Saturday, December 11, 2010

Writing for Scholarly Publication

Here is a  message that I sent on a listserv. It may be helpful to folks  who are writing for scholarly publication.

The standard learning is that late February/the beginning of March is the best time to submit an article. Law reviews usually elect new officers in late February and start selecting articles for the coming year. They tend to fill up the next year's issues almost completely within the next 6 weeks. Still, they often leave some openings for especially attractive submissions that come in later.

 Specialized journals often wait until later in the spring or until late August to make selections, feeling that they will get what the general, main journals have not chosen. Some general journal also wait until late August.

 Some journals have "rolling admissions" or set their own individualized calendars. The journals published by LWI and ALWD fall in this category. Many journals have information on their websites.

 For most journals, the best and most efficient way to submit to a large number of journals is via expressO, which enables multiple electronic submissions. Talk to someone at your school who can explain and show you the ropes. Some journals prefer that you submit manuscripts to them electronically through their own systems. Again, you can find out more on their websites.

 If you are seeking publication in a general journal. please be aware that the competition is fierce and the selection process is in the hands of inexperienced students. Therefore, you must submit to a large number of journals--I think at least 50.

 Finally, please keep in mind the LWI Writers Workshop, which can help you get your manuscript together. Those who have attended have found it helpful, and most have been published. This summer, we are planning to hold the workshop before or after the Storytelling Conference in Denver in early July. We will send out  notices in the early spring.

My practical advice: If you are planning to devote major time to writing this coming summer, start collecting  your research now. You can research and start outlining in relatively small  blocks of time. Then you can hit the ground running in May or June.

(ljs)

 

December 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Law School Transparency Project prevails upon USNWR to change how law grad employment stats are reported.

Beginning with the 2011 rankings, USNWR will change the way it reports two significant law school grad employment stats - "employed at graduation" and "employed nine months after graduation."  The changes are the result of successful lobbying efforts by the Law School Transparency Project (which, as we reported the other day, will be meeting with the ABA on Monday to lobby for changes in the way the accrediting body collects and reports employment data).

Among the expected changes in how USNWR publishes data (there are presently no changes in the way USNWR will use the data to calculate rankings) are the following:

Summary of Suggestions:

Better Language: Changed “Graduates employed at graduation” to “Employed at graduation rate
Better Language: Changed “Graduates known to be employed nine months after graduation” to “Employed at nine months rate

This reflects the fact that the percentage does not actually reflect the graduates employed at graduation, but a rate calculated using a proprietary formula. The language must indicate to readers that the percentages that follow below are school-reported rather than U.S. News-derived.

New Section: “Class of 2008 Graduates – Class Breakdown at Nine Months” is a new section, which adds new fields and includes the entire “Areas of Legal Practice (Class of 2008)” section

This reflects that the percentages included are for the nine-month measurement period. The goal here is to show more realistic percentages, especially when the percentages of a category add up to 100% but do not reflect 100% of the class.

New Fields: This section includes 7 new fields:
     “Graduates whose employment status is unknown”
     “Graduates whose employment status is known”
     “Graduates known to be enrolled in a full-time degree program”
     “Graduates known to be unemployed and seeking work”
     “Graduates known to be unemployed and not seeking work”
     “Graduates known to be employed”
     “Percent employed in a judicial clerkship by an Article III federal judge”

The “Graduates whose employment status is unknown” and “Graduates whose employment status is known” fields, along with the “Graduates known to be employed” field, are the most important new additions. These figures are required for determining how much of the class is actually employed with certain types of employers, particularly those in private practice (law firms + business and industry). The private practice percentages are crucial for determining how many graduates schools used data for in calculating the salary information. These numbers would allow us to relax our assumptions in LST’s data clearinghouse.

The other fields round out the full picture of a school’s graduating class. While the underlying data are still missing, these nuances help draw attention to the complexity these apparently-simple percentages have.

Changing Location of the Salary Reporting Percentage:
     “Percent in the private sector who reported salary information”

One of the most glaring problems with how employment information is presented is the prevalence of the “median private sector salary” statistic, which is in reality only the median salary for the sometimes small percentage of graduates who actually reported salaries. This change puts the percent reporting salary up front, before people see the often exaggerated 25th, median and 75th salary statistics. While moving the location of the percent reporting is a small change, it could help combat the tendency of prospectives to look at the reported median salaries and assume they are actually the median, when in reality they are often significantly higher than the actual (but undisclosed) median salary.

You can read the rest here.

Hat tip to Brian Leiter's Law School Reports Blog.

(jbl).

December 11, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 10, 2010

More "skills" scholarship: "Recommendations regarding establishment of a mediation clinic"

This article is authored by Cynthia A. Savage and is available at 11 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 511 (2010).  From the introduction:

There is widespread agreement that practical experience is an important component of advanced mediation training, whether within an academic program or in the private mediation training sector. In spite of this agreement, out of twenty-three Masters of Arts ("M.A.") Conflict Resolution Programs in the United States, only nine (39%) currently require students to complete a practicum course; seven (30%) offer a practicum as an option, and the remaining seven (30%) programs do not even offer a practicum.  In Canada in 2006, only three out of fourteen academic institutions (21%) that taught advanced mediation training offered a practicum, and only three out of fifteen non-academic institutions (20%) offered practicum opportunities. Approximately thirty-five American law schools offer mediation clinical courses, which provide supervised experience in mediation. There may be many reasons for this discrepancy, including, in particular, difficulty in achieving sufficient caseloads and the cost of supervision. However, the need for competent, ethical mediators continues to increase.

This article proposes utilizing consistent terminology and goals and recommends methods and approaches for effective design and implementation of supervised, hands-on, mediation training programs within conflict resolution graduate programs. Although law school programs are not addressed directly in this article and might differ in some respects as to their goals, effective methods and approaches will be much the same regardless of the setting.

Part I of this article will discuss terminology and propose a consistent clinic definition and clinic goals, and Part II will explore and make recommendations concerning clinic design. Part III will outline additional recommendations. Part IV provides a summary of recommendations, and Part V concludes the article.

(jbl).

December 10, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Skills" Scholarship: "Practice writing: responding to the needs of the bench and bar in first-year writing programs"

This article is co-authored by Professors Amy Vorenberg and Margaret Sova McCabe, both of Franklin Pierce.  It's available at 2 Phoenix L. Rev. 1 (2009). From the introduction:

When people hear we teach legal writing, dinner parties are fun--or challenging. On the fun side, lawyers, judges, and sometimes clerks tell priceless stories of writing fiascos: the essential pleading that used the wrong party names, auto-corrected "misspellings" with bawdy meanings, and gaffes that make even the most seasoned writer wince. The downside to these stories is that that the conversation often turns to laments about how bad legal writing is today. Attorneys and judges complain of newer lawyers' seeming unfamiliarity with legal writing, grammar and concise style. Inevitably, we are asked, "so . . . what are you teaching them today anyway?"--at which time we usually like to change the subject. Yet, the question has gnawed at us: Do first-year legal-writing programs, which have grown substantially in recent years, adequately prepare students for practice?

The answer is no. Although students who graduate from law school should expect that their professors have adequately prepared them for practice, udents are not as prepared as they could be for the demands on their writing. Although legal-writing programs have made gains in terms of added staff and resources, the last twenty-five years have seen few substantive changes in legal-writing curricula. The upshot is a disconnect between what students learn in legal-writing classes and what professional legal-writing skills they need once they graduate.

This article will show that while legal-writing programs have improved, most programs should consider reviewing and changing the curricula to ensure that first-year students are ready for the rigors of writing in modern practice. Part I of this article examines how law schools are currently teaching legal writing. Part II reveals how members of the bar and bench perceive the quality of legal writing and addresses an emerging disconnect between what is taught and what is expected in practice. Part III explores the many ideas gleaned from our findings and how we are integrating those ideas into our first-year curriculum. It also makes suggestions that all law schools should consider for developing more effective, realistic skills programs.

Who will find this article interesting? People concerned about both the quality of students' preparation for practice and the legal-writing curriculum will. We hypothesize that legal-writing programs adequately teach writing and related skills, but they should be more responsive to changes in the legal profession.  Although legal-writing programs have increasingly gained recognition as an essential part of a first-year program, those gains have also led the field to turn inward, developing writing programs from an academic perspective instead of from a practice perspective. This article presses for change in that trend.

(jbl).

December 10, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Animal Law Comes of Age

When the Journal of Legal Education publishes a symposium on Animal Law, you know that the field has arrived. As the Journal’s editors note, “animal law is already central to numerous political and legal issues, including environmental protection and sustainability, the massive industry of pet ownership and care, and the multinational corporate sector devoted to the production of animal food and other products such as leather and furs.”

 Of particular interest to lawyering skills professors is Kathy Hessler’s article on her Animal Law Clinic at Lewis & Clark. Here is a list of the articles.

SYMPOSIUM

 

Growing Up with Animal Law: From Courtrooms to Casebooks (PDF)

193

by Bruce A. Wagman

 

 

 

The Future of Animal Law:Moving Beyond Preaching to the Choir (PDF)

209

by Megan A. Senatori and Pamela D. Frasch

 

 

 

The Bob Barker Gifts to Support Animal Rights Law (PDF)

237

by Taimie L. Bryant

 

 

 

The Role of the Animal Law Clinic (PDF)

263

by Kathy Hessler

 

 

 

Animal Law in Court and Congress:A Roundtable with Practitioners (PDF)

 285

with Nancy Perry, Coby Dolan, Jessica Almy,Zak Smith, and Matthew Liebman

 

 

 

(ljs)

December 10, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Friday Fun: The best law firm holiday cards

ATL is running a contest asking readers to select the best law firm holiday greeting card.  Favorites so far include this one from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips (which the Wall Street Journal has already selected as its favorite), this one from Gordon Rees and this one from Much Shelist. 

Enjoy!

(jbl).

December 9, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

CJS and ALR still have relevance with SCOTUS Justice(s)

In response to a point raised about "licensing" during Wednesday's oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, Justice Kennedy said "I will look in Corpus Juris Secundum or ALR or something."  Geez, I didn't think the Justices used those.  For those of us who teach legal research, Justice Kennedy's comment may make it a little easier to convince students about the continued relevance of "old school" legal encyclopedias (whether e-text or p-text) when Google and Wikipedia are often the only secondary sources they trust.

Over at the Law Librarian Blog, Joe Hodnicki posits that the off-hand Supreme Court reference might cause ripples in several different ponds:

  • Does Justice Kennedy's law clerks know what "CJS or ALR or something" is? Will they run to the Court's library staff for help? Call a West reference attorney?
  • Will West's editorial staffer(s) responsible for writing the CJS, ALR or "something," if it gets cited by SCOTUS, receive a cash bonus, a free lunch, a better parking spot, an employee of the day award, 10 shares of TRI stock, a five minute tour of the executive floor or a "good job" email from TRI CEO Tom Glocer? (Horrors, what if a LexisNexis print title is cited instead!)
  • Will some law prof write up something quickly on the topic and post it on SSRN before grading final exams in the off chance that it might be cited by SCOTUS? Perhaps a blog post on The Volokh Conspiracy? Even better, a tweet because SCOTUS hasn't cited one yet.
  • Will the issue be used in LRW class assignments across the legal academy next semester?
  • Will a law librarian check out how many entries down the WestlawNext output display, a relevant "CJS or ALR or something" in the secondary literature is listed?

Personally, I've never found CJS that helpful - the annotations are ancient and sometimes aren't accurate.  ALR, on the other hand, is still a champ.

Hat tip to the Law Librarian Blog.

(jbl).

December 9, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA law school "Questionnaire Committee" will meet with reps from the Law School Tranparency project on Monday

The ABA "Questionnaire Committee" is undertaking the task of reviewing and possibly revising the form law schools must submit reporting employment data for their most recent grads.   The committee will meet on Monday, December 13, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and has asked representatives from the Law School Transparency project to attend and provide input.  As committee chair Dean Art Gaudio has said in a statement:

As you know, the situation for law school graduates who are seeking gainful employment in law firms or otherwise in the legal profession is problematic (to understate the matter). Furthermore, law school applicants are [sic] have difficulty understanding or are simply unable to obtain the information they need to make informed decisions when applying to law schools. As I’m sure you are aware, many assertions have been made about reported placement data – that it’s incomplete, that it’s difficult to understand, that it’s not uniformly reported, that it’s inaccurate, and even that it’s misleading. There have been requests that placement data supplied by law schools about their graduates be more complete, be more informative, be more uniformly reported, and perhaps even be audited. In response, concerns have been raised regarding the confidentiality of graduates and their data, the inability of getting all graduates to respond to requests for data, and that other law schools are not reporting their data as requested. This is not a complete list of the issues, and that is also part of the problem.

This year we have before us a special task – to review and revise where appropriate the reporting of placement data by law schools. . . . Our task is no small one and we are seeking your input and help.

Prospective students ready to plunk down the equivalent of a home mortgage should be able to learn what graduates at the various schools earn before making a final decision.  Kudos to Dean Gaudio and those behind the Law School Transparency project for helping to level the playing field in this regard. 

You can read the rest here courtesy of the Law Transparency Project website.

Hat tip to Elie Mystal at Above the Law.

(jbl). 

December 9, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A new blog devoted to providing lawyers with a practice tip each day

This might be worth adding to your daily feed (I just did).  It's called "Attorney at Work" and consists of a panel of law practice experts who are committed to giving readers a new practice tip each day.  According to the website:

Attorney at Work promises you one really good idea every day. And these aren’t just any old ideas. We’ve got a growing bunch of experts from the vanguard of practice management who zero in on exactly what you need to get your law practice off the bunny slope. It’s all original—the real deal—from the best in the business (we like to call them our 'Minds at Work'). You can believe it: These people get your big issues, yet can handily swat the common little irritants that trip you up.

Our goal  is to give you everything you need to create a law practice—and a life—you can love. Each morning, we send you a sound idea on anything from getting clients—even if you are missing the rainmaker gene, to solving the ‘slammed with work but chronically short on cash’ dilemma. From how to get a grip on cloud computing and the newest apps, to what to do about an assistant with memory problems, or a secretary who doesn’t like you. Our experts help you navigate firm red tape, move up the ladder, launch a new practice or even scale it back for parenthood, retirement or just a little more pleasure in your life.

A hat tip to LegalBlogWatch.

(jbl).

December 9, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do Demand Letters Have to be So Nasty?

No, says Carrie Sperling (Arizona State) in her article, Priming Legal Negotiations through Written Demands, forthcoming in 60 Catholic University Law Review No. 1 (Fall 2010). Drawing heavily on findings in social psychology she argues that nasty letters impede successful resolutions. Here is the abstract:

Lawyers frequently start negotiations with a written demand. But legal scholars have not, until now, considered the demand letter part of the negotiation process. Negotiation theory focuses almost exclusively on face-to-face negotiations and incorporates research from psychology, economics, and other social sciences to explain lawyers’ and clients’ emotions and decisions. By contrast, legal writing texts give lawyers guidance about how to effectively write a demand letter, but this advice lacks any connection to the multi-disciplinary empirical research seen as so important in the negotiation context. This disconnect may serve as an impediment to more favorable negotiations. In fact, this untested advice about how to write demand letters could actually have the unwanted effect of causing protracted litigation and less favorable settlements.

This article draws upon research in social psychology to demonstrate that demand letters deserve more attention and study. The words lawyers use to convey their demands can have powerful, lasting effects on the course and nature of negotiations because they almost certainly frame the issues, anchor a recipient’s perceptions, and prime the recipient’s goals and behaviors. If we are to fully understand what causes protracted, hostile litigation as opposed to cooperative negotiations and lasting resolutions, we must start by applying sound negotiation theory to the written demand.

(ljs)

December 9, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

LexisNexis bests other legal vendors in the annual Legal Technology News customer satisfaction survey

From our sister publication the Law Librarian Blog:

[T]his year's LTN [Legal Technology News] Vendor Award results were compiled from a nationwide sample of more than 500 participating senior individuals involved in recommending or purchasing legal technology products at law firms. Gold, silver and bronze categories were derived from overall satisfaction scores by product.

. . . .

LexisNexis' CaseMap and LAW Prediscovery products received recognition in the silver category and the Company's LexisNexis database service and Time Matters scored in the bronze category. Thomson Reuters' West km4.0 was recognized in the silver category and the Company's Westlaw database service scored in the bronze category.

No products from either vendor received the highest ranking gold category and do note where both vendors online legal search services placed. Remember this is a customer satisfaction survey. But of the 16 winning products receiving LTN recognition in all three categories, LexisNexis received more awards than any other vendor.

You can read the complete list of 2010 winners here.

(jbl).

December 8, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Do we really need yet another law school?

File this under "you gotta be kidding me!"  The University of Delaware wants to open a law school by 2015.   You can read more about it here courtesy of the online ABA Journal Blog and here courtesy of Above the Law.  Like there aren't already enough overly leveraged, unemployed law grads along the eastern corridor.

(jbl).

December 8, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Even more advice on whether an unemployed attorney should do "temp" work

Interestingly, this topic has been generating a lot of discussion lately - whether an unemployed law grad should do temp legal work while she looks for a full time position or whether having such a thing on her resume hurts her chances later on.  First we reported on a career services advisor who suggested that having temp work on your resume can be the the kiss of death.  Then Professor Mitch Rubinstein, employment law expert and editor of our sister publication the Adjunct Law Prof Blog, responded that in a bad economy, a grad would be foolish to forgo temp legal work if he needs to pay the bills.  Now comes yet another commentator advising that although working as a paralegal can provide income and valuable experience until something better comes along, working as a legal temp doing document review may impede your efforts to trade-up because your "legal" skills will atrophy doing this mindless job.

From the online ABA Journal Blog:

Looking to get a foot in the door for an entry-level attorney job in a rough economy?

It can make sense, from a career-advancement standpoint, to seek work as a paralegal. But a contract attorney gig focused on document review likely won't do more than pay the bills, experts say.

'It's a con. It's not really lawyering,' writes Mirriam Seddiq on her blog Not Guilty, pointing out that she knows the ropes, because she's worked as a contract lawyer herself.

While it's easy to tell yourself you'll look for more meaningful work or volunteer, you don't, she writes. 'You sit your ass in that cubicle and hit shift F5 and before you know it a year has passed and while you have amassed no late fees on your credit cards and no overdraft fees on your bank account, you have also amassed no new skills.'

I'm inclined to go along with Professor Rubinstein - a "bad" job is better than no job in this economy (and who says you can't also lose your legal chops working as a paralegal?)   

(jbl).

December 8, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The 5 Minute Clean Up

For some of us, keeping a  reasonably clean office is a learned skill. As someone with notoriously messy, packrat habits, I welcome ProfHacker’s strategy of the five minute clean up:

Set a timer for five minutes, put on some energizing music, and work as quickly as you can to put things away, clear space on your desk, and restore a bit of order to your workspace.

The 20 minute clean up never worked for me. 20 minutes turned out to be too long and daunting.  Maybe the 5 minute version will prove successful.  If so, this will be a good lifetime tip to pass on to my students.

(ljs)

December 8, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is a Uniform Bar Exam on the Horizon?

Lawyers have been talking about the possibility for years, but optimism has been hard to come by. Now, the president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners thinks the time may be right.

Lawyers are moving across state lines with greater frequency. In these difficult economic times, law students aren’t sure where they will end up and don’t know which bar exam  to  take. The Conference of Chief Justices and the ABA section on legal education have recently endorsed the proposal. Moreover, 18 states already give the same bar exam, consisting of the Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Essay Examination, and the Multistate Performance test. Here is the ABA Journal’s article on the subject (December 2010 issue).

(ljs)

December 8, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Google E-book store is open for business.

We told you last week that the Google e-book store would be opening shortly and it turns out that Monday, December 6, was the day.  One of the claimed advantages to Google's e-books, as opposed to the ones sold by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is that they aren't dependant on the use of particular hardware like the Kindle.  Google e-books are stored in the "cloud" and can be accessed and read from any computer or mobile device, anywhere.  According to the press release:

We designed Google eBooks to be open. Many devices are compatible with Google eBooks—everything from laptops to netbooks to tablets to smartphones to e-readers. With the new Google eBooks Web Reader, you can buy, store and read Google eBooks in the cloud. That means you can access your ebooks like you would messages in Gmail or photos in Picasa—using a free, password-protected Google account with unlimited ebooks storage.

In addition to a full-featured web reader, free apps for Android and Apple devices will make it possible to shop and read on the go. For many books you can select which font, font size, day/night reading mode and line spacing suits you—and pick up on the page where you left off when switching devices.

You can read the rest of Google's roll-out announcement here as well as read some commentary by the Chronicle of Higher Ed hereHere's a column that's critical of the breadth of offerings by Google e-books courtesy of Inside Higher Ed.

(jbl).

December 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The personality traits of a big firm lawyer

The online ABA Journal is reporting a study done by the legal consulting firm Hildebrandt that sought to determine the personality traits of big firm lawyers.  According to the study:

The data was collected in late 2009 and early 2010, after waves of law firm layoffs, indicating the sample may have a disproportionate number of high performers, according to a summary of the findings. Associates made up 45 percent of the sample, equity partners 32 percent, and non-equity partners 16 percent. Of counsel and others accounted for the remainder.

. . . .

[The study found that] on average, the lawyers:

• Generally do not seem to have a strong need for public recognition, although there is a subset of lawyers who seem to crave recognition and notoriety.

• Tend to deal with others in a direct and matter-of-fact way, but may come across as cold, critical and argumentative.

• Tend to be self-critical and temperamental but are also self-aware, open to feedback, and emotionally expressive.

• Are most attracted to environments that emphasize quality and are less commercially focused than professionals in other industries.

• Tend to value education and educational activities.

How is this information valuable? 

One managing partner at a mid-sized firm took the tests and discovered he was in the 99th percentile on one measure.

'Does this mean that I ram stuff home at meetings?' the managing partner asked. 'Do I highjack meetings?' The answer was apparently yes, since others on the firm’s leadership team looked at their shoes as he asked the questions. 'Once this managing partner understood his own personality pattern and its impact on others, he was able to act like less of a tyrannical maniac and more like a benevolent despot,' the report said.

You can read more about the ABA Journal's coverage here and the report itself from Hildebrandt here.

(jbl).

December 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will the internet reading habits of judges change the way lawyers write appellate briefs?

A recent book, The Shallows, argues that the internet is changing the way we read text online - from linear reading to a more superficial skim that causes the reader's eye to jump around the page.  Now this article from the Texas Lawyer is suggesting that as more appellate clerks and judges read briefs online as the result of e-filings, lawyers may need to accommodate this "new" reading style in their written briefs.

In his book "Legal Writing for the Rewired Brain: Persuading Readers in a Paperless World," Houston appellate lawyer Robert Dubose points out that screen readers don't read linearly but rather jump around, skimming and seizing on bits of text. Eye-tracking studies show they seek content in an F-shaped pattern, looking down the left side for structural cues and then focusing on headings and first sentences of paragraphs. Heaven help the content provider with important text consigned to the bottom right of the screen.

Dubose recommends catering to screen readers by placing the most important content in headings and first sentences of paragraphs, using bullet points and lists, simplifying sentence structure, shortening paragraphs, using visual aids, avoiding synonyms, and adopting other techniques drawn from the study of making websites more user-friendly. "Legal writers must enable impatient readers to get to the point of the argument in a matter of minutes," he writes.

He's not alone. In a 2003 article in the New Mexico Law Review, University of Dayton School of Law professor Maria Crist advocated a similar "tech rhetoric" based on an "online style" of brief-writing that prizes brevity, features short paragraphs, and condenses "chunks" of information "into small manageable pieces."

The article assumes that these clerks and judges will read entire briefs online rather than printing a hardcopy as many readers still do when the material is more dense or challenging.  I'm also skeptical that lawyers, and judges as readers-decision makers, will want to sacrifice thorough analysis in order to accommodate an online reading style that's associated with blogs, online newspapers and websites as compared to more intellectually demanding material.  Conscientious judges must still engage deeply with their cases in order to reach a correct result and thus that's the audience attorneys need to address rather than the more casual web reader.

This is interesting stuff and you can read more about it here.

Hat tip to Law.com.

(jbl).

December 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Ownership of L.A. Dodgers turns on lawyer's drafting goof.

A lawyer's drafting error may determine who owns the L.A. Dodgers baseball team according this story from today's Wall Street Journal.  According to court testimony, a Boston lawyer who worked on a post-nuptial agreement between Frank McCourt, the owner of the Dodgers, and his now ex-wife Jamie McCourt, substituted the word "exclusive" for "inclusive" which had the effect of shifting sole ownership from Frank to joint ownership with his wife.  The lawyer, Bingham McCutcheon's  Larry Silverstein, apparently tried to insert a corrected page into the McCourt agreement after he discovered the error but never informed either party.

[L.A.] Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon’s decision [tossing out an agreement that gave Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers] follows a trial that focused on whether a post-nuptial agreement signed by the couple in 2004 should decide who owns the team. Jamie McCourt had argued that no one told her she gave up her purported stake in the team by signing the document, according to the AP.

We’ve blogged about the McCourt saga here and here. The debate boils down to one word in the agreement. In some copies of the agreement, the word “inclusive” is used, meaning Frank would be the sole owner. In other copies the word “exclusive” is used meaning Jamie would be the co-owner.

Boston lawyer Larry Silverstein testified he flubbed the wording and didn’t tell the McCourts of the goof.

You can read the rest here and here.

A big hat tip to librarian extraordinaire Rob Hudson.

(jbl).

December 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

iPads in the Classroom

I recently read Wes Fryer's post "iPads in the Classroom by Jonathann Reed and Sharon Parsons," in which he published his notes from a breakout session on use of iPad technology in middle school from the 2010 Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference. I've been thinking about it ever since.

It's a fascinating post just in the sense of what is being tried, what works and what obstacles middle schools face in using iPads.

You can also add to the mix another post of his notes from the same conference called The 21st Century Teacher's Toolkit by Alice Barr, which discusses the use of laptops and other technology in early education with a big emphasis on collaboration tools.

I bet that both posts will get you thinking too.

One thing the posts will definitely get you thinking about is what happens when a new generation with a long history of access to excellent technology tools hits a law school system too often in the news for professors banning laptops from their lectures and a a legal profession expecting them to take several steps backwards in both the tools they are given and the ways they can use those tools to collaborate and get work done?

(dk)

 

December 7, 2010 in Legal Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)