberts informs Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman that SCOTUS does not intend to adopt the Code of Conduct for US Judges
In a one-paragraph letter dated Feb. 17, 2012, CJ Roberts inform Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy in no uncertain terms that SCOTUS does not intend to adopt the Code of Conduct for US Judges for the highest court of the land. Roberts indicated that reasons for this decision were stated in his year-end report. See Chief Justice Roberts on SCOTUS Ethics Procedures. Details on this latest message can be viewed at the Washington Post's Chief Justice Roberts rejects request for code of conduct by Robert Barnes. [JH]
February 26, 2012
Browsing On A Sunday All Education Edition: School Scandals and The Law School Class Actions
Long before the University Of Illinois College Of Law revealed that it reported “incorrect” student admission data to the ABA, the greater university had its own admission scandal. State officials, mostly members of the Illinois General Assembly, used influence with the University to admit students who were either rejected or waitlisted.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting new details in that matter by analyzing public records and naming names of state legislators, the students, and the relationships they had with each other. Legislators contacted by Tribune reporters felt that they had done nothing wrong in helping constituents get admitted. The Tribune pulled together information showing campaign contributions and other close relationships between legislators and the affected students and their families. There is no indication of quid quo pro dealings per se, but it does show that people who develop significant relationships with a legislator is more likely to be favored by government.
The Boston Globe is setting its sights on the Boston University Law School’s offer to retired probate Judge Christina Harms to help law students find internships with state and federal judges and its withdrawal of said offer after a controversial decision by the Judge was overturned on appeal. Judge Harms ruled that an adult schizophrenic woman should undergo an abortion and sterilization after her parents had requested guardianship for purposes of requiring her to undergo an abortion. Evidence indicated the woman had one abortion and one child previously. The Appellate Court said that Judge Harms’ sterilization ruling went too far.
The Law School issued a letter stating it “did not want to worry about whether an individual who was at the center of a controversy would need to overcome that obstacle when serving as the public face of the School.’’ The Globe’s John Harmon characterized this as a fainthearted response to the circumstances in which BU had found itself. Law schools tend to be fairly conservative and avoid controversy. Looking bad in the short term is no obstacle to the latter if there is no long term hit to a school’s reputation. I would, of course, promote the heck out of its connection to Judge Harms if it could get some benefit from her aura.
Finally, Thompson Reuters News & Insight has a piece with mixed analysis on the merits and success of the law graduate job data suits. Brian Leiter doesn’t think the suits will get very far. As he puts it, if the schools can show they complied with the data reporting rules, as did all most all law schools, then plaintiffs should have to show they would not have gone to law school at all as all schools followed the same rules.
He has doubts about the class certification prospects as well. I agree. Reading the complaints showed a wide variety of employment status for the names plaintiffs. Some were unemployed, some employed part time, and some with their own practice or employed full time. The recent Wal-Mart v. Dukes case killed the employment discrimination class action against the retailer because of the wide variance in the employment experience for members of the proposed class. I can see the same principles applying here.
Professor Mark Gergen suggests the claims for negligent misrepresentation are plausible. Even if the reported statistics are in compliance with standards, they schools knew or should have known they were misleading. I suppose it depends on how a school advertised its success in helping graduates find jobs. After all, how many law schools advertise that their graduates get their dream jobs? I wonder if grades, class rank, honors, and all the other stuff that seems to be important to prospective employers will play a part in characterizing a plaintiff’s employability. This kind of information tends to support the disparities in members of the proposed class. [MG]
Free Book Exchanges Popping Up in Big Apple's Pay Phone Booths: An experiment in "urban betterment"
John Metcalfe interviews John Locke, a Columbia architecture grad, about the free book exchanges he has been creating by stocking books in his custom-built and installed shelving units in old pay phone booths (image below) at How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries. I'm not sure how well this experiment in "urban betterment" will work during inclement weather. The free book exchange container outside of Sweetness 7 Cafe in Buffalo [flickr photo] could set a better example of how libraries and individuals could make their discards more widely available. [JH]