Thursday, March 22, 2018

Deadline for submitting proposals extended and registration info for Emory's upcoming Transactional Skills Conference (redux)

For some reason I was having a dickens of a time the other night posting this information on behalf of Professor Kelli Pittman (Emory) about her school's upcoming and wildly popular biennial transactional skills conference; Typepad just doesn't seem to allow the posting of pdf's (but if you know how to do it, please let me know in the comments below). Go here to see info on submitting a proposal for the conference given that the deadline has now been extended. And since Professor Pittman has in the meantime re-sent me the conference registration info as a Word document, I'm pasting it below for all ye faithful to follow. To wit: 



Emory’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice is delighted to announce 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.

Four New and Different Things about the Conference:

  •  Presentation of the inaugural Tina L. Stark Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills. Note: For information about how to nominate yourself or someone else for this award, please visit
  • New 45-minute “Try-This” time slots for individual presenters to demonstrate in-class activities.
  • Reduced registration fee for new transactional law and skills
  • Reduced registration fee for adjunct


 We are accepting proposals immediately, but in no event later than 5 p.m. on Friday, March

30, 2018.


We welcome you to present on any aspect of transactional law and skills education as long as you view it through the lens of our theme. We expect to receive proposals about theories, programs, curricula, courses, approaches, methods, and specific assignments or exercises that foster excellence in transactional law and skills education. In other words, what works best (excellence in teaching) to achieve particular student outcomes (excellence in learning)? If it’s true that “to teach is to learn twice,” what wisdom can you impart to others who may want to replicate or imitate what you are doing? How have you made yourself a better teacher? And how have you assured that you are achieving the best student outcomes?


Try-This Sessions. Each Friday afternoon “Try-This Session” will be 45-minutes long and will feature one classroom activity and one individual presenter.


Panels. Each Saturday session will be approximately 90 minutes long and feature a panel presenting two or more topics grouped together for synergy.


Please submit the proposal form electronically via the Emory Law website at before 5 p.m. on March 30, 2018.


 As in prior years, some of the conference proceedings as well as the materials distributed by the speakers will be published inTransactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law , a publication of the Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law of The University of Tennessee, a co- sponsor of the conference.


 Both attendees and presenters must register for the Conference and pay the appropriate registration fee: $220 (general); $200 (adjunct professor); or $185 (new teacher). Note: A new teacher is someone in their first three years of teaching.


The registration fee includes a pre-conference lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m., snacks, and a reception on June 1, and breakfast, lunch, and snacks on June 2. We are planning an optional dinner for attendees and presenters on Friday evening, June 1, at an additional cost of $50 per person.


Registration is now open for the Conference and the optional Friday night dinner at our Emory Law website at


 Attendees and presenters are responsible for their own travel arrangements and hotel accommodations. Special hotel rates for conference participants are available at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, less than one mile from the conference site at Emory Law. Subject to availability, rates are $149 per night. Free shuttle transportation will be provided between the Emory Conference Center Hotel and Emory Law.


To make a reservation at the special conference rate, call the Emory Conference Center Hotel at 800.933.6679 and mention “The Emory Law Transactional Conference.” Note: The hotel’s special conference rate expires at the end of the day on May 18, 2018. If you encounter any technical difficulties in submitting your proposal or in registering online, please contact Kelli Pittman, Program Coordinator, at or 404.727.3382.


We look forward to seeing you in June!



March 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

More on Professor Susan Nevelow Mart's article "The Algorithm as a Human Artifact: Implications for Legal {Re}Search"

My co-blogger Scott had previously posted about this important article (here) in which Professor Susan Nevelow Mart, the Director of CU's law library, describes a study she conducted in which she ran an identical search in six leading legal research databases - Casetext, Fastcase, Google Scholar, Lexis Advance, Ravel and Westlaw - yet got completely different results. That's certainly an eye-opener and an insight we should be passing along in the classroom.  Over at the Law Librarian Blog, Joe Hodnicki offers some additional commentary about Professor Mart's article and its coverage by the ABA Journal, suggesting for the same reason that both are a "must read" for every law student and legal researcher. Go check out Joe's post here


March 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Proper etiquette for texting in a business context

At least anecdotally, texting has overtaken email as the preferred method of electronic communication for many (to say nothing of using the phone to actually place a call to the other person - no one does that anymore).  So this post by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston at the very helpful Business Writing blog is good and informative one on proper texting etiquette when communicating in a business context. Among the tips, as a preliminary matter, make sure it's OK with the other person beforehand that you communicate by text (and lawyers communicating with clients raises all kinds of professional ethics concerns - see here, here and here, among other links), limit your texts to appropriate business hours, and include your name at the beginning of the message unless your identity will be obvious to the recipient. Check out the full list of tips from Ms. Gaertner-Johnson here which, incidentally, would make a good in-class handout if you plan to teach students how to compose appropriate text messages when communicating with colleagues or clients. 


March 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sample Chapter from Understanding and Overcoming Cognitive Biases For Lawyers And Law Students: Becoming a Better Lawyer Through Cognitive Science

I have uploaded a sample chapter from my book on cognitive biases and the law.  You can find it here.

(Scott Fruehwald)



March 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Deadline extended to March 30 for submitting proposals to Emory's 6th Biennial Transactional Legal Skills Conference to be held on June 1-2

The deadline for submitting proposals for Emory Law School's 6th Biennial transactional legal skills conference to be held on June 1-2 in Atlanta has been extended to March 30. Below is a note from Emory's Professor Sue Payne regarding the extension followed by a link for submitting a proposal:


The end of the school year is fast approaching and we want to give you one last chance to submit a proposal demonstrating what you are doing to foster excellence in the teaching of transactional law and skills.


Therefore, we’ve extended the proposal deadline through Friday, March 30, 2018.


Please submit your proposals as soon as possible. After March 30th, we’ll turn all of the proposals over to our Program Committee, who will notify those accepted and begin putting together the Program Schedule.


Even if you do not submit a proposal, please register for the conference now.


We are reaching far and wide to embrace the whole community of transactional law and skills educators, so please encourage your colleagues – including new teachers and adjunct professors (both at reduced registration fees) – to join us. It will be a wonderful time to gather, talk, share, teach, learn, and celebrate.

 Go here for more details about registering.


March 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Comment on Listening to Music (Below)

This study does not surprise me.  Cognitive scientists have discovered that working memory has limited attention, probably only four slots.  Because of this, one must focus his or her limited attention on the task at hand.  Anything that distracts from the task affects learning and effectiveness.  I guess it's time we send multi-tasking to the junk heap, just like we did learning styles.

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Not only should students shut-off their laptops while studying, they should turn off the music too

This study is a few years old, from 2014, but I only just learned of it from U.K. based ed tech blogger Donald ClarkThe researchers found that studying in silence worked best in terms of comprehension compared to studying while listening to music without lyrics as well as listening to music that contains lyrics. However, the latter had the most deleterious effect on reading comprehension according to this small sample study involving 30 participants.  

And remember the so-called Mozart effect?  According to blogger Clark, it turns out that's BS too.


p.s. links to Clark's post on listening to music while studying now corrected - thanks!

March 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A book review of "Learning from Practice: A Text for Experiential Legal Education"

This is a book review by Professor Lisa Radtke Bliss (Georgia State) of "Learning from Practice: A Text for Experiential Legal Education" (Leah Wortham, Alexander Scherr, Nancy Maurer, and Susan l. Brooks, eds., West Academic Pub. 3d ed. 2016), published at 67 J. Legal Educ. 338 (2017) and available here. From the intro:

Experiential education is indisputably an essential part of the law school curriculum. This is so thanks to a long history of clinical legal education and scholarship of clinical pedagogy, and to a continually growing number of publications, reports, studies, and standards that emphasize the importance of developing professional competencies and skills to prepare students for success in the legal profession. Experiential education includes law clinics, externships, simulations, and courses that may have combined characteristics of these three major types. With the rise of experiential education, scholars have published ideas about how best to conceptualize, deliver, and integrate experiential education into the curriculum. Among the range of different experiential offerings, externships have undergone significant growth and development. At the same time, scholarship about integrating professional identity formation as part of preparing students for practice has proliferated. The formation of professional identity has long been an integral part of clinical legal education through students' exploration of what it means to inhabit the role of lawyer in context.


The third edition of Learning from Practice: A Text for Experiential Legal Education brings together these two goals of contemporary legal education and provides a comprehensive, student-centered collection of reading, exercises, and questions designed to promote student reflection. While the book begins with an introduction to students in an externship, and the book in general is designed as a resource to accompany student learning in the externship context, the editors understood the third edition might also have broader application, hence the editors' inclusion of the subtitle, “A Text for Experiential Legal Education.” The editors recognized that given the expansion of different forms of experiential education, and changes in the delivery of legal services, the concepts and topics addressed in the book could serve as a resource for multiple types of courses and experiences, particularly those courses that involve some form of real legal practice.


The editors identify and support their confidence in “well-designed and carefully delivered externship courses,” and this thoughtful book provides the resources necessary to provide an excellent externship seminar. The book captures and highlights the richness of experience that comes from exploring the world of practice through field placements. It provides concrete tools, focused on reflection, to help students make meaning of those experiences.


March 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Register for the Access to Justice Conference

Here are the details:

Access to justice

Access to Justice Conference--Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended, Program Now Available

The Consortium for Access to Justice: A Collaborative Community of Law Practice Incubators and Nonprofit Law Firms and Georgia State University College of Law have extended the deadline for early bird registration for theAccess to Justice 5 Conference.  The new early bird deadline is March 26 for the conference which takes place  on April 12-14.  The Program for the conference is now posted on the conference website. 

To register for the conference and hotels, and to view the program, go to the conference webpage:

The conference is designed for people involved in incubator or other post-graduate programs for solo, small firm, and nonprofit practitioners, as well as for those who want to know more about how these programs work and how they contribute to enhancing social justice through improved access to law. 

Along with the basics of creating and implementing incubator programs, non-profit and sliding scale law firms, the conference will address, among other topics,

  • Training lawyers for sustainable "justice gap" practice;
  • Marketing and community outreach;
  • Assessing the impact of programs and practices on the community, individual clients, and lawyer satisfaction;
  • Using technology and other tools to deliver services to "justice gap" clients; and
  • Collaboration between bench, bar and academia


The conference includes speakers, panels, workshops and hands-on technology sessions to help participants develop concrete take-aways for immediate impact on their work.  Early bird registration rates end March 26.



March 17, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 16, 2018

A New Perspective on the Nature/Nurture Debate

Greatness as a Manifestation of Experience Producing Drives by Wendy Johnson in The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent Or Practice.

Abstract: "We are endlessly fascinated by the stories of the lives of geniuses and their trials and tribulations in producing their works of lasting significance.  We wonder if they are somehow inherently different from the rest of us, or if they just somehow got a better start.  Increasingly, however, psychologists are realizing that this nature-nurture dichotomy is an inappropriate way of thinking about the development of excellent achievements.  Experience-producing drive theory offers a possible explanatory process: Genes serve to drive people to seek the kinds of experiences that build high levels of skill and knowledge that in turn fuel creative achievements.  This chapter explores how this theory can be used to understand greatness."

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

"Why are so many high school graduates bad writers when they arrive at college?"

From Inside Higher Ed:

Bad Writing

We are living in the Golden Age of Bad Writing Instruction.


Mind you, the teaching of writing has always been problematic in the K-12 world. If you are of a Certain Age (i.e. mine) you may have fond memories of having to turn in a formal outline with every class paper, and the approach of many students (i.e. mine) was to write a paper, and then write an outline to go with it. And there has always been a problem with teachers who are uncomfortable with the squishiness of writing instruction, and so focus on the cold, hard, mechanical, red pen markable elements of composition.


But with the rise of the Big Standardized Test over the past fifteen years, writing instruction has taken a huge hit. The kind of writing that can be scored by a computer program (or by a human being chained to an algorithm that renders the human no smarter than a computer program) is not good writing.


My own department has become quite adept at gaming BS Test writing sections. Here are some of the proven rules for producing well-rated standardized writing:


Rewrite the prompt as your first sentence. Yes, you often sound like a dope, but this time-honored technique still works.


Fill up the page. Write lots of words. Don’t worry about being redundant—just keep filing up space.


Use some big fancy words. Do not worry about whether you are using them correctly or not. My personal favorite is “plethora,” but you can use whatever you like.


If you are taking a handwritten test, write as neatly as you can. Paragraph clearly. If your indents tend to be unclear, skip a line between paragraphs.


None of these are the mark of good writing, but for years, these rules have yielded good scores. The challenge for us in the classroom is to make clear that this is what we do to make test manufacturers happy.

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


March 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Teaching Remedies as a Capstone Course by Russell Weaver & David Partlett

Russell Weaver & David Partlett, Teaching Remedies as a Capstone Course

"The debate about the divide between the legal academy and the legal profession is perennial and, in times of economic stress, of increasing urgency. Historically, law school critics have portrayed law professors as living their lives, and teaching their classes, from “ivory towers” that are divorced from the day-to-day realities of law practice. While law professors might teach students how to read cases and analyze precedent, so the critique went, they did little to teach students how to function like practicing lawyers."

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

British educators re-introduce "risk" into schools to build student resilience and grit

A story in the New York Times reports that British educators are concerned that schools have gone too far in terms of  eliminating physical risks at the expense of building student resilience and grit. As a result, there's a new movement afoot to re-introduce activities that can help "toughen up" students so they are better able to deal with the hazards of life.  Thus, some school administrators are saying bring on the knives, running with scissors, hammers, saws and even fire.  One school has even posted a placard informing parents that "risks have been intentionally [introduced into the school environment], so that your child can develop an appreciation of risk in a controlled play environment . . . ."

Among other things, it raises the question of whether legal educators have made a similar mistake in their efforts to minimize stress in law school at the expense of helping to adequately prepare students for the multitude of stresses they'll face in practice - which can be substantial. 

Here's an excerpt from the NYT article and you can decide whether the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of risk aversion in the law school context as well: 

In Britain’s Playgrounds, ‘Bringing in Risk’ to Build Resilience

SHOEBURYNESS, England — Educators in Britain, after decades spent in a collective effort to minimize risk, are now, cautiously, getting into the business of providing it. 


Four years ago, for instance, teachers at the Richmond Avenue Primary and Nursery School looked critically around their campus and set about, as one of them put it, “bringing in risk.”


Out went the plastic playhouses and in came the dicey stuff: stacks of two-by-fours, crates and loose bricks. The schoolyard got a mud pit, a tire swing, log stumps and workbenches with hammers and saws.


“We thought, how can we bring that element of risk into your everyday environment?” said Leah Morris, who manages the early years program at the school in Shoeburyness in southeast Britain. “We were looking at, O.K., so we’ve got a sand pit, what can we add to the sand pit to make it more risky?”


Now, Ms. Morris says proudly, “we have fires, we use knives, saws, different tools,” all used under adult supervision. Indoors, scissors abound, and so do sharp-edged tape dispensers (“they normally only cut themselves once,” she says).


Limited risks are increasingly cast by experts as an experience essential to childhood development, useful in building resilience and grit.

. . . .


This view is tinged with nostalgia for an earlier Britain, in which children were tougher and more self-reliant. It resonates both with right-wing tabloids, which see it as a corrective to the cosseting of a liberal nanny state; and with progressives, drawn to a freer and more natural childhood. It is also supported by a growing list of government officials, among them Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of Ofsted, the powerful agency that inspects British schools.


Ms. Spielman has poked fun at schools for what she considers excessive risk aversion, describing as “simply barmy” measures like sending schoolchildren out on city field trips in high-visibility jackets. Late last year, she announced that her agency’s inspectors would undergo training that will encompass the positive, as well as the negative, side of risk.

. . . .

 Continue reading here.


March 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stephen Hawking on Curiosity

"So remember, look at the stars and not at your feet." (2015)

I believe that curiosity is the most important trait for a self-directed learner.

(Scott Fruehwald)


March 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A new video trial simulation tool to sharpen your evidence skills

Here's a new commercial product called Objection Pro by a company named Trial Boom that's being marketed to both law students ("ace your evidence exam," "improve your mock trial skills") and attorneys (CLE approved - but only for Colorado at present). Below is a demonstration video posted on YouTube. Based on my quick perusal, it looks pretty interesting and a good teaching tool.


March 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium: Advancing Leadership Development in the Legal Profession: Addressing Challenges in Legal Education and the Practice of Law

Symposium: Advancing Leadership Development in the Legal Profession: Addressing Challenges in Legal Education and the Practice of Law

March 23 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Location: Mission Room, Benson Center, Santa Clara University

Sponsored by Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara Law Review, and the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Leadership


Symposium Schedule
Event Details

Continue reading

March 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 12, 2018

A new book: "What They Don't Teach You in Law School: How to Get a Job"

This is a new book available on Amazon by Adam Gropper, a former partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP and the founder of LegalJob LLC, which his bio describes as "a results-oriented coaching practice."  From the publisher's summary:

Law School Doesn't Teach You How to Get a Job.

This Book Does.

It arms you with a fresh perspective from students who landed great legal jobs. These personal, enlightening stories and the insight they reveal form the foundation of a straightforward six-step process to create multiple job opportunities.
You'll quickly learn how to:


  • Create an entrepreneurial approach to your career planning.
  • Be seen by potential employers as integral to achieving their objectives. 
  • Build your brand to get the job you want with the employer you want. 

In an easily relatable fashion, this book shares nearly 20 years' worth of experience and advice (including guidance and feedback from all types and sizes of employers) that has helped the author's clients secure their dream legal job. Now, this book and its easy to implement, proactive approach can help you too!  

Hat tip to the TaxProf Blog.


March 12, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reminder - Registration is open for Conference on Law Teaching for Adjunct Faculty and New Professors

This is a conference sponsored by the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning to held at Texas A&M on April 28, 2018. The details for this one day conference and link to register are below:

Law Teaching for Adjunct Faculty and New Professors is a one-day conference for
new and experienced adjunct faculty, new full-time professors, and others who are
interested in developing and supporting those colleagues. The conference will take
place on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort
Worth, Texas, and is co-sponsored by the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning
and Texas A&M University School of Law.

Sessions will include:

 Course Design and Learning Outcomes – Michael Hunter Schwartz
 Assessment – Sandra Simpson
 Active Learning – Sophie Sparrow
 Team-based Learning – Lindsey Gustafson
 Technology and Teaching – Anastasia Boles

Additionally, master teacher Gerry Hess, Professor Emeritus, Gonzaga University
School of Law, will be on hand for one-on-one mentoring sessions throughout the
day for a limited number of participants. Indicate your interest on the registration
form, slots will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis, and we will notify you
prior to the conference if you have been assigned a meeting time.

By the end of the conference, all participants will have concrete ideas to bring back
to their students, colleagues, and institutions. And each participant will receive a
copy of Teaching Law by Design for Adjuncts or Teaching Law by Design.

Click here for the registration link

Click here for the hotel link

Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel
1701 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
(817) 335-7000

For more information, contact ILTL Co-Directors:

Sandra Simpson                     Emily Grant                                         Kelly Terry   


March 12, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Smartphone addiction is based in our DNA

Here's an interesting research paper positing that smartphone addiction is a real thing grounded in an evolutionary imperative to monitor and be monitored by others (which is based on the premise that humans are hardwired as social creatures).  The article, Hypernatural Monitoring: A Social Rehearsal Account of Smartphone Addiction  is authored by interdisciplinary researchers at McGill University in cognitive neuroscience, anthropology, and psychiatry.  It can be found here at Frontiers in Psychology.  Here is the abstract:

We present a deflationary account of smartphone addiction by situating this purportedly antisocial phenomenon within the fundamentally social dispositions of our species. While we agree with contemporary critics that the hyper-connectedness and unpredictable rewards of mobile technology can modulate negative affect, we propose to place the locus of addiction on an evolutionarily older mechanism: the human need to monitor and be monitored by others. Drawing from key findings in evolutionary anthropology and the cognitive science of religion, we articulate a hypernatural monitoring model of smartphone addiction grounded in a general social rehearsal theory of human cognition. Building on recent predictive-processing views of perception and addiction in cognitive neuroscience, we describe the role of social reward anticipation and prediction errors in mediating dysfunctional smartphone use. We conclude with insights from contemplative philosophies and harm-reduction models on finding the right rituals for honoring social connections and setting intentional protocols for the consumption of social information.


March 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Note-Taking Mode and Academic Performance in Two Law School Courses

This important study shows that taking notes by hand is more effective for academic performance than taking notes on a laptop.

Note-Taking Mode and Academic Performance in Two Law School Courses by Colleen P. Murphy, CJ Ryan & Yajni Warnapala.

"The use of laptops in law school classrooms has become fairly commonplace, especially in the last decade. Yet, studies in other higher education settings have found an association between note-taking mode and academic performance; specifically, using a laptop to take notes in the classroom is associated with negative academic performance outcomes.

This study endeavors to assess the relationship between note-taking mode and academic performance in the law school setting. We compare the academic performance of handwriters to laptop users in two required, doctrinal courses as well as the effect of a randomly assigned treatment, exposing roughly half of the students in our analysis to a memorandum explaining the possible pitfalls of using a laptop to take class notes. We find that handwriting class notes has a strong positive association with academic performance in these two law school courses, supporting findings of the benefits of handwriting class notes in other academic settings."

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)