Sunday, May 27, 2018

New article on the differences between commercial legal research databases

This recent article by Professor Peter A. Hook (Wayne State) and Kurt R. Mattson (President of Union Legal Research) called "Surprising Differences: An Empirical Analysis of LexisNexis and West Headnotes in the Written Opinions of the 2009 Supreme Court Term" can be found at 109 Law. Libr. J. 557 (2017) and picks up on a theme explored by Susan Nevelow Mart's (Colorado) well-reviewed article called "The Algorithm as a Human Artifact: Implications for Legal {Re}Search."  From the introduction to this new one by Hook and Mattson:

Headnotes are important. They continue to be one of the main ways that legal researchers engage with the massive body of case law in the United States to marshal arguments for legal advocacy, advising, and scholarship. As one publisher-supplied component of the rule of law in the United States, they contribute to the stability, social justice, and economic growth of the country by making case law usable. Headnotes are vendor-described, atomistic statements of discrete concepts of law found in judicial opinions. They are supplied by two competing legal publishers (and vendors of their online legal platforms)--LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters (formally Thomson/West, formally West Publishing, and hereinafter West). They are not primary source content but important finding aids to the primary source content that are judicial opinions. However, the two publishers show surprising differences in how they assign headnotes, as illustrated by an empirical review of the headnotes assigned to the written opinions of the 2009 Term of the United States Supreme Court. The differences between the two vendors are found in (1) the number of headnotes assigned to each case, and (2) the identification of opinion language that merits a headnote.


May 27, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Comprehensive Approach to Law School Access Admissions by Jeffrey J. Minetti

A Comprehensive Approach to Law School Access Admissions by Jeffrey J. Minetti.

"This article makes two contributions to this important symposium. First, it provides a theoretical framework for building an Access Admission Program. Second, it gives the framework flesh, color, and voice through a description of the Access Admission Program at Seattle University School of Law."

The article includes an excellent summary of the neurobiology of learning.

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 24, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What School Had the Highest Overall Pass Rate on the February Virginia Bar Exam?

Regent at 81.82%.  UVA was next at 75%.  Appalachian was last with a dismal 44.44%.

Why did a small law school like Regent score the highest?  Maybe it was because they emphasize experiential education and professional identity training.  Naw, it must just be a one time fluke.  Wait, wait.  They also had the highest overall passing rate on the July 2017 exam.  What do you know; maybe the new approaches to legal education do work.

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 23, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Was Mueller's Appointment as Special Counsel Unconstitutional under the Appointments Clause?

Yes, according to Professor Steven Calabresi in an article in the Hill.  However, this answer to this question is not as clear as Professor Calabresi claims.  After having reread the key Supreme Court cases on this issue, I conclude that Mueller's appointment was constitutional.

Professor Calabresi writes, "I’ve explained in previous writings why Robert Mueller’s appointment is unconstitutional under Chief Justice Rehnquist’s majority opinion in Morrison v. Olson. The basic problem is that Mueller is more powerful and famous than are any of the 96 U.S. attorneys, but unlike them he was never nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

In this investigation, Mueller is not acting like an assistant U.S. attorney who is an inferior officer. He is instead acting like a U.S. attorney, who is a principal officer and who must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate."

Elsewhere he has elaborated,"At issue is the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, which provides that “principal officers” must be appointed by the president with the Senate’s consent. Rehnquist wrote that independent counsel Alexia Morrison qualified as an “inferior officer,” not subject to the appointment process, because her office was “limited in jurisdiction” to “certain federal officials suspected of certain serious federal crimes.”

Mr. Mueller, in contrast, is investigating a large number of people and has already charged defendants with many different kinds of crimes, including—as in Mr. Manafort’s case—ones unrelated to any collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia. That’s too much power for an inferior officer to have. Only a principal officer, such as a U.S. attorney, can behave the way Mr. Mueller is behaving. Mr. Mueller is much more powerful today than any of the 96 U.S. attorneys. He is behaving like a principal officer."

He added, "The unconstitutionality of Mueller’s appointment renders everything he has done since May 17, 2017, unconstitutional as well."  "When an official uses government power in an unconstitutional way, anything that results from it is subject to the exclusionary rule and is not admissible in court."

The Appointments Clause of Article II of the Constitution reads as follows:

Continue reading

May 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number of AI companies catering to legal field grows 65% from last year

Bob Ambrogi's Law Sites blog has the story noting that established players like TR (i.e., Westlaw) and Lexis have either jumped into the AI game or will be rolling out new products shortly. It raises the question - at what point do we start exposing students to AI training in law school? More from Law Sites:

Number of AI Companies in Legal Grows 65% In Last Year


The number of artificial intelligence companies catering to the legal field has grown by 65 percent in the last year, from 40 to 66.


This finding is from the In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyer’s Guide 2018, published today by the contract review automation company LawGeex.


The increase in AI companies includes a number of “agile and well-funded startups,” says the guide, but also a number of established players that are joining the field, such as LexisNexis with its Lexis Answers and Bloomberg Law with its Points of Law.

. . . . 


My instinct is to be highly skeptical of a purported buyers’ guide that is written and published by a company that competes within that market. But this guide actually appears to be entirely neutral, giving LawGeex no greater billing than any other listed company. The entries for all the listed companies appear fair and many include comments from actual users.

 . . . . 


[But the] listing of AI companies is not complete. Most notably, it omits Thomson Reuters, whose Westlaw, with its natural-language processing, was one of the earliest AI products in legal. Thomson Reuters Labs and, within it, the Center for Cognitive Computing, are major initiatives devoted to the study of AI and data science. Just in January, TR rolled out an AI-powered product for data privacy law.


In addition, there are a number of small legal tech startups that are using AI but that are not included on this list.

. . . .

 Continue reading here.


May 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Einstein's Definition of Insanity Applied to Law Schools

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."  Although a number of sources doubt that Einstein ever said this, the force of the quote remains valid.  Unfortunately, many law schools are suffering from this type of insanity.

Here is the latest news from the TaxProf Blog:

California Bar Exam Pass Rate Sinks To All-Time Low: 27.3%

"Only a quarter of applicants passed the California bar exam in its most recent sitting, the State Bar of California announced this week, a record low for the test that lawyers must successfully complete to practice in the state. The pass rate for the February exam sank to just 27.3 percent, about 7 percentage points lower than last year and the first time since 1986 that it has fallen below 30 percent. The previous low, according to a summary of results since 1951, came in the spring of 1983, when 27.7 percent of applicants passed."

Here is the insanity:  Year after year, many law schools admit students with lower and lower indicators.  They also do little to help these students succeed in law school, such as adopting new approaches to legal education.  Yet they are surprised by their declining pass rates.

As I have said many, many times here, the only way to fix this is by either

1) raising law school admittance standards or

2) significantly changing how law schools teach their students.

Of course, the best answer is a combination of both.

It is grossly unethical to keep admitting students who will not pass the bar.  Even students who pass the bar are often shouldered with enormous debt.  If law schools are going to continue to operate, they must change their teaching methods.  (Yes, I know I sound like a broken record, but things must change.)

(Scott Fruehwald)

This is what Elie Mystal said on Above the Law: "Only 27% of test takers passed the February 2018 administration of the California bar exam. I hope clients everywhere appreciate that California is trying to keep them safe from people who probably shouldn’t have gotten into law school in the first place."



May 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Eli Wald, The Contextual Problem of Law Schools

Eli Wald, The Contextual Problem of Law Schools.


Law schools have a contextual problem. They teach law universally, ignoring context. Through a traditional curriculum that has changed relatively little in over a century, law schools advance a universal approach to professionalism and professional identity preparing law students to enter a homogenous legal profession in which lawyers practice law performing similar tasks in similar practice settings representing similar clients. Except that unlike legal education, the practice of law has grown immensely complex and diverse over time. Far from universal, law practice and lawyers have become richly contextual. Context now matters in the practice of law: client identity, lawyer identity, tasks, subject matters and status inform and shape what lawyers do and their exercise of professional judgment. Law schools’ disregard of context thus constitutes a significant problem as it misleads students and fails to adequately prepare them for the practice of law.

The mismatch between law practice and legal education requires a contextual approach. This Article argues that law schools can and should systematically introduce contextual insights into their curriculum and culture, including their approaches to professional ideology and socializing law students into the practice of law, addressing questions of justice as an integral part of legal education, exposing students to the complex problems of insufficient access to legal services and some of their possible solutions, and offering rich accounts of competing conceptions of lawyers’ professional identities and their interaction with equally rich visions of personal identities.

A contextual approach to legal education is neither a dream nor an academic aspiration. Rather, it is well-grounded in the past, present and future of legal education. As the Article shows, Realist reforms to traditional legal education included experimentation with contextual insights. At present, law schools feature a rich and diverse commitment to context outside of their main curricular core, in clinics, skills classes, trial advocacy courses, simulations, required professional development classes, externships and experiential offerings. A contextual approach calls for learning from this rich periphery and bringing its contextual insights into the doctrinal and cultural core of legal education.

Law schools’ contextual problem, the growing mismatch between the practice of law and legal education, must be addressed. A contextual approach to legal education holds the key to closing the gap and allowing law schools to better serve their students, the legal profession and the public while also addressing the much talked about practice ready crisis and the (neglected) challenges of insufficient attention to justice and to access to legal services.

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Recent survey of law firms finds optimism is high about business prospects

Together with the recent news that the number of LSAT test-takers increased dramatically from the previous year, this is similarly optimistic news. In a survey conducted last month by a legal software company called Aderant (and reported by The American Lawyer) of 138 legal professionals worldwide (though the respondents skewed heavily toward BigLaw), the majority said business is better this year compared to last.  That optimistic outlook increased along with the firm size of the respondents. An excerpt:

 Law Firm Optimism Up as Pressures Remain on Rates, Cybersecurity: Survey

A new survey of business-side professionals at law firms showed that optimism is high in the industry, while innovation is increasingly important to the largest firms.


Legal industry professionals say prospects for their future legal business look bright, but cite pricing pressures and cybersecurity as the biggest challenges their firms face, according to a new survey released Wednesday.


The second “Business of Law and Legal Technology” survey, by the legal software company Aderant, indicated that law firm professionals have a rosy view of their potential business. More than half of the survey’s respondents—some 57 percent—reported that business was “better” or “much better” at their law firms than it was over the prior year.


 And that optimism grows along with law firm size. More than 70 percent of the respondents from firms with greater than 500 lawyers viewed their business prospects this year as better or much better than last year, Aderant said.

“The larger the firm, the more likely the respondent was to say business is better,” Aderant said in its report. “More to the point, there’s noticeable tick up in optimism among firms with 501 or more lawyers.”


The survey, conducted March 16 to April 16, was based on responses from 138 legal industry professionals worldwide, according to Aderant. The vast majority were not practicing lawyers, but were drawn from a group that includes executive staffers as well as finance, accounting, information technology and other law firm business professionals. Most came from larger firms, with more than 60 percent of respondents hailing from firms with 100 or more lawyers and a quarter coming from firms with at least 500 lawyers.

. . . . 

Continue reading The American Lawyer story here and the Aderant survey results here.


May 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A New Article on Professional Identity Development by Susan L. Brooks

Fostering Wholehearted Lawyers: Practical Guidance for Supporting Law Students' Professional Identity Formation by Susan L. Brooks.

"According to William Sullivan, lead author of the Carnegie Report, we are building a professional identity “social movement.” Evidence of this movement would include the symposium for which I have prepared these remarks—a gathering of faculty, staff, administrators, and students from a wide number of U.S. law schools committed to teaching toward and assessing students’ professional identity formation—and the larger body of work it represents. The University of St. Thomas School of Law and its Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership, host and sponsor of this gathering, is emblematic of this movement. Further evidence includes work produced and supported through the Association of American Law Schools, the membership organization for the legal academy in the U.S. Other key groups, such as the American Bar Association, are also spearheading initiatives that share a similar set of objectives around reshaping the culture of the legal profession toward a greater emphasis on well-being. These groups are focusing on a broader set of values—beyond those enunciated in our professional rules—including empathy, compassion, mutual connection, cross-cultural awareness and engagement, and social justice.

In this essay, I reflect on the past twenty-five years and set out a number of core principles and practices gleaned from this movement thus far. My main message is twofold: first, as legal educators, all of us can participate in this professional identity social movement if we are willing to approach our work as a humanistic enterprise and become more intentional about our teaching; and second, we can begin by adopting and modeling effective communication principles and practices to support law students’ professional identity formation inside and outside of our classrooms."

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 18, 2018

The number of LSAT test-takers during the 2018-17 cycle increased 18.1% from the previous year

The total number of LSAT test-takers from June 2017 to the most recent administration of the exam in February 2018 was 129,165 which reflects an 18.1% overall increase over the same period of time last year. It also reflects the largest percentage increase from the previous year since the 2001-02 test-taking cycle.  Is this the result of the so-called Trump-bump?  You can check out the historical raw data on the number of annual LSAT test-takers going back to 1987-88 here at the LSAC website. The TaxProf blog also has a reprint of the pertinent LSAC data here.


May 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

“Mixing It Up: Interweaving Lecture/Lesson and Retrieval Practice for Better Test Results.” by Pam Armstrong

Two of the keys to better study habits are interweaving and retrieval practice [self-testing].  Here is an article on these techniques:

“Mixing It Up: Interweaving Lecture/Lesson and Retrieval Practice for Better Test Results.” by Pam Armstrong.

"A colleague recently shared a blog entry given to secondary school students on better studying. The blog encouraged students to engage with the material and practice retrieval as part of learning– not quite labeling this active learning. That entry aimed at high-schoolers is grounded in the idea, supported by studies, that most students in high school and college spend most of their “study” time re-reading and re-highlighting material. The re-reading and highlighting give students the “illusion” of having mastered the material” instead of better enabling students to actually learn material. This entry is a brief pitch for still more varied and active studying through retrieval practice and some optimism that some secondary schools are encouraging more practice learning of their students thereby better equipping them to be our students."

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Some Thoughts on The Fixed Mindset

As most of you know, some students suffer from the "fixed mindset"--the notion that intelligence is fixed and that nothing can be done to overcome this.  Those who suffer from this malady usually fail in school because they see no reason to work hard.  However, scientists have debunked the fixed mindset.  Instead, they think that intelligence is fluid.  It can be improved with hard work using the proper methods.

Commentary on the fixed and growth mindsets usually focuses on the poor performing students.  However, it can also exert a pernicious effect on highly performing students.  Students who succeed with little effort believe that this is due to their innate intelligence (the fixed mindset).  Thus, they don't tackle tasks that require hard work.  Also, when they don't succeed at something, they don't see their lack of effort as the problem, but rather something else, such as a poorly designed test or a poor teacher.  I hope you see that teachers need to help students with this type of fixed mindset as much as they do the other type.  Any type of fixed mindset is an impediment to learning.

Related to this is the notion that learning can only take place in the classroom.  This notion is an impediment to self-regulated learning.  Learning can take place anywhere, at anytime.  We also must help our students develop the attitude that they need to become self-regulated learners.

The best book on the growth mindset is by Carol Dweek.  My books, Think Like a Lawyer: Legal Reasoning for Law Students and Business Professionals, A Companion to Torts: How to Think Like a Torts Lawyer, and Developing Your Professional Identity: Creating Your Inner Lawyer, are intended to help law students become self-regulated learners.

(Scott Fruehwald)








May 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inside Higher Ed, Professor Bans Laptops, Sees Grades Rise

We have discussed several studies that have shown the impediments to learning of using laptops in the classroom.  First, the availability of the internet tempts students to direct their attention to somewhere other than the class.  Second, studies have shown that students who take notes by hand remember more than students who use laptops.  I have observed that students who take notes by laptop sometimes treat taking notes as taking dictation rather than a method to understand.  A professor at Ohio State brings all of the above together:

Inside Higher Ed, Professor Bans Laptops, Sees Grades Rise.

"Trevon Logan, a professor of economics at Ohio State, posted on Twitter this week that he had banned all electronics from his courses, with positive results."

Logan, who enacted the ban this semester, reported that student performance had improved significantly in midterms compared with previous years. “Results were significant — average scores were about half a standard deviation higher than previous offerings,” he said.

(Scott Fruehwald

May 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

ABA House of Delegates set to vote in August on eliminating LSAT requirement

But commentators say that even if the ABA votes to eliminate the mandatory use of the LSAT for admission purposes, most schools will continue to rely on it anyway. For one thing, LSAT scores tend to be a good predictor of bar passage rates (here and here) and thus is an important metric to take into account for any school concerned about the ABA's proposed plan to tighten bar passage rates required to maintain accreditation. has the story:

Vote to Toss LSAT Mandate for Law Schools Slated for August

Despite the proposed change, most law schools will continue to use the LSAT in admissions even if the ABA's House of Delegates in August signs off on eliminating the LSAT's required use, experts said.


A proposal to drop the requirement that law schools use the LSAT in admissions is heading to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates in August for final approval.


The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar on May 11 narrowly voted to push the controversial proposal forward, and a day later decided to fast track its implementation by placing it on the House of Delegates agenda during the association’s annual meeting in Chicago later this summer.


Should the house sign off, law schools would be free to use the GRE, other standardized tests, or no admission test at all, although opting to use no test would trigger extra scrutiny from the ABA as to whether schools are admitting unqualified students.


The Law School Admission Council (LSAC)—which administers the LSAT and has warned that eliminating its required use would hurt applicants and schools—likely won’t mount a campaign to sway ABA delegates to vote against the proposal in August, said LSAC president Kellye Testy in an interview Monday. But in light of Friday’s close 9-8 vote, the testing organization will continue to educate people on what it views as the benefits of its law school-specific admissions exam, she said. The LSAC has argued that its test is an important consumer protection for potential students to gauge their likelihood of succeeding on campus before investing their time and money in a law degree.


“Right now, we’re in a listening mode to hear how the schools, deans and admission deans are feeling about the decision,” Testy said. “I’m hearing from a lot of deans and other participants in legal education that they are wanting to really think this through now that they see where the council is—especially when they saw how close the vote was.”


Marc Miller, dean at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, welcomed the ABA council’s decision to do away with the long-standing LSAT mandate. Arizona in 2016 became the first law school to use the GRE in admissions, and now accepts approximately 10 percent of its U.S. students with such scores.


“It is so darned hard to reform either the profession or the educational system that supports it,” Miller said on Monday. “This is really exciting and neat and not where I thought the process of starting with the GRE would end up.”


Eliminating the LSAT requirement will open the door for law schools to experiment with different ways to admit students, Miller added. Arizona is already thinking about how the proposal could allow the school to admit students in the university’s groundbreaking undergraduate law degree program, in which undergraduates are taught by the law school faculty. And 17 schools currently allow or soon will allow applicants to provide either GRE scores or LSAT scores. They have cited the desire to attract more students with science, technology, engineering and math backgrounds in accepting GRE scores. The GRE is also more accessible because it is administered throughout the year, as opposed to the LSAT’s six annual administrations.

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


May 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Important Article on Outcome Assessment

Marie Summerlin Hamm, Benjamin V. Madison & Ryan P. Murnane (Regent), The Rubric Meets the Road in Law Schools: Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes as a Fundamental Way for Law Schools to Improve and Fulfill Their Respective Missions


This Article thoroughly explores the implications of the American Bar Association’s new standards requiring law schools to adopt Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) and to develop sound methods to assess objectively whether graduates of a given law school are meeting that school’s stated PLOs. The Article offers a summary of assessment as part of higher education in Europe before the establishment of the United States. The Article further discusses the evolution of PLOs in American education and the methods used not only to assess outcomes but also by which accrediting bodies verify schools’ assessments. The Article then describes the process that Regent University Law School developed in the process of evaluating two of its PLOs — ones that articulate the law schools expectation that graduates of the J.D. program will have attained competency in legal analysis, communication, and writing. As we turn to our particular effort at assessment, the Article reviews best practices in assessment. Moreover, the Article describes each step the Law School took in curriculum mapping, determining courses in which assessment would be appropriate, and development of rubrics for assessment. The Article describes some of the less-than-obvious issues that law schools can run into in performing assessments. For instance, our school learned that it was essential that the persons assessing competence have a common understanding of what that would look like in a student’s work product. Finally, the Article describes the triangulated, direct assessments that resulted in findings that students were competent in the PLOs in question. Finally, the Article suggests how the Law School had — even before completing the initial assessments — began developing an assessment plan for other PLOs and moving forward on assessment of other PLOs.

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Book on Self-Regulated Learning

I believe that the most important goal of a legal education should be to create self-regulated learners.  Here is a book on self-regulated learning:

Creating Self-Regulated Learners: Strategies to Strengthen Students’ Self-Awareness and Learning Skills by Linda B. Nilson.

"Most of our students neither know how learning works nor what they have to do to ensure it, to the detriment both of their studies and their development as lifelong learners.

The point of departure for this book is the literature on self-regulated learning that tells us that deep, lasting, independent learning requires learners to bring into play a range of cognitive skills, affective attitudes, and even physical activities – about which most students are wholly unaware; and that self-regulation, which has little to do with measured intelligence, can be developed by just about anyone and is a fundamental prerequisite of academic success.

Linda Nilson provides the theoretical background to student self-regulation,the evidence that it enhances achievement, and the strategies to help students develop it. She presents an array of tested activities and assignments through which students can progressively reflect on, monitor and improve their learning skills; describes how they can be integrated with different course components and on various schedules; and elucidates how to intentionally and seamlessly incorporate them into course design to effectively meet disciplinary and student development objectives. Recognizing that most faculty are unfamiliar with these strategies, she also recommends how to prepare for introducing them into the classroom and adding more as instructors become more confident using them.

The book concludes with descriptions of courses from different fields to offer models and ideas for implementation.

At a time of so much concern about what our students are learning in college and how well prepared they are for the challenges of tomorrow’s economy and society, self-regulated learning provides a reassuring solution, particularly as studies indicate that struggling students benefit the most from practicing it."

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Australian law school develops 1L bootcamp to enhance teaching of legal skills

This is new scholarship from down under discussing an innovative approach at one Australian law school to re-design its 1L curriculum to better impart the skills needed to succeed in law school. The cite is Adam Webster, et al., Enhancing the First Year Curriculum and Experience: Law School ‘Boot Camp’ 28 Legal Education Review 1 (2018) and the article can be found on SSRN here. From the introduction:

In 2013, the first year teaching team at the Adelaide Law School undertook a review of the first semester of the first year curriculum within the Bachelor of Laws degree. The focus of the review was on accommodating student needs, building student academic literacies and promoting early, effective engagement in the learning process. This review resulted in a collaborative approach to the teaching of the two initial compulsory subjects that has had a positive impact on the student experience. This article explains the changes that were made as a result of this review and reports on the consequent enhancement to the student experience by virtue of a supported transition to tertiary study.

First, this article sets out the challenge that faced the first year teaching team and the reasons for the redevelopment of the firstsemester of the first year curriculum. Second, the solution that was developed – a first year ‘Boot Camp’ – is explained. Third, the model is evaluated against the First Year Curriculum Principles developed by Sally Kift. In evaluating the redevelopment against these principles, the article also analyses student feedback and reports on the response to the restructure of the first year curriculum.


May 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Are lawyers who sell used photocopy machines at risk for violating client confidences?

Most digital photocopiers made since 2002 have an internal hard drive that stores an image of every document those machines scanned or copied which means, as CBS Evening News recently reported, that selling them, for lawyers in particular, is akin to leaving confidential client files on the curb for passersby to rifle through. Beyond that, query whether transferring a hard drive that's packed full of client or third party intellectual property also runs afoul of copyright law for, in effect, re-publishing that protected material. Both are issues worth more than a passing mention in law school professional responsibility courses. Here's an excerpt from the CBS story:

Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets


At a warehouse in New Jersey, 6,000 used copy machines sit ready to be sold. CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports almost every one of them holds a secret.


Nearly every digital copier built since 2002 contains a hard drive - like the one on your personal computer - storing an image of every document copied, scanned, or emailed by the machine.


In the process, it's turned an office staple into a digital time-bomb packed with highly-personal or sensitive data.


If you're in the identity theft business it seems this would be a pot of gold.


"The type of information we see on these machines with the social security numbers, birth certificates, bank records, income tax forms," John Juntunen said, "that information would be very valuable."


Juntunen's Sacramento-based company Digital Copier Security developed software called "INFOSWEEP" that can scrub all the data on hard drives. He's been trying to warn people about the potential risk - with no luck.


"Nobody wants to step up and say, 'we see the problem, and we need to solve it,'" Juntunen said.


This past February, CBS News went with Juntunen to a warehouse in New Jersey, one of 25 across the country, to see how hard it would be to buy a used copier loaded with documents. It turns out ... it's pretty easy.

. . . .

Continue reading here.

Hat tip to Russ Kick @AltGov2.


May 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Upending the Double Life of Law Schools: Millennials in the Legal Academy by Ashley Krenelka Chase

Upending the Double Life of Law Schools: Millennials in the Legal Academy by Ashley Krenelka Chase.


This article discusses Holloway and Friedland’s vision of the law school of 2025, with a focus on the need for technology education and a cultural shift in the legal Academy and the law school curriculum. It surveys the landscape of millennials as both students and employees, briefly describing their strengths and weaknesses in both arenas. Finally, this article brings the discussion together, describing benefits the law school of 2025 will receive by welcoming Millennials into the Academy, and will predict the changes legal education can expect with an innovative group of narcissists leading the way.

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A professor speaks his truth to power