Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 17, 1939: Justice Douglas Joins the Court

On this date, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes administered the oath to William O. Douglas and escorted the new Justice to his seat. Here are Justice Douglas’ comments on the event and on Justice McReynolds (the substance of which other sources confirm):

Justice Douglas wrote, in longhand, this diary account of his first day on the Court: 

April 17, 1939.  I took the regular oath in the conference room a few minutes before noon, the C.J. administering it.  As we filed in from the conference room to the court room, I bringing up the rear as the junior[,] I could not help recalling with a smile Stone’s words of greeting when I was nominated – “Welcome to the chain gang.”  Shortly after I took the oath in open court + was escorted to my seat, my son, who was seated with my wife, daughter, sister +  brother, caused great merriment on the bench by insisting on leaving the courtroom for the very obvious purpose of going to the toilet.  He had violently objected to attending the ceremonies because they would cause him to miss gym at his school.  My daughter less violently objected because she would miss French at school.  I told Felix that I thought each of them showed excellent judgment and revealed a sense of relevancy and importance of events.

 

In the presence of McReynolds none of the judges smokes.  Roberts gave me a bit of advice.  He said that at his first conference he light[ed] a cigar.  In a moment McReynolds passed him a note saying “Tobacco smoke is personally objectionable to me.”  Van de Vanter [retired Justice Willis Van Devanter], so I am told, used to move over once in awhile to a far corner of the conference room and take a puff or two on a pipe – McReynolds or no McReynolds.  Apparently tobacco smoke is not the only thing McReynolds dislikes.  He seems to dislike all of his colleagues, judging by his crusty manner.  He thoroughly disliked Brandeis.  Why even this is told which I am certain is true.  During conference whenever Brandeis spoke, McReynolds would get up and leave the room and stand outside the door leaving it barely open so that he could tell when Brandeis had finished.  Then he would return.  He also disliked [former Associate Justice John H.] Clarke whom I never knew.  He was a paramount reason for Clarke’s resignation [in 1922].  What torture he could not apply by complete disregard of Clarke’s presence he made up for by badgering.  McReynolds also dislikes thoroughly the Roosevelt administration.  As I was talking to him about a mutual friend, [Professor] George Bates of Harvard [Business School], he let loose some cracks about the New Deal, terming its program as nothing but “moonshine.”  I said to myself, “What a great state of mind for a judge!!” 

A full account will appear shortly on “The Jackson List.”

 (ljs)

April 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

One in Ten College Students Gets Mental Health Counseling

From Cincinnati.com :

Hidden among the record numbers of students on college campuses is one secret in plain sight: Nearly one in every 10 students is getting mental health counseling on campus.

Counselors say the demand for their services – often offered free or at a nominal price – is at a record high this year and the illnesses they are treating are more serious, often including prescriptions.

"The mental health common cold for this generation of students is anxiety disorder, whereas for previous generations it was depression," said Kip Alishio, director of student counseling at Miami University.

Signs that a student may need  help:

Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, poor self-esteem or guilt

• Withdrawal from family, friends or fun activities

• Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

• Anger, rage or craving revenge

• Feeling tired or exhausted all of the time

• Trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions

• Restless, irritable, agitated or anxious movements or behaviors

• Regular crying

• Neglect of personal care

• Reckless, unsafe or impulsive behavior

• Persistent symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems or chronic pain

• Thoughts about death or suicide

You can read more here.

(ljs)

April 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Are Law Schools Devoting Enough Resources to Teaching Professional Identity?

No,  says Professor Benjamin Madison in a thorough study of the question.

The Emperor Has No Clothes, But Does Anyone Really Care? How Law Schools are Failing to Develop Students' Professional Identities and Practical Judgment

Abstract:     

"This article addresses a growing imbalance in law school curricula and will be the first to document, through the author’s independent research, the degree to which schools are ignoring a call to cultivate students’ professional formation and ethical decision-making. Two influential studies, one by the Carnegie Institute for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning in Educating Lawyers (Carnegie Report), and the other by the Clinical Legal Education Association in Best Practices for Legal Education (Best Practices Report), agreed on two deficiencies in legal education. One was the lack of lawyering skills course through which students could develop skills be the ready to practice once they leave school. The other, more pervasive critique, was that law schools were failing completely to cultivate students’ professional formation and judgment. A recent ABA Survey of Law School Curricula showed a significant increase in skills and experiential courses. The survey was unclear on curricular efforts in law schools to address professional formation and sound judgment. By independently reviewing the published course offerings of every U.S. law school and tabulating data, the author demonstrates through that his findings show that most law schools are ignoring the recommendation to focus on students’ professional formation and judgment.

Comparing law schools’ response to the recommendation on skills with their lack of response to the recommendations on professional formation shows a clear lack of commitment in most law schools to addressing a deficiency that has significant implications. Both 2007 reports, through empirical studies and investigation, that the degree to which students learn what it means for them to be profession (and not some abstract concept of professionalism in general) has a direct link to the likelihood of effectiveness and satisfaction in practice. The article addresses the reasons that may be causing law schools’ inertia, particularly the perception that teaching in this area is too difficult. The last third of the article provides concrete curricular efforts and teaching methods already employed in some law schools. In addition, the article examines methods from other professional schools and suggests specific methods to adapt these to law schools — teaching methods that have not yet been used, but which should work as well in law school as they do, say, in medical school. Therefore, this article not only provides original data showing that a significant inadequacy in legal education is going unaddressed in most schools, along with clear recommendations for those schools that decide to implement professional formation on how to do so."
 
I believe that every law school should have a required course on professional identity.
 

 

April 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Second National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law at Elon Law School in June

Here are the details:

Second National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law

June 13 – 15, 2014 in Greensboro, North Carolina

Hosted by Elon University School of Law and the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law

Featured speakers include William C. Hubbard, President Elect of the American Bar Association, and Bill Henderson, Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law at Indiana University at Bloomington

The registration fee is $100. Visit law.elon.edu/aell to register and to learn more about the symposium. Contact Jane Law at Elon University School of Law with any questions related to registration: jlaw@elon.edu or (336) 279-9325.

ABOUT THE SYMPOSIUM:

When almost 300 legal educators, judges, lawyers and law students met in Boston 18 months ago for the first national symposium on experiential education in law, they recognized the changing landscape of legal education focusing on effective and integrated experiential education to accommodate limited finances and changes in the profession. These pioneers committed to developing thoughtful and innovative approaches to improve legal education and enhance the relevance of lawyers in the rapidly changing 21st century. 

The 2014 symposium will present the findings of the working groups organized by the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law with the help of legal educators, judges and lawyers from over 100 law schools and many other enterprises across the legal profession and provide examples of innovation from other professions that can inform how legal educators can adapt to changing paradigms. These working groups have focused on important issues that must define legal education now and for the future.

What do we mean by experiential learning?

What are the → Innovations → Barriers → Successes in producing integrated and effective curricula?

What ideas have the Alliance Working Groups developed since the Inaugural Symposium?

What perspective can other disciplines provide regarding our efforts?

This event is being organized by the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law Steering Committee.

(jbl).

April 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Writing & Other Lawyering Skills: 6th Edition

Shameless Promotion Department: Nancy Schultz and I are pleased to announce the publication of the sixth edition of our book, Legal Writing and Other Lawyering Skills (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen). You can read more here.

(ljs)

April 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Is Westlaw "Classic" about to go the way of "New Coke?"

According to our friends at the Law Librarians Blog, Westlaw "Classic" will be phased out as of July 1, 2014 leaving WestlawNext as Thomson Reuters only electronic legal research engine.  I have no firsthand knowledge of this since I haven't received any of the emails (presumably from Westlaw reps?) referenced in Mark Giangrande's post (according to this post on Reddit by DrWalterWhite, Westlaw reps are notifying law firms of same).  But given that last summer Westlaw reported 80% of its legal research engine revenue was generated by WestlawNext compared to 20% from Westlaw "Classic," it won't be surprising if we discover later this summer that Westlaw Classic does indeed go the way of "New Coke."

You can read Mark's full post on the purported phase-out of Westlaw Classic here.

(jbl).

April 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Empty Department Syndrome

Here’s a query from a professor published on the Chronicle of Higher Education. I have heard that the same issues arises in some law schools.:

When I arrived at my current institution, I certainly wouldn't have described the departmental culture as lively. However, if I spent a whole day working in my office, I would certainly have seen perhaps half of my colleagues, who weren't on leave that year, in the department. Fast forward to now, some years later, and it's unusual for me to see more than one or two in a day. Often, it's the same one or two I'll see each day. My colleagues have simply stopped showing up to the office for the most part. We're in the humanities, and they seem to be publishing, so they must be working from home. When I do see a colleague, it's generally when s/he's on her way to or from holding office hours. I asked our secretary how many colleagues she sees in a day, and she guessed perhaps three on a busy day. There are more than 20 of us.

Department meetings are now sparsely attended, and fewer than 1/4 of the non-leave faculty typically show up to talks given by invited speakers. It also dawned on me that, whereas when I arrived, there were usually one or two departmental parties held at colleagues' houses each year, there hasn't been one for three or four years at least. The department isn't toxic, but it does seem just to have died, or at least emptied out. Has this happened to anyone else's department? It's really strange. I don't have a point in particular, but I did wonder whether this sort of thing happened often, or at least sometimes, at other institutions or departments.

I didn’t find the published responses helpful. I think it’s a question of a school’s culture and the failure of administrators to set out a clear policy about presence on campus, to enforce that policy, to reward those adhering to the policy, and to withhold goodies from those defying the policy. It’s admittedly a tough issue.

(ljs)

April 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Sociological and Cognitive Dimensions of Policy-Based Persuasion

The Sociological and Cognitive Dimensions of Policy-Based Persuasion by Michael R. Smith.

 Abstract:     

Experts in legal advocacy have long recognized the importance of policy arguments in legal persuasion. Despite the prevalence of policy arguments as tools in legal advocacy, very little scholarship has been produced instructing legal advocates on how to write effective policy arguments in their briefs. Professor Ellie Margolis addressed this oversight in modern advocacy pedagogy in her 2001 article, Closing the Floodgates: Making Persuasive Policy Arguments in Appellate Briefs.

Professor Margolis’ article brought much-needed attention to the lack of adequate training in policy-based persuasion and offered the first formalized instruction in that area. This article builds on Professor Margolis’ work by exploring policy arguments from a social science perspective. More specifically, this article examines policy-based persuasion from the standpoints of both sociology theory and cognitive psychology theory. For legal advocates to truly master the skill of policy persuasion, the cognitive processes underlying this type of advocacy must be explored and understood. Knowing the mental processes involved in policy persuasion will enable legal advocates to produce more effective arguments based on policy. Moreover, understanding how policy arguments fit within the legal system from a sociological standpoint will help advocates more fully appreciate how policy persuasion differs from other types of legal persuasion. This knowledge, too, will allow advocates to employ this strategy more readily and effectively. This article takes the first step in exploring policy-based persuasion from both of these social science perspectives.

Part I of this article generally defines the concept of a policy argument in terms of sociological principles and cognitive psychology principles. This section identifies the unique role policy-based persuasion plays in legal decision-making and explores the general mental processes underlying this type of advocacy. Part II sets out a new categorization scheme for policy arguments based on the different broad cognitive processes involved in such arguments. In this section, we will see that policy arguments, from a cognitive perspective, fall into two broad categories: policy arguments that focus primarily on the future, and policy arguments that focus on both the present and the future. The discussion of these two broad categories of policy arguments sets up the final section, Part III, where we explore specific rhetorical strategies brief writers can use to improve the effectiveness of their policy arguments. Building on the categorization scheme set out in Part II and the other principles of social science explored in Part I, this final section identifies and examines specific guidelines for maximizing the persuasive impact of policy-based advocacy.
 

April 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stanford Law School's legal skills "bootcamp" requires students to "delve into lawyerly life"

Stanford's legal skills "bootcamp" is modeled after the hands-on training medical students receive in that it requires all law students enrolled in the school's 11 clinics to devote themselves "full-time" to working like lawyers in an immersive, semester-long clinical experience.  The Stanford Law School Blog explains the program further:

Bootcamps introduce Stanford Law’s clinic students to skills, knowledge needed for real life as attorneys

 

Students of Stanford Law School’s Mills Legal Clinic are delving into lawyerly life with an intensive introductory educational experience most commonly known as “bootcamp.” Based on the medical school model, SLS’ 11 clinics require students to devote themselves full-time to working as lawyers, which means representing real clients and tackling real legal challenges. And because clinic students must maintain the work schedule of a practicing lawyer, they do not enroll in any other classes during the quarter. This clinical model has become increasingly valuable for Stanford Law students—two-thirds of recent graduates have participated in at least one clinic.

 

With bootcamp, which takes place all day during the first several days of the new quarter, students participate in various activities designed to make the most of their clinic experience and prepare them for the everyday realities of practicing law.

 

Of course, preparing for bootcamp itself is a challenge because students do not always know what to expect. In fact, the very term “bootcamp” inspires different reactions in clinic students.

 

“Visions of military life popped into my head,” notes third-year student Paul Harold, who participated in the Religious Liberty Clinic. But it soon became clear that “the hard work was meant to instill in me an appreciation of the complexity of legal practice.”

 

. . . .

 

Each clinic director determines the schedule of activities for his or her clinic’s bootcamp, but there are some universal themes.

 

Clinic students quickly become immersed in their respective communities, so the bootcamps often involve an immediate introduction to those communities. Bootcamp for the students in the Community Law Clinic, for example, is conducted at the clinic’s office in East Palo Alto, where the clinic is based.

 

. . . .

 

Learning practical skills is also a critical feature of the clinic experience, so clinic faculty use bootcamp to begin teaching those skills by simulating the most important aspects of daily legal practice.

 

During bootcamp, students in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic receive thorough instruction in how to effectively interview clients. They prepare an outline for a client interview and perform the interview on videotape with hired actors or with clinical faculty. Students then assess their performance with the help of faculty and fellow classmates and revise their outlines accordingly.

 

. . . .

 

“Bootcamp introduces students to the foundational concepts of our practice and provides students with a vocabulary for understanding our experience,” says third-year student Matt Owens, who participated in the Community Law Clinic’s bootcamp. “It’s also an important bonding period—it’s the period when a group of students becomes a firm.”

 

“We spent a lot of time talking about what it means to be a lawyer,” Harold adds. “It really drove home for me that being an attorney is so much more than knowing the law.”

. . . .

Continue reading here.

(jbl).

April 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What’s the Internet Anyway (1994)?

We forget how young the internet is. In 1994, the hosts of the Today Show, Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric, ask questions about the internet. This material was not shown on TV. Here’s the video (just over 2 minutes). You probably will chuckle.

(ljs)

April 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

THE LEGAL WRITING INSTITUTE WRITERS WORKSHOP

THE LEGAL WRITING INSTITUTE WRITERS WORKSHOP

 We are pleased to announce the eleventh Legal Writing Institute Writers Workshop to take place on June 26-June 29, 2014. The workshop will give up to twelve Legal Writing faculty the opportunity to spend time working on their academic writing projects and improving their scholarly skills.

 The Workshop will take place at the ACE Conference Center in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It will take place immediately before the Legal Writing Institute biennial conference in Philadelphia. The Workshop concludes on Sunday morning, June 29, and the LWI conference begins that afternoon. Here is the website for the Ace Conference Center: www.aceconferencecenter.com

 Who is Eligible to Attend?

  All members of the Legal Writing Institute are eligible. You must have a scholarly writing project well underway and beyond the initial stages of performing the initial research and drafting a tentative outline. You must at least have some sort of partial draft. To be clear, we expect you to arrive with a substantial work product. In most cases, a scholarly writing project should result in a law review article.

 We give priority to full time Legal Writing faculty for whom scholarly writing is a prerequisite for retention, promotion, or tenure. We give priority to applicants who have not attended past Workshops.

 What Will We Do at the Workshop?

 Participants make presentations on their projects to small groups of three and receive feedback. Each session runs about ninety minutes. They also take part in several guided discussion groups, each on a different topic. Participants will also have time to work on their drafts.

  Will There Be Facilitators?

 Yes, experienced scholarly writers. To be announced.

 Where Will the Workshop Be?

 The workshop will take place at the ACE Conference Center in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, a fabulous location. www.aceconferencecenter.com

  Who Pays?

 This year, participants will pay a $350 registration. LWI will cover all meals, beginning with dinner on June 26 and ending with breakfast on June 29 (day time snacks included), and ground transportation from the Philadelphia International Airport and to the Marriott in Philadelphia.

  If I Have Questions, Whom Should I Ask?

  Please contact Lou Sirico at (610) 519 7071 Sirico@law.villanova.edu.

  How Do I Apply?

 Please fill out the following application and submit it by email by noon, Thursday, April 24. Sirico@law.villanova.edu We will select participants as quickly as we can and on a rolling basis.

 LEGAL WRITING INSTITUTEWRITERS WORKSHOP APPLICATION FORM

 Please return this application by email to Lou Sirico:Sirico@law.villanova.edu

  Name:

  Law School Affiliation:

  Mailing Address:

  Email Address:

  Telephone Number:

  Are You a Full Time Faculty Member?

  For How Many Years Have You Been Teaching Legal Writing?

  Is Scholarship a Requirement for Your Retention, Promotion, or Tenure? Please Explain Your Individual Situation.

  Please describe your writing project and, in as much detail as possible. Please describe  how far along you are in completing your project. For example, do you have a detailed outline, a first draft, substantial parts of a first draft? Please estimate how far along you will be by mid June 2014.

 Is there anything else you want to tell us?

(ljs)

April 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Passover!

A Happy Passover to our readers who observe the holiday. Here is Moses parting the Red Sea, a movie clip from the 1950s classic, The Ten Commandments. It doesn’t get better than this.

(ljs)

April 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Top 10 Banned or Challenged Books

The American Library Association keeps an annual list of book that have been banned or challenged in libraries and schools. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The most recent list is for 2012. Here it is:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
         Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age      group
  2. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
         Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for      age group
  3. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
         Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  4. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
         Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  5. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
         Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually      explicit
  6. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
         Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
         Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  8. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
         Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  9. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
         Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

You can read more here and also find lists for prior years. When my children were younger I told them they could read and see whatever they wished, but  they had to use their own judgment on what was appropriate for them. That directive proved successful from my viewpoint.

(ljs)

April 12, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Wall Street Journal on law firm hiring

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has a report on the recently held NALP conference in Seattle during which NALP Director James Leipold explained that during the 2008-09 recession, 60,000 legal jobs were lost.  Since then, only 9,000 of those jobs have returned and according to Mr. Leipold, the salad days of pre-recession hiring are gone for good. 

Law Firm Entry-Level Hiring Unlikely to Return to 2006 Levels 

 

Here’s more cheerful news for recent law graduates after this week’s lackluster employment data: the hiring sprees of the mid-2000s, when firms brought on vast armies of associates, are unlikely to return in the near future.

 

This assessment comes from a man whose business it is to crunch the numbers: Jim Leipold, executive director of the National Association for Law Placement, a group that tracks legal job figures and focuses on career planning and professional development for law students and attorneys.

 

“We’re not going back to 2006 anytime soon,” Mr. Leipold, said Thursday at the group’s annual conference in Seattle, according to the National Law Journal. According to the story:

 

    The sector shed 60,000 jobs during 2008 and 2009, and only 15,000 of those positions     have returned, he said.

    Nearly 9 percent of associates at U.S. law firms were laid off in 2009 and some of them         are still trying to make their     ways back to into fulltime law firm work.

 

Mr. Leipold’s assessment shouldn’t surprise those who have been tracking the tepid   recovery since the economic downturn upended the legal profession.

 

Years after the recession triggered layoffs and rate freezes, big law firms are scrambling for clients. Overall the industry has notched only modest increases in revenue compared to the boom times before 2008, when many firms had more work than they could handle.

 

Technology, globalization and the rise of outsourcing have altered the legal job market, Leipold said.

 . . . . 

You can continue reading the Wall Street Journal blog post here as well as the National Law Journal story referenced in that post here.

(jbl).

April 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tips for Lawyers Writing in a Time Crunch

Tips for Lawyers Writing in a Time Crunch by Anna P. Hemingway & Jennifer M. Lear.  ABA Litigation Journal Fall 2013 Vol. 40 No. 1

Abstract:     

This article provides writing tips for practitioners working under time pressure. It suggests ways to adapt a lawyer's typical writing schedule to meet a short turnaround time. Using the analogy of a Top Chef Quickfire challenge, the article reconceives the panic that tight writing deadlines inflict as a tool for honing efficiency.
 

April 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Moving from Private Practice to a NonProfit

Consultant David Behrend responds to this question:

As a young attorney with a large law firm, despite the remu­neration and prestige, I cannot see myself toiling away at my desk or in court for the next 25 years. I have paid down much of my student loans and have always thought about using my legal background with a non­profit. If I didn’t have student loans, I would have gone in that direction at law school graduation. Do you have any thoughts or ideas about how to refocus this goal, now that I have just turned 35?

His best advice:

One way to see whether you would be a good fit working for a not-for-profit might be getting a seat on the board and understanding what actually occurs, providing insight into its goals and the direction it is headed. Are you the type who believes very much in what the nonprofit provides and feels strongly you can be a guiding light in a senior position in time?

You can read more of his advice here at “At Issue (p. 21),” the newsletter of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.

(ljs)

April 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

General Counsel for Microsoft wants better skills training for young lawyers

As the National Law Journal reports, Microsoft's GC Brad Smith told the audience during his keynote address at yesterday's NALP conference that law schools need to provide students with more real world legal skills training during the third year.  And he urged recent grads to take jobs that offer the best training opportunities since the first few years of practice are so formative:  “If you don’t get good training in the first four years, you will dig yourself into a deep hole.”

Mr. Smith also told the crowd of more than 1,000 law school career-services professionals and legal employer representatives about a couple of initiatives Microsoft has undertaken to help make up for the shortfall in law school training opportunties including an in-house "Advocacy Clinic" in which the company provides supplemental legal skills training to promising young litigators from its outside counsel firms.  The National Law Journal has more details:
 
Microsoft GC Complains of Legal Training Shortfall

“Go where you think you’ll get good training in the first four years,” Smith said during a keynote speech Wednesday at NALP’s annual conference, which drew more than 1,000 law school career-services professionals, law firm recruiters and legal employers to Seattle for four days. “If you don’t get good training in the first four years, you will dig yourself into a deep hole.”

 

The profession has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to helping young lawyers thrive, he said, and law schools could offer more real-world training in the third year.

 

“As a profession, we’ve invested less in training, especially since the Great Recession,” Smith said.

 

Smith has tackled the training deficit with a number of initiatives. His Microsoft Advocacy Clinic, for example, gathers 15 promising young litigators from the company’s outside law firms to work together on projects. The clinic takes place every other year.

 

In a separate pilot initiative, the company has set aside $50,000 in legal fees to be matched by outside law firms. The firms identify promising first-, second- and third-year associates who would benefit from exposure to a wide array of legal matters they typically wouldn’t be a part of, such as depositions.

“We’ll pay for half the cost of the associates to participate in that type of exercise,” Smith said. “We must push the envelope.”

Continue reading here.
 
(jbl).

April 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April Issue of the “Transactional Lawyer”

For those of you interested in transactional issues, here is the April 2014 issue of the Transactional Lawyer, published by Gonzaga Law School’s Commercial Law Center. The newsletter offers advice to lawyers on how to structure and document commercial transactions and alerts transactional attorneys to recent legal developments that may affect their practice.

Here is the table of contents:

Contents

The Perils of Participations (Redux) ...................... 1

Successors & Assigns Clauses ................................ 4

Recent Cases .......................................................... 7

 (ljs)

April 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Colleges Offering Web Domains to Students

From Campus Technology:

At the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA), this academic year has seen the evolution of a blogging platform used by faculty and staff into a Web-hosting space where students can use an array of tools to build their own academic identities, with no limits. And the idea is catching on: Since UMW started its project, Davidson College (NC) has received a Mellon Grant to work on digital curriculum, including individual student domains, and Emory University (GA) is piloting the student domain concept in a writing program.

You can read more here. The lawyer in me has several questions. Given the freedom and sometime indiscretion that students exhibit, do you want these students sites to be identified with your institution? Will the institution monitor or censor them? Given the availability of other forms of social media, would students find value in these sites? Would they invest their time in them? Who would be their audiences—who will access these sites?

(ljs)

April 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Job market for 2013 law school grads shows only modest growth

That's according to data released today by ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.  Job opportunities for new grads in large firms with more than 500 lawyers increased about 10% from the previous year.  However, for the vast majority of grads who seek employment with firms having less than 500 lawyers, new jobs grew less than 1% from the previous year.  The overall employment rate for the class of 2013 working in full time, long term jobs requiring bar admission is 57%, up ever so slightly from 2012 when the rate was 56.2%.  The ABA report also notes that the law school class of 2013 was the largest graduating class ever which also helps explain why the numbers are not more encouraging given the record number of new lawyers chasing the available jobs.   You can access the full ABA report here.  The ABA Journal Blog also has a summary here.  An excerpt:

Job outlook for newly minted lawyers still bleak, data shows

The job outlook for newly minted lawyers remains bleak, new figures show.

 

Fifty-seven percent of all 2013 law school graduates were employed in full-time, long-term legal jobs requiring bar passage as of Feb. 15, according to data released Wednesday by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

 

Still, that’s up slightly from last year, when 56.2 percent of all 2012 law school graduates were reported to be in full-time, long-term legal jobs requiring a law license nine months after graduation.

 

Another 10.1 percent of all 2013 graduates were employed in long-term, full-time jobs in which a law degree is preferred, which was also up slightly from the class of 2012, when 9.5 percent of all graduates held such jobs.

 

However, the percentage of 2013 graduates reported as unemployed and seeking work also rose slightly to 11.2 percent this year from last year, when 10.6 percent of 2012 graduates were reported as unemployed and seeking work.

 

The percentage of positions funded by law schools also increased incrementally this year from last year, from 3.9 percent for all 2012 graduates to 4 percent for the class of 2013.

 

Last year’s graduating class of 46,776 students was also the largest ever, up 412 students from the 46,364 students in the graduating class of 2012.

You can continue reading here.

(jbl).

April 9, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)