Monday, May 23, 2011

More on Practical Teaching Materials

Last  week, we offered a post on the need for more teaching  materials for courses with practicums. Guest blogster Sarah Ricks at  Rutgers-Camden Law School has more to contribute on the subject of practical teaching  materials:

Carolina Academic Press has recognized the need to provide adjunct and full-time law teachers with practical teaching materials that integrate the teaching of skills and doctrine. The new Context and Practice Series is designed and edited by Michael Hunter Schwartz with input from Gerry Hess:

Each casebook has a rich Teacher’s Manual, filled with practical exercises, sample exams, and suggested teaching methods.

My own book in the series is Current Issues in Constitutional Litigation: A Context and Practice Casebook (Carolina Academic Press 2011)
. Here’s the catalogue:

The Teacher’s Manual is over 400 pages.

To further help teachers, my casebook has a companion website including relevant YouTube video, video of guest speakers, and other teaching materials, always being updated:

Here is a sample chapter:



May 23, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Let your FB Friends Help Plan your Summer Vacation

A new social networking tool launching today, can help with your summer vacation plans.  Gtrot (“globe-trotting”) connects through Facebook to “help travelers better plan and share their trips.”  More information at  and at Gtrot.

Happy travels!


May 23, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Transformation of Legal Education

The May issue of the Washington Lawyer (the D.C. Bar’s publication) offers an extensive article on  the subject with  quotes from leaders at the District’s law schools. It cover  such  topics as the economics of law schools and law firms, the globalization of law, the possibility of transnational law firms, adapting to technology, and the demand for clinical training. The last two paragraphs of the article are a source of optimism for me:

Perhaps the advantage of this inflection point in legal education is that it will result in new breeds of attorneys—those who focus as much on what they are doing as why they are doing it. Young lawyers who come out of the legal system in the future will have to be experts in the law and the business of law, but they also might be more in touch with their reasons for entering the profession.

“I think students are thinking more of law as a profession,” says Georgetown’s [William] Treanor. “We got away from that for a while. There was a period in which people came to law school because it was seen as a ticket to wealth and power, and they were often dissatisfied as a result. Because even in the best of times, business is a much better ticket to wealth than law. I think the concept of law as a profession is one that people ultimately find more satisfying and one we may be returning to.”


May 23, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Please help this 13 year old girl find a kidney donor

Professor Mitch Rubinstein, who edits the Adjunct Law Prof Blog, asked me to post the message below.  Mitch is a great guy and I can't think of a better cause than this. If you know someone who might be able to help, please pass along this message.


My 13 year old daughter (seen here in the blue with her 15 year old sister Mollie (in pink) with my wife Lisa) has a genetic Kidney disease and now needs a Kidney transplant.

In the process of being evaluated to be a donor, it was discovered that I have Kidney disease (polycystic Kidneys) and cannot donate. My wife's blood type does not match. Our other daughter is too young to donate.

Linda's blood type is "O." We are looking for a doner with "O" blood type. If your type "O," other blood tests need to be performed to see if your a match.   

If you think you can help out, please contact me at 

If your unable to be a donor, but know someone that might be, I would appreciate if you could pass this information along.

Linda's sister created a Facebook page entitled My Little Sister Needs A Kidney which provides additional information about Linda. 

Thank you very much for caring.

Mitchell Rubinstein 


May 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Roni Deutch, “Tax Lady,” Shuts Down Her Shop

Recently, you may have missed seeing TV commercials for Roni Deutch, who promised to help beleaguered taxpayers fight off the Internal Revenue Service. She has surrendered her law license and gone out of business amid charges that she has swindled her customers. According to the California Attorney General’s Office:

In fact, defendants did not save these particular clients any money, but merely placed them on currently not collectible status with the IRS, a kind of tax collection purgatory,” said the complaint. “Placing clients on currently not collectible status stops IRS collection efforts, but interest and penalties continue to accrue on the tax debt while the collection hold is in place ... . Moreover, the client is still liable for the entire tax debt. In fact, while the collection hold is pending, the IRS will normally also place a tax lien on the taxpayer's assets to protect the government's rights. Furthermore, if and when the client's financial situation improves, the IRS will remove the client from currently not collectible status and institute collection proceedings on the entire tax debt. In that same advertisement, defendants claim that they saved another client from having to pay the IRS a large tax debt. Though this client did settle his tax debt with the IRS, defendants inflated this client's savings by approximately $45,000.

Ms. Deutch states that she is closing down, because her firm owes $10 million, and she lacks the funds to defend herself in court. Here is a link to the story on Accounting Today with internal links to earlier stories.


May 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Property and Monogamy

In her recent book Braintrust (pp. 58-59), philosopher Patricia Churchland presents an interesting theory concerning the connection between property and monogamy.  Drawing on the research of evolutionary biologists Laura Fortunato and Marco Archetti, she states that when men have multiple wives with children and thus multiple heirs, "transferring resources to all heirs results in depletion of their fitness value. . ." because the bequeathed land gets smaller and smaller.  If a man selected one wife's children to inherit from him, this would produce conflict.  On the other hand, the most evolutionary stable strategy would be to have one wife and invest heavily in the welfare of her children.  She states "monogamy emerged in Eurasia as agriculture became widespread, with land and herds as an important source of wealth that could be passed to heirs."

The above is a good example of why we need to understand human behavior and how it evolved in relation to the environment to understand the foundation of our legal rules.


May 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

When Do Law Students Use Laptops to Digress from Class?

At St. John’s University Law School, Professor Jeff Sovern hired research assistants to spy on students during classes. Here is his interesting finding:

Sovern’s spies found that more than half of second- and third-year law students who came to class with laptops used the computers for non-class purposes more than half the time, compared to a mere 4 percent of first-year students. For the most part, first-year students tended to be rapt when text was being read aloud or a rule was being discussed, and less attentive when classmates were asking questions; upper-level students tended to be distractible no matter what was going on.

Here are Sovern’s speculations on the reasons for the student conduct:

The article speculates that student decisions on whether to pay attention are responses to the tension between incentives and temptation. While the temptation to tune out probably remains constant, ebbs and flows in incentives may cause students to resist or yield to that temptation. Because first-semester grades have more of an impact on job prospects, first-semester students have a greater incentive than upper-year students to attend to classes. Similarly, because students probably anticipate that rules are more likely to be tested on exams, students perceive that they have more of an incentive to pay attention when rules are discussed. Conversely, students may suspect that matters asked about by classmates are less likely to be tested on and so their grades are unlikely to be affected if they miss the question and answer, reducing the incentive to pay attention. 

Very interesting. Here is a link to the story at Inside Higher Ed. And here is the link to Professor Sovern’s article.


May 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)