Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Yup, it's that time of year again - when you're reminded just how out of touch you are with today's college students courtesy of Beloit College. Appropriately, this year's "Mindset List" is also being "published" via YouTube. (The text version follows for those old geezers who are still stuck circa 2004).
Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.
Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern's daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.
- There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.
- Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.
- States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.
- The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
- There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.
- They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
- As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
- Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
- “Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?
- American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
- More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.
- Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
- Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you're talking about LeBron James.
- All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”
- O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
- Women have never been too old to have children.
- Japan has always been importing rice.
- Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.
- We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.
- Life has always been like a box of chocolates.
- They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.
- John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.
- There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.
- “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.
- Video games have always had ratings.
- Chicken soup has always been soul food.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.
- Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.
- Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.
- Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!
- Women have always been kissing women on television.
- Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.
- Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.
- They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”
- The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little whacko.
- Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.
- Music has always been available via free downloads.
- Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.
- Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.
- Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.
- The United States has always been shedding fur.
- Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.
- No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.
- They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.
- They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.
- Russian courts have always had juries.
- No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.
- While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.
- Public schools have always made space available for advertising.
- Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.
- Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.
- Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.
- Charter schools have always been an alternative.
- They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.
- New kids have always been known as NKOTB.
- They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?
- They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.
- Their parents sort of remember Woolworths as this store that used to be downtown.
- Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.
- Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime.
- Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs.
- Nurses have always been in short supply.
- They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.
- Altar girls have never been a big deal.
- When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.
- It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.
- Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi Cola.
- Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.
- They’ve grown up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.
- They’ve always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.
- Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.
- Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.
- McDonalds coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.
- “PC” has come to mean Personal Computer, not Political Correctness.
- The New York Times and the Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.
Copyright© 2011 Beloit College
Mindset List is a registered trademark
The claim against LegalZoom filed in Missouri federal district court alleging that the online legal document provider is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law has been settled. Final terms are still being negotiated. (We reported last week that the court just recently denied LegalZoom's motion for summary judgment arguing that its service does not constitute the UPL as a matter of law).
Plaintiffs and LegalZoom.com, Inc. have reached an agreement in principle to settle the class action lawsuit captioned Janson v. LegalZoom.com, Inc., in the United States District Court in the State of Missouri. The Plaintiffs alleged claims related to LegalZoom's offering of legal self-help products over the Internet.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, LegalZoom can continue to offer its services to Missouri residents with certain business modifications. The proposed settlement contains no admission or finding of wrongdoing by LegalZoom.
The settlement of the lawsuit avoids a prolonged and costly trial in a case where the plaintiffs never claimed that the documents they purchased from LegalZoom were defective in any way, stated attorneys for LegalZoom. While LegalZoom continues to dispute the basis of the allegations in this case, it believes it is in the best interests of the Company and its customers to move forward with a settlement.
Terms of the proposed settlement are currently being negotiated and will be released after they have been fully approved by all sides.
Hat tip to the online ABA Journal.
Criteria for making the list includes bar pass rate, tuition, student loan debt and the number of graduates employed nine months after graduation. As expected, the list is dominated by public law schools which typically offer much lower tuition than private ones. Schools are listed below in alpha order - PreLaw Magazine plans to release a ranking list in October.
Arizona State University
Brigham Young University
*City University of New York School of Law
Faulkner University, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law
Florida International University College of Law
Florida State University College of Law
George Mason University School of Law
Georgia State University College of Law
#Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis
*Inter-American University School of Law
Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center
#Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law
#Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
#Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey- School of Law-Camden
*Southern University Law Center
Temple University- James E. Beasley School of Law
Texas Tech University School of Law
#University of Akron School of Law
University of Alabama School of Law
University of Arizona
#University of Arkansas At Little Rock
#University of Arkansas School of Law
*University of Baltimore School of Law
#University at Buffalo Law School (SUNY)
*University of Cincinnati College of Law
University of Colorado Law School
University of Connecticut School of Law
University of Florida, Frederic G. Levin College of Law
University of Georgia School of Law
#University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Houston Law Center
University of Iowa College of Law
University of Kansas School of Law
University of Kentucky College of Law
University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law
University of Maryland School of Law
University of Memphis- Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
University of Mississippi School of Law
University of Missouri- Kansas City School of Law
#University of Montana School of Law
University of Nebraska College of Law
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of New Mexico School of Law
University of North Carolina School of Law
University of North Dakota School of Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law
University of South Carolina School of Law
#University of South Dakota School of Law
University of Tennessee College of Law
University of Texas School of Law
University of Toledo College of Law
*University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
University of Washington School of Law
University of Wisconsin Law School
#University of Wyoming College of Law
#Wake Forest University
#Washburn University School of Law
*West Virginia University College of Law
Willamette University School of Law
William and Mary Law School
* Designates first year on honor roll; # designates returnee that was not on 2010 honor roll.
You can read the full story here.
In response to the need for practical business skills that many law school graduates seem to lack, some law firms have added business education programs for their new associates. Here is a post from the Wall Street Journal Law Blog about a couple of law firm programs.
It seems that law students need some basic training in tools such as presentation software, spreadsheets, and other business basics. Maybe some of this type of skills training could also be incorporated into their law skills courses in law school. For example, have students use presentation software to present their final paper/project. Food for thought…
Hat tip Vault Law (@VaultLaw)
It's a commercially released booklet (also available in pdf) from the author of the Business Writing blog. Here's a description:
I am excited to announce Error Quests, a new product we just released. It is a collection of 50 short excerpts from business messages, each one containing just one error in grammar, usage, word choice, sentence structure, or punctuation. Your job is to find the single error according to business writing standards in the U.S. and Canada. (American spellings are used.)
Here is a sample Quest. Can you find and correct just one error in it?
Error Quest 24
We are pleased that you have made your travel plans. Once you arrive at the airport and retrieve your baggage, you will be able to get a taxi just outside the baggage claim area. A typical one way fare from the airport to our conference center is $40. The trip takes approximately 45 minutes in rush-hour traffic.
Error Quests comes as a printed booklet and as a PDF. In the printed booklet, you can find the solution to each Error Quest just beneath it (no peeking!). In the PDF, you can click for the solution, and it will appear on the screen right below the Quest. Try this PDF sampler of five Error Quests.
Well, did you find the error in Error Quest 24?
Here is the solution:
The error involves the adjective one way before fare. It should be rendered as one-way. The hyphen is required to link the two parts of the compound adjective before the word fare. If the sentence had read “A typical fare is $40 one way,” no hyphen would be required because one way comes after fare rather than before it. Similar examples requiring a hyphen are two-door cars, three-week trip, 10-minute breaks, and 20-year drought.
Of the 50 Quests in the booklet, 44 have appeared in our monthly e-newsletter Better Writing at Work; 6 are new Quests.
Many people have told me how much they enjoy testing their skills each month in the newsletter. Their positive comments gave me the idea to collect the Quests into a handy booklet of quick proofreading tests. Each Error Quest presents an error I have found in clients' writing--nothing rare or ridiculously difficult.
Interested? Error Quests as a booklet or PDF is just US$9.95. Read more.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Hat tip to Stephanie West Allen for this. It's an initiative from the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System based on the concept of experiential learning. Click here for a link to a radio interview from Colorado Public Radio with Denver College of Law Dean Martin Katz about the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers concept.
From the ETL website:
Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers ("ETL") is dedicated to advancing legal education that trains new lawyers to the highest standards of competence and professionalism. By offering a structured and highly collaborative approach, ETL is creating a foundation for ongoing inquiry, exploration and measurement.
ETL leverages the Carnegie Model and the work of law schools and professors committed to legal education reform to align legal education with the needs of an evolving profession by providing a supported platform for shared learning, experimentation, ongoing measurement and collective implementation.
Our effort focuses on integrating years of insights and knowledge, as well as sharing current educational models to achieve that purpose. By offering a structured and highly collaborative approach, ETL is creating a foundation for ongoing inquiry, exploration and measurement.
ETL is fully staffed and based at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (“IAALS”) at the University of Denver, an independent and non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the process and culture of the legal system.
William Sullivan, lead author of the 2007 Carnegie Foundation report Educating Lawyers, is the Director of ETL. Rebecca Love Kourlis, former Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court and Executive Director of IAALS, together with Martin J. Katz, Dean of the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, serve with William Sullivan on the ETL Executive Committee.
Video: Welcome from Bill Sullivan
“Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers is an exciting project that really attempts to carry on some of the efforts we outlined at the end of Educating Lawyers. Things that we thought were really important for legal education in order to produce, as the project’s name suggests, lawyers who are better prepared for practice in the contemporary world…”
Video: Why ETL from Professor Gillian Hadfield, USC, Gould School of Law
"Everybody who becomes a law professor was a law student and we know that what happens in our law schools is tremendously uniform… and so most people have not seen what it looks like to teach differently. And I think one of the things Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers can do, and that I hope to be able to contribute to, is to really just show people how you do it, and to reassure people it’s not more work and it’s a lot more fun."
Brochure: Putting Knowledge into Practice
Download, print and share our brochure, which provides an
That's according to this recent article from the Broward County Sun Sentinel. But there are some caveats; you need to be either a mid-level associate or have a book of business (when is the latter not in demand?). The shortage of mid-levels is a consequence of the lean years when firms hired almost no first years. Now those firms are trying to fill-in the gap. From the Sun Sentinel:
From boutique offices to South Florida's top-name law firms, hiring at regional law firms is back. Law firms have been adding litigators and specialists in areas including corporate law, bankruptcy, employment law, and government regulation.
Even real estate law is making a return.
"We went from work buying and selling to doing workouts," said Aldolfo Jimenez, partner with Holland & Knight in Miami. The firm's land-use work continued despite the recession because the firm was involved in the new Marlins Ballpark, and projects such as hospitals and universities.
Law firms are hiring lawyers who can bring their "book of business," said Matt Gorson, president of Greenberg Traurig, which has offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. The firm has hired 20 lawyers so far this year, compared with 14 lawyers in 2010.
Other South Florida law firms have been adding to their legal staffs as well.
Holland and Knight has hired 15 lawyers so far in 2011, up from 11 in 2010 at its Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach offices. Morgan Lewis in Miami hired seven lawyers in 2010, and five so far in 2011; that compares with only one lawyer in 2009, said law firm partner Mark Zelek. Bilzin Sumberg in Miami has hired 9 lawyers in the past month alone, according to a spokeswoman.
Even some firms that were hard hit by the recession are adding lawyers. Fort Lauderdale-based Ruden McClosky, which specializes in real estate and land use, has hired seven lawyers in the past four months, according to a spokeswoman for the firm.
Florida added 3,000 jobs in legal services in July over a year ago, a 3.3 percent increase, according to Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation.
Some South Florida lawyers have found opportunities with the mid-sized and boutique firms that actually grew during the recession.
"I wasn't looking to move," said Carla Barrow, 47, a former prosecutor who last June joined Lydecker & Diaz, a Miami firm that has grown from 40 to 60 lawyers. The firm's offer was attractive: a partnership and ability to focus on her specialty, involvency.
Finding jobs probably has been most difficult for starting lawyers. "All the law firms are looking for three to seven years' out of law school," said Judith Equels, career center director for the Florida Bar Association. Some went solo or opted for corporate jobs, she said.
One reason is the traditional pipeline for law firms – summer associate programs -- shrunk at many firms.
"Law firms are being more careful. When you commit to summer associates, they don't work for you until September or October of the following year. It's hard to guess what your needs are going to be," said Gorson of Greenberg Traurig.
This summer, the Greenberg program was only in Miami, not its Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach offices. But all six associates wer offered jobs, said Janet McKeegan, head of recruitment for Greenberg Traurig.
Morgan Lewis didn't have a summer program last year, but this year has three clerks in its program, Zelek said.
You can continue reading here.
Hat tip to Rob Gregg.
There is a difference. For example, last year, I asked my students to draft a deed covenant to solve a particular issue. Here is part of one student’s answer:
The height of improvements or vegetation on a lot shall not materially obstruct the view of the property owners directly next-door to the lot.
Here is part of another student’s answer:
D shall not build or construct any property or improvements to his dwelling that would unreasonably obstruct the view of his immediate neighbors.
Please note the words “materially” and “unreasonably”—both words that you might see in common law-style rules. But in transactional drafting, these words create ambiguity. A better solution would be to include specific heights and distances and maybe angles.
It is easy to understand why students might be comfortable with “materially” and “unreasonably “ In their nontransactional courses—which probably describe all typical 1L courses—they learned that these words are good words to use. And for many purposes, they are, but not when it comes to drafting deeds and other documents. My example strengthens the case for teaching transactional drafting.
Probably not, though they can't hurt (other than being annoying). From the Lawyerist:
According to The Economist, “Lawyers and experts on internet policy say no court case has ever turned on the presence or absence of such an automatic email [disclaimer] in America, the most litigious of rich countries.” So why do countless corporations and law firms insist on adding several paragraphs to the end of their emails? Do they just hate the environment that much and want you to waste lots of paper? It’s unlikely. The Economist says that “…lawyers often insist on them because they see others using them. As with Latin vocabulary and judges’ robes, once something has become a legal habit it has a tendency to stick.”
. . . .
When deciding if you should include the disclaimer automatically in your emails, you need to do what courts do: weigh the totality of the circumstances. These disclaimers are often long, annoying, and go unread. The only weight they may have in a court is to show some effort on an attorney’s part to prevent the disclosure of confidential information, or the creation of an unwanted attorney—client relationship. But that is something. Is it worth the possibility of annoying your clients and colleagues though?
Yet the attorney’s actions can go much further than a standard email disclaimer to show that the attorney attempted to solve the problem. Placing a phone call or sending a second email to the unintended recipient shows that the attorney is on the ball and trying to avoid malpractice. That’s what happened in the case of Charm v. Kohn. That case involved an attorney who sent an email to opposing counsel and a BCC to his client. The client then accidentally used the reply all feature, revealing confidential communications to opposing counsel. Mark Sidoti explains that:
“the court addressed whether defendant and/or his counsel took reasonable steps to preserve the confidentiality of the communication. While the court found the transmission was clearly a mistake that counsel tried to immediately rectify, it also warned that blind copying one’s client on a email sent to an adversary “gave rise to the foreseeable risk that [the client] would respond exactly as he did.” It also did not help that defense counsel left the matter unresolved until the summary judgment motion. After struggling with the issue, the Court erred on the side of protecting the almost sacrosanct attorney-client privilege, holding that, “[o]n balance, and perhaps with some indulgence for human fallibility,” defendant satisfied his burden of showing that he took reasonable steps to preserve the confidentiality of the communication.
This case is a great example, showing that actions speak louder than words. Take action in the event of an accidental disclosure and don’t count on your email disclaimer to do it for you. In doing so, you will save everyone’s time, and a lot of trees when those emails are printed.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
A few months ago, accountant Joseph Barbagallo wrote an article on this subject in the Legal Intelligencer. Here are his practical suggestions:
- Employing solid anti-fraud measures, including separations of various accounting duties, and physical safeguards;
- Requiring dual signatures on all large checks;
- Conducting reconciliations of escrow accounts to subsidiary ledgers;
- Educating management and employees by implementing an anti-fraud training program;
- Implementing an anonymous and confidential fraud reporting mechanism;
- Conducting random fraud audits in addition to regularly scheduled fraud audits;
- Implementing a process for oversight of fraud risks via a governance or audit committee; and
- Implementing HR background checks (when permitted by law) that include past employment verification, criminal and civil background checks, credit checks, drug screening, education verification and reference checks.
Tina Stark is one of the leaders in the contract drafting/transactional skills movement. She has just posted an article entitled Contract Drafting: A Prerequisite to Teaching Transactional Negotiation on SSRN. Her other articles are also worth checking out.
From The National Law Journal:
[M]ost law firms provide cursory, if any, training for new lawyers. With some exceptions, comprehensive, jurisdiction-specific practical skills training programs for new lawyers almost universally do not exist. Any training law firms do provide is typically disjointed and spread out over months or years. In short, law firm training often falls far short of preparing new lawyers to actually practice law in a law firm. (On-the-job training for new lawyers also falls short. Senior attorneys — in large firms, in particular — expect new lawyers to pick up practical skills on the job but are hesitant to give new lawyers the substantive legal work that would help develop these skills. And some clients prohibit new lawyers from working on their files entirely.)
Law firms are not to blame. Developing a comprehensive in-house training program for new lawyers is a cumbersome and costly undertaking. Developing such a program is certainly counter to a firm's immediate and pressing concerns of servicing clients and watching the bottom line. Small and midsize firms do not have the resources to devote to such a program. Likewise, with the increased pressure to bill hours at both the partner and associate level, attorneys in big law firms cannot afford to spend the nonbillable time necessary to develop an effective training program. For every hour a firm associate or partner spends developing and presenting a new lawyer training program, the firm loses hundreds of dollars and delays important client work. (Also, just as not all law school professors make the best lawyers, not all law firm practitioners make the best teachers.)
With this said, there is significant value in training new lawyers in practical skills. Well-trained new lawyers will contribute meaningfully to their law firms from day one. When new lawyers can independently handle basic practitioner tasks, senior attorneys will no longer have to spend otherwise-billable hours answering rudimentary questions or coaching new lawyers through such tasks (saving the firm literally thousands of dollars in both the senior attorneys' and new lawyers' time). Finally, when new lawyers undergo intensive training before starting at law firms, fewer costly, embarrassing mistakes will be made.
The subject of new lawyer training and development and the difficulties with implementing this training is increasingly a topic of conversation in the legal community. One palpable solution is for law firms to outsource new lawyer training. This ensures that all incoming new lawyers are, at a minimum, trained in fundamental practical skills before they even set foot in a law firm. It also ensures that new lawyers are exposed to fundamental skills in a uniform, comprehensive manner by professionals who have experience in both law and teaching. From a business standpoint, outsourcing new lawyer training (to the proper company) is a prudent investment with a tangible return on any money spent up front. The expense of the present model, whereby new lawyers are often paid a six-figure salary but are unfamiliar with, and unable to perform, the most basic tasks, is far greater. Likewise, the expense of developing a comparable program in-house easily surpasses any outsourcing costs. (This proposed outsourcing model is not new. Fortune 500 companies routinely outsource performance training, from sales employee to management personnel training.)
You can read the full story here.
This is by Johanna K.P. Dennis and is available at 38 S.U. L. Rev. 123-158 (2010) and SSRN, here. From the abstract:
The status quo in the required legal writing curriculum of legal education is a two-semester program in the first year of law school. However, this program requires that students simultaneously rethink and develop their legal writing skills while being taught an entirely new language. This program expects mastery from all students without accounting for their necessary rebirths or providing multiple opportunities for depth on various assignments. By contrast, institutions can rethink how they educate future lawyers and transition to a three semester program, which allows more opportunity for growth and vertical advancement beyond the standard curriculum. Starting by an analysis of the two-semester model, the article discusses the pedagogical value in transitioning to a three-semester system. The article also compares three-semester programs at various institutions, draws conclusions regarding which elements of a three-semester program should be in an ideal program, and makes recommendations for how an institution can redesign its program's structure and content.