Friday, May 8, 2009
[Posted by Bill Henderson, crossposted to ELS Blog]
Regrettably, I have not posted a substantive blog post since Dec. 16, 2008. Although few things are more enjoyable than blogging (primarily because
blogging relies heavily on reading and thinking), over the last several
months I have been swallowed up by other priorities. To convey what
happened, I have created Henderson's Hierarchy of Blogging, which is a
shameless rip-off of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, a staple of undergraduate education during the '70s and '80s.
For the last five months, I have spent most of my time toggling between Levels 1 and 2. On a good day, I broke into Level 3. I desperately longed for my Level 5 days--reading, thinking, and blogging.
The most substantial activity over the last five months has been Indiana's new 4-credit 1L Legal Professions course. In my case, this included two sections of 50 students each, a wide array of new teaching materials and assessment methods, organizing outside speakers for class, meeting with students, and participating in weekly instructor meetings. It was a grueling but highly rewarding experience. Suffice to say that my students, through their six and seven member Practice Groups, did some immensely creative that far exceeded my expectations. I was bowled over by the power of group intelligence--far beyond what a mere individual could accomplish. Moreover, I learned a huge amount from my colleagues as we taught the same materials, often in very different ways.
Another major commitment was the organization of FutureFirm 1.0, a "collaborative competition held at Indiana University Maurer School of Law on April 17-19. Starting with a fact pattern for the fictional law firm of Marbury & Madison LLP, four teams of ten players (each comprised of four actual law firm partners, three actual in-house lawyers, and three actual associates/law students) worked over the weekend to formulate a new law firm model that would enable the firm to "survive and thrive over the next 20 years." FutureFirm 1.0 was a hugely successful event, thanks in no small measure to the expert facilitation by Anthony Kearns, the national risk manager for the Legal Practitioners Liability Committee in Austrialia. Hildebrandt made the weekend especially interesting by putting up $15,000 in prize money. [Lots more on this later.]
With my few hours of remaining time, I kept some travel and writing commitments, ate a few meals with my family, but generally fell woefully behind in my non-student email and virtually all other facets of my life. To the legions of people I have disappointed/irritated over the last five months, please accept my apologies. In another week, I hope to be back to some modicum of Level 4/5 activity.