Sunday, February 7, 2016

Toward A Unified Theory of Jurisprudence

Toward 'Jurisilience' by Alan Calnan.  This could become a seminal article.


General jurisprudence currently faces three daunting challenges. First, it possesses an outdated dualistic ontology that creates irreconcilable conflicts between its competing theories. Second, it employs a parochial epistemology that selectively deploys insights from isolated knowledge domains with no systematic attempt at validation or synthesis. Third, and most important, this approach to the human institution of law essentially defies human nature - ignoring or denying the law’s immanent humanity while eliding the human dynamics behind legal theorizing.

Because these challenges are fundamental, they cannot be met by piecemeal change. Instead, they require radical reimagination. This article takes a first step in that direction, proposing an alternative type of legal theory called “jurisilience.” Inspired by the consilience movement outside legal academia, jurisilience seeks to unite knowledge from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to enrich our understanding of law and jurisprudence.

This preliminary offering provides a rough sketch of the project’s major themes. Combining research from physics, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, moral and developmental psychology, sociology, and anthropology, it shows that human nature is not dualistic but holistic, consistently exhibiting the features of complementarity and coordination dynamics. To test this theory, the article begins to develop an interdisciplinary standard of knowledge derived from the fields of science, epistemology, hermeneutics, and rhetoric. It then uses this standard to defend a neoteric narrative of legality. Finding repeating patterns in law’s history, content, and interpretation, it argues that mankind’s corpus juris is the mirror image of its creator - a complementary collection of problem-solving systems dynamically coordinating and reconciling their antagonistic tendencies in pursuit of survival and flourishing.

February 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

25 Reasons Attorneys Are Unhappy

From Harrison Barnes at Law Crossing, here are four reasons:

  1. They despise the work and really would like to do something different. The work attorneys do

can be incredibly boring and repetitive. It is not uncommon for attorneys to spend hours reviewing

long, boring documents in search of a stray typo. Many attorneys went to law school because they

were talented academically and had a real passion for something. Reviewing a lease or a brief

does not fully utilize their talents.

  1. They dislike the people they are working with. Attorneys know it is important to get along well with

clients, co-workers, and superiors. See: The Importance of Being Well Liked in Your Job.

Nevertheless, many attorneys very quickly realize that they have few "real friends" at work. The

people they are working with are not necessarily interested in making them look good and, in fact,

are secretly hoping they fail.

  1. They hate being accountable for so many small details. An attorney's entire career can be ruined

by making a single small mistake. I once saw a woman lose her job after working 3,000 hours a

year for over ten years in a law firm because she forgot to get a client to sign a form. The results of

this were catastrophic, and the client ended up losing the case due to this attorney's error.

  1. They can't stand having to work constantly and compete with their peers. Unlike most jobs

where people are judged on the quality of their work, one of the most important things inside of a

law firm is the number of hours you work.

  1. They are miserable being behind a desk all day. Most attorneys spend the majority of their days

You can find the other reasons here. The conclusion:

If you are going insane (and the odds are you may be), then it is time for a change. Coaching, drugs, psychologists, alcohol, a divorce, a raise, or a partnership is not going to fix this because the problem is not you—the problem is your job. There are plenty of careers involving the law that will not make you crazy—and people you can work with that will not make you crazy. The key is to find that job.


February 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Is the influence of USNWR college rankings on the wane?

According to this story in the Washington Post, only 18% of college freshmen queried in a recent poll said that the rankings were an important influence on their decision about what school to attend and for many students the rankings weren't even among the top 10 factors influencing their decision.

The end of college rankings as we know them


It’s been nearly 25 years since U.S. News & World Report introduced the annual version of its college rankings. That’s also when the rankings shifted from what had largely been a beauty contest based solely on a survey of college presidents to one that aimed to replicate the quantitative nature of Consumer Reports.


If Consumer Reports could tell you with some specificity the best washer to buy or the most reliable car on the market, the thinking was that U.S. News could do the same with one of the most expensive purchases in life: a college degree. 


But unlike Consumer Reports, which ranked products on how well they performed in daily use, U.S. News decided to rank colleges on the types of students they accepted (SAT scores and class rank), how much they spent on faculty (salaries and class size), and how many students stayed in school and graduated. It was as if Consumer Reports judged products based on the quality of their raw ingredients rather than the final product.


The rankings turned into a big business for U.S. News, even outlasting the print magazine that gave birth to them. They also spawned dozens of copycat rankings from other publications and organizations during the past two decades.


While the U.S. News rankings still loom large among colleges that try anything to improve their position — just see the recent controversy at Mount St. Mary’s University — there are signs that the list is beginning to show its age in an era of changing consumer behavior about picking colleges.


For one, according to an annual survey of college freshmen across the country by UCLA researchers, just 18 percent of students said magazine rankings were important in influencing their final college selection. Rankings didn’t even break the top 10 among the factors students said were important.


The second reason the U.S. News rankings are in trouble is that several new tools and sets of rankings have emerged in recent years that are simply better, including Money magazine, the Economist, the federal government’s College Scorecard, and LinkedIn. They all attempt to do what U.S. News has largely failed to do: measure what actually happens to students after graduation — their jobs and salaries and their level of debt. In other words, they are trying to be Consumer Reports for higher education.

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


February 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Motivates Successful People?

At Resourceful Manager (here), ten very successful people explain how they keep motivated. They range from Warren Buffett to Steven Spielberg.


February 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Wisconsin Law Review on the relationship between experiential learning opportunities in law school and employment outcomes

The latest issue of the Wisconsin Law Review has three articles that readers of this blog will be interested in concerning the debate about whether adding clinics and other experiential learning opportunities to the law school curriculum leads to improved employment outcomes for students.  The issue first came to the fore when Professor Jason Yackee (Wisc.) posted a draft of his article to SSRN last year in which he argued that there's no empirical support establishing a relationship between the two which touched off considerable debate and discussion in the legal blogosphere (here, here, here, here and here). You can read Professor Yackee's published article below along with two responses including one by former CLEA President Professor Robert Kuehn.   

Jason W. Yackee, Does Experiential Learning Improve JD Employment Outcomes? 2015 Wis. L. Rev. 601 (and here on SSRN).

Keith Findley, Assessing Experiential Legal Education: A Response to Professor Yackee 2015 Wis. L. Rev. 627 (and here on SSRN).

Robert R. Kuehn, Measuring Clinical Legal Education's Employment Outcomes 2015 Wis. L. Rev. 645 (and here on SSRN).


February 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Touro’s Journal of Experiential Learning

One professor's classroom experiment requiring students to take notes by hand

In this Chronicle of Higher Ed story, a professor of journalism at University of Kansas talks about her decision in 2013 to ban laptops from the classroom and instead require students to take notes by hand. Though the evidence is anecdotal, a student poll she conducted following the experiment found that 86% of the students said they paid "the same or better" attention without laptops and 52% said they paid greater attention without them. More significantly, several students said they learn better taking notes by hand rather than typing them on a laptop confirming the results of the recently published study by Professors Mueller and Oppenheimer, The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard.  An excerpt from the CHE article:

The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking

A year after banning students from taking notes on laptops, a professor reports on the results


The moment of truth for me came in the spring 2013 semester. I looked out at my visual-communication class and saw a group of six students transfixed by the blue glow of a video on one of their computers, and decided I was done allowing laptops in my large lecture class. "Done" might be putting it mildly. Although I am an engaging lecturer, I could not compete with Facebook and YouTube, and I was tired of trying.


The next semester I told students they would have to take notes on paper. Period.


I knew that eliminating laptops in my classroom would reduce distractions. Research has shown that when students use their laptops to "multitask" during class, they don’t retain as much of the lecture. But I also had a theory, based on my college experience from the dark ages—the 70s, aka, before PowerPoint—that students would process lectures more effectively if they took notes on paper. When students took notes on laptops they barely looked up from their computers, so intent were they on transcribing every word I said. Back in my day, if a professor’s lectures were reasonably well organized, I could take notes in outline format. I had to listen for the key points and subpoints.


Some of the students I teach are journalism majors. For them, taking notes by hand is an enormously helpful skill since journalists often have no choice but to take notes on paper.You can tape an interview, but transcribing tapes is inefficient when you’re on deadline, and you’re not going to pull out a laptop in somebody’s office or in the middle of a protest and start typing. Now, if you’re interviewing people over the phone, you might type as they talk, but if you try typing every single word your interview subjects say, you end up not really listening to them.


In laying down my no-tech note-taking decree, I explained that it would help students engage in the lectures and also pay off later in their careers. I use PowerPoint in my visual-communication course but only to outline the lecture and show examples of designs. I told students they would need to listen to what I said about each slide and selectively write down the important points. I said I believed they would remember more of my lectures by taking notes on paper.

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


February 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Judicial Education and the Art of Judging

A comprehensive list of law student writing and practical skills competitions

If you're teaching a seminar or otherwise working with students writing significant research papers and think they should consider submitting their work to a writing competition, check out this comprehensive list compiled by the Student Lawyer Division of the ABA (featuring both ABA sponsored competitions and those sponsored by other legal organizations). Toward the bottom of the page, the Student Lawyer Division has also compiled a list of several practical legal skills competitions open to law students. And if you're looking for video examples of excellent student appellant arguments and other legal skills on display, the ABA Student Lawyer Division also has several DVDs for sale featuring final round performances from a range of law student competitions. Enjoy!


February 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Should Universities Ask Applicants About Police Stops, Detentions, and Arrests?

This question is coming to the fore. From Reuters:

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said it began contacting 17 schools in the South on Thursday about their practice of asking prospective students to detail interactions with the criminal justice system even if they have not been convicted.

The organization believes schools nationally have similar policies that may disproportionately affect minority males.

"Inquiries regarding stops and detentions and arrests pose unnecessary barriers for vast numbers of African Americans, given the racial disparities that we see across our criminal justice system," said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

She said asking about such interactions, some of which may have been dismissed by courts, has "no predictive value whatsoever on whether or not a kid can succeed in a classroom."

I’m not sure how this concern applies to law schools. Bar admissions committees will want these details. Should they want information on minor events? You can read more here.


February 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hippocrates and Socrates: Professional Obligations to Educate the Next Generation by Deborah Jones Merritt

An exciting new article by Deborah Jones Merritt on legal education:

Hippocrates and Socrates: Professional Obligations to Educate the Next Generation.


"Do professionals have an ethical obligation to educate new members of their profession? The ancient Hippocratic oath recognized such a commitment, requiring all doctors “to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other pupils who have signed the covenant.” Contemporary theories of professionalism point to the same result, identifying intergenerational education as an essential feature of professional status. Moral theory and economic policy, finally, underscore this outcome: In return for the exclusive right to practice a profession, established members of the profession must agree to share their knowledge, skills, and other expertise with newcomers.

The rules of professional conduct governing lawyers, sadly, do not mention this duty to educate. Equally unfortunate, mounting evidence suggests that neither law schools nor the practicing bar are fulfilling their ethical obligation to educate new members of the profession. This Article explores both the nature of that ethical gap and ways that law schools could restore their ethical commitment to educate new members of the bar. To provide background for that discussion, Part I of the Article examines the historical, social, moral, and economic roots of a professional obligation to educate. Part II then analyzes the status of this obligation within the legal profession. Part III, finally, proposes six ways that legal educators can improve our ethical commitment to educating new lawyers."
All professions share six “commonplaces:”
"1. a commitment to serve in the interests of clients in particular and the welfare of society in general;
2. a body of theory or special knowledge with its own principles of growth and reorganization;
3. a specialized set of professional skills, practices, and performances unique to the profession;
4. the developed capacity to render judgments with integrity under conditions of both technical and ethical uncertainty;
5. an organized approach to learning from experience both individually and collectively and, thus, of growing new knowledge from the contexts of practice; and
6. the development of a professional community responsible for the oversight and monitoring of quality in both practice and professional education."
"As I have argued elsewhere, many professions reflect a similar pattern of rights and responsibilities. These professions, including law, receive two valuable rights from society: (a) an exclusive right to deliver services associated with the profession, and (b) the right of self-government. These rights, like parental rights, exist to facilitate responsibilities."
"Despite the profession’s reliance on academic education, practitioners frequently criticize law school programs. The critics fault law schools for being too academic, for failing to introduce students to the realities of law practice, for neglecting key lawyering skills, and for dodging their duty to educate professionals. A growing chorus of voices suggests that law schools are not adequately training students for professional law practice."
“We have reached a dangerous point, in other words, at which both law schools and the bar are neglecting some of their responsibility to educate new lawyers.”
"First, schools should stop making admissions and scholarship decisions with an eye toward influencing their status in the annual law school rankings published by U.S. News & World Report."
"The second flaw in law school admissions lies with schools that admit applicants with very weak academic credentials."
"Teachers at all levels have recognized the importance of making education intentional.  An intentional educator identifies the goals of a program before choosing courses, materials, or pedagogies."
"Legal education relies heavily on the traditional wisdom that intentional educators eschew. Rather than assess the legal needs of contemporary clients, the skills required to fill those needs, and the pedagogies that best build those skills, law schools rely on curricula and pedagogies that date back to the nineteenth century."
"As the educational arm of the legal profession, law schools owe a duty to clients and the community: That duty is to educate lawyers who will serve the needs of clients and their communities. A professionally responsible law school curriculum cannot merely teach the law and skills that professors want to teach; it must teach the law and skills that the community needs."
"One of the first steps I would take is to develop high-quality workshops that will teach tenured faculty the theory and practice of client representation."
"Our caste system, which distinguishes tenured faculty from clinical or writing professors, harms the latter professors and perpetuates a false dichotomy in legal education."
"The fourth step in reshaping legal education is to inspire students to serve the low- and middle-income clients that our profession is failing."
"Law schools must also teach students how to deliver legal services more efficiently, so that clients can afford their legal counsel."
"The final task for law schools to tackle today is the development of pedagogies that promote lifelong learning in the workplace."

February 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Two Professional Identity Posts on the CEFLAR Blog

There are two nice posts on professional identity on the Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform Blog.  (here)

Integration of Professional Identity Formation into Law Courses

What is Professional Identity?


After discussing the struggle to articulate the deep meaning of “professional identity,” one scholar offers the following definition: “Professional identity refers to the way that a lawyer integrates the intellectual, practical, and ethical aspects of being a lawyer and also integrates personal and professional values. A lawyer with an ethical professional identity is able to exercise practical wisdom and to live a life of satisfaction and well-being.”  Others have recognized that engaging students in this process of professional identity development “put[s] students up against the fundamentals of who they are, what they want the world to be, and their role in, and responsibility for, creating both.”  (citations omitted)

(Scott Fruehwald)


February 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fewer Students Applying to Top Ranked Schools

The schools are responding by shrinking their size. If they lower their standards, they fear a drop in their ranking. You can read more at Bloomberg News (here). You can find a statistical chart there.


February 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Ground Hog Day: The Prediction

Here is Punxsutawney Phil’s 2016. A few years ago, my daughter Laura trekked to Punxsutawney. She was born on Ground Hog Day. There, she met a great number of folks who shared her birthday. A couple years ago, my wife and I made the pilgrimage. It was crowded, muddy, and cold, but I want to go again. I’m having a hard time convincing a family member to join me.

Happy Birthday, Laura!


February 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bureau of Labor Statistics says competition for legal jobs will remain tight

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which collects, processes, analyzes, and reports key statistical data on U.S. job growth and trends, recently updated its biennial Occupational Outlook Handbook ("OOH") suggesting some glum news for lawyers; competition for jobs will remain tight due to the fact that law schools continue to graduate more students than the number of existing openings.  The American Lawyer has the story:

The Government's Dismal Job Outlook for Lawyers


Last month the ABA released the results of the questionnaire it sends to law schools each fall. The results included some welcome news for legal education: In the 2015-2016 academic year, law school enrollment fell 5 percent from 2014, but the number of matriculating first-year students fell by just 2 percent. More students are applying to law school for 2016, even if they're applying to fewer schools. In other words, the demand for legal education appears to be stabilizing.


Other indicators, however, suggest that more bad years lie ahead.


Bad Jobs Outlook


In December 2015 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) updated its biennial Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), which predicts future employment. The OOH's entry on lawyers warns: "Competition for jobs should continue to be strong because more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available."


That glum pronouncement isn't surprising. Every edition of the OOH going back to at least the 1990s has cited law graduate overproduction as an obstacle for would-be lawyers. What the agency does not say is that its lawyer job-growth estimate has declined considerably since the edition it published two years ago. The 2014 OOH predicted 74,800 new lawyer jobs through 2022. Between 2014 and 2024, the agency now estimates, the number of lawyer positions will grow from 778,700 to 822,500, adding just 43,800 jobs—a plunge of 41 percent.


Importantly, the BLS projections by themselves do not capture occupational replacement. Although it's mathematically correct that 43,800 new lawyers are expected to be employed by 2024, the figure doesn't account for lawyers who will leave the profession, either by switching careers or leaving the labor force altogether. According to the BLS, over this decade 113,900 lawyer positions will turn over. Factoring in new jobs created by growth, on average 15,770 new lawyer jobs will be created each year for the decade. The average for the 2012-2022 period was 19,650.


. . . . 


Continue reading here.


February 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Hispanics Attending Law School

From GoodCall:

Hispanics are applying to law school less frequently than in 2010, along with all other groups.  The change is that more Hispanics and other minorites are being accepted.  In the 2012-13 school year, nearly 36,000 non-white students were attending law school.  That was the highest level on record, following steady increases each year since tracking began in 1987.  Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education followed up on the numbers with interviews at schools with significant Hispanic enrollment. . . .

Even as enrollment is increasing for Hispanic students, racial disparities still exist.  Aaron Taylor of St. Louis University School of Law published research on LSAT scores.  “Schools with higher-median LSAT scores tended to enroll more white and Asian students. Black and Hispanic students were more likely to attend schools with lower median LSAT scores, particularly at private schools.”

You can read more here.


February 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top Universities in the Arab World

 Times Higher Education (here) offers this ranking. Saudi Arabia does well in this ranking.

One reason for Saudi Arabia’s success may be its high levels of funding. On average, ranked universities in the country receive $733,069 (£519,290) of institutional income per member of staff, the third highest among the eight countries featured in the list. Egypt’s universities, in comparison, receive an average of just $101,317 (£71,770) on this measure.  

Rank  Institution Country
1 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia
2 American University of Beirut Lebanon
3 King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals Saudi Arabia
4 King Saud University Saudi Arabia
5 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates 
6 Qatar University Qatar
7 Sultan Qaboos University Oman
8 American University of Sharjah United Arab Emirates 
9 Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan
10 Suez Canal University Egypt
11 Alexandria University Egypt
12 Cairo University Egypt
13 The University of Jordan Jordan 
14 University of Marrakech Cadi Ayyad Morocco
15 Mohammed V University of Rabat Morocco


February 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Villanova Law Dean Becomes President of Hawaii Pacific University

My Dean is moving on. Congratulations to John Gotanda. We will miss him. Here is the announcement.


February 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Enduring Power of Law by Nicholas W. Allard

The Enduring Power of Law by Nicholas W. Allard.

The website won't let me copy any excerpts, but this is a very inspirational article on the power of law, which you should have your students read.

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

An update to the annual guide to submitting law review articles

If you didn't already know, Professors Nancy Levit and Alan Rostron (both of UMKC) have written the definitive nuts and bolts guide to submitting law review articles called, straightforwardly enough, Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals which is available on SSRN here.  Each year about this time the authors update their article in anticipation of the spring article submission season.  The following are some of the highlights of this latest version which was posted a few days ago:

First, as the authors have done each year, the charts in their article are updated (to the extent possible) to reflect what law reviews are not accepting submissions at the moment and what dates they say they'll resume accepting them.  Most of this information does not consist of specific dates because the journals themselves tend to post only imprecise statements in this regard. 


Second, the article notes the greater movement by some journals to using and preferring Scholastica instead of ExpressO or emails submissions: 29 (compared to 22 six months ago) journals prefer or strongly prefer Scholastica, 11 more list it as one of the acceptable alternatives for submitting an article and 18 (compared to 10 six months ago) now list Scholastica as the exclusive method of submission.  


Third, the article notes the law reviews that have changed their names since last update including: McGeorge Law Review which is now known as the Pacific Law Review, Thomas M. Cooley Law Review which is now known as the WMU-Cooley Law Review,  and William Mitchell Law Review which is now known as the Mitchell Hamline Law Review.


The first chart contains information about each journal’s preferred method for submitting articles (e.g., e-mail, ExpressO, Scholastica, or regular mail), as well as special formatting requirements and how to request an expedited review.  The second chart contains rankings information from U.S. News and World Report as well as data from Washington & Lee’s law review website.


Thanks to Professors Levit and Rostron for taking on this annual task.  Now get writing.



January 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)